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Contemporary Discourses of Citizenship

Author(s): Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Jason Harnish

Source: Review of Educational Research, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Winter, 2006), pp. 653-690
Published by: American Educational Research Association
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Review of EducationalResearch
Winter2006, Vol. 76, No. 4, pp. 653-690

Contemporary Discourses of Citizenship

Kathleen Knight Abowitz
Miami University

Jason Harnish
Senn High School Achievement Academy
Meaningsof "citizenship,"a conceptthat has informedteachingpractices
since nation-statesfirst institutionalized
schooling,are shapedover timeand
throughculturalstruggles.Thisarticlepresentsa conceptualframeworkfor
thediscoursesthatcurrentlyconstructthemeaningsof citizenshipin contemporary Westerncultures,particularlythe United States. Using discourse
analysis,theauthorsexaminetextsrelatedto citizenshipand citizenshipeducationfrom 1990 through2003, identifyingseven distinctbut overlapping
frameworksthatascribemeaningto citizenship.The "civicrepublican"and
"liberal"frameworksare the most influentialin shapingcurrentcitizenship
education;five othersare the mostactive in contestingthe terrainof citizenshippractices in livedpolitical arenas. The "transnational"and "critical"
discourseshave yet to significantlychallenge the dominantdiscoursesthat
shapecitizenshipeducationinschools.Thisarticlequestionstheviewofpolitical life in Westerndemocraciesthatis promotedby thedominantdiscourses
of citizenshipin K-12 schooling.
citizenship, citizenship education, democraticeducation,patriotism.
Whatdoes it mean to be a "citizen"?The termhas a complex and evolving history.We begin with a simple yet comprehensivedefinition:Citizenshipin a democracy (a) gives membershipstatusto individualswithin a political unit; (b) confers
an identity on individuals;(c) constitutes a set of values, usually interpretedas a
commitmentto the common good of a particularpolitical unit; (d) involves practicing a degree of participationin the process of political life; and (e) implies gaining and using knowledge and understandingof laws, documents, structures,and
processes of governance(Enslin, 2000). Citizenship,at least theoretically,confers
membership,identity, values, and rights of participationand assumes a body of
common political knowledge.
In his classic essay "Citizenshipand Social Class" (1950/1998), British sociologist T. H. Marshalltracedthe expansion of citizenship in his society over three
centuries. Civil citizenship-or individual rights to speech, faith, and propertyemergedas a force in 18th-centuryEngland,when capitalistpolitical systems instituted the protectionof property,equality before the law, and civil liberties (Katz,
2001). Political citizenship, or the "rightto participatein the exercise of political
power, as a memberof a body invested with political authorityor as an elector of
the membersof such a body"(Marshall,p. 94), developedin the 19thcentury,when
the franchise was granted first to middle-class and later to working-class men.'

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

Social citizenship arose mainly in the 20th centuryand includes a broadrangeof

rights, "fromthe rightto a modicumof economic welfare and securityto the right
to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilized being
according to the standardsprevailing in the society" (Marshall,p. 94). As Katz
notes, "socialcitizenshiptook shapeas the welfare state"(p. 344). Marshall'sthree
categories of citizenship-civil, political, and social-show both the complexity
and the dynamicnatureof the meaningsof citizenship.
Political changes in the last half-century-the fall of Communism,the rise of
populistmovementsexpandingsocial rightsfor oppressedgroups,the formationof
the EuropeanUnion, the proliferationof transnationalalliances,the growthof multinationalcorporations,and economic globalizationhave fed the debates and questions about citizenship, democracy, and schooling (Kymlicka & Norman, 1994).
Questionsaboutwhatconstitutesgood citizenshipandpropercivic educationhave
also been fueled by a widely perceivedcrisis in democraticlife and citizenshipin
America. Growing distrustin governmentand other key institutions,diminished
trustin fellow citizens, erodinginterestin public affairs,and declining voting rates
all have been documentedby social scientistsin the past several decades (Galston,
2003). We continueto witness shifts in the meaningof citizenshipin our own time.
The events of September11, 2001, immediatelygalvanizeddiscussions aboutcitizenship and civic education.The ironyof our currentdebateson citizenshipis seen
in the simultaneousrise of Americannationalism,felt in the aftermathof theevents
of 9/11, andgrowthin awarenessof transnationalandcosmopolitanperspectiveson
citizenship, which have been on the ascendance since the end of World War II.
Nationalistexpressions,ironicallycombinedwith a renewedsense of ourglobalties
to otherpeoples and nations, have furtherintensifiedand complicatedthe interest
in citizenshipand in the role of schools in shapingdemocraticcitizens.
Ourstudyaimedto mapout the multiplecitizenshipdiscoursescirculatingin contemporaryWesterndemocracies,particularlythe United States.Throughthis study
we illustratethe patternsof contemporarymeaning makingwith regardto citizenship, revealingdominantand emergingdiscoursesthat shape citizenshipeducation
in schools. Our conclusions reveal a continueddominanceby the Enlightenmentinspiredcitizenshipdiscoursesof civic republicanismand liberalismin K-12 curricularand policy texts. This prevalenceof two prominentcitizenshipdiscoursesin
schools belies a vibrantand complex arrayof citizenshipmeaningsthathave more
recently developed out of, and often in opposition to, these dominantdiscourses.
Drawingfrom the practiceand theorizingof citizenshipin criticalandtransnational
spaces, our analysisultimatelyprovidescriticismof the pallid,overly cleansed,and
narrowview of politicallife in Westerndemocraciespromotedby the dominantdiscourses of citizenshipin K-12 schooling.
The Study and Its Methods
To highlightthe idea thatcitizenshipis not a "natural"idea but an inventedconcept that shifts with economic, political, and social changes, we examine the discourses that shape meanings of citizenship. "Discourse" is used here in the
Foucaultian(1972) sense, as a body of rules and practicesthatgovern meaningsin
a particulararea. While a number of good reviews of citizenship literatureare
availableto educators,2none focus on citizenship as a discursive practice.Understandingcitizenshipthrougha discursiveframeworkcan provideeducatorsinvalu654

Discoursesof Citizenship
able tools for critically analyzingthe meanings of the varied and often competing
agendas and intereststhat shape texts on citizenship. We reviewed selected contemporarytheoreticaland more applied (curricular)texts focusing on citizenship
or citizenship education, identifying through this review a numberof discourses
that shape the ways we talk, think, and teach aboutcitizenship. Citizenship texts,
like all other texts, are shapedby political interestsand particularvisions of what
democracyand the nation-stateshould be; discourse analysis allows us to understandhow these interestsareexpressingand shapingmeaningsof civic life and citizenship education.
Discourses arenot composed of randomlychosen words and statements;rather,
each discourseis a productof historicaland social circumstancesthat provide the
discursivepractices-terminology, values,rhetoricalstyles,habits,andtruths-that
constructit (see Cherryholmes,1988, pp. 2-3). Discourse is the primaryway that
ideology is produced,reproduced,andcirculated;ideologies, by contrast,arebelief
systems that help people to understandand act in the world. "Ideologies are the
frameworksof thinkingandcalculationaboutthe world-the 'ideas' thatpeople use
to figure out how the social world works, what their place is in it, and what they
ought to do" (Hall, 1986, p. 97). Ideologies are constructedand circulatedthrough
discourse. "Ways of talking [speaking, writing] produce and reproduceways of
thinking, and ways of thinking can be manipulatedvia choices about grammar,
style, wording, and every other aspect of language" (Johnstone,2002, p. 45). A
speech, article, or curriculumarticulatinga position regardingcivic membership,
identity, values, participation,and knowledge constitutes an expression of belief
aboutcitizenship.Such expressions,by the very languageandways of thinkingthey
employ, constructmeaningsof citizenship,privileging some meaningsover others
by means of choices of language, logic, or rhetoric.Thus "decidingwhat to call
somethingcan constitutea claim aboutit" (p. 48). These choices and claims lead to
the assertion,production,reproduction,and contestationof certainmeanings and
truthsof citizenship.
We focused this review on scholarlyand curricularEnglish-languagetexts and
authorswhose works were publishedfrom 1990 through2003. We furtherchose
works in which citizenship or citizenship education was the primaryfocus. This
time periodwas selected not only becauseit included9/11 and its aftermathbut also
because it includedthe last decade of the 20th century,in which a large numberof
theoreticalandspeculativewritingswere generatedon the natureof democraticlife.
In the field of political theory alone, Kymlicka and Norman (1994, p. 352) documentedthe "explosionof interestin the concept of citizenship,"an interestthathas
spread through many academic fields, including education. The texts that we
We randomlyselected texts from the fields of education,social studies education,
philosophy, and political theoryin which citizenship or citizenship educationwas
the centraltopic, drawingfrom academicjournalsand scholarlybooks in those disciplines. We sampled essays and curriculumfrom a wide array of educational
groups to reflect the ideological diversity of citizenship ideals and programs.To
get a sense of the states' uniqueinterestsin and meaningsof citizenshipeducation,
we also reviewed civic standardsfrom the states of New Jersey, California, and
Ohio. New Jersey was chosen because it is one of a minorityof states that do not
yet use any standardizedtests in civics. California was chosen for the size and

diversityof its population.Ohio was selected as a staterepresentinga close alignmentwith the nationalstandards,accreditation,andstandardizedtestingmovements.
We also reviewed documentsfrom privatefoundations,teachers'unions,independent nonprofits,and professional organizationsthat developed curriculumor
specificeducationalpositionsfor citizenshipeducation.We sampledmaterialsfrom
the curriculumstandardsof the National Council for the Social Studies (1994);
Down the Street,Around the World:A StarterKitfor Global Awareness (2003),
publishedby the AmericanFederationof Teachers;the Centerfor Civic Education's
"Wethe People"curriculum(1995); the Youth LeadershipInitiativeat the University of Virginia Centerfor Politics (2003); the Veteransof Foreign WarsCitizenship EducationProgram(2003); the Thomas B. FordhamFoundation'sSeptember
11th: WhatOurChildrenNeed to Know(2002); "ThinkingAboutthe War"(2002),
from RethinkingSchools Online; a reportfrom the CarnegieCorporationof New
York and CIRCLE(Centerfor Informationand Researchon Civic Learningand
Engagement)entitled The Civic Mission of Schools (2003); the KetteringFoundation's NationalIssues Forums(2003); the Public Achievementprojectof the Center for Democracy and Citizenship(2002); and Civics Report Card to the Nation
(1999), fromthe NationalAssessmentof EducationalProgress(NAEP).In sum,our
review focused on theoreticaltexts as well as texts that specifically prescribedthe
types of knowledge and learningactivities that constitute"good"citizenshipeducation and curriculathatpurportto instructstudentsin such notions.
A textual analysis was conducted on these works, with a particularfocus on
the following aspects of each text: (a) the claims and evidence forwardedby the
author(s); (b) the rhetorical choices (vocabulary, slogans, style) made by the
author(s);(c) the moraland political values advocatedby the text; and (d) the context from which, or in which, the text was produced.Thus we examinedeach text
by asking: Whatis the authoradvocating,and whatare the terms/expressionsused
to identifypolitical membership,identity, values, participation, and knowledge?
Whatkindsof moral, civic, and/or educationalvalues does the authordefend?
Afterworkingthroughthe analysis,we identifiedpatternsin how citizenshipwas
conceptualized,patternsthatcould be seen in shifts in the languageused to describe
citizenship,differencesin claims aboutwhatcitizenshipmeansor shouldmean,and
differencesin the values attributedto "goodcitizenship."While these distinctideals
were more specificallynamed and clearly delineatedin the scholarlytexts thatwe
reviewed,3we saw them emergingwithin the appliedand curriculartexts, too. The
patternseventuallybecame identifiedas distinctcitizenshipdiscourses.Seven citizenship discoursesemerged throughthe research.We review the two dominating
discourses--civic republicanand liberal-first. Subsequently,we discuss the discoursesthatwe collected underthe name "critical,"becausethey challengethe twin
pillarsof civic republicanandliberaldiscoursein oursociety. The criticaldiscourses
In this review, we describe broadcharacteristicsof each discourse4and how each
discourseis actualizedor expressedin school curriculum.We analyzethe multiple,
shifting meanings of citizenship and citizenship education in the contemporary
United States, providingeducatorswith a guide to the diverse ideological orientations thatare shapingour thinkingaboutcivic life and political participation.
We draw two broad conclusions from this review. We found a distinct dominance of the Enlightenment-inspirednotions of citizenship over the more critical

