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ERIC Number: EJ851029
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
Unsafe Waters, Stolen Sisters, and Social Studies: Troubling Democracy and the Meta-Narrative of Universal Citizenship
Tupper, Jennifer
Teacher Education Quarterly, v36 n1 p77-94 Win 2009
There is a propensity, when considering the meaning(s) of citizenship, to think in terms of universality and equality rather than difference and inequity. In a North American context, citizenship often operates as a taken for granted status with the requisite rights and responsibilities associated with membership in a nation. In education, how citizenship is embedded in curricular discourses and how it is taken up by both teachers and students is influenced by a discourse of universality. Most often, citizenship is linked to democracy and informed by an overwhelming acceptance that democracy does indeed exist. Social studies, perhaps more than any other subject, is complicit in advancing this commonsense understanding of citizenship and democracy, and it is one that requires disruption to its very core. But where do people situate this disruption given the proclivity for standardization, accountability, and content coverage that is pervasive in social studies education? And where might people situate this disruption given the preoccupation of many educators with technique rather than interrogation? In this article, the author attempts to do two things. First in questioning what is democratic about the current state of "democracy" in Canada and the United States, the author attempts to dispel the veracity of citizenship as universal (essentialist notions of universal citizenship) that seems to permeate social studies curriculum documents, glossing over or rendering non-existent, historical and contemporary realities of individuals who have not experienced citizenship in equitable and just ways. This is what the author refers to as the "meta-narrative of universal citizenship" contingent upon the "truth" rather than the falsity of democracy, the "truth" rather than the falsity of equality. Second, the author argues that if everyone hopes to move toward a more genuinely democratic reality in North America, it is important to consider the role that teacher education can play, the principles and practices that guide teacher education programs and how teachers might work with their students to interrogate their very understandings of citizenship and democracy, the cornerstones of what many believe education to be serving. "Universal" citizenship must always be used as a category of analysis not only in social studies classrooms, but in teacher education contexts as well.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; United States