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Univerzita Karlova – Charles University

Fakulta sociálních věd – Faculty of Social Sciences


Institut mezinárodních studií – Institute of International Studies
Katedra západoevropských studií – Western European Studies Department

LEARNING FOR EUROPEAN CO-CITIZENSHIP


– DANISH CONTRIBUTION TO THE EDUCATIONAL ASPECT
OF POST-NATIONAL IDENTITY FORMATION IN EUROPE

Magisterská diplomová práce – Master’s Diploma Thesis

Lucie Čížková

Vedoucí práce – Consultant: Doc. PhDr. Lenka Rovná, CSc.


Akademický rok – Academic Year: 2003/2004
PROHLÁŠENÍ
Prohlašuji, že jsem diplomovou práci vypracovala samostatně a že prameny, které jsem k jejímu
zpracování použila, jsou uvedeny v seznamu literatury, který je součástí práce.

Praha, 13. května 2004

Lucie Čížková

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract .................................................................................................................................................................. 5
Shrnutí .................................................................................................................................................................... 5
Preface and Acknowledgements ......................................................................................................................... 6
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................... 7
I.1. Characterizing the Problem Studied .......................................................................................... 7
I.2. Contextualization of the Main Topic, Working Hypothesis, Questions Asked ................... 7
I.3. Analytical Overview of the Contents........................................................................................ 11
I.4. Current Available Sources and Literature ............................................................................. 12
II. B ASIC CONCEPTS, THE CASE OF EUROPE.............................................................................................. 13
II.1. Citizenship – Brief History of the Concept ............................................................................. 13
II.2. European Citizenship – Nothing but a Legal Term? ............................................................. 17
II.3. Identity Aspect of Citizenship – Citizenship Aspect of Identity .......................................... 20
II.3.1. Member States as Mirrors for Civic Identity ................................................................ 23
II.4. Identity in Europe – European Identity? ................................................................................ 26
II.4.1. Zero-Sum, Multiple Identities and Marble Cake ......................................................... 29
II.4.2. Identity vis-à-vis European Union Performance .......................................................... 31
II.5. Jürgen Habermas ........................................................................................................................ 33
II.5.1. Post-National Identity ....................................................................................................... 34
II.5.2. Constitutional Patriotism ................................................................................................. 35
II.5.3. Deliberative Democracy .................................................................................................... 37
Case Study 1 – Municipal Council Meetings in Helsingør ....................................................................... 38
II.5.4. Public Sphere ...................................................................................................................... 39
II.6. Medborgerskab and Co-Citizenship ........................................................................................ 41
III. LEARNING ASPECTS ................................................................................................................................. 46
III.1.1. Key Role of Learning ........................................................................................................ 46
III.1.2. Terminology ........................................................................................................................ 47
III.2. European Union – An Actor in the Sphere of Learning........................................................ 48
III.2.1. Legal Provisions ................................................................................................................. 48
III.2.2. Policy Documents ............................................................................................................... 49
III.3. Formal Learning ......................................................................................................................... 50
III.3.1. Primary and Secondary Education ................................................................................. 50
III.3.2. Higher Education ............................................................................................................... 50
III.3.3. Research Institutions ......................................................................................................... 51
III.4. Non-Formal Learning ................................................................................................................. 52
III.4.1. Civil Society ........................................................................................................................ 54
Case Study 2 – Evropský klub ..................................................................................................................... 55
III.4.2. Private Sector ..................................................................................................................... 55
III.4.3. Council of Europe .............................................................................................................. 55
III.5. Informal Learning ....................................................................................................................... 56
III.5.1. Family, Social Networks ................................................................................................... 56
III.5.2. Media and Information Channels ................................................................................... 57
IV. INSPIRATION FROM DENMARK ................................................................................................................ 58
IV.1. History of the Folkehøjskole ...................................................................................................... 60
IV.1.1. Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872) ......................................................... 60
IV.1.2. The Formative Years (1844-1864) ................................................................................... 63
IV.1.3. The Golden Period ............................................................................................................. 64
IV.1.4. Politics and the Folkehøjskole ......................................................................................... 65
IV.1.5. Modern Challenges ............................................................................................................ 67
IV.2. Institutional Matters ................................................................................................................... 69
IV.3. Courses, Methods and Living Together ................................................................................... 72
IV.3.1. General Education – A Variety of Choices .................................................................... 72
IV.3.2. Learning instead of Teaching and Being Taught .......................................................... 73
IV.3.3. Daily Routine ...................................................................................................................... 73
IV.3.4. Living Together .................................................................................................................. 74

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IV.3.5. Validation ............................................................................................................................ 76
IV.4. Sharing the Folkehøjskole.......................................................................................................... 77
IV.4.1. Examples Worldwide ........................................................................................................ 79
IV.4.2. International People’s College ......................................................................................... 81
IV.4.3. Internationalization, Demoktratifonden and Højskolepuljen .................................... 83
Case Study 3 – Active Citizenship in a New Enlarged Europe................................................................. 84
IV.5. Future of the Folkehøjskole ....................................................................................................... 85
V. SCHOOLS FOR EUROPE ............................................................................................................................ 89
V.1. Alternative Synthesis .................................................................................................................. 89
V.2. Academic Background ................................................................................................................ 92
V.3. Mapping the Development ......................................................................................................... 96
Case Study 4 – Youth 2002 ......................................................................................................................... 97
VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................................. 99
VII.1. Primary Sources ........................................................................................................................ 100
VII.1.1. Documents ......................................................................................................................... 100
VII.1.2. Interviews .......................................................................................................................... 100
VII.2. Literature ................................................................................................................................... 100
VII.2.1. Books .................................................................................................................................. 100
VII.2.2. Articles .............................................................................................................................. 103
VII.2.3. Working Papers, Reports and Other Materials .......................................................... 104
VII.3. Internet Sites .............................................................................................................................. 106
VIII. APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................ 107
VIII.1. Appendix 1 – EU Seminars by Private Enterprises (1 page) .............................................. 107
VIII.2. Appendix 2 – Folkehøjskoler in Denmark (1 page) .............................................................. 108
VIII.3. Appendix 3 – A Folkehøjskole Timetable (1 page) ............................................................... 109
VIII.4. Appendix 4 – What is the ACC? (1 page) .............................................................................. 110
VIII.5. Appendix 5 – Act on European Community Colleges (6 pages) ......................................... 111
VIII.6. Appendix 6 – Declaration of Youth 2002 (3 pages) .............................................................. 112
VIII.7. Appendix 7 – Projekt diplomové práce (3 pages) ................................................................. 113

Figure 1 – Citizenship and Identity ..................................................................................................................... 22


Figure 2 – Co-Citizenship: The Missing Link .................................................................................................... 43
Figure 3 – Formal and Non-Formal Education ................................................................................................... 53

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Abstract
This thesis (Learning for European Co-Citizenship – Danish Contribution to the Educational
Aspect of Post-National Identity Formation) analyzes the current debate about the concepts of citizenship
and identity with a special regard to the process of European integration. It uses Jürgen Habermas’ teachings
to point out the necessity to redefine these concepts so they capture the reality of today’s Europe. It
examines the learning processes that enhance post-national identity formation in Europe and suggests that
the Danish tradition of non-formal residential education of adults, the folkehøjskole, can be used for the
purpose of learning for European co-citizenship. The initiative that supports the establishment of a European
variant of the Danish schools, the Association for Community Colleges, is pointed out as a practical
example of that use.

Shrnutí
Tato práce (Výchova k evropskému spoluobčanství: Dánský příspěvek ke vzdělávacím aspektům
formování post-národní identity v Evropě) analyzuje současnou debatu o pojmech občanství a identita, se
zvláštním ohledem na proces evropské integrace. Vychází z učení Jürgena Habermase a spolu s ním
poukazuje na potřebu redefinovat tyto pojmy tak, aby zachycovaly realitu současné Evropy. Zkoumá
výchovné a vzdělávací procesy, které napomáhají budování post-národní identity v Evropě a navrhuje, že
dánskou tradici ne-formálního (non-formal) residenčního vzdělávání dospělých, folkehøjskole, lze využít
pro výchovu k evropskému spoluobčanství. Praktickým příkladem takového využití je iniciativa Association
for Community Colleges, která podporuje založení evropské verze dánských škol.

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Preface and Acknowledgements
“From these pages I hope at least the following will
endure: my trust in the people, and my faith in men
and women and in the creation of a world in which it
will be easier to love.” 1
The final look of this thesis has been developing for over three years. My interest in the Danish
tradition of non-formal residential education, the folkehøjskole, started with a four-month stay at the
International People’s College in Helsingør, after which I began to research the possibility of integrating the
topic into a European context. When I found out about the existence of the Grundtvig Action within the
Socrates Programme, the link seemed to become obvious. I wanted to examine the ability and strategy of a
small state in sharing best practice in the field of adult and continuing education within the European
framework, thus spreading a remarkable idea beyond its borders.
However, my research took a different direction at the beginning of a study period at Copenhagen
University in the summer of 2002. I was invited to take part in a large scale European event, Youth 2002,
marking the beginning of the Danish Presidency of the European Council and involving thirteen
folkehøjskoler and 1000 young Europeans. The direct link between Europe, its young inhabitants and the
folkehøjskole format presented a “shortcut” and a qualitative upgrade of my previous research.
The contact to the Association for Community Colleges that I gained during Youth 2002 further
inspired my work. I was lucky to meet a number of scholars who study the folkehøjskole tradition and a
number of those who organize courses that are based on the Danish tradition but at the same time reflect the
European reality. The thesis was no longer only about a ‘format’ and connected policies; it was about its
ability to serve a unique purpose in today’s Europe.
In the autumn of 2003 I was given a chance to continue my research while experiencing its content
at the same time. The three-month stay at Ryslinge højskole gave me a deeper insight into the immense
opportunities that are hiding in the folkehøjskole format and are waiting to be discovered, adopted and used
by all Europeans.
I would like to thank all those whom I interviewed for their inspiration and valuable feedback. K.E.
Bugge, Agneta Derrien, Ove Korsgaard, Marianne Horsdal, Jesper Nielsen, John Petersen, and Rex O.
Schade provided me with free printed material that I would have otherwise had difficulty getting hold of.
John Petersen kindly and immediately replied my numerous emails full of questions.
I am grateful to Camilla Englyst for having introduced me to the folkehøjskole idea and to
Denmark’s charms. I am indebted to the Danish government and the individual schools for having enabled
me to gain a personal experience through a scholarship stay. The experience wouldn’t have been the same
without the daily interaction with wonderful teachers and unforgettable schoolmates.
I owe the deepest thanks to my parents who have supported me with a great deal of patience and
understanding.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Doc. PhDr. Lenka Rovná, CSc. for her consultation.

1
Apart from those mentioned in the acknowledgements, Paulo Freire represents a large group of people who
have inspired me in one way or the other, thus helping indirectly with my work on the thesis. Freire, P., Pedagogy
of the Oppressed, Editorial Tierra Nueva, Montevideo 1972, p. 19, quoted in Torres, C.A., Democracy, Education
and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World, Presidential Address to the Annual Meeting of
the Comparative International Education Society (CIES), Buffalo, New York, March 20, 1998, p. 54
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I. INTRODUCTION
I.1. Characterizing the Problem Studied
A thesis titled Learning for European Co-Citizenship could deal with issues connected to a wide
space and nearly any time. Learning is a lifelong process, while citizenship is a general term describing the
mutual relationship between a state and an individual. In the social sciences, citizenship education can be
studied using for example a historical or comparative method and having in mind a national or global
perspective.
In other words, the title of the thesis opens up a wide spectrum of topics that can be explored. It
suggests that questions about the relationship between individuals and political structures, among
individuals and groups (the “co-” in co-citizenship) and the processes of acquiring the skills for building
such relationships will be explored.
However, the subtitle Danish Contribution to the Educational Aspect of Post-National Identity
Formation in Europe delimits the general topic considerably. Dividing the subtitle into fragments and
starting to examine it from the latter, we encounter a geographical limitation once again. While citizenship
and identity carry a meaning worldwide, in this case the European continent will be the principal area
studied. The qualification post-national in connection with European citizenship and/or identity has entered
the academic debate fairly recently, in the 1990s, which provides a certain time delimitation of the core of
the thesis. The educational aspect of identity formation clarifies that identity will be the priority area from
within the broad concept of citizenship.
In this connection identity won’t be regarded as a static, permanent or unchangeable phenomenon; it
will be the process of acquiring identities and the learning conditions that enhance such a process that will
be highlighted. Last but not least, while trying to provide an overview of the most important actors in the
field of learning for co-citizenship, a very specific educational approach stemming from the Danish
tradition of non-formal education will be explored.
To reach a point when post-national identity in the European context can be discussed means to
acknowledge that processes such as globalization, multiculturalism and especially European integration 2
have had a deep impact not only on the political and economic structures, but also on the feelings of each
and every individual involved.
In the first part ( I.2) of the introductory chapter I will draw a connecting line between the above
mentioned processes and the topic of the thesis, which cannot be understood separately. Further, I will offer
a normative content of learning for co-citizenship (the co-citizen model) and a working hypothesis. The
contents of the following chapters will subsequently be analyzed and commented ( I.3). The introduction
will be concluded by a short overview and analysis of the existing literature ( I.4).

