London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Citizenship, cultural identity, and exclusion

Author(s) Yveline Fumat  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2000  
Editor Alistair Ross, Curricula for Citizenship in Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Comments: In order to become citizens - that is responsible and active members of political life - children need support from their families, who help them to achieve primary socialisation, to fit into a larger community and broaden their minds to society at large, by which they eventually acquire a sense of history. Is open-mindedness still possible when a child?s family is left on the scrapheap and stands apart from economical, social and cultural life? Parents who are left out in the cold can neither give hope to their children, nor inscribe a concrete meaning to the words ?past? and ?future?. Conversely, when parents - even though they are poor - can pass a message of hope on to their children, then a sense of belonging to a cultural community and the possibility of becoming a citizen are unspoilt. What role might school play in the case of families living in such dire straits? The school appears to be the only institution that can manage to make up for the harm d! one to children whose parents are left on the scrapheap. School can also help such families to keep in touch with society ip. Discussing the basis of the arguments and justifications for these conceptions enables us to identify their epistemological limitations, especially those of a naturalistic and ethnocentristic type that are determined by reference to the adult world. The paper also argues that, at the level of training for the childhood teaching profession, the introduction of sociological reflection which makes use of students' representations and memories, linked to the recognition of children as social agents and actors, leads towards the basis of a new paradigm in education in which the right of children to participate will be assumed as a right of children within their practice of active citizenship

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