Discoursesof Citizenship
discourses thathave recentlyemerged.The civic republicanand liberaldiscourses
continue to define and powerfully shape how U.S. society understandscitizenship
and the ways in which the society's institutions,such as schools, therebyshape citizens. Yet we also discoveredmanypowerfulchallengesto these dominantnotions
of citizenship and civic life. In the past hundredyears, social, political, and economic movementshave inspirednew forms andideals of citizenshipand areinvigoratingold forms.The feminist,cultural,queer,andreconstructionistdiscoursesof
citizenshiphave developed or retainedvigor as a result of the unfulfilledpromises
of the civic republicanand liberal discourses, shapingnew forms of civic agency,
identity,and membership.These more criticaldiscourseshave also cross-fertilized
with the ancient ideals of cosmopolitanism and transnationalism,leading to new
meanings and forms of citizenshippracticeand education.Criticalandcosmopolitan discourses that gained significantgroundin the 20th centuryrepresentimportant challenges to these dominantways of thinking.Still, the challenge is far more
potent in scholarlyliteratureand in political life than in the mainstreamcurricular
texts that we reviewed. This exclusion from curriculartexts is explained, in part,
by the fundamentalcritiquesand controversialquestionsthat they raise about traditionalmeaningsof citizenshipand of the nation-stateitself. Criticaland transnational discourses of citizenship raise basic questions about identity (who we are
as citizens), membership(who belongs, and the location of the boundaries),and
agency (how we might best enact citizenship)-questions debatedin political life
acrossthe globe by scholarsandactivists,political thinkersandneighborhoodorganizers. However, the critical and transnationalcivic reconstructionsare marginalized in the curriculartexts that define the standardsand prominentmeanings of
citizenshiptaughtin schools. The diminutionof these discoursesin the taughtcurriculummeans thatmuch of our schooling in citizenshipfails to reflectthe continual strugglesof democraticpolitics. In short,the lived curriculaof citizenship and
the lively debates among activists, scholars, and thinkersis ideologically diverse
and suggests multipleforms of democraticengagement,while the currentformal,
taughtcurriculumof citizenshipproducesa relativelynarrowscope andset of meanings for what citizenship is and can be. This difference suggests that, ratherthan
blaming democraticdisengagementon the apatheticchoices of young people, we
should perhapsbe looking at how we reduce, confine, diminish, and deplete citizenship meaningsin our formaland taughtcurriculum.
Discourses of Civic Republican Citizenship: Strong Political Community
The civic republicandiscoursehabituallyexpresses the values of love and service to one's political community (local, state, and national);its views on civic
membershipin the politicalcommunityarecharacterizedby an exclusivity not seen
in othercitizenshipdiscourses.Civic republicandiscussions highlightthe need for
better civic literacy and the importanceof a centralbody of civic knowledge for
good citizenship.Civic republicanswish to promotea civic identity among young
people characterizedby commitmentto the politicalcommunity,respectfor its symbols, andactive participationin its common good. Cooperativeparticipationin progovernment activities (voting, involvement with political parties, and civic
activities) is stressedin civic republicantexts. The prominenceof this discourse is
seen throughoutthe texts thatwe examinedbut was particularlyevident in the state
documents on civics standardsand the citizenship materialsof some of the more

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

politically conservative nonprofitorganizations,such as the Veterans of Foreign

Wars and the FordhamFoundation.As we will laterargue,the nationalisticmeanings of citizenshipfoundin civic republicandiscoursepose a directchallengeto the
more cosmopolitanand transnationalperspectivesnow circulatingin our culture.
One of the centralfeaturesof civic republicandiscourse since 9/11 has been a
focus on patriotism.Viroli (2000) characterizesthe love of country,so prominent
amongthe classical republicansof ancientRome, as a persistentdefiningfeatureof
civic republicanism.This affectionis not abstractbut is felt for "aparticularrepublic and particularcitizens who aredearto us because we sharewith them important
things:the laws, liberty,the forum,the senate,the public squares,friends,enemies,
memoriesof victoriesand memoriesof defeats, hopes, fears"(p. 267). This sortof
passion is not the resultof our rationalconsent to the principlesof governance,but
of a love thattranslatesinto action and service to the common good. Hence, many
civic republicantexts make use of the ideas of love for, and loyalty to, the nation
andits common good. The idea of workingfor the good of the politicalcommunity
drawson civic republicanism'sroots in ancient Athens and Rome, but the current
revival of such ideas in communitarianism(Etzioni, 1993) also has had a strong
influenceon this discourse.
For civic republicans,citizenshiprequiresidentificationwith and commitment
to the political community'sgoals, gained throughthe processes of educationand
active engagement in the democratic process (Ravitch & Viteritti, 2001). The
democracyof Aristotle's Athens is an established model, in that citizens derived
their self-understandingsthroughidentificationwith and participationin the polis,
or political community.For contemporaryscholars,the political communityis not
simply the state or governmentbut is more typically associatedwith civil society,
definedas the "realmof nonprivatizedcollective actionthatis voluntaryratherthan
compulsoryand persuasiveratherthancoercive,"providing"a basis for criticizing
the excesses of boththe stateandthe market"(Galston,2000, cited in Glazer,2001,
p. 169). In the civic republicanview, civil society is the now-neglectedthirdsphere
of democraticlife-the theoreticaland discursive space outside marketsand government-and is the primaryspherefor citizenship (Elshtain,1999). Especiallyin
the civic republicandiscourse,citizenshipis conceptualizedas a matterof "healing"
ourfragmentedcontemporarycivil society.5The social capitalderivedfromhealthy
communalnetworksand their values and norms providesa sense of cohesiveness
andunity thatis centralto the civic republicanvalues of citizenship.In civic republican discourse,a weakenedcivil society resultsin weak social capitalfor ourcountry, and this weakness is one of the centralmalaises to be correctedby invigorated
civic education.Governmentalorganizationssuch as the Corporationfor National
and CommunityService, with its arrayof civil service and educationalprograms,
focus on buildingsocial capitalin communitiesthroughlocalized,cooperativeproblem solving by citizens (Corporationfor Nationaland CommunityService, 2003).
Public schools across the country are incorporatingcommunity service requirements into theircurriculumwith these aims in mind (CarnegieCorporationof New
York & CIRCLE,2003).
Articulationsof political community in this discourse focus on commonality,
consensus, and unity. Unlike the exclusive club of ancient Athenian democracy,
where only a small group of adultswere actually given rights of citizenship,civic
republicansoften communicatean awarenessof a multiculturalAmerica.Still, as

Discoursesof Citizenship
Oldham(1998) observes, civic republicandiscourselargely maintainsthe benefits
of exclusivity.6All discoursesof citizenship must define boundaries(of membership, of benefits, of rights, of duties), but the civic republicandiscoursedraws the
sharpestlines of inclusionandexclusion in its expressionsof politicalmembership.
"Inchoosing an identityfor ourselves, we recognize both who our fellow citizens
are, and those who are not membersof our community,and thus who arepotential
enemies"(p. 81). Oldhamstatesthatthis idea of exclusive membership,which lies
at the heartof the civic republicantradition,gives priorityto political and national
communityover universalistor humanistethics. For example,particularlyin times
of war or economic threat,the needs of nation supersedeglobal or cosmopolitan
ethics-recall the nationalistrhetoricthat introducedA Nation at Risk (National
Commissionon Excellence in Education,1983) underthe threatof a strongJapanese economy. Similarly, after 9/11, Lynne Cheney (2002) stated that "the most
importantcivics lessons for American children are found in American history."
Civics, it is implied here, does not involve a study of world historyexcept as a secondary matter-students primarilyneed to know about the difficult accomplishments of startingand maintainingour democraticU.S. society.
Texts in this discourse,stressingthe importanceof conservingand maintaining
U.S. democraticideals andtraditions,emphasizethe importanceof learningfacts and
informationaboutdemocracy'shistoryand institutions.Many of the texts bemoan
the diminishedcivics offeringsin high schools and the diminishedscores thatU.S.
students receive in tests on civic knowledge as comparedwith studentsin other
nations (Quigley, 2003; Lutkus,Weiss, Campbell, Mazzeo, & Lazer, 1999). The
civic republicandiscoursestronglyvalues civic knowledge, sometimescalled civic
literacy(Milner,2002), as an essentialcomponentof citizenship.Civic educationhas
to do with students'gaining sufficientcivic knowledge, as well as the virtues and
skills needed to engage successfully in the process of democracy (Butts, 1988;
Milner, 2002; Nie, Junn, & Stehlik-Barry,1996). Such civic knowledge, in civic
republicandiscourse, focuses on Americanhistory, institutions,and seminal texts
(the Constitution,the Bill of Rights, etc.), reserving a far smaller place for more
humanistic,international,and critical content and pedagogy. Civic knowledge in
civic republicandiscoursealso includesan understandingof andloyalty to national
symbols and icons, such as the flag (Veteransof ForeignWars, 2003). In New Jersey, the firstgoal suggestedfor social studiesinstructionis "transmissionof ourcultural and intellectual heritage";the sense of the importance of transmittingthe
heritageof U.S. democracyis quitepowerfulin many curriculaandtexts thatshape
classroomteaching (New JerseyStateDepartmentof Education,1996).
The civic virtues of central concern are self-sacrifice, patriotism,loyalty, and
respect. The civic skills are those enabling citizens to engage in productive dialogue around public problems, building consensus and working cooperatively.
These virtues and skills are well articulatedin the focus on communityservice in
the civic republicandiscourse. While several citizenship discourses use ideas of
community service, the civic republicandiscourse specifically uses service as a
way to help studentsform a sense of duty to other citizens and to forge a sense of
commitment to community and nation (Zaff, 2003). Damon stresses the significance of this kind of developed civic identity, defined as "an allegiance to a systematic set of moral and political beliefs, a personal ideology of sorts, to which a
young personforges a commitment.The emotional and moralconcomitantsto the

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

beliefs are a devotion to one's communityanda sense of responsibilityto the society at large"(2001, p. 127).
Damon's concern is not with communalidentityas it forms in ethnic, racial,or
otherculturalgroups;indeed, some civic republicanshave waged sharpcritiquesof
s emphasison such bonds, accusingthem of having a balkanizing
influenceon our society (Schlesinger, 1991;Ravitch, 1993). The push for requiring
recitationof the Pledge of Allegiance in classroomsacross the United Statesafter
9/11 reflects this interestin assertingcitizenshipprimarilyas it is associatedwith
unityandloyalty to the nation-state(Piscatelli,2003). As ChesterFinn (2001) noted
one monthafter9/11, "Kidsare pledging allegiancein Pennsylvania,singing 'God
Bless the U.S.A.' in Arkansas,wearingred, white andblue to school (for a 'Patriotism Day' assembly) in Maryland.And much more."And, as the Californiastate
social studies standardsfor first gradersreflect,knowing the "symbols,icons, and
traditionsof the United States that provide continuity and a sense of community
across time" includes practices such as reciting the Pledge and singing patriotic
songs (CaliforniaState Departmentof Education,1998). As a result of these particularvalues and their emphasis on communalunity, this discourse infrequently
addressesthe civic tensions and conflicts that spring from racial, ethnic, class, or
genderdivisions and hierarchies.
State civics standardsstronglyreflectthe rhetoricand agendaspresentedin the
civic republicandiscourse.In Ohio, as in most states,the civics standardsarelocated
within the social studies standards(see Tolo, 1999). These standardsgive priority
to communalvalues, civic participation,and the history of Americandemocracy.
They stipulatethat,by the end of Grade5, Ohio studentsshouldbe able to "explain
how citizens take partin civic life in orderto promotethe common good" (Ohio
State Departmentof Education,2003, p. 38). By Grade 8 they should be able to
"identifyhistoricaloriginsthatinfluencedtherightsU.S. citizenshave today"(p. 38).
By Grade12, studentsareto "explainhow individualrightsarerelative,not absolute,
anddescribethe balancebetweenindividualrights,the rightsof others,andthecommon good" (p. 39).
Participationis definedby civic republicantexts as prosocial,with an emphasis
on personalresponsibilityand the common good. The Grade 11 content standards
for Ohio offer a list of ways thatwe can exercise personalresponsibilityandactive
participationin a democracy:"Behavingin a civil manner,being fiscally responsible, acceptingresponsibilityfor the consequenceof one's actions, practicingcivil
discourse, becoming informed on public issues, voting, taking action on public
issues, providingpublic service, servingon juries"(Ohio StateDepartmentof Education,p. 97). This list heavily emphasizesparticipationmodes thatarecooperative
and supportiveof the state, emphasizingconventionalways to supportthe existing
governmentaland community institutions.The duty of citizenship most heavily
emphasizedin civic republicantexts on educationis voting: Many curricularideas
exist for engaging studentsin and educatingthem aboutvoting (Youth Leadership
Initiative,2003), anda strongemphasison voting is foundin many statecitizenship
standards.An emphasison civic responsibilities,duties,andserviceto othersunderscores the goals of workingtowardthe common good.
In civic republicandiscourse, "responsibility"is often set up against "rights."
Following the communitarian critique of liberalism in the 1980s and 1990s
(MacIntyre, 1981; Sandel, 1982), the civic republicandiscourse has put renewed