I.2. Contextualization of the Main Topic, Working Hypothesis, Questions Asked


The processes of globalization, multiculturalism and European integration have without doubt
influenced the current debate about European post-national identity. As I said above, identity should be
regarded as a dynamic concept, as a process of identifying rather than a state of being identified. That is
why the significance of other wide societal processes has to be recognized and post-national identity
formation needs to be contextualized accordingly.

2
Authors such as Ove Korsgaard, Claus Haas and Gerard Delanty closely connect these processes with the study
of citizenship and identity.
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Since globalization and multiculturalism are recent phenomena, we’ll begin with European
integration – both a process whose effects have been a precondition for any discussion about European
citizenship in the first place, and a process that might be the main beneficiary of the post-national identity
formation.
The European integration process has been under way since the aftermath of World War II. The
main focus of the cooperation has been shifting and there has rarely been a clear view of what the final
outcome should look like. Although peace and prosperity have been the ultimate goals that the European
continent should strive for, the specific recipes for how to reach it varied significantly throughout the
decades. A number of organizations were founded focusing on economic, security, and defense cooperation;
sometimes playing a temporal role or transforming to prove their long-term viability.
During the Cold War the western part of Europe hoped to spread democracy and the market
economy to the east; those behind the Iron Curtain dreamt about attaining freedom and raising their standard
of living to that of the Westerners. In both cases, however, as time went by, the growing feeling of “us”
versus “them” prevailed, no matter the political convictions of the individuals.
The fall of the Berlin wall brought a whole new challenge for the European continent. The bipolar
division of the world became a past and a large part of Europe was clearly heading for further integration.
However, the vision for the future of Europe remained unclear. How far and how deep should the
integration process, whose main bearer crystallized as the European Community (EC) and later the
European Union (EU), go? Bearing in mind the character of the then existing cooperation and decision
making – where lay the limit for the number of member states of the EU? How could those countries agree
upon defining a relationship to each other, to their neighbors and to the rest of the world? And maybe most
importantly – would the ever enlarging union be a viable structure given its internal fragility?
In the context of European integration I will argue that a Europe united solely through common
legislative rules, technical norms, centralized institutions and proclaimed symbols is doomed to failure. By
failure I don’t necessarily mean the dissolution of the structures but their erosion to the point when a
majority of people feel alienated, manipulated and abused by the multi-level system while a small informed
minority 3 invests more energy into maintaining the construction and justifying its existence than into using
its mechanisms for the common good.
However, the existence of decision making mechanisms and corresponding institutions plays a
positive role even if it was initiated from above, thus being an outcome of an elite project. There is an
observable degree of identification – the EU permeates many aspects of everyday life, the common currency
being the most pronounced example – but it remains somehow abstract, as the bridges on euro banknotes.
Recently, those representing Brussels (the hub of what is often perceived as a universe of technocracy where
impermeable bureaucratic machinery, democratic deficit and a lack of transparency are the general rules)

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This possible divide is vividly described in connection with assessing the future role of the Danish
folkehøjskole: “If we do not understand the necessity of this [to create the possibility for dialogue] in the future,
one can predict that the Information society will develop in a direction with less participation, not more. The
public sector, the big organizations, and businesses will control information in a way which is contrary to every
democratic and popular conception. A new elite will be formed. An elite communicating in close circles on the
premises of technology, while ‘common man’ will become a museum piece that will be fed with information to
an extent those in power will dictate. We shall witness a widening gap between an effective and active sector of
the population able to comprehend all the new and a paralysed and passive sector almost held in contempt. This
contrast, which is already perceptible today in all Western industrialized societies, will most certainly grow and
society as a whole will become tormented with increasing aimless violence and destruction.”
Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD, Copenhagen 1991, p.
52
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and other European capitals started to demand that citizens become more involved in common European
affairs. 4
While the viewpoint that calls for bringing the union closer to its inhabitants is often articulated
among politicians, public officials, academics and others, it is rare to encounter any suggestion for how to
initiate such a process. Public opinion surveys point to the fact that in spite of the continuous attempts to
reform the institutions, to change the decision making procedures and to establish sophisticated information
systems, the goal of making the EU more transparent and accessible to its citizens remains largely unmet. 5
The perception of the union among its citizens needs to be changed and no such change can be expected
unless it happens on a personal level, within each individual.
The reference to an individual European brings us to a discussion about the second significant
process that has changed Europe – multiculturalism, or in other words, increasing ethnic diversity within
what used to be the nation state. Unlike in the United States or Canada, the norm and ideal in Europe has
been a homogeneous sovereign country with limited regional differences based exclusively on long-term
historical development. The post-colonial era, together with an increased labor mobility, economic
migration, influx of refugees and more tolerance towards mixed parenthood has changed considerably the
ethnic (and religious, cultural etc.) composition of European countries’ residents.
Considering some of the historical duties connected to citizenship – that of war and of treasure – it
is obvious that the legal requirement of loyalty towards a homogeneous entity is also receding. Armies are
being professionalized and in case the military service is still in place, young men in most countries have a
choice of doing a community service instead – not in a state uniform under their country’s flag but in a local
public institution, a non-governmental organization or even abroad, according to their choice. Similarly, a
portion of taxes can be redirected so it flows to budgets of organizations that reflect an individual’s interest
or identity, be it a religious community, a political party or the like.
While European integration was an elite project whose effects eventually reached all levels of
society, the phenomenon of multiculturalism appeared from the bottom, slowly requiring the attention of
elites. Both processes, however, lead to a minority effect – ethnically speaking, everyone belongs to a
minority in the context of a multicultural and integrated Europe. 6 Problems can no longer be dealt with
using only traditional intergovernmental channels – many issues cut across boundaries and elected
legislative bodies.
That is even more true considering the third process that has had a significant impact upon the
prospects of post-national identity formation in Europe – globalization. As we have pointed out, European
countries have undergone an internal change by becoming more multicultural and by responding to the
demands of their mutual integration. Externally, Europe is more than ever linked to and influenced by what
is happening beyond its member states’ borders.
Problems such as regional environmental protection, arms and drugs trafficking require that
integrated Europe deepens and expands its relations with close neighbors; other challenges such as

4
If the beginning of the discussion about the future of Europe should be marked more explicitly, the date would
be May 12, 2000 when the German minister of foreign affairs Joschka Fischer held a speech at Humboldt
University in Berlin titled From Confederacy to Federation – Thoughts on the finality of European integration,
which became a key reference text.
5
How Europeans see themselves: Looking through the mirror with public opinion surveys, Office for Official
Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001, based on Eurobarometer surveys.
6
The minority effect idea comes from Garba Diallo, used in connection with a discussion about the Balkans on
November 29, 2002, at the International People’s College, Helsingør, Denmark.
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terrorism, global environmental issues, defense and security matters make it globally interdependent.
Distance has become less relevant – economically, technologically, militarily, and culturally.
New means of communication allow those who live in the technologically more developed regions
to establish non-traditional networks; young generations no longer socialize only locally but also virtually
across borders, depending on their interests and hobbies, thus living out their multiple identities. Societies
are therefore more fragmented and atomized, and individuals more alienated when it comes to traditional
loyalties.

As we have seen, the topic of this thesis cannot be regarded in isolation from the above described
processes. However, its focus is clearly defined and limited – we want to examine how the Danish tradition
of non-formal education can be used to enhance the process of post-national identity formation in Europe,
thus leading to the existence of a European public sphere defined by functioning practice of co-citizenship.
To be able to bear in mind the wider context, I will suggest that we establish a European co-citizen model,
which will also serve in the working hypothesis and will exemplify the normative goal of learning for co-
citizenship.
Learning is a complex process, which involves much more than the acquiring of knowledge. We
can expand the idea from UNESCO’s Publication Learning: The Treasure Within from 1996 7 and say that
learning consists of (1) learning to know, (2) learning to do, (3) learning to be, (4) learning to live together,
and (5) learning to become. If applied to the European co-citizen model, I would argue that a co-citizenship
learning process should aim at yielding individuals who (1) show global awareness and respect for universal
human rights, (2) possess regional competencies, (3) have a local sense of belonging and thus responsibility,
(4) are able to establish appropriate networks, and (5) are constantly learning.
While this model can be criticized on the basis of being too general, it is its openness to individual
and collective definition, specification and clarification that can make it specifically European. Or to put it
differently – while acknowledging the importance of the co-citizen model as a point of reference, it is
neither the model itself, nor the creation of European public sphere that should be the ultimate goal of post-
national identity formation in Europe.
As I will suggest in the thesis, the essence of learning for co-citizenship in Europe should be the
commitment to the process of peaceful democratic dialogue and discussion, allowing each individual to
venture on a path of questioning, defining, doubting, redefining and co-defining his or her identity within a
community of co-citizens. The thesis therefore argues for the need to provide Europeans with opportunities
to engage in this search. The Danish tradition of non-formal education is being offered as an example of one
possible way that encourages such a process.
It would be daring to claim that within the scope of a master’s thesis one can answer such questions
as how should the European polity look like, what is the desirable degree of citizens’ involvement, where
lies the balance between each individual’s right for self-determination and the need for social cohesion and
solidarity, what is an optimal process of socialization, or what is the essence of “Europeanness”. However,
in light of what has been said in the previous paragraph, the very discussion of such matters contributes to
the ongoing debate about the future of Europe and to the process of democratization of European structures.

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Delors, J. et al., Learning: The Treasure Within - Highlights, UNESCO Publishing, Paris 1996, pp. 20-21, 37
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I.3. Analytical Overview of the Contents
The thesis is divided into four chapters that logically develop the main topic. While the next one is
to a large degree theoretical, general and broad in its scope, the following two narrow the theme down as to
the educational aspect and the Danish contribution thereto. The last chapter presents specific approaches and
activities that test some of the normative proposals in practice.
The next chapter, chapter II, identifies the core concepts that will be used throughout the paper
and provides an overview of current definitions and views upon those concepts. It is clear that notions such
as citizenship and identity, just like democracy and culture, can each in themselves form a basis for an
extensive research within the various fields of the social sciences. We will attempt to do justice to that fact
while at the same time narrowing the terms down in accordance with the focus of the thesis.
One subchapter focuses on the teaching of Jürgen Habermas, a philosopher and social theorist
whose views are a source of inspiration in the current debate about the existence of post-national identity
and public space in Europe. Drawing from Habermas, we will be asking what type of allegiance the EU (or
Europe) requires, in normative terms. To offer a balanced view upon Habermas’ theories, the critical
remarks of those who disagree with him will be given space as well.
The aim of this chapter is to point out the contested and dynamic character of the concepts while
making sure that it remains clear which definition and/or understanding of a given term will be used as a
premise for further argumentation. For that purpose, the Danish term medborgerskab will be introduced and
a theoretical co-citizen model stemming from it will be analyzed. The subchapter on co-citizenship is the
theoretical core of the thesis, given its bridging character and novelty.
Chapter III moves on to the sphere of learning and education in the European context. It leaves
out the Danish contribution for later chapters and it examines the formal, non-formal and informal learning
opportunities connected to co-citizenship. It looks at the role of public, private and non-profit actors that are
active in the field and doesn’t leave out academic and research centers, media and the like.
A special attention is dedicated to the role of the European Union as a policy maker (Memorandum
on Lifelong Learning) and educational programs coordinator (Socrates, Leonardo, Youth).
Chapter IV brings in the Danish experience with non-formal education as it is has been known
since mid-19 th century. A brief historical overview will introduce the spiritual founder of the folkehøjskole
N. F. S. Grundtvig and his followers who provided the schools with a pedagogical background and some
practical features. I will also point out the important role that the schools have played in the process of
modernization of the Danish society in the late 19th century and their reflexive ability in the following
decades.
Currently, the schools are having difficulties with attracting the necessary numbers of students and
are therefore experiencing financial problems also connected to their relationship with the Danish state. A
critical situation has been mentioned a number of times in the past but the current challenges reflect the
processes named earlier – globalization, multiculturalism and European integration. However, some of those
processes can in fact be considered as a possible solution for the schools’ future prospects, which will also
be analyzed in this chapter.
Chapter V can be considered as a culmination of the thesis. To a degree it is a synthesis of all the
previous themes – it stems from a theoretical point of departure, it has a European dimension enriched by
the Danish experience, and it focuses on the development of the key concepts within a learning
environment. Its aim is to build a logical bridge between ideals and practice, to point out a specific approach

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in dealing with the complexities of the themes that have been analyzed above, and to offer a positive
alternative for future development.
The theoretical basis is examined through the works of five Danish scholars and project leaders. In
order to illustrate the practical development, a crucial actor, the Association for Community Colleges, is
presented and its visions analyzed. The attempts to establish Community Colleges at the European level are
compared with European activities at the Danish schools.
Part VI holds the conclusion, part VII the bibliography and part VIII the appendices.

