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Young People, Citizenship and Political Participation: Combating Civic Deficit?

by Mark Chou, Jean-Paul Gagnon, Catherine Hartung and Lesley Pruitt Rowman & Littlefield International
Pub Date:
Pbk 162 pages
AU$73.99 NZ$75.64
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Explores whether, and how, young people work with and against contemporary politics at institutional and grassroots levels.

1. Preface. / 2. Disengaged: young people and political disengagement in Anglo-American democracies / 3. Democracy in Crisis: are young people to blame? / 4. Civics Education: defender or divider of democracy? / 5. Different Ways, Different Domains: the everyday politics of young people / 6. Brexit, Bono, and the Entrepreneurial Self: young people's participation as 'global citizens' / 7. Co-Designed: a new approach to civics and citizenship.

Recent decades have seen a resurgence in interest in citizenship education in many countries with, what we would have to recognise as, mixed results. This book provides a timely intervention to help readers think again about what we have been trying to do and how we have been trying to achieve it. By synthesising a range of material from within the literature on citizenship education and beyond, the authors ask us to think afresh about the challenge of citizenship education. School learning is often about the gap between what the learner already knows and can do, and what they may grasp or experience with the benefit of teaching. This volume makes a convincing case that adults have been routinely underestimating young people's starting point and therefore miscalculating how to plan the learning. The solution they propose is radically simple, and should come naturally to teachers GÇô talk to young people, understand their strengths and concerns and negotiate citizenship education with them, rather than impose a model on them. A deliberative process will lead to new understandings and new solutions in the context of diverse democracies and in doing so may even serve as a mechanism for democratic renewal. The authors recognise this will be challenging in reality but make a strong case for greater humility on behalf of curriculum developers in the face of young people's proven capacity to act as citizens today.
Mark Chou is Associate Professor of Politics at the Australian Catholic University Jean-Paul Gagnon is Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Canberra Catherine Hartung is Research Fellow in Education at Deakin University Lesley J. Pruitt is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Monash University