Discoursesof Citizenship
emphasison the responsibilitiesincumbentupon democraticcitizens if our political communityis to reproduceitself and thrive. Among civic republicans,there is
some agreementthatour rightsare worthlesswithoutthe strongpresenceof values
that underscorecivic responsibilities, and that younger generations erroneously
understanddemocracyto be an exercise of rightsratherthana structurethatequally
obligates them to certainduties. Thus the emphasis on loyalty, civic literacy, and
service to government,community,and countryis intendedto promotethe desire
andthe abilityto carryout one's civic responsibilities.Ourdemocracy,accordingto
the civic republicandiscourse,is brokenbecause of growing cynicism, apathy,and
a selfish focus on individualrightsover collective responsibilities.
The heroic response to 9/11 and its aftermathgave civic republicanshope that
Americacould renew its communalties. The civic republicandiscoursehas been in
high profilesince 9/11, which is unsurprising,given the nationalisttone thathistorically has made this discourseripe for wartimerhetoric.In the wake of 9/11, civic
republicanvoices launchedscathingcritiquesof public schooling that were illustrative of their agenda for citizenship education. Criticizing the public schools'
responseto the events and aftermathof 9/11,7 Finn (2002) wrote that "thecurricularandpedagogicaladvicethatmanyof the [education]profession'scountlessorganizations[gave] ... was long on multiculturalism,feelings, relativismandtolerance
but shorton history,civics andpatriotism"(p. 4). In September11: WhatOurChildrenNeed to Know,publishedby the ThomasB. FordhamFoundation,Rotherham
(2002) states: "[W]hileit is importantfor schools to teach abouttolerancefor different people within this country and aroundthe world, we do studentsand ourselves a disserviceby equatingtolerancewith a relativistexaminationof September
11th"(p. 34). Rotherhamandotherscholarswhose workappearedin this editedcollection believe that teachers, parents, and the media should teach young people
aboutthe ideals and institutionsthatmake America special and unique-not without flaws, but with a strong,appreciativefocus on the historicalandideological traditions of Americandemocracythatstudentsshould cherish.Renewing the Pledge
of Allegiance in schools, findingways to help studentsserve theircommunities,and
using curriculathat transmitthe U.S. heritageare all populardiscursive practices
used in the civic republicandiscourseon citizenship.
Discourses of Liberal Citizenship
Another powerful discursive force in shaping contemporarymeanings of citizenship is liberalism, a discourse of individual liberty. It prioritizesthe rights of
individualsto form, revise, and pursuetheirown definitionof the good life, within
certainconstraintsthatareimposed to promoterespectfor and considerationof the
rights of others. Fromthe conceptionof individualrights comes a focus on equality, or the ability of all people-especially those in historically marginalizedand
oppressed groups-to fully exercise their freedoms in society. From a historical
emphasis on individual freedom and equality have emerged two predominant
threadswithin liberal citizenshipdiscourses.The first, neoliberalism,will be only
briefly introducedhere, as it has not yet emerged as an explicit discourse of citizenship.Politicalliberalism,the moreprominentliberaldiscourseinfluencingideas
aboutcitizenshipeducation,will be the centralfocus.
Neoliberal discourse, a combinationof marketliberal ideology and aggressive
individualism,is very influentialin Americancultureand schooling. Neoliberalism

merges the capitalistand democraticspheres, as Wells, Slayton, and Scott (2002)
describe:"A careful study of the dominantdiscourse of democracyin the United
States, especially in the last decade, demonstratesthat the democracyversus markets dichotomy is misleading, as political leaders ... have continuallypromoted
democracyfor markets"(p. 341). Under neoliberal logic, the liberty enjoyed by
democraticcitizens is the same freedom thathas helped free-marketcapitalismto
flourish;democraticcitizenshiptakes on an instrumentalturndesignedto servethe
growthof capitalisticmarkets.8While the neoliberaldiscoursein educationis very
powerful,9educatorsrarelytakeup the neoliberaldiscourseas an explicit discourse
of citizenship; and most political and educational theorists also largely reject
neoliberalismas a civic discourse,in partbecauseits model of homoeconomicusthe humanbeing as an essentially economic animal-reflects an individualismso
severe as to be incompatiblewith the civic ideals long associatedwith democratic
public life andcommon schooling.The effects of this influenceon citizenshipeducationarenot analyzedhere,but a growingnumberof theoristsandeducatorsargue
thatthe pursuitof rationalself-interestthatis the essence of capitalismemphasizes
individualfreedom at the expense of the egalitarian,communal,and public ideals
of democraticlife (see Barber,1999).
Political liberalism is a pervasive discourse shaping meanings of citizenship,
seen especially in key professionalliteratureof the social studies (including that
for classroom use) and in the literatureof nonprofitgroups such as the Centerfor
Civic Education.In this discourse, national identity is constructedaround"thinner"conceptions of a political communitythan are articulatedin civic republican
texts. In this discourse many texts give explicit recognition and valuationto the
fact of civic pluralism.The "thinner"conceptions of liberal citizenshipreflectthe
belief that there is less relative social agreementon values, chosen identities,and
forms of democraticparticipationthanis assumedby the civic republicandiscourse
(McLaughlin,1992; Strike, 1994). Whereascivic republicandiscourse values the
common good of political communities,political liberalismenvisions a morelimited political arena,with greaterfocus on proceduresthatwould ensurefair, inclusive deliberationaboutgovernanceandpolicy (Gutmann,2000). "Thin"refers"not
to the insignificance of values" such as tolerance, freedom, and equality, but to
"theirindependencefrom substantial,particularframeworksof belief and value"
(McLaughlin,1992, p. 240).
"Theembodimentof the moralpersonin the liberaldemocraticsociety is the citizen who is free, self-originating, and responsible in exercising rights and dischargingduties"(Shafir, 1998, p. 8). One of the most prominentand most debated
values associatedwith politicalliberaldiscoursesof citizenshipis autonomy.Since
the historical origins of liberalism itself are found in the rejection of structures
of governance, authority, and control-monarchies, feudal economies, and the
Catholic Church,among otherinstitutions-liberal discourses are concernedwith
the primacyof individualliberty."Liberalsbelieve that persons meritrespectand
that consequently they should be free to choose their own ideals or live without
ideals"(Macedo, 1990, pp. 215-216). This does not mean thatcitizenshipis understood as a nonjudgmentalenterprisein which studentsbelieve anythingthey wish,
for any reasonthey wish. Rather,"we wantchildrento learnthattherearebetterand
worse ways of using their freedom ... [and that] no one educational authority
should totally dominate."Liberalswant studentsto think critically, to be able to

Discoursesof Citizenship
detectconflictsbetween "ourinclusive politicalideals and ... theirparticularmoral
and religious convictions" (Macedo, 2000, p. 238). Political liberalismenvisions
citizenshipthattakes a certaincriticalattitudetowardall authority,consistentwith
its focus on liberty (Kymlicka, 1999b). As Callan (1997) also points out, the moral
authorityof the family and home cultureis put into perspective as one source of
truthamong many in a diverse society.' In political liberaldiscourses,citizenship
requiresan identitythatis neitherautonomousnor necessarily separatefrom one's
familial or religious beliefs, but that develops on the basis of the values and skills
necessaryto criticallyconsiderthose and otherbeliefs. The abilityto reason,therefore, is highly valued in political liberal discourses of citizenship. In the NAEP
reportCivicsReportCardto theNation (1999), for example, more than22,000 students were assessed accordingto three measuresof citizenship:civic knowledge,
intellectualskills, and civic dispositions. The intellectual skills were describedas
abilitiesto identify anddescribe,explain andanalyze, andevaluateandtake/defend
a position. These skills typically are understoodas reasoningabilities.
Freedomfrom the tyrannyof authorityis one of two primaryvalues in this discourse. The otherinvolves the deliberativevalues of discussion,disagreement,and
consensusbuilding-all viewed as essential to democraticsocieties. Taylor(1995)
highlightsthe two sides of politicalliberalcitizenship-citizens as entitledto rights
and equal treatment,and citizens as participantsin self-rule. Both are a focus for
manypoliticalliberals,especially those withinthe theoreticalcircles of deliberative
democratictheory (Benhabib, 1992; Habermas,1996; Cohen, 1996; Gutmann&
Thompson, 1996; Enslin, Pendlebury,& Tjiattas,2001). Deliberative democrats
seek forumswhere all citizens can deliberatepublic problemsby providingreasons
thatarecompellingto others-not by simplyassertingtheirown truthclaims, which
may or may not be sharedby others-and where citizens are treatedas equal participantsin the deliberation.Deliberativedemocratictheoryhas been a strongpresence in the political liberal discourses of citizenship since the 1990s, and its
influenceis seen in citizenshipeducationdiscourses and practicesrelatedto civility. Reasoningpersonshave values associatedwith civility-the ability anddisposition to listen to views that are not one's own, the cognitive skills to evaluateand
measurethe claims and truthsof diverse others, and the ability to reach collective
policy decisions that are acceptable to all participants (Rawls, 1993). Among
Galston's (1991) list of liberal civic virtues are independence,open-mindedness,
the capacity to discern and respect the rights of others, the ability to evaluate the
performanceof those in office, and willingness to engage in public discourse.
Parker'sTeachingDemocracyoffers a centralargumentfor schools in which "competent public talk-deliberation aboutcommon problems-is fostered"(italics in
original).Parkerurges educatorsto "expect,teach andmodel, competent,inclusive
deliberation"(2003, p. 78; see also Mathews, 1996). The KetteringFoundation's
National Issues ForumsInstitute,which organizes forums on public policy issues
for schools, groups, and communities,is "rootedin the simple notion that people
need to come togetherto reason and talk-to deliberateaboutcommon problems"
(National Issues Forums Institute,2003). In like manner,the introductionto the
curriculumstandardsof the National Council for the Social Studies states that
"social studies should help public discourse to be more enlightenedbecause students possess the knowledge, intellectual skills, and attitudesnecessary to confront, discuss, and consideraction on such issues. Social studies teachershave the

duty to help studentsexplore a varietyof positionsin a thorough,fair-mindedmanner"(NationalCouncil for the Social Studies, 1994, p. 10).
Many within the political liberal discourse recognize the "need to perpetuate
fidelity to liberal democraticinstitutions and values from one generationto the
next,"which requiressome sharedcivic and educationalaims (Callan, 1997, p. 9).
Gutmann(1987) refers to democraticeducationas conscious social reproduction,
an effortto reproducestructures,norms,andvalues thatareessentialto democratic
governance in each generation.Rawlsian political liberalism requiresthat "children's educationinclude such things as knowledge of theirconstitutionalandcivic
rights,"but like many liberals,Rawls recognizes the cooperativedispositionsand
sharedaims of citizens in a democracy(1993, p. 39). Liberaltexts typicallyattempt
to balanceeducationfor responsibility,obligation,and cooperationwith education
promoting individual and group rights. Landau (2002) advocates this balance
against the sometimes singularfocus on responsibilities in civic republicandiscourse. She states that, "ratherthan valuing the educationalexperiencethatwould
presentitself in teachingstudentsabouttheirrightsandthenhelpingthem to understandthatevery right carrieswith it an equally importantresponsibility,most educators simply want to teach students that they have to be responsible."Landau
presentsa political liberal value system as she condemns the practiceof "training
studentsto obey ratherthanto make appropriatedecisions [which] has little to do
with democraticthinking"(p. 2). Citizenshipeducationis often articulatedin political liberaldiscourseas being aboutdemocraticrights and aboutthe skills anddispositionsof cooperation,deliberation,anddecision making.Democraticschooling
practitioners(Angell, 1991; Wood, 1992; Mosher, Kenny, & Garrod,1994) advocate a political liberalframeworkof rights, deliberation,and shareddecision making as a school governance model. "Schools can provide students with the
opportunityto participatein a hands-on political process. This means making
schools democratic"(Howard& Kenny, 1992, p. 211). Among the six promising
approachesto civic educationdescribedin The CivicMission of Schools (Carnegie
Corporationof New York& CIRCLE,2003), aretwo thatecho the emphasison student participationas a fundamentalnormativeaspect of civic identity:Schools are
to "encouragestudentparticipationin school governance"and"encouragestudents'
participationin simulations of democraticprocesses and procedures"(p. 6). The
value andpracticeof encouragingstudents'involvementandengagementin school
andcommunitygovernancearepartof the liberaldiscoursebutalso reflectanunderstandingof citizenshipthatis sharedby the criticaldiscoursesof citizenshipthatwe
will discuss later.
A significantfocus in political liberal discourses is on learningthe values and
skills necessaryto take partin a culturallydiverse public life."IIn a multicultural
nationof immigrants,schools perenniallycreateandrecreatecitizensandthenation.
Politicalliberaldiscoursesof citizenshipsee the public school as occupyingan irreplaceable role in the formationof democraticcitizens. Feinberg(1998) views the
common school as having a "public-formingrole [which includes] the idea of
enablingculturallydifferentformationswithinthe same nationto flourish"(p. 10).
He identifiesculturalrespectand culturalengagementas requiredskills andunderstandingsfor a "multiculturalcitizen,"andculturalcompetenceandculturalunderstanding as requiredcognitive skills for such a citizen (pp. 212-216). Feinberg
acknowledgesthat"toencouragemultiplevoices andbeliefs involves a highlycom664