I.4. Current Available Sources and Literature


Given the wide range of particular topics studied, the amount of background materials is quite
large. There are numerous authors who deal with issues of citizenship and identity in general and with the
European case in particular. The literature about post-national identity revolves around texts by Jürgen
Habermas. His own works are looked at together with studies that use Habermas’s theories either as a
source of inspiration or as a target for criticism. Working papers published by the Center for European
Studies (ARENA) at the University of Oslo have been especially helpful.
Internet sites have served especially to monitor the current activities in the educational field and
they have provided me with links to individuals who are involved in the various organizations and
institutions. A number of studies, articles and working papers could also be found on the internet.
A specialized library dedicated to works by and about N. F. S. Grundtvig at Vartov in Copenhagen
had a good collection of books and articles dealing with the tradition of the folkehøjskole. Some books and
a variety of current information materials about the schools were also available at Højskolernes Sekretariat
in Copenhagen. Staff at both places were welcoming and helpful in my search.
Publications, brochures, annual reports, and email bulletins connected to specific projects, courses,
and activities were the primary sources used mainly to examine the development of the idea of Schools for
Europe.
A crucial role for the overall handling of the topic has been played by personal encounters, email
communication and interviews with academics, civil servants, administrators, organizers, teachers and
participants who readily shared their opinions, experiences and visions regarding the subject of the thesis
and the thesis itself.
The main challenge regarding the use of primary sources and literature lay in the fact that the thesis
connects topics that are dealt with separately by most of the authors. Finding the missing links between the
various layers within the thesis (such as connecting European citizenship with the learning aspects, the
Danish contribution with the European dimension and the theoretical background with practical endeavors)
was an important task, without which the thesis would have had a fragmented character. In this regard the
writings of Claus Haas, Marianne Horsdal, Ove Korsgaard, Jesper Nielsen and John Petersen proved
especially helpful.

- 12 -
II. BASIC CONCEPTS, THE CASE OF EUROPE
II.1. Citizenship – Brief History of the Concept
“Changes in the nature of society have forced us to
rethink the meaning of citizenship. Citizenship has
become a major new area of debate in the social
sciences.” 8
Citizenship, similarly to for example equality, freedom and democracy is a term that bears a rather
positive connotation. That presents a special challenge for students of citizenship because the concept is not
only being frequently used but it is also often appropriated by a wide spectrum of researchers and theorists,
many of whom want to graft their particular views onto the popular concept. In this subchapter, I will try to
distill the key aspects of citizenship, both theoretically and in practice.
Citizenship is a dynamic concept because even its constituent parts are continuously being
redefined. Just like perfect democracy is a permanent and unattainable final goal to be strived for, so does
citizenship suggest a constant process. 9
The basic building blocks of citizenship are (a) legal status, (b) rights, (c) duties and (d) identity.
Citizenship describes the relationship between a political unit, namely a state, and an individual, while
setting the limits for membership to a particular community. This elementary definition can be expanded by
adding a number of other elements, such as participation 10, loyalty and a standard of good social behavior 11.
These characteristics have been present, in one form or another, within the concept of citizenship from its
earliest conceptions in ancient Greece.
Citizenship went through various historical stages since then – in the Roman Empire, during the
Middle Ages, and when modern states were being born. The renewed interest in the concept of citizenship
dates back to the 1950s when T.H. Marshall published a classical reference text based on his lecture from
1949, Citizenship and Social Class. In spite of being criticized on several grounds (see below), Marshall’s
theory serves as a departure point in the study of modern citizenship theories.
Marshall’s focus lay in the rights aspect of citizenship and his argument was built around the
British example. He claimed that modern citizenship had developed over the previous 250 years as civil,
political and social rights were granted in the 18 th, 19 th, and 20th centuries respectively. Civil rights relate to
individual freedoms, political rights ensure the possibility of taking part in the electoral process, and social
rights give access to economic and social welfare provided by the modern state.
There is no doubt that Marshall’s greatest achievement was to revive an interest in the concept of
citizenship, but his work is also acknowledged for having drawn a connection between the various forms of
rights and for having emphasized the role of the welfare state in giving more people access to the full status
of citizen.
Just how full that status was, in T.H. Marshall’s understanding, is a matter of discussion. Critical
remarks cover the following themes: First, Marshall omitted even the basic counterpart of rights from
among the components of citizenship, namely duties. Second, even the conception of rights is limited,

8
Delanty, G., Citizenship in a global age: Society, culture, politics, Open University Press, Buckingham 2000, p.
xiii
9
Newman, M., Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union, Hurst & Company, London 1996, p. 146
10
Delanty lists four basic elements – rights, duties, participation and identity. Delanty, G., Citizenship in a global
age: Society, culture, politics, Open University Press, Buckingham 2000, p. 4
11
Acoording to D. Heater, quoted in Newman, M., Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union, Hurst &
Company, London 1996, p. 139
- 13 -
forgetting about e. g. cultural and collective rights that have, to defend Marshall, attracted attention only
recently. Third, Marshall perceives the changing class relations as the motor of all development, which is a
view challenged for example by feminist writers. Fourth, Marshall’s model is valid only in the British case
(possibly in the Western world) but his logic cannot be applied globally. Fifth, the public and the private
spheres are perceived as separate worlds, not allowing for a broader understanding of civil society. Sixth, for
Marshall the state and the nation are two sides of the same coin, just like citizenship is equated with
nationality – a view challenged just as much in theory as in practice nowadays. Seventh, Marshall’s model
assigns only a passive role to the citizens as recipients of rights and leaves no space for participation in,
identification with and commitment to the community. 12 We will return to the last two points in further
discussions about post-national identity and co-citizenship.
The second half of the 20th century saw a number of theoretical schools developing around the
concept of citizenship. The two main currents are those of cosmopolitanism and communitarianism. 13
Cosmopolitan (liberal) theory focuses on rights that are universal and uniform, formulated
generally and directed towards individuals. The problem with cosmopolitanism is that such a conception of
citizenship ignores the importance of people’s emotional ties to a particular community, making them
citizens of any place possible, thus no place in particular. In the case of Europe, cosmopolitans can be
divided into libertarian cosmopolitans and welfare liberals.
The former perceive the four basic freedoms as the key rationale for European integration that is
protected by courts’ decisions and consider further political integration as redundant. The latter have a fuller
picture of the EU, acknowledging the importance of social rights and corresponding democratic
development. Both regard the EU as part of a global system, an expression of that being the support of the
former for the enlargement process and the opposition of the latter against a tight immigration policy.
The communitarian theory sees community as the main source for citizenship, rather than rights.
Those are attained precisely through common membership, identification and a particular way of life, thus
cementing shared citizenship. The problem with communitarians is that they leave no space for people to
redefine their relationship towards a community and do not count with possible conflictive allegiances.
Communitarians also come in two kinds. When examining Europe, ethnic nationalists do not see it
as a true community – the EU lacks cultural, linguistic and historic ties. Civic nationalists, on the other
hand, do not define nation in ethnic terms and they believe that political elites can construct a European
nationalism.
Recent theoretical approaches often combine the two main currents (communitarian cosmopolitans
and cosmopolitan communitarians) and we will examine these attempts when looking at the theories of
Jürgen Habermas. However, as mentioned above, the postmodern period allowed for a divergence from the
main theoretical schools and the somewhat homogeneous concept of citizenship has become
multidimensional. This development provided fertile soil for plural understandings of citizenship and also
for an appropriation of the popular concept by various interest and pressure groups.
As a case in point we can enumerate the adjectives that have been used to qualify the term
citizenship. Apart from the more traditional ones such as political, civil, and social, there appear also

12
Five of the seven points are based on Delanty’s critical remarks in Delanty, G., Citizenship in a global age:
Society, culture, politics, Open University Press, Buckingham 2000, pp. 18-21
13
Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political Theory
in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000, pp. 93-99
- 14 -
economic, diasporic, cultural, sexual, and ecological citizenships 14, and the list continues by quoting
Oommen who is somewhat contemptuous of those who use citizenship as their own theoretical property by
qualifying it as active, democratic, communitarian, earth, European, ecological, environmental, gender-
neutral, global, individualistic, liberal, participatory, race-neutral, republican, neo-republican, or world. 15
Even those subscribing to one of the leading theoretical models can expand this list by for example
subdividing cosmopolitan citizenship into technological, ecological, and urban citizenship. 16
A similar listing leads to confusion rather than clarification in regards to the current understanding
of citizenship. A closer examination of all the previous ‘types’ of citizenship would certainly prove
enriching but it remains outside of the scope of this thesis. However, Mullard’s analysis of five current
citizenship discourses provides a stimulating theoretical base, given our focus on learning aspects of co-
citizenship. “Defining and redefining citizenship has to be located within people’s life experiences – it has
to reflect people’s expectations, hopes and aspirations at a certain point in time.” 17 Mullard emphasizes that
citizenship is a process and allows for conflicting yet complementary aspects thereof.
The first discourse concerns the public citizen, which is a concept that relates closely to Habermas’
notion of deliberative democracy (II.5.3), public sphere ( II.5.4) and the Nordic understanding of democracy,
otherwise called ‘thick democracy’. 18 Public space helps to define and actively constrain one’s freedom by
establishing responsibility towards a fellow citizen. “The commitment to public space is the commitment to
listen to the other; to accept plurality and differences, to accept the priority of dialogue, compromise,
honesty, sincerity and transparency.” 19 The current understanding of public space as political elites’
discourse, however, is too narrow, so the task of public citizenship is to expand the public space beyond the
‘expertocracy’ of bureaucrats who need to be made accountable within a wider democratic culture.
The discourse of the public citizen is criticized as non-effective and potentially subject to
manipulation by those who use it as a means to their end. However, some of its idealistic elements ask to be
defended in the permanent process of democratization. “The commitment to human rights needs an
environment of transparency (…), political accountability, a democratic culture and public participation.
This commitment requires governance which is decentralized and governance which encourages a ‘thick’
democracy.” 20 We shall keep the public citizen discourse values of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and
negotiation in mind when we turn to a discussion of the prospects and possible contribution of the Schools
for Europe as inspired by the Danish folkehøjskole format.
The second discourse operates with the independent citizen, someone who prefers the injustice of
the market over the injustice of the political process. The independent citizen does not operate with a vision

14
The first eight items draw from Turner’s list of radical democratic citizenship types listed in Isin, E.F. and P.K.
Wood, Citizenship and Identity, Sage, London 1999, p. 22
15
Oommen, T.K., Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity, Polity Press, Cambridge 1997, p. 224
16
Isin, E.F. and P.K. Wood, Citizenship and Identity, Sage, London 1999, p. 23
17
Mullard, M., ‘Discourses on citizenship: The challenge to contemporary citizenship’, in Bussemaker, J., (ed.),
Citizenship and Welfare State Reform in Europe, Routledge, London 1999, p. 12
18
The Nordic understanding of democracy contains a never-ceasing dialogue, consensus, and discussion. Bugge
puts it in opposition to the French, Italian or German understanding of democracy, where citizens are expected to
vote every fourth or fifth year and be obedient to the authorities in between. See Bugge, K.E., ‘Grundtvig’s
Educational Thinking’, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson (eds), Heritage and Prophecy.
Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1993, pp. 276-9 and Bugge, K.E.,
Skolen for Livet: Studier over N.F.S. Grundtvigs pædagogiske tanker, G.E.C. GADS Forlag, København 1965, p
367-8
19
Mullard, M., ‘Discourses on citizenship: The challenge to contemporary citizenship’, in Bussemaker, J., (ed.),
Citizenship and Welfare State Reform in Europe, Routledge, London 1999, pp. 14-15
20
Ibid, p. 23
- 15 -
of a good society – it is up to individuals to determine their life projects. There is an aspect of the
independent citizen in the co-citizen model drafted in the introduction; the skills to fulfill a life project are
considered important. Unlike the model, however, the discourse does not indicate how each life project’s
autonomy is defined and how mutual respect for others’ life projects is negotiated.
The discourse of the entitled citizen brings us closer to the reality in a developed welfare society
such as Denmark by emphasizing the commitment to the social dimension of citizenship. Letting the state
become responsible for substituting a plurality of social networks can result in shallow interpersonal
relationships and a lack of ability to monitor institutional discrimination. “The attempt to replace the
network of families, friendships, communities and neighbourhood through state-financed services has
created a vacuum where people feel that their duty starts and finishes with the taxes they pay and there is no
obligation to care for others as this is the responsibility of the state professionals and bureaucracies.” 21 This
social side-effect is clearly observable in Denmark, with all the negative psychological consequences
connected.
The discourse of the communitarian citizen emphasizes identity through an individual’s
attachment to a community. Abstract concepts are given meaning and value in the context of a shared
understanding, and the story of one’s life can be told as a story of one’s communities. Such approach can
provide a feeling of continuity, stability, and anchor but it can also lead to the exclusion of those who do not
traditionally belong to the historic in-group. For our further reference the shift from abstract to meaningful
is especially useful, together with a challenge of the homogeneous historical character of a community.
Mullard’s last discourse relates to the consumer citizen. His/her position in a world of continuing
changes in wishes and desires requires him/her to live with uncertainty and fear that cannot be prevented
neither by gaining a high level of education nor by reaching a certain social status. Personal identity is built
around consumer products. Phenomena such as unemployment are personalized and additional knowledge
and access to information do not ease the feeling of uncertainty. “We are sharing emotions with the rest of
humanity and yet being a global citizen sometimes proves to be too much, we cannot take in all the
emotions of the globe, while at the same time feeling powerless and hopeless.” 22 The co-citizen model aims
to combat such rootlessness by providing the consumer citizen (whose fragments are present in all the other
discourses) with positive alternatives to fear and nihilism.
None of Mullard’s discourses can be understood in isolation from the others and all of them
encompass a potential for emancipation. “The emancipated citizen has to be continuously recreated and re-
invented,” claims Mullard and concludes by a definition far from the traditional theoretical mainstream
analyzed above: “The citizen is the individual who has autonomy and choice, who can identify with a
plurality of identities, recognizing the right to be treated as different and unique, and willing to treat the
other with the same respect and dignity.” 23

In this subchapter we have briefly outlined the main theories of citizenship and pointed out the
essentially contested and dynamic character of the concept. It is necessary, however, to remind ourselves
that “[t]heories of citizenship had been advanced, in the tradition of Western political theory, by white,
heterosexual males who identified an homogenous citizenship through a process of systematic exclusion

21
Mullard, M., ‘Discourses on citizenship: The challenge to contemporary citizenship’, in Bussemaker, J., (ed.),
Citizenship and Welfare State Reform in Europe, Routledge, London 1999, p. 17
22
Ibid, p. 19
23
Ibid, p. 25
- 16 -
rather than inclusion in the polity.” 24 While this paper deals with multicultural citizenship only marginally
(see next subchapter), the co-citizen model aims to remain valid for each and every individual, however
disadvantaged he or she might be.

