Reconceptualising Citizenship Education towards the Global, the Political, and the Critical: Challenges and Perspectives in a Province in Northern Italy
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The notion of fostering citizenship, particularly in young people, is common in education theory literature and in popular discourse. Schools are seen as key social institutions for the cultivation of citizens. Hence policy makers and scholars propose different pedagogical perspectives on citizenship education, and many are also stressing the need to reconceptualise it in the context of a globalised world. This chapter outlines the need for a citizenship education that is diverse, global, critical and political and argues that Global Citizenship Education (GCE), despite being complex and ambiguous, has the potential to be a new pedagogical framework that merges these four different perspectives. Drawing from a qualitative study that used constructivist and informed grounded theory, the chapter shows how GCE is conceptualised and practiced in a Province in Northern Italy. In this province, GCE has a distinctive moral dimension. On the one hand GCE is not an educational imperative, but rather a ‘moral optional’ for willing and able teachers that use a variety of strategies to reconcile GCE with the curriculum. And, on the other hand, it is essentially constructed as a new ‘moral pedagogy’, rather than a critical and political approach to citizenship education. The chapter ends stressing the role that teacher education can play to facilitate a more structural grounding of GCE in the curriculum, and stimulate reflection on political and critical GCE approaches.