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship

plex set of understandingsthat includes knowledge about people and the various
ways in which they hold beliefs" (p. 221). For political liberals, this is partof the
essentialknowledge thatcitizens of the United States need to acquirein schools.
Normative values relating to respect and tolerance, as well as cognitive and
social skills relatedto engagement,areemphasizedin the political liberalresponses
to 9/11. In the October2001 issue of Social Education,the journalof the National
Council for the Social Studies, two articles addressedissues of prejudiceagainst
Muslim Americansand promotedunderstandingof and tolerancetowardthe Arab
American community in the United States (Alavi, 2001; Seikaly, 2001). In the
wake of 9/11, these values were emphasizedin the push for greaterunderstanding
of Islam in general and of Muslim Americansin particular.
The civic knowledge needed to advance respect and engagement is not only
knowledge of the culturaldiversity in contemporaryAmerica but knowledge of
Americanhistoryandgovernment(CarnegieCorporationof New York & CIRCLE,
2003; Boyer, 1990), used to understandand critically assess the currentsocial and
politicalcontext. Substantiveknowledge aboutAmericangovernment,history,and
politics, especially with a focus on individual freedom and our multicultural
nationalhistory,is stressed.The Grade 10 social studies contentstandardsin Ohio
include the study of civil disobedienceand periodsin historyin which some rights
were restrictedby the government,such as the McCarthyera and the Red Scare of
the 1950s (Ohio StateDepartmentof Education,2003, p. 92). In California,students
learn aboutU.S. symbols, icons, and traditionsas early as Grade 1 (History/Social
Science Standard1.3, p. 6) and about the forms of diversity in their communities,
including"thehistoricalrole of religionandreligiousdiversity"in the UnitedStates,
in Grade 12 (CaliforniaState Board of Education, 1998, p. 63). But the focus on
civic knowledgetypicallyis statedwithinthe politicalliberaldiscoursein ways that
emphasize the linking of this knowledge with communicative and deliberative
skills. Boyer (1990) says that "civic educationis concerned,first, with communication.... Citizenshiptraining... means teaching studentsto think critically,listen with discernment,and communicate with power and precision" (p. 5). The
November/December 2001 issue of Social Education focuses on educational
responses to war, and heavy emphasisis placed on deliberationand criticalthinking. "Teachersneed to encouragediscussion and debate,"urges Singleton (2001).
A furtherpush for criticalthinkingis found in an articleon media literacy skills in
which the authorarguesthat studentsneed to learn to question and analyze media
messages regardingterrorismand war (Hobbs, 2001). Unlike the more nationalistic, loyalistresponsesfoundin the civic republicandiscourseafter9/11 andthe invasion of Iraq,the political liberaldiscourseincludedan arrayof responsesthaturged
discussion and debateaboutgovernmentalpolicies and actions.
Manywithinthe liberaldiscoursehave wonderedhow a pluralisticnationavoids
the centrifugalforces of diversity.Callan (1997) acknowledges that "theproblem
with stabilitythatpluralismcreatesfor the well-orderedsociety has to do with the
fragilityof any reconciliationbetween the good of citizens and the political virtue
they must evince if the justice of the basic structure[of a democraticstate] is to
endure"(p. 96). It is fearedthatthe bondsbuiltthroughdeliberationanddebatewill
be weakin a diversesociety. In such cases, how shouldcitizenshipeducationin public schools help to foster nationalloyalty and love of nation without endangering
the fundamentalliberal commitment of freedom? The term patriotism also has

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

engenderedsome controversyin the political liberal discourseof citizenship,particularly since 9/11 (Kazin, 2002; Sleeper, 2003). The idea of patriotismis more
contested in political liberal discourse than in civic republicandiscourse, which
views patriotismas a fundamentalvalue and disposition to be nurturedin citizenship education.Bern (2002), in an essay posted after9/11 on the AmericanFederation of Teachers website, argues for a patriotismof ideas and principles,not of
bloodlines,traditions,or personalloyalties. Bern advocatesa patriotismthatinstills
loyalty to the ideas of freedom and equality,enabling studentsto see the perspectives of many nations, cultures, and ideologies, but also helping them to "make
distinctions between freedom-fightersand terrorists,based on the methods used
andthe ends thatarebeing foughtfor"(p. 6). Callan(1997) arguesfor a liberalpatriotism thatis differentfrom a "sentimentalcivic education"thatarousesandshapes
notions of civic love and blind loyalty (pp. 103-104). Patrioticpride, he offers, is
inseparablefrom "evaluativejudgments about the nation or multinationalpolity
with which one identifies,judgmentsaboutthe impressiveaccomplishmentsof its
pastor the hopefulprospectsfor its future"(p. 105). Americansentimentalityis distinct from pride in America, because the latterinvolves a reasoned evaluationof
whetherwe are achieving the ideals of freedomand equalityfor all people.
Critical Citizenships: Addressing the Gaps
and Conflicts of Enlightenment Citizenship
The discourses most persuasively shaping the ways in which we think, talk,
write, and teach aboutcitizenshiptoday are centuriesold. They germinatedin the
ancient societies of Greece and Rome and were rebornin the Western European
Enlightenmenttradition.Both civic republicanismand political liberalismprovide
rich ideological frameworksthatshould continueto shapeour languageandthinking aboutcitizenship, structuringboth our sense of civic realityand our own identities as citizens (Mills, 1997). Yet our analysis shows that, although these two
discourses dominate citizenship education in society and schools, they represent
only partof how citizenshipis actively being practicedand articulatedin today's
civic realms.We foundevidence of severalcitizenshipdiscoursesthatonly slightly
influenceK-12 curriculaor standardsbut which could representimportantinnovation in conceptualizingcitizenship. Since discourses have representedimportant
shifts andconflicts in U.S. democracyover the past severalcenturiesof democratic
life, theiromission and/orinvisibilityin the public conceptionsof citizenshipis significant.We have labeled these discourseswith the umbrellatermcritical. Critical
discoursesraise issues of membership,identity, and engagementin creative,productive ways; however, these discoursesare far more widespreadin scholarlyand
theoreticaltexts than in practical,applied curriculartexts. The relative silence of
criticallanguage,values, and practicesin curricularand taughttexts of citizenship
in schools speaks volumes about the power of dominant discourses of citizenship to shapehow presentandfuturegenerationsdo, anddo not, thinkaboutdemocraticcitizenship.
Criticaldiscourseshave in common the agendaof challengingliberaland civic
republicannotions of civic membership,civic identity,and forms of civic engagement.Attemptingto broadenanddeepenthe liberalagendasof humanfreedom,these
discoursesfocus specificallyon exclusionsbasedon gender,culture,ethnicity,nationality,race,sexuality,or socioeconomicclass. Feministdiscoursesof citizenshipraise

Discoursesof Citizenship
manyquestionsabouthow citizenshiphas been framedwithingenderedthinkingand
constructions.Cultural citizenship discourses interrogatehow ethnic, languageminority,and otherculturalgroupshave found citizenshipto be a role and identity
purchasedat a high price, as citizenshipidentitiescan requireassimilationand thus
prove inhospitableand harmfulto culturalidentitiesthat are of greatimportanceto
individualsand groups.Reconstructionistdiscourses take up progressiveand neoMarxisthistoriesto questionhow active,criticalparticipationin democraticsocieties
has been neglectedin ourconceptualizationsof citizenship.Queerdiscoursesof citizenshipuse postmodernthinkingto inquireinto citizenshipnot simply as a status,
membership,or stableidentity,but as a performanceof civic courageandrisk.
Feminist citizenship discourses are currently"challengingthe lions that guard
the canonicalliteratureon citizenship"(Jones, 1998, p. 222). Although"citizenship
has existed for nearlythreemillennia,.... with very minorexceptions, women have
had some sharein civic rightsin the most liberalstates for [only] abouta century"
(Heater,2004, p. 203). This fact suggests that citizenship is "a status invented by
men for men" (p. 203). Pateman's(1988) seminal analysis of " 'thefraternalpact'
thatunderliesliberaldemocraticthought,"andher"exposureof the genderassumptions thatshapethe citizen as male, are challenging critiques of the ways in which
women have, by definition, been included as a negative referencepoint in theories of democracyand citizenship"(Arnot,Aradijo,Deliyanni-Kouimtzis, Ivinson,
& Tom6, 2000, p. 218). Feminist citizenship discourses have questioned and
shifted the "meaningsof such concepts as rights,needs, dependency,entitlements
and democraticparticipation.Equally,they have sought strategictransformationof
the relationsof power which configurethe termsof inclusion and exclusion in the
polity" (Kenway & Langmead,2000, p. 313).
A key referencepoint in this discourseis the public/privatedivide thatpervades
much political thinking in the Western world (Elshtain, 1981). "Beginning with
Aristotle, influentialpolitical theoristsarguedthat women's reproductivefunction
destinedthem for the private(domestic) sphere,"while their (initiallyWhite, property-owning)male counterpartsparticipatedin publiclife (Smith, 1999, p. 141). The
public, in muchpolitical theorizingin the West, is idealized as a universalspace for
all, wherethe mindrules with rationalityandlogical thought;the privateis a sphere
of body, emotion, and the particularityof relationships.Feminist discoursesquestion whetherdemocraticcitizenshipis itself such a gendered,patriarchalconcept as
to requirea completetransformation
to live up to its inclusive ideals (p. 141;Assiter,
1999). "Feminist campaigns to break down the gendering of public and private
spheres,or indeed to achieve equalityfor women in the public sphere,strikeat the
heartof a gendereddiscourseof westernEuropeannotions of democracy"(Arnot,
1997, p. 279). Equalityor liberalfeminism has generally arguedfor women's full
inclusion in the political sphere, objecting to women's "relativelack of access to
conventional arenasof political decision making, as well as to women's unequal
representationin leadershippositions in radicalorganizationsfor political change"
(Jones, 1998, p. 225). In liberal feminism, there is a reliance on the discourses of
political liberalism to shape argumentsfor women's agency, rights, and autonomy (Dillabough & Arnot, 2000). Much of the liberal feminist agenda in citizen
education still involves enhancing the public achievement of women and girls,
enabling them to reach their full capacities as persons, workers, and political
actors throughlegal and educationalreforms such as Title IX, affirmativeaction,