II.2. European Citizenship – Nothing but a Legal Term?


“Citizenship is an inert idea if those invested with the
status place no value on it or, which is worse, reject it
out of hand.” 25
Theories of citizenship provide a good introduction for the study of European citizenship. What is
the substance of ‘European’ in this case? How far does ‘Europe’ extend? Who belongs among ‘European
citizens’? Such questions logically come to mind and answers to them are less obvious than they might seem
at first sight. However, in this subchapter we will use a fairly narrow definition stemming from the process
of European integration. Such approach provides a good point of departure because of its legally defined
aspects that form an integral part of any citizenship discussion. We will move beyond the legally stated
when examining European identity and co-citizenship.
Long before the citizenship of the European Union became a reality, political scientists such as
Raymond Aron (1974) claimed that citizenship at a European level was not possible. Aron drew his
argument from the analysis of the development of the modern nation state, focusing on its recent
cohabitation with citizenship and disregarding that citizenship in fact predated the nation state.
Elizabeth Meehan (1993) refutes Aron’s argument without suggesting that EU citizenship should or
will replace member state citizenship. 26 She proposes three reasons: First, that the EU has developed much
in the direction unexpected by Aron; second, citizenship has evolved towards a multidimensional concept;
and third, the nation state and the EU belong to different periods, thus warranting different conceptions of
citizenship. She advocates that political loyalties should no longer be reduced exclusively to the level of
nation state and a decade of development since the publishing of her work suggests a cautious development
in that direction.
Citizenship theories as presented in the previous subchapter have a difficulty in capturing European
Union citizenship. They are being shaped and recombined in order to respond to the challenge posed by EU
citizenship. Bellamy criticizes Habermas’ theory of constitutional patriotism as an expression of
communitarian cosmopolitism, by which conflicts between European Union member states (MS) are being
sorted within the context of agreed procedures and norms stemming from fundamental rights. In its stead he
proposes the reverse combination of the two theoretical currents, i.e. cosmopolitan communitarianism. 27

24
Torres, C.A., Democracy, Education and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World,
Presidential Address to the Annual Meeting of the Comparative International Education Society (CIES), Buffalo,
New York, March 20, 1998, p. 7
25
Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 129
26
Examination and summary of Aron’s arguments and Meehan’s refutation is to be found in Meehan, E.,
Citizenship and the European Community, Sage, London 1993, pp. 3-6. Aron’s article was published as ‘Is
Multinational Citizenship Possible?’ in Social Research, no. 4, 1974
27
Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political Theory
in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000
- 17 -
By acknowledging the existence and sometimes conflicting interplay of multiple identities, he
advocates the need for multiple forms of citizenship, which would politically recognize such identities. 28
Bellamy’s opposition is directed towards an overarching post-national civic identity that is not on a par with
the other multiple identities. The introduction to the possible theoretical puzzles surrounding EU citizenship
will be expanded upon in later sections of this chapter dealing both with Habermas’ theories and the critical
views thereof.
The practical step of establishing a citizenship at the EU level was designed to “foster popular
support and allegiance to Union institutions and policies, in response to a perceived legitimacy deficit”, 29 to
30
“foster a sense of European identity among those belonging to the same political unit” and to “bring the
Union closer to ordinary people and provide it with the popular legitimacy that the post-Maastricht debates
subsequently confirmed it sorely lacked.” 31
The rationale described by the above quoted authors, however, proved to be unsubstantiated wishful
thinking and an insufficient impulse for a sudden emergence of European identity, institutional loyalty and
legitimacy. Developing Bellamy’s argument (inspired by Lefort who drew from Arendt), the mid-term
failure of the European citizenship project can be explained by the top-down approach used. Citizenship
consists of more that giving people rights without giving them the right to discuss the content and the
process of acquiring those rights. 32
The Citizenship of the European Union is established in the Treaty of European Union (TEU,
1993), Art. 8a-e. EU citizenship depends directly on MS citizenship – every person who is a national of a
Member State of the Union is also a Union citizen. Consequently, there is a very different formula for the
acquisition of Union citizenship (ius soli vs. ius sanguinis) and the power to grant or withdraw citizenship
remains fully within the authority of the MSs.
While duties of an EU citizen are referred to only vaguely, there are a number of spelled out rights
– both passive and active. 33 The first is a right to free movement and residence in other MS. The second
concerns the passive and active electoral right in local and European Parliament elections in the MS of
residence. The next right concerns diplomatic protection in a non-EU country by representatives of another
MS if one’s own MS is not represented. Last but not least, it is the right to petition the European Parliament
and the European Ombudsman. The somewhat less spectacular account of how the various articles are being
put into practice and transposed into national legislation is to be found in Weiler’s 1998 contribution to a
book titled European Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge. 34
What values and practices is the EU citizenship based upon? Since the voicing of the Copenhagen
criteria in 1993 and because of the connection between the accession of one’s country to the European
Union and that person’s attainment of EU citizenship status, we can say that a European Union citizen lives
in a functioning democracy with a market economy that complies with all the acquis communautaire.

28
Bellamy, R. and A. Warleigh, Cementing the Union: Civic nationalist and Cosmopolitan Globalist.
Conceptions of European Citizenship, University of Reading (undated, 2001 and/or later)
www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/lp/PolIR/EURCITFINAL.pdf, p. 13
29
Føllesdal, A., Union Citizenship: Unpacking the Beast of Burden, ARENA WP 01/9, Oslo
30
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
31
Bellamy, R., The ‘Right to have Rights’: Citizenship Practice and the Political Constitution of the European
Union, ESRC “One Europe or Several” Programme, Working Paper 25/01, p. 3
32
Ibid
33
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
34
Weiler, J., ‘European Citizenship – Identity and Differentity’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European Citizenship: An
Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998, pp.10-15
- 18 -
The direct link between the EU and its citizens is rather weak or formal. 35 Even this weak link
presented a source of fear for some defenders of the nation state, not to mention the suggestion of a more
liberal ius soli attached to European citizenship regardless of MS ascription of citizenship; which remained
a fantasy.
Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty (TEU, 1993) in a referendum and the Danish government
had to negotiate a number of exceptions that would appease the Danes in a subsequent new popular vote.
One of the four reservations related to the concept of European citizenship. The following declaration was
attached to the approved Maastricht Treaty. “Citizenship of the Union is a political and legal concept
entirely different from the concept of citizenship within the meaning of the Constitution of the Kingdom of
Denmark. Nothing in the treaty of European Union implies or foresees an undertaking to create a citizenship
of the Union in the sense of citizenship of a nation state.” 36
On one hand, this provision can be regarded as yet another sample of the Danish rebel state attitude.
On the other hand, without probably being quite aware of it, the Danes showed a somewhat visionary
approach in retrospect. As we will see below, citizenship of the EU paved the way for a new understanding
of citizenship, disconnected from nationality. Such notion in some aspects relates to the Nordic
understanding of democracy as active participation in public life and political discussions. To what degree
can this notion permeate (back) into the member states remains an open question.
The Amsterdam Treaty (1999) clarified the relationship between member state and Union
citizenship, maintaining that the role of Union citizenship was to complement that of the MS. The old worry
about multiple citizenships causing individuals to suffer from conflicting loyalties and split identities was
partially abandoned. “Union citizenship is explicitly a second citizenship, supplementing rather than
replacing citizenship in a Member State.” 37 In spite of that, the interaction between MS and EU citizenship
remains dynamic and unresolved.
While being a national of one of the MSs is an integral part of being European, that equation does
not apply to MS residents who do not have a full legal status. One of the leading theoreticians of
multicultural citizenship, Will Kymlicka, fears the institution of EU citizenship not because it could
dissolve the nation state but on the contrary – because it could allow the anti-multicultural states to further
pursue their discriminatory policies by redirecting their second-class citizens to the transnational level. In
his 1999 lecture Kymlicka voiced his concern by the following:
“I’m a little worried that the construction of, and the push for, European citizenship is sometimes
being offered as a remedy instead of the construction of a more inclusive conception of national
identity. (…) I think it would be a danger if people were pushing European citizenship as an
alternative to, rather than as a supplement to, what I think to be the much more important issue of
constructing immigrant multiculturalism (…).” 38
I understand Kymlicka’s argument and perceive it as a valid one in the European debate. However,
it presents a Canadian point of view based on a multicultural reality that is widely accepted there. Although
there are examples in the case of European continent that show some similar characteristics to Canada –
states with a majority plus regional and immigrant minorities – multicultural or post-national societies can’t

35
Jareño Alarcón, J., A Question on Liberal Citizenship, Universidad Católica de Murcia-UCAM,
http://www.hottopos.com/notand8/jareno.htm
36
Heater quotes Gardner in Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 131
37
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
38
Kymlicka, W., Immigrant Multiculturalism and Multi-nation Federalism. New challenges. A talk at the
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, June 1999
- 19 -
be advocated by attacking the nation state in Europe without paying attention to the sensitive nuances of
perception.
The redefinition of European states as multicultural societies (as much as they are a reality) could
cost more time and effort in comparison with achieving similar goals via a redefined European citizenship.
The redefinition process, however, must be inclusive and open, based on the defense of human rights of
each and every individual, not only a legal citizen.

To conclude this subchapter, I would like to return to the rationale behind establishing EU
citizenship. In 1988 the Commission noted that the European Parliament “has laid particular stress on
devising a policy which involves European citizens in the creation of a living Community and on
transforming the technocrats’ Europe into a people’s [read citizens’, i.e. citoyens] Europe.” 39 The question
cutting across this thesis is whether this ‘living Community’ consists of European citizens and if so,
whether they shouldn’t be brought together, to experience the ‘Living community’, with more fervor.
While the legal status of the EU citizenship has been described briefly and without drawing
attention to its shortcomings, there are authors who deal strictly with the legal concept and label it as
‘somewhat more difficult to explain’. The common ground for a further study of the dynamic character of
EU citizenship is that “the law facilitates this evolving notion of a European citizenship.” 40 Vranken, aware
of the legal complexities and referring to an evoked sense of belonging, very much equates the general
understanding of the concept of citizenship with that of identity, to which we now turn.

