London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Building democratic citizenship: What schools could learn from social movements

Author(s) Hernández-Merayo, E.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
Several social movements have recently questioned the unjust status quo of different societies: Arab Springs, Spanish Indignados´ movement and Occupy movements have all challenged the established world order. This paper aims to characterise the process of creating activist, political and democratic communities and the meanings that young people have built around them. It explores the relations and implications between social movements and school settings, focusing on the Spanish context. This paper is based on a case study of the General Assembly of Granada (Indignados´ movement), which include participant observation, interviews and document analysis (following methodological suggestions of Stake and Simons), and in observations of the St. Paul General Assembly (Occupy London Stock Exchange, OLSX). The findings reveal that these kinds of movements have challenged notions of citizen and citizenship, political understanding, hierarchical structures and the democratic learning process. The way of civic and political engagement in society at large is changing: we should, therefore, review the process of learning democracy and citizenship inside educational institutions. Keywords: Social Movements, Democratic Education, Young people, Global crisis

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