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

nonsexist educationalpolicies, and similarcurricularinitiatives(Sadker& Sadker,

1994; Kaplan,2003).
Differencefeministstakeanotherapproachto the public/privatedualism.Rather
thanperceivinggenderdifferenceto be a deficiency of women, these feministtheorists advance women's difference as a sign of strengthor even superiority.The
public sphere,with its values of universalism,reason, and logic, can benefitfrom
the values and skills thatwomen have developed as a resultof both theirlong confinementin the privatesphereof family and child rearingand theirbiological abilities to reproduce.Differenceor woman-centeredfeminists,such as those espousing
the power of "maternalthinking,"have argued that women's differences from
men-chiefly theircapacitiesfor "relationality"and care-should not be compromised but shouldbe used in theirroles as citizens (Ruddick,1989). Educationaltheorists such as Noddings (1992) and Roland Martin (1992) advance versions of
difference feminism in education, working to reform and reshape educationto
accommodaterelationalityand community in school structuresand curriculum.
Indeed, Noddings suggests that we need to go far beyond simply expandingthe
notion of citizenshipto include women. Takenseriously, studiesof women's lives,
work, and social contributionswould expand and dramaticallyshift social studies
curricula,includingbut not limited to those for civics or formalcitizenshipeducation (1997).
Postmodernfeminists seek to combat various types of oppression that keep
women andothersabsentor silent in the political world.IrisMarionYoung's work
(1990) advocatesa public spherethatis moreparticularisticand sensitive to the differencesandpluralitiesof people, especially those who have faced variousformsof
oppression.Young (1987) calls for spaces and forms of public expressionthatare
radically open to all who wish to "raiseand address issues of the moral value or
humandesirabilityof an institutionor a practicewhose decisionsaffect a largenumber of people"(p. 73). In such publicexpression,Young concludes,"consensusand
sharingmay not always be the goal." Rather,"therecognitionand appreciationof
differences,in the context of confrontationwith power,"also is prioritized(p. 76).
Postmodernanddeconstructionistfeministsalso emphasizeconstructsof difference
and power as centralto citizenship theorizing,and seek to radicallypluralizethe
concept of "woman"in political life. Mouffe (1992) critiquesdifference feminists
for essentializing the category of woman-melding "woman-ness"down to one
centralqualityor thing.Citizenshipis not simply one identitybut allows for "aplurality of specific allegiances and for the respect of individual liberty" (p. 378).
Emphasison the pluralityof women's oppression-varying by social contextsand
factors such as race, nationality,ethnicity, and religion, as well as migrationpatternsacross borders-points to a move in citizenshipdiscoursesaway from singular notions of identity and towardpluralidentities and memberships(Werbner&
Yuval-Davis, 1999). Across many forms of critical citizenshipdiscourses,we see
the centralityof the nation-stateand homogenousidentitybeing questioned.
Feministshave expandedthe educationalopportunitiesand achievementsavailable to girls, thus opening doors for citizenshipand transformedcivic life for girls
and women. However, thereis much work still to be done to change the publicand
the interdependentprivatelandscapefor all citizens. In the state content standards
reviewedfor this article,the categoryof "woman"or "girl"is almost invisible,and
mentionof the home or domestic life is virtuallyabsent,with a few notableexcep668

Discoursesof Citizenship
tions. In Grade 10, the state of Ohio uses the women's suffrage movement of the
late 1800s to illustratean example of civil disobedience(Ohio State Departmentof
Education,2003, p. 92); in an examinationof the social developmentsof the 1920s
in the United States, the passage of the NineteenthAmendmentand the changing
role of women in society is only one focus among many. The values articulatedin
the earlygradesfocus moreon "trustworthiness,"
and "respectfor those in authority"thanthey do on values thatmight be associated
with care and relationality(see GradeLevel Indicators,Ohio State Departmentof
Education,p. 87). For centuries,educationpreparedmales and females for life in
differentspheres(DouglasFranzosa,1988). Althoughthis is no longerthe case, separationof the public and privatespheres seems to be alive and well in citizenship
educationdiscourses.GiarelliandGiarelli(1996) arguethatto breakfree of the constructionof citizenshipeducationas educationfor public life, we must see education as "theparadigmaticmode of socially established,cooperativehumanactivity
throughwhich we attemptsystematicallyto extend all varieties of humanpowers
and excellences, and [we must see] thatthese powers and excellences do not come
neatly packagedin gender-drivencategoriesof public and private,productiveand
reproductive"(pp. 33-34).
Discoursesof culturalcitizenshipemerge fromcritiquesarguingthatcitizenship
has been ethnically and otherwise culturallynormedand thus is overly assimilationist. Collective forms of agency-political actions conductedthroughcultural
group formations and alliances-are valued within cultural citizenship texts
(Flores & Benmajor,1997). Thus "culturalcitizenshiprefers to the right to be different (in terms of race, ethnicity,or native language)with respect to the normsof
the dominantnationalcommunity,withoutcompromisingone's rightto belong, in
the sense of participatingin the nation-state'sdemocraticprocesses" (Rosaldo &
Flores, 1997, p. 57). As McLaren(1999) charges,"proceduralliberaldemocracyis
to some extent a prophylaxisto liberation"(p. 19). Signalinglinks to neo-Marxism,
to liberalmulticulturaleducationaltheories,andto culturalstudies,the term "liberation"is a prominentsignifierin this discourse."Wehave affirmeduniversalrights,
but for most of ourhistory,we have definedwho was entitledto those rightsin racial
terms"(Foner, 2003). In this discourse, citizenshipis posed as a problem,a category in which culturaldifferenceis erased:"Proceduralliberalismis officially proclaimed to be difference-neutraland universal but is predicated upon group
membershipin which the White, heterosexualAnglo male of propertyis the prime
signifier"(Spinner,1984, p. 113). Spinnerclaims that"liberalcitizenshiphas failed
Black Americans,not completely, perhapsnot irrevocably,but mostly" (p. 113).
Spinnergoes on to arguethat because liberal theory is based on individualrights
andindividualactions,it is ill-positionedto deal with the needs andproblemsof culturalgroups.
RenatoRosaldois creditedwith firstuse of the term"culturalcitizenship,"which
"namesa rangeof social practiceswhich, takentogether,claim and establisha distinct social space for Latinosin this country"(Flores& Benmajor,1997, p. 1). "Differenceis seen as a resource,nota threat"-a parallelto thefeminist,reconstructionist,
andqueerdiscoursessurveyedhere."TheUnitedStateshas thrivednot becauseof its
effortsat culturalhomogenization,but despitethem.Whatis more, rejectionof differencepreventsus ... from understandingthe highly complex world in which we
reside" (p. 5.). In opposition to some of the consensus-based, unification values

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

articulatedin civic republicanism,culturalcitizenshipdiscoursesemphasizetherole

of conflictthatproducesnew culturaland politicalforms. Culturalcitizenshipis an
attemptto name citizenshipand political membershipas an activity that is fraught
with strugglesover culture;conflictsover representation,naming,language,minority rights,and full inclusion;and a myriadof otherissues. Speakingspecificallyof
Latinoculturalcitizenship,RosaldoandFlores(1997) emphasizethe dynamicnature
of citizenshipconstruction."Latinoidentityis, in part,shapedby discriminationand
by collective effortsto achieve social gains andrecognitionfor Latinosandtheirculture. Thus, culturalcitizenshipis a process thatinvolves claiming membershipin,
and remaking,America"(p. 58).
Culturalcitizenshipspeaksa languageof rightsand agency. Whereasindividual
rightsplay a centralrole in politicalliberaldiscoursesof citizenship,certaincultural
forms-including collective or communalculturalnormsregardingrights-make
strictadherenceto individualrightsless legitimate.If fluidbut unifyingconceptions
of cultureprovidemeaningto many Latinopeople in the United States,thenculture
cannot be realisticallyor productivelysegregatedfrom citizenshipas a practiceor
a status.As Rosaldo (1989) notes, since "cultural"has historicallymeant "different" in U.S. society, "full citizenship and culturalvisibility appearto be inversely
related.When one increases,the otherdecreases"(in Silvestrini, 1997, p. 44). Too
many have had to choose between "tryingto belong to [both] their culturalcommunityand nationalcommunity"(p. 44). Culturalcitizenshipdiscourseweaves its
way into educational texts through variations on "multicultural"writings and
research.Banks (1990) representsa leading voice in this discourse;he writes that
citizenshipeducationin a multiculturalsociety must incorporatethe "voices, experiences, and perspectives"of studentsof color and low-income students.
Ourgoal shouldnot be merelyto educatestudentsof color or white mainstreamstudentsto fit intotheexistingworkforce,socialstructure,andsociety.
Suchaneducationwouldbe inimicalto studentsfromdifferentculturalgroups
becauseit wouldforcethemto experienceself-alienation.... Thiskindof unidimensional,assimilationisteducationwouldalso createproblemsfor thecitizenshipandnationalidentityof youthsof color.(p. 211)
An assimilationistcitizenshipeducationsends the message that poor studentsand
studentsof color are not "anintegralpartof the state and nationalculture,"despite
the fact thatbelonging to the nationalstateand cultureis a fundamentalfeeling that
must be acquiredfor full and legitimatedemocraticcommitmentand participation
(p. 211). The assimilationistfallacy thatoperateswithinmost citizenshipeducation
mustbe replacedby an acknowledgementof the "cultural,national,andglobalidentifications"thatare all partof the humanexperience(Banks, 2001, p. 9).
The reconstructionistdiscourses are so named here to capture the legacy of
GeorgeCounts,reachingbackto the early20th-centuryprogressiveandMarxistcritiques of political and economic life in capitalisticdemocracies.In 1932, Counts
wroteof a rapidlychangingworldin whichcapitalismno longerfunctionedwell for
the majorityof U.S. citizens. Countsfelt thatin contemporarytimes "thegrowthof
science andtechnologyhas carriedus into an age whereignorancemustbe replaced
by knowledge,competitionby cooperation,trustin providenceby carefulplanning,
andprivatecapitalismby some formof socializedeconomy"(2003, p. 104). ReconstructingU.S. political, economic, and social institutionsand systems wouldbe the

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship

only way to see democracyachieved,andthe teacherandschools would assumeprimaryleadershiproles in this transformation.

A civic identity of bold radicalism,combined with a Deweyan critical intelligence and active political work both within and outside the state, characterizethe
reconstructionistdiscoursein citizenship.Like othercriticaldiscourseson citizenship, reconstructionisttexts express values of inclusion, equality, and the open
embraceof difference.Reconstructionisttexts focus, in particular,on those citizens
who have been left out or poorly treatedin formeror presentpolitical processes or
social institutions,andadvocatestrategiesfor expandingrightsandpowersto those
groupsandreconstructingsocial hierarchiesandinstitutions.A point of focus, given
the Marxist threadswithin reconstructionistdiscourse, are the poor and working
classes (Torres,1998). Wilson (1994) refersto Marshall'sdescriptionof civil, political, and social citizenshipwhen he assertsthat"concernsaboutthe civil andpolitical aspects of citizenshipin the United States have overshadowedconcerns about
the social aspectsof citizenship(thatis, the 'social' rightsto employment,economic
security,educationand health)"(p. 49).
Reconstructionistdiscourse consists of two overlapping but distinct threads,
differing in the kinds of reconstructionthey wish to undertakethroughcivic participation, activism, and work. The progressive, populist thread leads to a more
inclusive, involved, active, participatorydemocracythat engages in public (often
local) problemsolving and common work. The Marxistor critical threademploys
morerevolutionaryrhetoricandpracticein constructingnotions of civic identity,as
well as a more hegemonic analysis of governmentand corporatepower. What the
progressiveand the critical strainsin the reconstructionistdiscourse have in common is theirsharedcommitmentto the transformationof U.S. democracy,such that
it embodies broaderpolitical inclusion and participation,as well as their common
belief that social and political life in the United States has done profounddamage
to the least powerfulclasses andgroups.Both strandsrely heavily on the values and
skills associatedwith social justice activism.
"Socialjustice"is a termwidely used in reconstructionistwritingson democracy
andpolitical theory,especially in education.Giroux(1991) writes: "[C]riticaleducatorsneed to offer studentsthe opportunityto engage in a deeperunderstandingof
the importanceof democraticculturewhile developingclassroomrelationsthatprioritize the importanceof cooperation,sharing,and social justice" (p. 3). The volume Teachingfor Social Justice (Ayers,Hunt,& Quinn,1998) documentsthe work
of the Institute for Democracy and Education at Ohio University, a progressive
organizationworkingwith teacherson Dewey-inspireddemocraticeducation.In the
forewordto this volume, Ayers writes:"Education... is an arenaof hope andstruggle-hope for a better life, and struggle over how to understandand enact and
achievethatbetterlife" (1998, p. xvii). The moralandpolitical value of "socialjustice" as expressed in the reconstructionistdiscourse recalls the late 18th-century
usage of the term,when it was "firstused as an appealto the rulingclasses to attend
to the needs of the new masses of uprootedpeasantswho had become urbanworkers" (Novak, 2000, p. 1). Contemporaryleftists use the term to signal the effort to
addressthe growinginequalityin wealth, income, and educationalopportunityand
achievementamong classes and ethnic groupsin the United States.
Reconstructionisttexts often claim thatU.S. institutionshave dramaticallyweakened in their responsiveness to populist concerns, especially the concerns of the