II.3. Identity Aspect of Citizenship – Citizenship Aspect of Identity


“We cannot say: here end my duties as a citizen and
begins my freedom as an individual. Those two
identities exist in a permanent tension that can never
be reconciled. But this is precisely the tension between
liberty and equality that characterizes modern
41
democracy.”
Identity is a complex concept with macro-social and micro-psychological components. Its Latin
root, idem, means sameness and continuity. 42 The essentialist understanding emphasizes the static and
unchangeable aspect of identity, while the psychodynamic and sociological view works with the invented
and constructed character of identity. Identity is based on a reflection of self within a social world through
communication and language. The self is indivisibly formed by a subjective, inner phase and by an outer,
socially determined one.
Identity is never built once and for ever. It is subject to continuous ‘identification’, “a process of
naming, of placing ourselves in socially constructed categories, with language holding a central position in

39
This statement comes from 1988, when the Commission noted European Parliament activity vis-à-vis the
citizenship policy. Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 126
40
Vranken, M., ‘Citizenship and the Law of the European Union’, in Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.),
Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, p. 26
41
Mouffe, C., ‘Democratic Citizenship and the Political Community’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical
Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 238
42
The definition of ‘identity’ is based upon the entry identity in Marshall, G., Oxford Dictionary of Sociology,
Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998
- 20 -
this process.” 43 Recent accounts of identity maintain that individuals possess multiple identities. The
correlation between and among these multiple identities remains contested.
There is an optimistic approach, stressing that people are more likely “to discover an inner self
which is not artificially imposed by tradition, culture or religion; and to embark upon quests for greater
individuality, self-understanding, flexibility, and difference”. Then there is a pessimistic one highlighting
“the loss of boundaries between self and culture, and the rise of the narcissistic personality.” In this
connection, sociologists see “a trend towards fragmentation, homelessness, and meaninglessness; and
bemoan the loss of authority in the public world through the growth of self-absorption and selfishness.” 44
Thinking back to Mullard’s citizen discourses, we can partly relate the individual citizen to the former, and
the consumer citizen to the latter.
Similarly to citizenship, there is therefore no clear concept of identity either. Generally, it is used to
describe one’s feelings and ideas about oneself as formed and influenced by playing social roles, in a
process of socialization. Admittedly, there is a degree of active will contained in the process of identity
formation. That is especially true of ‘national identity’, as the identity aspect of citizenship is often referred
to.
This simplification will be refuted throughout this thesis. Not only will we argue that nationality
and citizenship are not two sides of the same coin but we will also reject the perception of nationality as
something inborn as opposed to citizenship as a construction to surround nationality. “To be sure, existing
national identities are partly constructed identities, through processes of myth making and ‘inventions of
tradition’, as well as through conscious administrative and cultural policy.” 45
It is important, though, to acknowledge that a convincing argument must be built to bifurcate
nationality and citizenship and that practical measures have to be designed to substantiate the viability of
the theoretical proposals. The concept of identity, particularly national identity, operates with powerful
imagery of myth and memory in its conception of political community. 46 We will see whether and how this
legitimizing identity can be replaced with project identity. 47 It is also understandable, that specific
challenges will be caused by differences in acquisition of citizenship and the relative distance or closeness
of citizenship and nationality in different parts of Europe (e.g. Germany vs. United Kingdom). 48
What is then the relationship between identity and citizenship? Some authors see the two as
competing notions (identity as particular while citizenship as universal), other fear that questions of identity
eclipse those of citizenship and democracy . 49 Sometimes, identity and citizenship are used interchangeably.
Figure 1 represents a working model of the relationship between citizenship and identity:

43
Marshall, G., Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998
44
Ibid.
45
Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, p. 29
46
Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.), Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, p. 2
47
According to Jakob Erle, Manuel Castells distinguishes three kinds of identity – legitimizing identity,
resistance identity and project identity.
48
Oommen, T.K., Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity, Polity Press, Cambridge 1997, p. 241
49
See overview in Isin, E.F. and P.K. Wood, Citizenship and Identity, Sage, London 1999
- 21 -
citizenship identity
religion
legal status nationality
race
exclusiveness economic class
rights feeling of sexual orientation
state belonging gender
participation language
culture
territoriality political orientation
duties physique
institutions personal character

Mutual Influences

Figure 1 – Citizenship and Identity

The interplay between citizenship and identity is an intricate one. Both concepts have dynamic
components and we will operate with the premise that citizenship forms a part of identity and identity forms
a part of citizenship; both consisting of other elements as well and both being subject to numerous forces of
influence.
The intersection is a feeling that you belong to a civic community that you can also contribute to.
This thesis deals primarily with the learning processes that influence this feeling when we move beyond the
nation state. The actual contents of this segment of identity are defined as another process, to be examined
more closely when we speak of public sphere and co-citizenship.
The diagram presented above doesn’t confer more weight to either of the two main concepts. It is
the intersecting part that is the most substantial. A similar view is expressed indirectly by several authors,
who usually see the citizenship aspect of identity as unique among the other various identities.
Mouffe claims that citizenship as a political identity should be strictly distinguished from ethnic,
religious or racial identity; all the latter being subordinate to the former. 50 Heater also assigns citizenship a
special role. “Citizenship is one amongst many identities an individual will feel, but is distinguished by its
necessity for moral maturity, and by its potential to moderate the divisiveness of other identities – gender,
religion, race, class and nation.” 51
The cementing role of identity within a society is significant because it contributes to the trust
necessary between people for democratic procedures to work. The political unit that people live in is
something they (sooner or later, more or less) start to identify with and become loyal to. Under normal
circumstances they do not want to see that unit disappearing and do contribute to its survival, even defense
(examples of abnormal circumstances are the existence of a totalitarian or dictatorial regime, one’s
adherence to some extremist or separatist movement etc.).
Citizenship aspect of identity has the ability to bridge conflicting identities, which is a strength that
will be explored and suggested as helpful for the case of Europe. Using the words of Anne Philips:

50
Mouffe, C., ‘Democratic Citizenship and the Political Community’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical
Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992
51
Heater, D., Citizenship: The Civic Ideal in World History, Politics and Education, Longman, Harlow 1990, p.
184, quoted in Isin, E.F. and P.K. Wood, Citizenship and Identity, Sage, London 1999, pp. 3-4
- 22 -
“Citizenship often propels us towards an ideal of transcendence, a greater collectivity in which we
get beyond our local identities and concerns. When we are called upon to act as citizens, we are by
implication not acting simply as women or men, black or white, manual worker or professional,
homeowner or council tenant, however powerful these affiliations are that bind us to a particular
social definition or location.” 52

II.3.1. Member States as Mirrors for Civic Identity


Before we embark on a study of identity at the European level, it is useful to examine how civic
identity is shaped and expressed in regards to the individual member states. The main reason is that for the
time being, especially in the European context, the notion of civic identity has been usurped by the nation
state and in order to understand the process of identity formation it is indispensable to start by looking at
this basic political unit.
“The “tyranny” of the concepts and principles associated with the nation state, relate to how
sovereignty, identity, community, citizenship and democracy have all been tied to the notion of
state and made subject to the territorial logic of the state. The state is sovereign which means that it
controls a specific territory and those that inhabit that territory. The state as organization shapes
conceptions of community and identity in such a manner as to highlight national communities. Such
“imagined communities” are sustained by sovereign states which promote the development of a
sense of national allegiance and an exclusive notion of citizenship.” 53

Allegiance and loyalty towards a political community reflect the degree to which that given
community can satisfy its members – by granting rights, providing sufficient welfare and by reflecting their
values. The identity aspect of legitimacy, i.e. the influence of interaction between MS and the EU level on
the feeling of belonging, has a number of variables. Beetham and Lord operate with the following four,
suggesting why nationals of some states are more or less likely to identify with the European level:

(a) large and small states (combined with a core vs. periphery divide, both geographically and by their
length of membership, Germany vs. UK, Benelux vs. Scandinavia – the former with a higher support than
the latter)
(b) existence of divided national communities (Belgium, Italy, UK – Scotland and Wales, Spain –
Catalonia and the Basque Country, West Germany – all showing a higher support than either the country’s
average or, in case of West Germany, in absolute terms)
(c) histories (or periods) of state failure (war – first six MS, failing economy – upon UK entry, France at
times)
(d) national elite support (different spirit of the public discourse in Germany, France and UK). 54

52
Phillips, A., ‘Citizenship and Feminist Theory’ in Andrews, G. (ed.), Citizenship, Lawrence and Wishart,
London 1991, p. 81, quoted in Newman, M., Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union, Hurst &
Company, London 1996, p. 146
53
Anderson, B., Imagined Communities, Verso, London 1983, quoted in Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The
European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
54
Beetham, D. and C. Lord, ‘Legitimacy and the European Union’, in Weale, A. and Nentwich, M. (eds.),
Political Theory and the European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional choice and citizenship, Routledge, London
1998, p. 23-25
- 23 -
However interesting, this model provides only a general guidance that is time sensitive and
indefinite as to which variable takes precedence over the others. Apart from the second one, the model
perceives the nation state as the only actor in granting legitimacy, which is a level beyond which we have to
reach. At the same time, we need to operate more consistently within the sphere of citizen’s perceptions as a
basis for legitimacy rather than with categories pertaining to the study of foreign policy formulation.
What are then the variables influencing individual citizens’ support for Europeanization? As we
have noticed above, the principal measure is the performance of the MS vis-à-vis the policy preferences and
convictions of the citizen. Whenever they can be better satisfied at the EU level, the likelihood of support
for the EU is higher. 55 Europeanness in this sense is based upon complex political and economic
calculations. “(…) why is it that Mediterranean countries are clearly more pro-European than the
Scandinavian ones? Surely, it is not because citizens of the Mediterranean countries have a stronger sense of
European identity, but rather because their states (…) do not work as they would like.” 56 While in Spain the
accession to the EU was perceived as a step ahead, a chance, and a sign of international recognition after a
dictatorial past, in the case of Denmark is was an economic necessity with flawed decision making
mechanisms to be resisted.
We have already labeled Denmark as a small rebel state and that statement needs to be
substantiated. In the chapter dealing with the history of the folkehøjskole ( IV) we will see that “Danish
identity has been closely constructed around the idea of protecting the national territory against invasion” 57
and around inward strengthening in opposition to outward loss. Denmark of the late 20th and early 21st
century is a highly developed welfare state relying on politics of inclusion, public consultation, consensus,
and accountability. If the Danes are to believe in the advantages of integration, the EU needs to prove truly
efficient and benefiting. 58
Although keeping Denmark out of the integration process no longer seemed a viable possibility in
the 1970s, the Danish populace maintained a reserved and unceasingly critical position towards the
‘common market’ 59, which has been hard to comprehend in other parts of Europe. “The Danish self-
righteous, know-it-all, puritan attitude to many subjects must appear immensely incomprehensible to more
pragmatic Europeans with a Catholic background.” 60
Likewise, the position of Danish politicians who represent their country at the European discussion
tables is a difficult one because back home they have to face “a skeptical, doubting, democratic domestic
populace.” 61 Østergaard adds, quite self-critically, that Danes are convinced that all the ideal solutions to all
problems are to be found ‘in their backyard’.
This analysis leads to the following conclusions. First, Danish demands towards performance of the
EU institutions and reluctance to consent to their shortcomings have deep roots in the Nordic conception of
democracy that is defined by equality and consensual decision making based upon a long process of
deliberation. Issues that are elsewhere decided by elites are in Denmark subject to expert committee analysis
and subsequent wide public discussion. Rules and regulations conceived in such a process are generally

55
Saglie, J., ‘Values, Perceptions and European Integration’, European Union Politics, Vol. 1 (2): 227-249, 2000
56
Sánchez-Cuenca, I., ‘The Political Basis of Support for European Integration’, European Union Politics, Vol. 1
(2): 141-171, 2000
57
Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, p. 51
58
Sánchez-Cuenca, I., ‘The Political Basis of Support for European Integration’, European Union Politics, Vol. 1
(2): 141-171, 2000
59
Up until recently, Danes refused to call the European structures as anything else or more than “fællesmarkedet”
60
Østergaard, U., European Identity and the Politics of Identity, draft version, undated (2000 and/or later), p. 20
61
Ibid, p. 20
- 24 -
respected and adhered to. If the EU wants to become more than the sum of its parts, it could search for
inspiration in best practices of its member states. Here the diminishing of the ‘democratic deficit’ offers
itself as an example.
Second, legitimacy cannot be based on hollow support for abstract ideas or on selective selfish
calculation. More Europeans are ready to hear voices coming from countries such as Denmark, where there
are thirty years of experience with public discussion and referenda about key European issues: “Citizens’
involvement is basically about preventing once and for ever that a treaty is written more or less behind
closed doors and that citizens are brought to the debate after the text is written. (…) But criticism about the
lack of debate shouldn’t be directed only against the established political parties either. Citizens also have a
responsibility and have to send out signals that they are ready to contribute to the discussion.” 62
Third, if we move on to suggest that Denmark can contribute to democratization of Europe by
sharing its tradition of non-formal residential education of adults; we should keep in mind Østergaard’s
words about Danish confidence regarding having the best solutions. Sharing is a two-way road and if a
process of inspiration should render desired outcomes, the original model has to be subject to redefinition
by all the other participating parties. We will return to this point in more detail both in the chapter about the
folkehøjskole ( IV) and about the Schools for Europe (V).

The relationship between member state performance and support for European integration has been
identified as indirectly proportionate, i.e. the better the performance of the MS, the lower the support and
vice versa. This equation is a warning sign for the process of integration, which seems to be unable, in the
political field, to take advantage of the added value of a rich variety of traditions in policy and decision
making.
The virtual monopoly of the nation state over the concepts connected with democratic governance
is coupled by the nation state being perceived as a true political expression of the interests of a community.
However, as Anderson underlines, the nation is an imagined community, “because the members of even the
smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the
minds of each lives the image of their communion.” 63
This thesis deals with both ends of this argument. It claims that the suggested educational programs
can both enhance democratization at the European level and expand the notion of an imagined community
beyond the nation state. The two aspects, the feeling of belonging and of being able to contribute and make
a difference, are among the basic characteristics of a good life. What is the essence of the European hue in
this argument will be the focus of the following subchapter.

