Student constructions of 'active citizenship': What does participation mean to students?

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'Active citizenship' is currently a popular term in citizenship education policy discourse. Despite this policy interest, there is no agreement about the meaning of 'active citizenship'. This article draws on data from the IEA Civic Education Study to explore how students themselves construct 'active citizenship'. The results show that students have quite sophisticated conceptions of citizenship responsibilities although their attitudes are gendered. They seem committed to political obligations rather than social obligations and they do not seem inclined to take advantage of their political rights or become involved in protest activities of any kind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-324
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship education
  • Civic engagement
  • Political socialisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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