chapter  9
14 Pages

Technology, schools and citizenship education: A fix too far?

ByNEIL SELWYN

The last decade or so has seen growing disquiet over social fragmentation, moral decline and rising levels of crime, thus fuelling the perception among many commentators that urgent action is required to re-establish civic stability and, in particular, reconnect young people with society. Indeed, the disconnection between young people and society is seen to be especially pronounced in the area of politics and polity. In the UK it is argued that the post-Thatcher years have been blighted by escalating levels of political apathy and even alienation among the young. This, it is reasoned, has contributed to dwindling electoral turnouts (especially in local government and European elections), plummeting membership of political parties and, most recently, the growth of support for extremist groups such as the British National Party and radical Islam. Thus stark warnings concerning the steady disintegration of civic society have been made, with organisations such as the Electoral Commission (2002) anticipating that ‘unless this generation of young people becomes more civic-minded as they age, the nature of British democracy is likely to become increasingly passive’.