62
Nyt Europa’s åbne konvent for Europæisk Forfatning, www.nyteuropa.dk
63
Anderson, B., Imagined Communities, Verso, London 1991, quoted in Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU,
ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo, http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
- 25 -
II.4. Identity in Europe – European Identity?
“…Europe is not a body, or an institution, or a
mechanism. It is an idea, a vision of a peaceful and
prosperous continent, based on ever closer co-
operation between its peoples, and governed by a
common set of values of democracy, human rights and
the rule of law.” 64
“The problem of European identity derives from its lack of distinctiveness due to its
universalisation and the extension of European values and forms of life world-wide as well as the lack of
coincidence between the EU and the geographical framework of a European identity.” 65 Closa’s
introductory statement summarizes the main challenges connected to the concept of European identity – its
vague tangible content and blurry geographical delimitation. Unlike citizenship of the EU, European
identity has no binding legal document attached to it 66 and no such document would convince millions of
geographical Europeans to change their feelings according to it anyhow.
The accepted reality of multiple identities opened up some space for Europeanness among the other
feelings of attachment and belonging. While being a Polish-speaking white middle-class Catholic woman is
not that difficult to describe and analyze, being a European carries little additional information. In this
section we will try to get closer to the meaning of Europeanness without forcing any finite definition upon
the notion. After a broad introductory reflection we will focus on the role of the European Union as an actor
in the process of European identity formation.
Trying to be specific about the content of European identity would be an academic suicide,
especially if categories traditionally used for the description of a nation should be applied. There is a fairly
wide agreement about this in the recent debate about the existence and desirability of European identity.
Such awareness comes sometimes even in the form of a warning: “(…) a common space of
European peoples should be protected both from the chimera of an original common identity to be
reconstituted for the planned union, and from the phantasm of a unitary will to be forced out of nothing so
that a common politics should become possible.” 67 Tassin addresses two important issues – the
undesirability of searching in the past and the danger of artificial constructions for the future.
Attempts to define European identity in positive terms seem to reflect Tassin’s advice. They talk
about the ability to conceive and form a community of “equal concern and respect,” 68 about “a capacity to
tolerate considerable cultural diversity” 69 and about “permanent critical evaluation” 70 of the socialization

64
Schieder, P., ‘A better Europe’, The Europeans, issue 41, October 2003
65
Closa, C., ‘European Union Citizenship and Supranational democracy’, in Weale, A. and Nentwich, M. (eds.),
Political Theory and the European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional choice and citizenship, Routledge, London
1998, p. 177
66
A document about European Identity was issued in 1973 when the first enlargement of the EC took place. It
declared the readiness of the nine member states to continue the process of integration that is not directed against
any other actors but aims at building a united Europe. Černoch, P., Otázka národní a evropské identity ve vztahu
ke členství České republiky v Evropské unii, FSV UK, Praha 2001, p. 33
67
Tassin, E., ‘Europe: A Political Community?’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 188
68
Lehning, Percy B., European Citizenship: Towards a European Identity? Erasmus University (undated, 1998
and/or later) http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/eur/papers/works/euro_citizen.html
69
Morin, E., (ed.), Penser l’Europe, Gallimard, Paris 1987, quoted in García, S., ‘Europe’s Fragmented Identities
and the Frontiers of Citizenship’, in García, S. (ed.), European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter
Publisher, London 1993, p. 9
- 26 -
processes, as well as economic, political and juridical processes. As Morin emphasizes, no single element or
phase of the European cultural identity measures up with the “capacity for dialogue, both within societies
and between societies with different cultural perspectives, this ‘cross-fertilization’ between diversity,
opposites, competing forces, complementarities…” 71 Final report of the research project IDNET puts it
bluntly: being European can have different meanings “in terms of its ideological, territorial, political and
cultural and even religious connotations,” 72
Speaking about European identity is therefore not really about content but form; not so much about
substance as it is about procedure; it is less about objectives than it is about capacity and not about
uniformity but about tolerance of diversity. “Europe is not, and can never be, anything but a process, and
cannot be a finished product.” 73
Is all that enough for anyone to feel European? Is there an agreement about who Europeans are?
What is the meaning of ‘European’? Who is still in and who is already out? Is Europeanness connected
strictly to the EU? Are Swiss not European? And Austrian nationalists? Can a Turkish German be
European? And a French Guyanese? The number of questions surmounts the answers offered.
This thesis operates with a simple premise – collective identity, such as the European one, cannot
be discovered; it has to be collectively formulated. The European Union and Europe at large (roughly in the
scope of the territory of the member states of the Council of Europe) are frameworks that can facilitate a
discussion about Europeanness. European identity rests within those who feel European; it has to be
negotiated and given substance in a process of dialogue among Europeans. Democratization at the trans-
national level, reform of the institutions, and improved performance of the political structures can enhance
the formation of European identity but the possibility for Europeans to meet each other cannot be replaced
by the above listed processes. On the contrary, these processes are threatened if they are not supported by a
mature polity.
A useful tool for assessing the prospects of European identity formation is the “intercultural
iceberg”. An iceberg has a small visible part above the water surface while its bigger part remains hidden
under water. The cultural iceberg points out that something similar is true about culture, about people’s
lifestyle, taste, values and attitudes. The visible things (cuisine, fashion, body language, art etc.) form a
smaller part of any given culture. The invisible things need to be discovered over time and they relate to
notions such as perception of hierarchy, approach to conflicts and their resolution, time management, gender
equality, generational divide etc.
Europeanness should be based upon the readiness, skills and desire to negotiate segments of the
bottom part without necessarily “melting” the upper part. The key task is to find common will and rules for
going through such a process. There is evidence that European elites have gone a long way in this direction
already. Negotiations take place; they often stumble, go on crooked paths, halt and are renewed. But there
are no signs that someone would prefer to resort to war. That is, especially bearing history in mind, a great
achievement and a solid base from which European identity can flourish.

70
Closa, C., ‘Supranational Citizenship and Democracy: Normative and Empirical Dimensions’, in La Torre, M.
(ed.), European Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998, p. 427
71
Morin, E., (ed.), Penser l’Europe, Gallimard, Paris 1987, quoted in García, S., ‘Europe’s Fragmented Identities
and the Frontiers of Citizenship’, in García, S. (ed.), European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter
Publisher, London 1993, p. 9
72
Risse, T. and M.L. Maier, (eds.), Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public Discourses (IDNET), Final
Report, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 2003, p. 17
73
Østergaard, U., European Identity and the Politics of Identity, draft version, undated (2000 and/or later), p. 17
- 27 -
The amazement over this fact has been overshadowed by two phenomena. I would call the first one
“the invisible added-value syndrome”. It is exemplified by the following account:
“The sheer number of these minorities and the vitality of these divided ethnies and their unique
cultures has meant that ‘Europe’ itself, a geographical expression of problematical utility, has
looked pale and shifting beside the entrenched cultures and heritages that make up its rich mosaic.
Compared with the vibrancy and tangibility of French, Scots, Catalan, Polish or Greek cultures and
ethnic traditions, a ‘European identity’ has seemed vacuous and nondescript, a rather lifeless
summation of all the peoples and cultures on the continent, adding little to what already exists
(…)” 74

The “invisible added-value syndrome” prevents us from seeing enrichment, positive challenge and
life’s intensity in the possibility of being different while being connected. In the case of the EU this
connection is often interpreted as becoming uniform, as being stripped of uniqueness, and having to subdue.
Chances for making the added-value visible are scarce and reserved only to few.
The second phenomenon can be called the “leaking-tank limousine syndrome”. It relates even
more directly to the EU that is represented by a limousine transporting all those who are involved in the
policy making processes in Brussels and other ‘EUropean’ towns. There are arguments taking place inside
but there are also moments when the whole group rejoices upon the beauty of the countryside. But mainly,
as the trip progresses, they are all becoming somehow fond of each other, if not by anything else, then by
virtue of the time spent together and the range of experiences during the trip.
People along the road are ordinary Europeans who are suspicious of those sitting behind the dark
windows. They envy them the limousine, the trip and the assumed champagne and they are angry that they
must pay contributions to such obscure trips of a limousine that has a leaking tank, thus leaving marks on
the local roads.
The problem here is obvious – the European carriage needs to be an open one with a possibility for
passers-by to hop on and off, to meet people from the other villages along the road, to tell them a bit about
life and hear about theirs, to enjoy the view and last but not least, to tell the driver which way to go.
By way of these two metaphoric examples I wanted to stress that for Europeans to engage in
European affairs, thus giving substance to Europeanness, they need to be offered a chance to enjoy Europe
along with fellow Europeans. Once they gain positive feelings (there is little doubt about that) they will be
more likely to show positive approach and initiative; they will care. It would be naïve to expect anyone to
do so only because of a legally stipulated right or attachment to some lofty ideal.
European identity, when noticeable, is often expressed as ‘negative’ identity. Europe in that sense
is characterized and defined in contrast to something else. This negative identity is formed when contact
between Europeans and non-Europeans takes place and a sense of cultural Europeanness emerges. However,
this form of identity is limited to a small segment of population, it tends to be shallow and intolerant, and it
certainly does not translate into enthusiasm or at least loyalty towards the European community.
Discussion about European identity often leads to a tentative conclusion that there is no such thing
as Europeanness, if we don’t count with a mere geographical point of view. But because identity deals with
self-perception, this conclusion must be rejected immediately. As long as there are people who feel

74
Smith, A.D., Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era. Polity Press, Cambridge 1995, quoted in Kumar, K.
Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference contribution –
Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-2_kumar.doc, p. 9
- 28 -
European and especially groups of people who have managed to form a collective feeling of Europeanness,
we must continue searching.
We have seen that national identity and solidarity are derived from an imagined feeling of
community. Trust in “each other’s ways of doing things” 75 is a necessary prerequisite for such a feeling.
Føllesdal presents an extensive examination of the need for trust to ensure a stable political order, which can
then, in exchange, enhance the feeling of community thus contributing to identity formation.
Føllesdal claims that individuals have to reach a point of trusting in “impersonal reciprocity”.
Secondly, individuals need to establish a closer contact and “shape institutions that in turn shape them.”
Behavior based on calculation can then give way to socialized behavior that is considered “obvious and
appropriate”. He continues by analyzing the role of trust in the case of the veto power and in processes of
negotiation, bargaining, domestication of European law and institutional reform. Føllesdal concludes by
saying that “Europeans must have reason to believe that they all comply with common laws, and that their
new institutions and rules deserve compliance.” 76
Føllesdal presents an interesting case of a normative argument with few or no practical suggestions
or hints. While I can subscribe to his call for more trust, I would be very careful about not qualifying the
word trust. Trust cannot be blind; it has to be a well-informed, constantly renovated trust. Impersonal
reciprocity cannot rest upon hope and assumptions of altruism. It has to be negotiated, agreed upon and
somewhere down the road substantiated by a conviction that we are part of one whole. In the parts dealing
with learning and with co-citizenship we will argue that a personal encounter among Europeans can be the
necessary catalyst.

In this subchapter we have tried to point out the contested character of the notion of European
identity and to offer a specific view upon it, which reflects the development of the argument in this thesis.
The connection between European integration process and identity formation is undeniable and the role of
the legal citizenship of the EU shouldn’t be underestimated. However, Europeans cannot renounce the
search for the core of their identity by not taking an active part in its formation.
The general agreement is that Europeanness is in the process of making and it is a challenge for
everybody concerned. Some may argue that European identity is a generational matter – those who are
growing up under the European flag and with European issues in the daily press will take Europeanness as
something natural. I would argue that there is a certain danger in that contention – European identity has to
be a matter of a personal experience and a matter of context. The readiness for abstraction and for
impersonal reciprocity has to be complemented by basic human feelings of care, concern, empathy and trust.

II.4.1. Zero-Sum, Multiple Identities and Marble Cake


The existence of multiple identities has been already pronounced. The aim of this section is to
examine how the various identities interact, focusing especially on the position of European identity.
Zero-sum 77 is a formula describing the result of a process by which one growing variable replaces a
second diminishing variable so that the result is quantitatively equal to the initial situation. Zero-sum is also

75
Reif, K., ‘Cultural Convergence and Cultural Diversity as Factors in European Identity’, in García, S. (ed.),
European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993, p. 131
76
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
77
Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.), Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, p. 14, Parks, J.,
Sub-State Identities and the European Union: A Two-Way Flow of Legitimacy, British Council Essays (undated,
- 29 -
used in the case of multiple identities, claiming that an increase in the feeling of Europeanness must lead to
a decrease in the feeling of nationality.
Zero-sum can be criticized on many grounds. First, it gives precedence to some identities over
others that remain outside of the formula. If we brought them in, we could claim that becoming European
could in some cases make us less of a woman, which can in no way be substantiated. Second, zero-sum
(similarly to the “invisible added-value syndrome”) doesn’t recognize that identities can be cumulative and
mutually reinforcing, rather than contradictory. Third, zero-sum suggests that there is a limited space to be
filled up by our identities and fourth, it denies the prospect for a qualitative change of the elements that
form our unique personal identity.
Zero-sum approach is in fact mentioned only negatively in academic debate. Those who are its
proponents do not declare that; they do not identify with the term. But common examples of the use of zero-
sum are questionnaires that force respondents to choose whether they feel more national than European or
vice versa. 78 Such surveys, instead of giving a fuller image of Europeans’ opinions and feelings (thus
enhancing their feeling of being heard even at the European level) lead to their perception that they have to
choose; that identities are a matter of an “either-or” formula.
Multiple identities, in their non-mutually-exclusive understanding, are perceived to interact in
several different ways. Kumar speaks of “nested” identities and emphasizes the pioneer role of migrants and
migrant communities who have started to use the freedom to “select in composing their identities – and to
recompose them at a later date.” 79 He perceives this process as leading the way to the emerging post-
national identity ( II.5.1 ).
Holmes and Murray also call for recognition of multiple identities and not merely the spatial ones.
The reason being that exclusivity precludes recognition of uniqueness as composed by a mosaic of various
identities. The final outcome can be “increased tolerance upon recognition of own uniqueness and worth” 80
and reduced fear of the unknown and different. “[I]t is when these qualities are either not recognized or else
insufficiently acknowledged that people band together to exclude ‘others’, since at least single identity
groups can demand recognition.” 81
However, there are authors who perceive full recognition of multiple identities as challenging.
Heater warns against psychological uprooting in cases of “not having a single one loyalty, not a society
based on identifiable common, especially linguistic, culture, and a strong historical narrative and myths.” 82
Such challenge can be multiplied when various identities conflict with each other (religion with sexual
orientation, party allegiance with opinions about the EU etc.). Heater’s admonition is worth heeding.