poor, working-class,and non-Whitegroups in recent decades. "Governmentnow
respondsless to popularwill and more to narrowfinancialinterestsand influential
elites" (Kincheloe, 2001, p. 716). Like Kincheloe, many within this discourselink
the attenuationof democraticpublic life to the growing and dangerousinfluenceof
multinationalcorporationsandconsumerculture.Commentingon the "commercial
frenzy"to profitfromthe genuineheroismin responseto the events of 9/11 through
patrioticproducts,commercials,andsales pitches, Giroux(2003) remindsus "how
easily the marketconvertsnoble conceptslike public service and civic courageinto
forms of civic vacuity"(p. 26). Marketculture,Giroux(1999) warns,"threatensto
cancel out the tensionbetweenmarketvalues andthose values representativeof civil
society thatcannotbe measuredin commercialtermsbut thatarecriticalto democracy, values such as justice, freedom, equality, health, respect, and the rights of
citizens as equal and free human beings" (p. 162). Consumerism leads people
"increasinglyto see their work in instrumentalterms-as means to an end. The
accumulationof enough money for purchaseof consumerproductssupersedesproducing things of use and largervalue"(Boyte & Kari, 1996, p. 123). Public work,
Boyte argues,dependsnot on instrumentaland individualistthinkingpromotedby
consumerismbuton a democraticprocessandspirit"thatmakesthingsof valueand
importancein cooperationwith others"(p. 2). Public work, spaces, and processes
of deliberationandproblemsolving all signal the values of open, accessible,shared
democratic life of reconstructionistdiscourse. The philosophy of the Centerfor
DemocracyandCitizenshipis rootedin this progressiveidea of publicworkandhas
stories and links thattout the value of helping studentsto engage problemsin their
communities.One arm of the organizationis called Public Achievement,an internationalyouth initiativethatfocuses on citizen work(open to all, regardlessof age,
nationality,sex, religion,or income),the messiness of participatorydemocracy,and
learningby doing (Centerfor Democracyand Citizenship,2002).
To reclaim democraticinstitutionsfor the poor and marginalized,reconstructionist citizenship discourse embracescritical thinking,conflict, and controversy.
Westheimerand Kahne (2003) explicitly addressthe distinctionbetween the kind
of critical thinkingadvocatedin the political liberaldiscourse and the kind touted
by reconstructionists."Theconsensusregardingcriticalthinkinggenerallyvanishes
when the possibility arises thatstudentswill articulateconclusions thatdifferfrom
mainstreamor parentalvalues (or, in some cases, values the teacherholds thatdiffer from mainstreamvalues)" (p. 10). Educatorsin public schools often see "critical thinking"and citizenshipin a way thatwill work in the interestsof the current
hierarchyand structure.Indeed, as Kincheloe (2001) explains, in the reconstructionist discourse of citizenship, the term critical has an explicitly political frame.
"Criticaltheoryis concerned... with issues of power andjustice andthe ways that
the economy, mattersof race, class, and gender,ideologies, discourses,education,
religionandothersocial institutions,andculturaldynamicsinteractto constructthe
social systems thatconstructour consciousness"(pp. 122-123).
If state-runschooling is aboutorderand loyalty, as is exemplifiedin some civic
republicantexts, reconstructionistcitizenship is antitheticalto state-runschooling
in some of its more critical forms. This is because it is, as Kaye (2001) states,
"learninghow to connect with one's fellow citizens to confrontpower andauthority" (p. 104). Dryzek (1996) arguesthat,because democraticstatesare "lessdemocraticto the extent thatpublic policy becomes dictatedby the need to competeand

Discoursesof Citizenship
flourishin the transnationalpolitical economy"(p. 3), democraticcitizenshipneeds
to be "multidimensional... often unconventional,"and often should be waged
"againstthe state, and apart from the state"(p. 36). Reconstructionisttexts advocate fosteringcivic identitiesthatembracethe values and skills to question,rethink,
and confront, when necessary, the ways in which democraticinstitutions are not
workingon behalf of all citizens.
The civic knowledge emphasized in reconstructionistcitizenship discourse
goes beyond the "facts,"as Kincheloe (2001) argues. He articulatesthe distinction between a fact-based,supposedlyneutralcivics educationand a criticalcivics
Often,whenI observemiddleschool civics teacherslecturingtheirstudents
abouthow a bill becomes a law, neverreferringto lobbyistsand economic
powerwielders'rolein the process,I wonderaboutthefutureof participatory
democracy.If studentsareto learnhow poweractuallyoperatesandhow governingtakesplacein a privatizedtwenty-firstcentury,theywill haveto unlearn
the fairy-talecivics lessonsthey learnin manyschools.(p. 721)
Learningfacts, withinthis discourse,is importantonly insofaras those facts help to
promote and propel active learning aboutthe actual workings of political life. As
Parkercharacterizesthe citizenship educationdebates, "traditionalistswant more
study,progressiveswant more practice"(1996, p. 112). The progressive strainsof
reconstructionismhave successfully integratedsome active-learningpedagogies
into civics educationdiscourses. As Boyte characterizesprogressive civic education literature,it is agency and reasoning,not civic knowledge in any pure sense,
that are central:"[E]mphasizedis the development of 'public agency-people's
capacitiesto act with effect and with public spirit' " (Boyte, 1994, p. 417; quotedin
Parker,1996, p. 112).
Morecriticalreconstructionisttexts explicitlyadvocatetypes of civic knowledge
thatunmaskand derailofficial and state-sponsored"fairytales." Such knowledge
may include or focus on the more complete histories of various individuals and
social andpoliticalmovementsin the UnitedStates.In an articledescribingthe civic
disengagementof AfricanAmericanyoung people, Payne (2003) arguesthat educationfor liberationrequiresan understandingof the AfricanAmericanstrugglefor
freedom,citing the Mississippi FreedomSchools as an importanthistoricallegacy
and a role model for contemporaryefforts in citizenshipeducation,especially for
people of color. In the essay "StraightTalk With Kids About the War,"Connor
(2002) advocateshelping studentsto come to an informedposition on the war with
Iraq throughcandid discussions. "Answersto kids' questions can be much more
honest and satisfyingif justifying U.S. foreignpolicy is not the top priority.We can
begin by admittingthatwar is horribleand deadly.Details aren'tnecessary,but the
Patriotismin reconstructionistdiscourses is, in some senses, the antithesis of
what civic republicansmean by "love of country."To love the United States is to
"encouragedialogue, critique, dissent and social justice." It is to engage in the
messiness anddifficultyof a pluralisticdemocracythatdoes not currentlyworkwell
for all citizens. A cultureof discussion and dissent is necessary to "informpublic
citizenship and legitimate access to decent health care, housing, food, meaningful employment, child care, and childhood education programsfor all citizens."

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

(Giroux,2003, p. 25). Citizenshipeducationin thisrealmseeks to fosterthe engagement and criticism of powerful institutions,including the governmentand statesponsoredschooling itself.
Discourses of queer citizenshiphighlight and celebrateconditions of diversity
and radicaldifference.These conditionsengender"positivepossibilities in the differentiationand proliferationof contactsand experienceflowing from the diversification of social worlds which constitute the postmodernexperience" (Gilbert,
1992, p. 55). Hall (1989) asserts that each of these worlds has its "own codes of
behavior,its 'scenes' and 'economies,' and... 'pleasures'" andthatfor those who
have access to these worlds, they providespace in which to assertsome choice and
controlover everydaylife (p. 129, quotedin Gilbert,p. 55). These worldsandspaces
provide opportunitiesfor the expression and performanceof identity, especially
those identitiesthathave enjoyed few "legitimate"spaces for political expression
and agency. Queercitizenshiphighlightsthe performanceof citizenship,reframing
civic life not as a sphere in which individualsenact their beliefs but as a diverse,
open stage where people performtheirlives and social worlds.
This diversification of social worlds, the expressions and performances of
these varied social identities, and the positive possibilities within this diversity
define queer citizenship. Queer theorists and activists have contributedseveral
unique ideas to the discourses on citizenship.12 First, they propose that the public
sphere so centralto most citizenship discourses is a utopian fantasy. They therefore challenge most other citizenship theorists to rethink certain mainstream
assumptions. Second, they do not privilege rational debate over other forms of
public engagement but include performanceand play within their repertoireof
political skills.
Queer theoristsjoin feminists in troublingthe public/privatedivide that dominates social life, but they go furtherin challengingthe assumptionsmadeby theorists or policymakerswho evoke the idea of the publicdomainas one of rationality
and universality.The current"pseudopublicsphere,"accordingto Berlant(1997),
is a privatizedworld where work and family making constructa nostalgic vision
of citizenship, full of individualistic and conservative values based on a fantastical notion of "family"and "theAmericanway of life" (p. 5). In this pseudopublic
sphere, "thenotion of public life, from the professionof politician to non-familybased forms of political activism, has been made to seem ridiculousand even dangerous to the nation"(p. 5).
Public spheres,as a culturalform, "neverrequireda widespreadcultureof rational discussion,"arguesWarner(2002), but "requiredthe categoryof a public-an
essentially imaginaryfunction that allows temporallyindexed circulationamong
strangersto be capturedas a social entityandaddressedimpersonally"(p. 144).The
public is not a continuumof criticalopinion makingand debate;it is far too inhibited and commercializeda spherefor that. It is an anonymous space of discourse
"organizedby nothingotherthanthe discourseitself," and is "as much notionalas
empirical"(p. 67). A publicis betterthoughtof as "poeticworldmaking"ratherthan
a sphereof rational-criticaldialogue.We makepublicswhen we performnew ideas
throughlanguageor action(p. 114). Publicdiscourseconsists of theseperformances
and new ideas, which sometimes create worlds that can put "at risk the concrete
world."Queercitizenship'spoliticalideas, debates,andperformances-by putting
into play riskyideas thatchallengehistoricexclusions and suppressednorms-can

Discoursesof Citizenship
endangerthe currentnostalgiathatpasses for public life in the United States. "This
is its fruitfulperversity"(p. 113).
Enactingwhat Berlant(1997) calls "divacitizenship,"Anita Hill counteredthe
dominant constraints of family-values citizenship when she testified against
ClarenceThomasin an effort to show thatthe workplaceis a public space in which
women's so-called privatesexual and economic vulnerabilitiesare exposed. Diva
citizenshipexists in acts of pedagogy, risk, controversy,and strugglein responseto
emergencies-threats to human dignity, such as slavery, or sexual harassmentthat are embodied, and first experienced as personal, intimate, and private (see
Knight Abowitz & Rousmaniere,2004). Diva citizenship exists in acts of public
pedagogy aboutconditionsof oppressionor exclusion, acts thattransgressthe public/privatedivide andarehistoricallyembeddedin systemicrelationsof power.Diva
citizenshipis political action in the sphereof counterpublics,"in which it is hoped
that the poesis of scene making will be transformative,not replicative merely"
(Warner,2002, p. 122).
Queercitizenshipdiscoursesopenly and aggressivelypursuequestionsof membership.It is withinthese discoursesthatthe us/themdivide thatis so centralto most
citizenship discourses is radically challenged. Phelan (2001), using feminist discoursesalong with queertheory,takesBauman'sconceptof the "stranger"as a centralconstruct.The stranger,Phelanwrites,is "neitherus norclearlythem, not friend
andnot enemy, but a figureof ambivalencewho troublesthe borderbetween us and
them";Phelanurgesus to embracethe strangerin othersandourselves."Ratherthan
flee from strangeness,sexual strangersmay offer one anotherand othersnew ways
of questioningthe currenttight fabricof citizenshipandnationalidentity"(pp. 4-5).
Membershiprequiresmorethantoleranceof differentstrangers,Phelan suggests. It
requiresthat all personsbe recognized, not "in spite of [their]unusualor minority
characteristics,but with those characteristicsunderstoodas partof a valid possibility for the conductof life" (pp. 15-16).
"Queeringcitizenship"is a civic projectthathas a powerfulnormativedirection:
engaging in dialogue, contestation,and performanceto challenge normativestructures and discourses that keep certain "undesirable"identities at the margins.
Althoughthis discourseis invisible in the appliedandK-12 curriculartexts thatwe
examined, it is a creative theoreticaldiscourse that turnsmany of our most cherished civic ideals and utopias on their heads, serving an important,soberingfunction in a world whose language of ideas often relies too heavily on the myths and
fantasiesof an idealized democraticlife.
Discourses of Transnationalism: Beyond the Nation-State
Since 9/11, Americahas seen a resurgenceof the civic republicanvalues of patriotism, community,and loyalty to America. Paradoxically,the transnationalistdiscourse also has been revitalized. Transnationalcitizenship focuses on the local,
national,and internationalcommunities.A citizen in this discourseis one who identifies not primarilyor solely with her own nationbut also with communitiesof people and nations beyond the nation-stateboundaries.This discourse articulatesan
agenda for citizenship that simultaneously educates students for membershipin
local, national, and internationalorganizationsand civic organizations.Membership is more fluid and transcendsnationalor regionalborders.A citizen therefore
weighs political and social decisions consideringboth the local and global possible

