chapter  5
41 Pages

Multiple citizenship education

Inadequacy of the state–citizen model

Whether in city-state or nation-state, republic, principality or empire, citizenship has throughout history been a legal and political status accorded by the state to the individual and a bond of loyalty owed by the individual to the state. Citizenship education has accordingly sought to induct the individual into that status and to clinch that bond. Indeed, so self-evident has the relationship seemed to be that, in both theory and practice, it has often been thought natural, prudent and necessary for the state to make provision for a form of citizenship education in its own image. As the ages have passed, and with increasing acceleration since the eighteenth century, more elements have been added to complicate the citizenly idea and practice. Yet the state-citizen nexus held. Until relatively recently, that is. If the state demands that the moral and psychological ties take precedence over other social and ethical connections, then, in the event of intense consciousness of other relationships and allegiances, the monopoly of the state on the citizen’s fealty will be queried. The state can then be interpreted as merely one unit in the social-moral-political strata of human groupings; then arguments can be marshalled to suggest that citizens should share their allegiances to ideals, groups or institutions both below and above the state. In short, citizenship must be conceived as a multiple, not a unitary concept and status (see Heater 1990: ch. 9). In this event, citizenship education becomes more complex.