1999 and/or later), Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm, Delanty, G., Citizenship in a global age: Society, culture,
politics, Open University Press, Buckingham 2000, p. 120 and others.
78
A typical example is a survey whose results were incomparable when there was one option only and when
there were several: “Français avant d’être européens - Lorsqu’ils ne peuvent donner qu’une seule réponse, les
jeunes interrogés sont peu nombreux à se dire européens. À peine un sur 20 au total, et tout juste un sur 10 chez
les lycéens, la catégorie la plus en pointe sur ce sujet. Dans les esprits au moins, l’idée d’une citoyenneté
européenne commune semble donc une hypothèse encore lointaine. Pourtant, lorsqu’ils peuvent cumuler
plusieurs appartenances, plus d’un jeune sur quatre choisit alors de se définir aussi comme un Européen.”
Castagnet, M., http://www.la-croix.com/article/index.jsp?docId=994773&rubId=788 November 11, 2003.
79
Kumar, K. Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference
contribution – Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-
2_kumar.doc, p. 13
80
Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.), Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, p. 14
81
Ibid.
82
Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 151
- 30 -
On the other hand, in the case of European identity formation, the acceptance of other types of
identity presents an opportunity. “Contemporary patterns of identity-politics stimulate claims and claimants
that pursue gender-based, ethnic, regional and other modes of identification that bear no resemblance to
national identity.” 83 Meehan adds that integration enables people who share identities but not nationality to
form vertical networks that can later be integrated into the horizontal structures of common institutions.
Meehan summarizes the challenge vs. opportunity dilemma by the following:
“While the complexity of this framework is intimidating in the demands it makes on finding our
way around the European public space, it can provide many openings for challenging authority, for
expressing our various loyalties associated with our various identities, and for expressing our rights
and duties in more than one arena.” 84
The most relevant metaphor for the interplay of various identities is offered in the final report of the
research project IDNET. The formation of European identity is understood within the wider context of
processes such as globalization on one hand and fragmentation and atomization on the other. The
appearance of hybrid identities is compared to a “marble cake”. This model sees identities as neither
nested, nor cross-cutting but rather intertwined, mashing and blending. 85
The formation of new identities is described by Soysal and by Kumar who speaks of second-
generation immigrants in Europe, who will combine the identities of their home and host societies together
with an emerging post-national one, based on universal human rights. 86 The “marble cake” perception of
identities in Europe is further supported by Fossum in his claim that “territorially as well as non-territorially
based identities compete with the national ones as well as the (emerging) European one.” 87 We now turn to
examine how the European Union performance can enhance or hinder the “success” of European identity in
this friendly competition.

II.4.2. Identity vis-à-vis European Union Performance


“Something is in place not simply because it has
existed for a while but also because it appeals to
something that people can relate to and can support.
Therefore, to understand the stability and longevity of
the EU, it is necessary to clarify what are the ‘virtues’
of the EU system that contribute to its stability.” 88
The European Union is used as a frame of reference in this section, although European identity is
clearly not limited to the territory of the EU member states or to the citizens of the EU. The reason is
threefold. First, the formally declared citizenship at the EU level allows us to work with a category that

83
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
84
Meehan, E., Citizenship and the European Community, Sage, London 1993, p. 159, quoted in Newman, M.,
Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union, Hurst & Company, London 1996, p. 150
85
Risse, T. and M.L. Maier, (eds.), Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public Discourses (IDNET), Final
Report, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 2003, p. 3
86
Kumar, K. Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference
contribution – Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-
2_kumar.doc, p. 13
87
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
88
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
- 31 -
warrants some connected existence of identity. Second, formal institutions and identity (cultural as much as
civic) mutually influence and reinforce each other. 89 Third, democratization of the union mechanisms
requires identity formation and vice versa. 90
The symbolic perception of Europe through its flag, anthem and euro banknotes and the factual
reality of EU institutions, legal system, political and economic negotiations relate to whether and how
Europeans feel European. The way citizens perceive the performance of the EU influences its legitimacy in
their eyes and the trust they are ready to confer. At the same time, citizenship requires rather than fosters
trust. 91 This leads us to a chicken and egg dilemma – will European integration create a European identity or
is European identity a precondition for the existence of a European democracy?
European integration has been an elite-driven project. The process of actor socialization has had as
its effect the shift of loyalties and identifications of those who are actively involved in the policy-making
process such as bureaucrats and politicians. 92 Their daily mutual interaction leads them to develop new
perspectives. They gain a sense of European identity because the reality of their life is a European reality –
with colleagues from many other countries and European issues on the work desk. While the integration
process was certainly not built upon shared identity, in the case of elites it has obviously been identity
generating.
The history of EU performance perception among the citizenry of the MS can be divided into three
phases. Permissive consensus was characteristic for the early decades of integration. The process was seen
as a part of the economic aspect of foreign policy and was supported as such. 93 The breakdown of the
permissive consensus came in the early 1990s when the political aspects of integration led to the increased
demand of democratization at the EU level. The existence of democratic deficit has been the wide-spread
perception of EU performance since then.
The third phase can be assigned to that of a post-national citizenship and identity formation.
While permissive consensus was based on the perception of the EU structures as something external, thus
impossible to influence; the democratic deficit has been characterized by acknowledging that the EU has
entered the daily lives of its citizens without them starting to feel that they can have an impact on its
policies. The current efforts often labeled as “citizens’ Europe” should lead to increased participation,
transparency, legitimacy and thus identification with the EU.
In the following chapters we will deal with the learning aspects of the above mentioned process. At
this point, we can suggest four complementary measures to the solutions offered. First, we mustn’t cease to
underline that the EU is a different entity than a nation state. Perception-wise, that can appease the
defenders of the nation state and at the same time it will allow the proponents of deeper integration to
continue designing a mixed system of intergovernmental, supranational and post-national institutions.

89
Amato, G. and J. Batt, The Long Term Implications of EU Enlargement: Culture and National Identity,
European University Institute, RSC Policy Paper no. 99/1
90
Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, p. 58
91
Føllesdal, A., Union Citizenship: Unpacking the Beast of Burden, ARENA WP 01/9, Oslo
92
Laursen, F., Theories of European Integration – Background paper for lecture on “European Integration:
What and Why?”, The Graduate Institute of European Studies, Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan, March
2002, p. 7
93
Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.), Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999, p. 19, Reif, K.,
‘Cultural Convergence and Cultural Diversity as Factors in European Identity’, in García, S. (ed.), European
Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993, p. 133
- 32 -
Similarly, the term ‘democratic deficit’ will cease to be relevant because the traditional point of reference
will be absent in the relevant category. 94
95
Second, although the degree of legitimacy of the EU rests greatly upon its effectiveness, the
perception thereof is a matter of internalization. Citizens need to feel that there are methods and channels
through which they can influence EU’s performance thus contributing to its effectiveness. They also need to
bear their share of responsibility. There are various suggestions on how to achieve that and the creation of
political identity is a key prerequisite. 96 We have seen that MS performance is an important factor here and
so is the rhetoric used by statesmen who often seem to wear more than one hat at a time, depending on the
context.
The pressure to be exerted on the politicians, the third measure, must be directed against the lack of
clarity in European affairs discourses. European integration has been partially built on the ambiguity of
terms – everyone can subscribe to the principle of subsidiarity while no one really knows what it means in
practice. 97 Hiding behind complexity leads to the conviction that there is a democratic deficit. To move
beyond it, we must not be afraid of conflicting opinions. Even if the final agreement should be the same
complicated mixed system currently in place, the process of reaching it needs to be purified.
Fourth, by which we foreshadow the expanded argument in the learning chapters, there must be
conditions provided for an unconstrained common debate among citizens. 98 “From a normative point of
view legitimacy can only be achieved in a deliberative, public process between free and equal citizens. This
is so because what is common will have to be decided in public and not prior to it.” 99

This subchapter has dealt with questions of identity in Europe. It introduced the concept of multiple
identities while linking the emerging feeling of Europeanness to the perception of EU’s performance by its
citizens and to their access to the discussion fora that influence it. It should remain clear that Europe needs
to develop in both directions. Democratization of representative institutions of the EU must be combined
with increased opportunities for its citizens and other Europeans to engage in a public debate about
European issues. 100 The two are required to ensure democratic legitimacy. 101

II.5. Jürgen Habermas


The teaching and theories of Jürgen Habermas (born in 1929) have directly or indirectly inspired a
great part of this thesis. Numerous authors dealing with concepts of citizenship and identity either draw
from or react to Habermas in their writings. As for the Danish connection, it will become obvious that some

94
Eriksen and Fossum speak of “democratic surplus” or a “full democratic order” as terms that point out the
contestable validity of “democratic deficit”. Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national
Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo, http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm,
95
Amato, G. and J. Batt, The Long Term Implications of EU Enlargement: Culture and National Identity,
European University Institute, RSC Policy Paper no. 99/1, Florence
96
See for example Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, pp.
38-39
97
Katz, R.S. ‘Models of Democracy: Elite Attitudes and the Democratic Deficit in the European Union’,
European Union Politics, vol. 2, no.1, 2001, p. 75
98
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
99
Eriksen, E.O., The Question of Deliberative Supranationalism in the EU, ARENA WP 99/4, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_4.htm
100
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
101
Eriksen, E.O., The Question of Deliberative Supranationalism in the EU, ARENA WP 99/4, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_4.htm
- 33 -
of Habermas’ ideas have been put in practice in Denmark – such as a deliberative approach to politics. His
normative views resonate in the works of Claus Haas, Ove Korsgaard and are an underlying tenet of the
Association for Community Colleges whose chairman, John Petersen, studied Habermas and introduced his
ideas to the author of this thesis.
Jürgen Habermas is a leading philosopher, sociologist and political thinker belonging to the
Frankfurt School. It is somewhat daring to try to summarize some of his theories and understandings of
large concepts into a few paragraphs. However, it would be even more daring not to acknowledge his
influence upon the thoughts expressed in other chapters of the thesis. While Habermas is not always the
original author of the listed concepts and theories, he has been their ardent advocate. Habermas’ views
provoke a wide range of reactions and it is necessary to state that it is beyond the scope and purpose of this
thesis to evaluate neither Habermas, nor his critics. Habermas clearly contributes to the opening up of issues
that are contested and to a subsequent debate about them.
Habermas has not lent his name to any of the solutions offered in the chapter about Schools for
Europe (V), just as N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872; IV.1.1) could have never envisaged being referred to as a
source of inspiration (however indirect) for a Europe-wide learning initiative. The combination of
Grundtvig’s educational methods and Habermas’ political theories, however, seems unavoidable and natural
in the context of this thesis.

II.5.1. Post-National Identity


Post-national identity is a type of political identity, which doesn’t deny the existence of ethnic or
national identity – it only depoliticizes it. It is based on the recognition of constitutionally entrenched
democratic values and universal human rights, not nationality. 102 Post-national identity is attached to post-
national citizenship, which is both externally and internally diversified. Its boundaries are non-exclusionary
and fluid and there is a plurality of membership forms. 103 In practice that means that non-nationals have a
right of belonging and so do those without a full legal status.
Post-national identity is also called a ‘thin’ identity 104, meaning that it provides a framework for a
variety of other, multiple, identities. It cannot and doesn’t aim to replace the ‘thick’ cultural and ethnic
identities and it needs to be seen as a distinct notion from that of national identity. 105 It can be understood
more as an acknowledgement of the ‘rules of the game’ and acceptance of procedures 106, which have to be
fair, efficient and respectful of diversity.
The critical remarks towards the concept of post-national identity, which will be examined, do not
include those that reject the notion out of hand, without any substantiation. The remainder revolves around
one aspect of post-national identity – its difficulty to be put in practice. The concept is seen as attractive not

102
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
103
Soysal, Y.N., ‘Changing Citizenship in Europe: Remarks on postnational membership and the national state,
in Cesarani, D. and M. Fulbrook (eds.), Citizenship, Nationality and Migration in Europe, Routledge, London
1996, p. 22-23
104
Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, p. 58 and Amato, G.
and J. Batt, The Long Term Implications of EU Enlargement: Culture and National Identity, European University
Institute, RSC Policy Paper no. 99/1, Florence
105
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
106
Amato, G. and J. Batt, The Long Term Implications of EU Enlargement: Culture and National Identity,
European University Institute, RSC Policy Paper no. 99/1, Florence
- 34 -
only at an academic level but also when it comes to the inclusion of such marginalized groups as migrants.
Its realization, however, is perceived as wishful thinking and thus not the leading solution that Europe
should rely on. 107
The dilemma of what needs to be first, whether demos or democracy has already been addressed in
the previous subchapter. It comes back now in the form of a question about how it will be possible for post-
national identity to emerge if it relies on a democratic definition of membership, which cannot take place
108
unless there is a democratic polity, which needs to be defined democratically…and so on. The counter-
argument is that we can never speak in absolute terms and that there are both a small egg and a small
chicken already existing. Also, reference to the fluid boundaries and pluralistic membership helps to address
this criticism.
The most interesting critical point for our purposes emphasizes that “the existence of a pre-
politically defined population that already possesses the basic cognitive capacity and emotional commitment
to participate productively in collective decision-making” 109 should not be taken for granted. That is a valid
point, which is backed up by the reference to the lack of civic dimension as a source of post-national
community-building 110 with a special accent on the educational aspects.
Cederman consequently rehabilitates post-nationalism under the condition that European themes
become part of formal curricula, language instruction is improved and a “supply of European identity is
secured.” 111 The following chapters address this call with a specific proposal pertinent to the learning aspect
of post-national identity formation. They also reflect Fossum’s challenge to the desirability of copying the
traditional nation state socializing mechanisms (formal school system) by offering an alternative option –
non-formal learning. 112

