Логотип CGES

European Context of the Citizenship and Participation Construction and Teaching: Citizenship, Participation, Diversity and European Identity in Education

The research concentrates on description of the European practices of education towards active democratic citizenship and takes up a specific critical perspective, opening up the frame for sociological analysis and analytical approaches from theories of democracy and participation. Research is conducted into the goals and methods of citizenship education, as implied by the European Union and the Council of Europe within their educational policies and teaching materials. This is carried out within an analytical framework of Europeanization, transformation, post-authoritarian, post-soviet and post-colonial spaces.

A symposium “Grounding education towards citizen’ participation on controversy?” organised by Tatjana Zimenkova and Reinhold Hedtke during the Erasmus Academic Network annual conference “Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe”, hosted by the Institute of Education, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 13-15.06 2013. Title of Symposium:

The symposium elaborated on controversy, as both an essential element and an under-estimated feature of education towards citizens’ participation. Participation as an element of citizenship education is a prominent project of international and national educational policies - not only in Europe. Institutionalised approaches for compulsory schools are called on to provide participation competencies to all young citizens. Empirical evidence, discussed in the symposium, showed that the majority of educational policies and relevant teaching materials as well as related research on education towards active citizens’ participation are built on rather weakly defined notions of participation and democracy. They often emphatically refer to democracy as a good, fair and harmonious characteristic of (European/western) societies - understood as normal conditions which need to be supported through citizen’s participatory support. Controversy, difference (and dissatisfaction) as basic elements and essential experiences of democracy are missing in these policies, teaching materials and research approaches.

A goal of the symposium was to develop a critical approach to education towards democratic citizenship participation, based on controversy and difference as core elements of education towards citizenship participation. Using quantitative (CELS 2011, ICCS 2009) and qualitative data from UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden and other European countries, papers, presented at the symposium, questioned mainstream approaches of participatory citizenship education and investigated their assumptions, political contexts and educational outcomes. Using approaches on democratic participation from sociology and political science, papers argued in favour of difference and controversy as the main element of political education.

The symposium elaborated on possibilities and frameworks of participatory education, taking in consideration the positions of organized political or educational agencies and of the political subject or individual citizen. The symposium discussed the essential meaning of controversy – as well as disappearing of differences and controversies from education towards active citizen’s participation.

Participants of the symposium: Dr.Pedro Ferreira, University of Porto, Centre for Educational Research and Intervention, Dr. Avril Keating, Institute of Education, IoE’sCenter for Learning and Lifechances in Knowledge, Economies and Societies (LLAKES). Dr. Tatjana Zimenkova (Bielefeld University, CGES associate)


  • Dr. Tatiana Zimenkova, CGES associate;
  • Prof. Reinhold Hedtke, Bielefeld University;
  • Dr. Pedro D. Ferreira, University of Porto;
  • Dr. Avril Keating, Institute of Education, UK;
  • Dr. Margarita Jeliazkova, University Twente Enschede, the Netherlands;
  • Oxana Karpenko, CISR, St. Petersburg


  • Podium discussion during the annual meeting of political education association (Landesforum 2013 DVPB NRW) “Quo Vadis Europa? – die Europäische Union zwischen Inklusion und Exklusion“ (Quo Vadis Europa? – The European Union between the Inclusion and Exclusion“, http://dvpb.wordpress.com/lafo-2013/, November 2013, Bochum University)
  • Guest Lecture “De-Politisation of Citizenship Education: Theoretical Background, Educational Policies and a Practice of Teaching Materials”, held by Dr.Tatjana Zimenkova in Faculty of Behaviorial Sciences, Department of the advanced training for social science teachers, University Twente Enschede, the Netherlands.