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

effects. A citizen participatesin local associations and governmentas well as in

global alliances (NGOs, internationalorganizations,etc.). Because of this interconnectedness and focus on new global frontiers, transnationalcitizenship is
representedas a new kind of citizenship to be ushered to the forefrontof civics
The transnationaldiscourse tracesits roots to the ancient Stoic tradition,idealizing equality, compassion, democracy, universalism, and humanism. Transnationalist texts, althoughoften linked with the ethic of cosmopolitanism,typically
distinguishbetween the two traditions.Cosmopolitanismis an ethical formulation
thatfocuses on the philosophicalimplicationsof fosteringlove andcompassionwith
people beyond one's domestic state (Nussbaum, 1997). Transnationalism,on the
otherhand, is a belief thatthe world would benefit from a legal, social, economic,
andideologicalinterminglingof culturesandsocieties (Baubick, 1994;Held, 1999;
Enslin, 2000). Accordingto Baubbick,transnationalcitizenshipis characterizedby
three developments.The firstis the "clashbetween normativeprinciplesof liberal
democracyandcurrentformsof exclusion,"a clash thatproducesa gap betweenthe
promisesof liberaldemocracyand its realizations.The second is "theemergenceof
interstatecitizenshipin certainregionsof the world,"sites wherepeople haveformed
alliancesthattranscendnationalbordersandmembership(pp. 20-21). Joseph(1999)
picks up on this theme,describingtransnationalcitizenshipas "nomadic,conditional
citizenshiprelatedto historiesof migrancyand the tenuous statusof immigrants,"
extending "beyond the coherence of national boundaries,"and "transnationally
linked to informalnetworksof kinship,migrancy,anddisplacement"(p. 2). Joseph
gives the examples of "feminisms,black nationalisms,labormovements,regional
and subregionalformations"that have staged citizenship outside the nation-state
boundary(p. 9). The thirdmajordevelopmenttowardtransnational
citizenshipis "the
evolutionof humanrightsas an elementof internationallaw"(Baubick, p. 21). The
UnitedNations,one of the oldest existingtransnationalpoliticalbodies, is knownfor
its defense of humanrightsas internationallaw.
Globalization and interconnectednessare not particularto our century. Held
(1999) states: "[P]oliticalcommunitieshave rarely-if ever-existed in isolation
as boundedgeographicaltotalities;they are betterthoughtof as multipleoverlapping networksof interaction"(p. 91). Whatare new arethe emergingtechnologies
andeconomies linkinghumanbeings together,supplyingmediaandmeansfor participationin ways thatpreviouslyonly the wealthy could experience."Citizeneducation based on identitydefinedby membershipin a 'nation'rests on the mistaken
assumptionthat democracy is effectively pursuedwithin the nation-state,whose
influence and authorityhas been reducedby globalization"(Enslin, 2000, p. 149).
Growingrecognitionof these developmentsstrengthenstransnationalistdiscourses
of citizenship.
Transnationalistdiscoursespush a complex civic identityfor students,asserting
the school's duty to preparethe nationalcitizens for both the traditionaldomestic
communityand a continuouslygalvanizedtransnationalcommunity.Such an identity demandscertainvalues and skills. The responsibilityof the school is to cultivate democraticnotions of toleranceand empathy so that studentsattainthe tools
neededto bridgethe gaps dividingpeople acrossintellectual,philosophical,andculturalchasms (Nussbaum,1997). Upon masteringsuch tools, citizens will be ready
to addressglobal issues andrecognizehumanityin all its diverseforms,creatingcli676

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship

mates beneficial to local and internationaldemocraticprocesses (Nussbaum).The

curriculumstandardsof NationalCouncil for the Social Studies (1994) are suggestive of this kind of complex civic identityin advocatinga standardentitled"Adopting Common and Multiple Perspectives."The council advocates that the social
studies emphasizethatpersonshave personalperspectivesand also sharecommon
perspectives"as membersof groups,communities,societies, and nations-that is,
as partof a dynamicworld community.A well-designed social studies curriculum
will help each learnerconstructa blend of personal,academic,pluralist,and global
views of the human condition"(p. 6). In Down the Street, Around the World:A
StarterKitfor GlobalAwareness(McLeod & Houlihan,2003), a curriculumby the
AmericanFederationof Teachers,studentsare taughtabout a range of issues that
connectthe United Statesto the broaderinternationalcommunity;as one culminating activity, studentsare askedto write abouttheirrole in the global community.
The emphasis on humanismis one of the ancient pillars of transnationalism.
Texts within this discourseoften reflect values of empathy,care, compassion, and
otherhumanistictraitsas centralto one's civic education (Papastephanou,2002).
The rhetoricof transnationalistdiscourse traditionallyhas reflecteda universalist,
humanitarianvalue system.Termssuch as "global,""international,"
are often invoked, referencinga boundless
"cosmopolitan,"and "intercontinental"
or indefiniteareato emphasizethe largercontexts that citizens share. Because the
transnationaldiscourse supportsa Kantianuniversalismof moraltruthand human
dignity, these texts often promotethe homogeneity of the humanrace-our common needs for good nutrition,safe homes, clean water, work, and health careratherthanits heterogeneityof culturalidentities (Nussbaum, 1997). This leads to
the prevalenceof termssuch as "collective,""group,""community,"and "collaboration."The constructof universalhumanrightsis a primaryvalue as well as rhetorical tool in this discourse.
Yet transnationalism'shumanistroots arenot simply universalist;they can shift
toward more particularforms within and beyond the nation-state. The transnationalist discourse on citizenship typically aims to broadenand make more flexible the membershipstructuresof currentpolitical systems while also expanding
civic identities towardmore global dimensions. This is not necessarily an antinational or antistatistdiscourse. A transnationalconception of citizenship augments
the sovereignty of the individualswithin the transnationalcommunityratherthan
augmentinga statein hopes thatit will bequeathsuch benefits to its citizens (Held,
1999; Kymlicka, 1999a). Greaterpower for citizens and less power for states
reflects a populist ideal present within some transnationalisttexts. This populist
dimension of transnationalismhas become more pronouncedas some critical citizenship discourses, such as reconstructionistand feminist discourses, have intersected with transnationalistcitizenship interests and ideas. Social class, race, and
gender are categories of identity that cross nationalborders;transnationalistdiscoursesoften areused in strategicways to furtherpolitical interestsshapedby these
and otheridentity markers.
Transnationalismhas a minimalinfluenceon the K-12 public school curriculum,
with geography the subject area in which its content is most typically found. On
the sample CitizenshipProficiencyTest providedon the Ohio State Departmentof
Educationwebsite, Questions 1-3 involve a map exercise identifying majorrivers
and countries on the African continent. However, educating youth about global

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

geographydoes not automaticallyevoke transnationalcitizenshipideals. The State

of New Jersey shows evidence of going a step furtherin its civics standards,as in
the geographicknowledge indicatedin the K-4 standard:"Explainhow improvements in transportationand communicationhave resulted in global interdependence" (New Jersey State Departmentof Education, 1996, chap. 3, p. 36). The
inclusion of "globalinterdependence"as a knowledge indicatormore significantly
aligns with transnationalistdiscoursebecause it weakly suggests a politicalnorm
concerningglobal cooperationon policies, as exemplifiedin its explicit reference
not only to economic interdependencebut to interdependencefor healthand security: The standardexplicitly mentions environmentaltreaties such as the Kyoto
Accords (p. 36).
Curricularapproachessuch as these do not align with the transnationaldiscourse
on citizenship simply because their contentis global in nature.Transnationalcurriculamove froma region-centeredperspectiveto a globalperspective,andstudents
learn about their own country as interdependentratherthan self-contained.This
formof educationgoes farbeyond the instrumentalistconstructionsof globalinterdependence for economic trade that predominates in most curricular texts.
citizenshipemphasizescompassionfor one's countryandits inhabitantswhile also teachingempathyand compassionfor othercultures.Ratherthan
group-centerededucation,in which studentssimply learnaboutvariousculturesand
differences among cultures,a transnationaleducationdisplays the ways in which
the inhabitantsof differentculturesareinterdependentwith, and similarto, those in
one's own country.Transnationalisttexts often demonstratea democraticappreciationfor pluralitywhile encouraginga connectionto anothernation's people based
on the universalhumanityconnecting all people. Hill (2002) defines international
educationas the acquisitionof knowledge about "socialjustice and equity;interdependence;sustainabledevelopment;culturaldiversity;peace and conflict;populationconcerns;languages"(p. 26). Attitudesto be developedinclude"commitment
to social justice and equity on a world scale; empathyfor feelings, needs and lives
of others in different countries;respect for culturaldiversity within and without
one's geographicallocation;a belief thatpeople can make a difference;a concern
for environmenton a global scale" (p. 27). Anotherparallelvision of transnational
citizenship in education is the InternationalBaccalaureateOrganizations.Since
1968, this grouphas developed strategiesand criteriafor impartinga global understandingof the world to students.Threekey componentsof the IB curriculumare
focusing on developing citizens of the world (throughlanguage and culture),fosteringrecognitionof universalhumanvalues (as outlinedby the UNESCO Declarationof 1996), and ensuringthat content addressesinternationalas well as local
and nationalissues (Drennen,2002).
Many organizationsrethought,reorganized,or reaffirmedtheirgoals andcauses
after 9/11 in ways that emphasizedaspects of the transnationalistcitizenshipdiscourse. A numberof mainstreameducationjournalspublishedspecial issues after
9/11 devoted to what one authorcalled a "world-centered"curriculumandeducation (Dunn, 2002). In a special issue of EducationalLeadership,Dunn advocateda
new world history curriculumto replace "comparisonof different cultureswith
questions that lead students to understandthe complex, large-scale changes that
have shapedour world"(2002, p. 11). Dunn's articleis illustratedwith animage of
a young boy holding a large, transparentglobe. This image symbolizes a reawak678

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship

ening to the vitality and importanceof transnationalcitizenship,even as U.S. lawmakershave urged a more nationalisticand parochialfocus for schools after the
9/11 terroristattacks.
Transnationalistcitizenship discourses are exceedingly flexible. In the same
ways thatthey can be used for more critical andpopulistforms of citizenship, they
can alternativelybe assimilatedwithin neoliberal goals of expanded marketsand
consumerism. In this process the political and ethical ideals of transnationalism
become subsumedby the logic of the global marketplace.In a case study of a Vancouver suburb'sconflict between Anglo-Canadianresidentsand Chinese Canadians who were recent immigrantsfrom Hong Kong, Mitchell (2001) observed that
the Chinese Canadiansformed a strong alliance for traditionalschooling (with a
focus on morality,authority,andefficiency) in oppositionto local Anglo-Canadians,
who were in favor of more individualized,creativeapproaches.Partof the lure of
traditionalschooling for these Chinese Canadianswas the belief thatit represented
the best preparationfor life in the workplace. Mitchell argued that transnational
educational narrativeswill bring greater power to economic or neoliberal discourses of citizenshipandnew scrutinyto Westernpolitical liberalcitizenship and
forms of educationin the nation-state."Formany immigrantChinese-Canadians,
the preparationof individualsto become high achievers in a global workplace is
more practicaland more attainablethan their constitutionas citizens of a particular nation-state"(p. 69). Moreover,the Asian identityof the immigrantsinterceded
in the construction of their national Canadian identity: "Precisely because of
their Asian 'otherness,' . . . the Chinese residents representthe constitutive outside of the nation;they can never participatefully or unproblematicallyas democratic citizens of the nationbecause they are always alreadylocated outside of it."
Political identities still subjectto exclusion in nation-statescan increasingly construct political and economic allegiances across national borders. Transnational
citizenship thus presses on questions of traditionalnotions of civic membership
and identity.
Ourreview of citizenshipeducationtexts reveals the conceptualconflicts under
way, heightenedand dramatizedby the events of 9/11 and the currentWar on Terror. Questionsof our allegiance to nation-statehave not been so pressing for generations;yet alliances and allegiances to individuals,families, culturalgroups, and
political networksacross the globe have never been so powerful, so immediately
tangible as technology now allows them to be. In our world, in the United States
in particular,civic meanings are both exceptionally weighty and exceptionally
plastic-shifting andchangingas ourtechnologies,politicalterrains,andeconomies
fluctuate.This review has drawna map of those civic meaningsto make so-called
"common-sense"notions of citizenship visible, so that we might better address
these and many otherdilemmasof contemporarycivic life. "Institutionsand social
context ... play an importantdeterminingrole in the development,maintenance,
and circulationof discourses"(Mills, 1997, p. 11). As powerful socializing institutions, schools reproducecivic republican and liberal discourses of citizenship;
together,these constructthe language,values, and normsof civic life in the United
Statestoday.These discoursesarenot necessarilythe productof reflectivethinking
about best practicesor about what sort of democraticlife we might want to have,

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

but areoften dominantbecause of theirpower to shapethe languagewe use andthe

values we express when we performand teach citizenship.
Yet we also see evidence of critiquesand shifts at play in the work of the critical discoursesand,particularlyafter9/11, the renewalof transnationalisttraditions
of old. These old andnew constructionsof citizenshippose importantchallengesto
educatorsand teachereducatorsof the next centuries.While the feminist, cultural,
reconstructionist,queer,and transnationalistdiscoursesarehaving some effects on
citizenship education as it is practicedin public schools, the effects of these discourses is sporadicand shallow in the educationaltexts thatwe examined.The criticisms of the civic republicanand liberalviews of citizenshipare still largelyat the
theoreticallevel. Citizenshipas practicedin schools is predominantlytaughtas civic
republicanliteracy(factualconsumptionof Americanhistory,geography,andgovernment),combinedwith varyingdegrees of patrioticidentityand the liberalvirtue
of tolerancefor difference.
The emergence of a strong arrayof diverse critical discourses of citizenship
challenges traditionaldefinitions of membership and pushes against traditional
boundariesof agency, identity, and membership.Agency is the idea thatindividuals and groups act-that citizenship is something that happens when people are
engaged in activity for, with, on behalf of, or even againstothers.The goodness of
agency seems to be a key assumptionin all understandingsof citizenshipreviewed
here,but feminist,queer,cultural,andtransnationaldiscoursesquestiontraditional
notions of civic agency. Where do citizens do their work? In the home, in "public," or in nationalor global settings?In what ways do citizens act?Do they engage
in discourseor ironic performance,empatheticdialogue or storytelling,conflictor
peacemaking?Do they engage in theirdiscoursethroughtraditionalpublicforums
or throughworldwideelectronic transmissions?Whatculturalor sexual identities
have been permittedto be, or preventedfrom being, full participantsin civil society and political life?
The question of civic identity has been broughtinto clearer view by many of
the criticaldiscoursesreviewed here,challengingus to look at the historiesof who
has been welcomed into the civic realm and who has not. In light of these histories, critical citizenship discourses challenge the very constructions of some of
our most cherished political identities. Reconstructionistsoffer a view of statesponsored schooling that teaches students to critique the state. Culturalcitizenship discourses offer a particularlyimpressive critiqueof the way citizenshiphas
been largely a Eurocentric,assimilationist identity and thus a losing proposition
for non-Whites throughoutthe United States and other nations. Feminist constructionsof citizenship urge us to rethinkthe whole civic project, attemptingto
remake an essentially male realm into one that is hospitable to the diverse interests of women.
Membership-or the idea that a citizen derives her rights and obligationsfrom
the social contractof the nation-state-is an idea centralto most notions of citizenship. Enlightenment-inspired,dominant notions of citizenship typically define
boundariesof membershipat the nationalborders,having moved away fromtraditionalformsof membershipbased in tribalor ethnickinship.Boundedmembership
is still the most prevalentway thatwe teachandunderstandcitizenship.Civic republican discoursesmakemuchof the meaningsof these borders;liberaldiscoursessee
the bordersmorepragmaticallyandless zealouslybutstill providetraditionalunder680

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship

standingsof citizenshipin terms of membershipin a nation-state.Discourses that

challenge the dominantconventions of citizenship are energetically pushing on
these borders,termingthem socially constructed,artificial,and, worse, misleading
in termsof how the borderslead us to envision, categorize,and engage in problem
solving both with and againstothernationsandpeoples. Feministdiscoursesof citizenshipchallenge us to see the rightsof women not merely as a nationalissue but
as a global issue; transnationalistdiscourses of citizenship argue for the interdependence of nations,both in the sense of sharedglobal resourcesand in the sense
of sharedhuman identity. Culturalistsand reconstructionistsremind us that citizenship,even as a nationalcategory,is far from inclusive; vast earningsgaps effectively create a "dualcitizenship"in the contemporaryUnited States, as in many
othercountries,because poorermembersof the society commandless power and
respect, and hence less entitlementto full participationand a full voice in society
(Torres,1998, p. 135).
The ancientAthenianDiogenes Laertiusfamously stated,"I am a citizen of the
world."Cosmopolitandiscourse positions citizens as belonging to a larger, more
inclusive group than a nation-state.Diogenes was known for travelingthroughout
the world and for his famous, nomadic search for "anhonest man."The stories of
Diogenes searchingover greatdistancesandmanylandstold of his interactionswith
many different peoples. In our own time, such interactionsover sharedpolitical,
economic, and humanrights issues are more commonplace,thanksto the fact that
people and nations are linked politically, economically, and electronically.At the
November1999 protestsof the WorldTradeOrganizationmeetingin Seattle,Washington,perhapsa hundredthousandpeople came from aroundthe world to address
global trade issues through protest. Coalitions based on environmental issues,
women's rights,fairtradeissues, anarchistpolitics, democraticgovernance,andanimal rights,among others,formulatedplans for theirproteston the Internetand cell
phones;conceptions of both the political issues and the strategieswere driven not
by nation-statemembershipbut by alliances formed by other means and through
many otherforms of solidarity.Transnationaldiscourses,intersectingwith critical
discourses across a wide arrayof ideological perspectives,will continue to enrich
and enliven the work of, and debates about, citizenship. It is important,therefore,
to ask why the conceptions of citizenship that currently are communicated in
schools reflect little of the theoreticaland practicalinsights that these discourses
bring to meanings of citizenship. Citizenshipeducationthat engaged the debates,
questions, and multiple discourses associated with civic and political life would
proveto be farmoreenlightening,engaging, andinspiringfor studentsthanthe current civics curriculum-with its vision of a more cleansed, idealized, narrow,and
fairy-tale-likecitizenship than actually exists. Many of our studentsare no doubt
aware of this gap between school-constructedcitizenship and citizenship as actually practiced;this awarenessfeeds the apathyand cynicism that we may be producingin our citizenshipeducationin schools.
'Feministtheoristsof citizenship,discussedlaterin this article,will pointout thatin
manymodemdemocracies,politicalcitizenshipfor morethanhalf the populationwas
notfully granteduntilwell into the 20th century.Fora critiqueof Marshall'stheoryof
citizenshipdevelopment,see Walby(1994).

KnightAbowitz & Harnish

2See,for example,Bosniak(2001, p. 240, note 8). KathleenCotton's"Educating
Citizenship"is a review of articleson U.S. citizenshipeducation,mostlyfromthe discipline of social studieseducation,spanningthe 1980s and early 1990s. Cottonfinds
muchagreementin this period;we see muchmorediversityanddifferencein the articles that we reviewed, especially after the events of 9/11. David Scott and Helen
Lawson, in "CitizenshipEducation:Models and Discourses"(2001), presenta very
interestingreviewof the literaturein theformof sevencontinuathatdescribetherange
of citizenshipideals that shapethe diversityof practicesandapproachesin the field.
This reviewdoes not takea Foucaultiandiscursiveapproachandlacks anyspecificity
in termsof distincttexts, curricula,or organizationsthatarecurrentlyshapingcitizenshipdiscourses.
3For example,the civic republican,liberal,andcosmopolitandiscoursesobviously
usedin thephilosophicalliterature
on citizenship.Thefeministdiscoursesof citizenship
arealso typically"named"as suchin philosophicalandsocial studiesliterature.Simiand"queertheory"and"queer
larly,"culturalcitizenship"is a termusedin theliterature,
to notethateachindividualdiscourseis multivocal,orspeakingin many
4Itis important
differentvoicesandevolvingovertime,witha rangeof commonvalues,habits,andideologies encompassedwithinit at anygiventime(Quantz& KnightAbowitz,2002).
5Oneof thepointsof agreementamongmanycivic republicansis on the sociological
thesisthatAmericaof the late20thandearly21st centuriesis moredividedandhas less
consensuson moralandpoliticalvaluesthanthe Americaof the early20thcentury,as
reflectedin RobertPutnam'sfamous"BowlingAlone"article(1995) and subsequent
writings.The diminishedsocial networksof Americancivil society,as seen in declining rates of participationin bowling leagues, parent-teacherassociations,and other
6JiirgenHabermas(1994) documentsthe historyof the wordnation,tracingits roots
in Romantimesto Natio,the goddessof birthandorigin.Untilthe middleof the 18th
century,andlaterin manycases,nationswerecommunitiesof peoplelinkedby heredity. "Hereditary
nationalitygave way to an acquirednationalism"aftertheFrenchRevolution,andthatformof nationalism"wasable to fosterpeople's identificationwith a
role which demandeda high degree of personalcommitment"(p. 23). This history
makesa clearconnectionbetweenthe idea of nationhoodandthe civic republicandiscourseof citizenship.
7Fora reviewof thecitizenshipeducationdebatesin thepost-9/11 period,see Casey
describesthisneoliberalinfluenceas educationfor socialmobilityandiden8Labaree
tifies it as the prominentreasonthatmost contemporaryAmericansvalue schooling
approachto educationhas "ledto thereconceptualization
of educationas a purelyprivategood,"Labareenotes(p. 73).
9Therecentriseof neoliberaldiscoursein educationalpolicy andgovernanceis well
documentedby researchersanalyzingthe wave of school-businesspartnerships,
priandchoiceinitiativesthathavebeenprominentin recent
decadesof schoolreform(Spring,1998;Boyles, 1998;Molnar,1996).
andMaryTjiattas(2001)providea nicesummary
of the rangeof views amongliberalson this point.Theseauthorscharacterize

ContemporaryDiscourses of Citizenship
Galston (1995) as a "minimalist"liberal whose vision of the state's authorityto educate
citizens would not include critically examining the ideological perspectives of one's family. Amy Gutmann (1995) is characterizedby Enslin et al. as a "maximalist,"someone
who makes strong claims regardingthe necessity of individuality and autonomy as centralvalues of the liberalcitizen-even if such an identity would not be friendly to all ways
of life. The maximalist vision will conflict with the belief systems of some families and
their authorityto reproducetheir values and identities in their children.
"IAlthoughour public life consists of a variety of cultural groups and practices, liberals acknowledge an assimilative effect of citizenship-not only in language (there is
only one official language, and bilingual education is now widely outlawed) but in other
aspects of identity and values. This critique of liberalism fosters the more recent citizenship discourse of cultural citizenship, discussed later in this article.
12The mainstream political theory journals and publishing houses publish almost
nothing that fits into this discourse. For this part of the study, we deviated from our
methodology somewhat and explored the limited literatureon citizenship from the field
of cultural studies.

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KATHLEENKNIGHTABOWITZis an Associate Professorof social foundationsandphilosophy of education at Miami University, Departmentof EducationalLeadership,304
McGuffey Hall, Oxford, OH 45056; e-mail scholarlywork
focuses on philosophical meanings of community, the public, and citizenship as those
ideals intersectwith educationalpolicies and practice.
JASON HARNISHis a recentgraduateof EarlhamCollege's Mastersin the Artsof Teaching Programand a graduateof Miami University's School of InterdisciplinaryStudies.
In fall 2006 he began his careeras a teacherat Senn High School, 5900 NorthGlenwood
Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660; e-mail