II.5.2. Constitutional Patriotism


Constitutional patriotism is the normative content of post-national identity. 113 It is a sense of
allegiance based on democratic constitutional principles, popular sovereignty and human rights. 114 It
recognizes democratic citizenship as the guarantee of preferred forms of life; that is liberal, political, social
and cultural rights 115 and shared civic values. It separates nationality from citizenship, so that citizenship is

107
Kumar, K. Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference
contribution – Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-
2_kumar.doc, p. 23
108
Sánchez-Cuenca, I., ‘The Political Basis of Support for European Integration’, European Union Politics, Vol.
1 (2): 141-171, 2000
109
Cederman, L.-E., Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European Demos,
European University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence, p. 22
110
Ibid., p. 20
111
Ibid., p. 26
112
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
113
Delanty, G., Citizenship in a global age: Society, culture, politics, Open University Press, Buckingham 2000,
p. 115
114
Habermas, J., ‘Citizenship and National Identity’ in van Steenbergen, B. (ed.), The Condition of Citizenship,
Sage, London 1994, p. 28
115
Based on Habermas’ article – ‘Why does Europe Need a Constitution?’ in Closa, C., ‘European Union
Citizenship and Supranational democracy’, in Weale, A. and Nentwich, M. (eds.), Political Theory and the
European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional choice and citizenship, Routledge, London 1998, p. 179
- 35 -
non-exclusive and it separates political culture from national and ethnic origins. 116 However, political
culture in this context is anchored in recognition of the principle of multiculturalism. 117
The simple confirmation of universal principles and values seems abstract but it requires emotional
attachment, which is embedded in a particular context. That can be object of passionate identities. This
particular context shapes the procedures so that they become self-reflective and responsive to contextual
changes. 118 The notion is forward looking 119, overarching and universal, and it embraces the diversity of
European cultural identities. 120
Constitutional patriotism has been criticized on many grounds. In the case of Europe, the first
obvious flaw is the non-existence of a constitution to adhere to. Until there is a constitutional document, the
theory of constitutional patriotism cannot pass the allegiance forming test. 121 It can then be derided as “thin-
blooded patriotism grounded in abstract cosmopolitan principles.” 122 The current negotiations about the
Constitutional Treaty might resolve this issue.
Additionally, the circularity of the argument 123 has been pointed out. How can constitutional culture
be a common denominator 124 making constitutional patriotism possible while at the same time being its end
product? This argument is certainly worth heeding, however, in practice we know that constitutional
patriotism will not appear in a vacuum. There is a raw political culture that needs to be cultivated and
constantly improved along the lines of democratic constitutional principles.
The third set of critical remarks claims that agreement on procedures 125 and individual rights is
insufficient to integrate a political community 126, to define which community we should be loyal to 127, and
to generate the necessary mutual trust of its members. In this case, we need to be aware of the importance of
a particular context, in this case the European space. The distinction between “what we owe each other as
human beings and what we owe each other as fellow citizens” of the same polity has to be defined. 128

116
Referring to Habermas in Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London
1998, p. 42
117
Referring to Habermas in Oommen, T.K., Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity, Polity Press, Cambridge
1997, p. 241
118
Fossum, J.E., The European Charter – Between deep Diversity and Constitutional Patriotism?, CIDEL -
ARENA Working Paper 5/03, Oslo, p. 4
119
Beetham, D. and Lord, C., Legitimacy and the European Union, Longman, London 1998, p. 43 and Kumar, K.
Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference contribution –
Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-2_kumar.doc, p. 9
120
Habermas, J., ‘Citizenship and National Identity’ in van Steenbergen, B. (ed.), The Condition of Citizenship,
Sage, London 1994, p. 27 and Risse, T. and M.L. Maier, (eds.), Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public
Discourses (IDNET), Final Report, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 2003, p. 8
121
Fossum, J.E., The European Charter – Between deep Diversity and Constitutional Patriotism?, CIDEL -
ARENA Working Paper 5/03, Oslo, p. 12
122
Bauböck, R., Citizenship and National Identities in the European Union, Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper
No. 4/97 http://www.jeanmonnetprogram.org/papers/97/97-04-.html
123
Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political
Theory in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 101
124
For political culture as a common denominator see Habermas, J., ‘Citizenship and National Identity’ in van
Steenbergen, B. (ed.), The Condition of Citizenship, Sage, London 1994, p. 27 and Lehning, Percy B., European
Citizenship: Towards a European Identity? Erasmus University (undated, 1998 and/or later)
http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/eur/papers/works/euro_citizen.html
125
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
126
Bauböck, R., Citizenship and National Identities in the European Union, Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper
No. 4/97 http://www.jeanmonnetprogram.org/papers/97/97-04-.html
127
Ibid.
128
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 15
- 36 -
Likewise, the argument that a heterogeneous public sphere is unlikely to produce a unified and
homogeneous European political system 129 is a critical point that jumps ahead of time. A basic agreement,
reached within a pan-European public sphere, is one of the contributing elements of constitutional
patriotism. A similar answer can be given to another doubtful question: Which constitutional tradition out of
the many present in a post-national polity should be adopted while remaining neutral? 130 The answer cannot
be predefined; it has to come from the deliberative constitutional process based on equality and respect for
diversity. That, of course, is a challenging endeavor and worthy of a wide public debate.

II.5.3. Deliberative Democracy


We have previously mentioned the notions of thick or Nordic democracy, and deliberative
understanding of democracy shows some similar characteristics. It also complements the post-national view
of citizenship and democracy and fills in constitutional patriotism with procedural content. Habermas is not
the sole author of the concept but he has refined some of its parts.
Elster defines deliberative democracy as collective decision making “with the participation of all
who will be affected by the decision or their representatives (…) by means of arguments offered by and to
participants who are committed to the values of rationality.” 131
Deliberative democracy is based on communicative action, i.e. the actions that result in reasonable
dialogue, and requires ideal speech situation where the best argument wins on the basis of having convinced
others who thus change their opinion. 132 Arguing is superior to bargaining and voting – there are new
opinions being formed, not existing ones being traded. Modern pluralistic societies cannot easily agree on a
common understanding of ‘good’ 133, so instead of discovering a common good, it is being created from the
most ‘right’ 134 argument.
The goal of deliberative democracy is an agreement, consensus. In the case that citizens or their
representatives do not agree, they need to continue deliberating until they reach a mutually acceptable
decision. The possible result that they cannot agree is also valuable because it leads to a better
understanding of each other’s positions. 135 It can be expected, though, that if people talk long enough under
the right conditions, they are likely to reach an agreement. 136

129
Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political
Theory in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 101
130
Bauböck, R., Citizenship and National Identities in the European Union, Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper
No. 4/97 http://www.jeanmonnetprogram.org/papers/97/97-04-.html
131
Elster, J., ed., Deliberative Democracy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998, p. 8
132
Cederman, L.-E., Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European Demos,
European University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence
133
Eriksen, E.O., The Question of Deliberative Supranationalism in the EU, ARENA WP 99/4, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_4.htm
134
Ibid.
135
Gutmann A. and D. Thompson, Democracy and Disagreement, Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 1, quoted
in Znoj, M., ‘Cesta od normativní teorie demokracie k teorii procedurální a zpět’, in Habermas, J., Shapiro, I.,
Teorie demokracie dnes, Filosofia, Praha 2002, p. 8
136
Shapiro, I., ‘Teorie demokracie: současný stav’, in Habermas, J., Shapiro, I., Teorie demokracie dnes,
Filosofia, Praha 2002, p. 28
- 37 -
Case Study 1 – Municipal Council Meetings in Helsingør
An international group of people from over 30 countries all over the world who were all students of
the autumn term 2000 at the International People’s College visited the Municipal Council in the town of
Helsingør. The statement that caused the most discussion was that no voting took place at the Council
meetings. A couple of dozens of councilors were used to deliberate until the point of reaching a common
decision. How do you know that all agree? What if someone is stubbornly against? How long does it take?
Who has the final say? Do you ever end up without agreeing? These questions illustrate that deliberative
democracy is a matter of practice, conviction, trust…and practice.
The discourse theory variant of deliberative democracy that is associated directly with Habermas 137
emphasizes the “interplay between institutionalized processes of opinion and will formation and those
informal networks of public communication.” 138 “When seen from a deliberative perspective, parliamentary
bodies transform the influence of the public sphere into communicative power and this in turn serves to
legitimise political decisions in parliament.” 139 In the case of Europe, the “possibility of participation in
opinion formation and the shaping and channeling of communicative power into the institutional complex of
the EU” is examined. 140
It combines the liberal and republican view avoiding the weaknesses of both. “It is the flow of free
communication in and between the associational network of civil society and the parliamentary complex
that constitutes and ensures popular sovereignty, not the formal aggregative procedures that the liberals
place their trust in or in the coming together in fora and “halls” that republicans salute. 141 As an alternative
to the two classical theories of democracy, which are attached to the standards of a nation state, it is better
suitable for the assessment of achievements and shortcomings of democracy at the European level. 142
Critical remarks concern three main areas. First, it can be feared that with reliance on deliberation
and without a binding majority vote 143, deliberative democracy might become less democratic and less
effective than suggested. This point can be taken as far as saying that deliberative democracy is a utopia that
threatens to degenerate into deliberation without democracy. 144 Part of this argument can be refuted by
pointing out to the combination with other theoretical approaches that work out the decision making
mechanisms.
Second, deliberative democracy is challenged, in case it should be applied in a culturally
fragmented community 145, not least because of the lack of a common communication tool, a language. That
can be true and certain prior agreement on methods enhancing communication and deliberation will have to
be thought of in that case.

137
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
138
Habermas, J., ‘Citizenship and National Identity’ in van Steenbergen, B. (ed.), The Condition of Citizenship,
Sage, London 1994, p. 32
139
Habermas, J., Between Facts and Norms. Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy, MIT
Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1996, p. 371, quoted in Eriksen, E.O., J.E. Fossum, Democracy through strong publics
in the European Union?, ARENA WP 01/16, http://www.arena.uio.no/publications/wp01_16.htm
140
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
141
Ibid.
142
Ibid.
143
Cederman, L.-E., Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European Demos,
European University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence, p. 24
144
Ibid., p. 25
145
Ibid., p. 19
- 38 -
Third, equality of participants in the process of deliberation is put into doubt because the theory
favors those with good communication skills 146 and is discriminatory against the rest. Also, especially in a
redistributive setting, it is not the right argument that wins, but the one most powerfully backed. 147 Another
similar threat for deliberative democracy can be seen in the uneven distribution of education and
information. 148 In the first case, representation can be a partial solution. The aim should be though that
deliberation becomes a basic life skill accessible to all. That is a partial response to the second claim that of
course should be attended to. The suggestion of Schools for Europe ( V) is a step in this direction.

II.5.4. Public Sphere


The concept of the public sphere designates the social space that links civil society to the power
structure. In Habermas’ account, it recognizes the “normative zone between public power and the
market.” 149 It is to be found outside the individual household and it is built up by communicatively acting
150
operators. It is created when individuals deliberate on issues of common interest 151 and it provides
possibilities for self-organization and concerted cooperative and integrative action. 152 What happens in the
public sphere “is determined by what can be made generally understandable, interesting, believable,
relevant, and acceptable through the use of everyday language.” 153 The public sphere aims at a common
ground; it is voluntary and contains a sense of general good.
Study of the public sphere draws from Habermas’ seminal work The Structural Transformation of
the Public Sphere, originally published in 1962 and reformulated in 1989. Eriksen and Fossum 154 work with
the notion applied for Europe and divide the public sphere into the strong, segmented and general publics.
Strong publics are based on institutionalized deliberation and decision making; legally they are close to the
political center and are numerous in the EU. Segmented publics are policy networks that are formed around
a particular problem, interest or solution. They are to be found not far from the power structures. General
publics focus on opinion formation in the civil society and they exist at the periphery of the political
system.
The key challenge for Europe is to enhance a link between the former and the latter, which is sorely
lacking.
“With regard to the concept of the public sphere, the link between institutionalized debates and the
general public debate is largely missing. In fact, the problem is not the lack of public spaces in
Europe that are capable of holding decision-makers to account to a large degree. What is lacking is

146
Cederman, L.-E., Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European Demos,
European University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence, p. 24
147
Ibid., p. 24
148
Elster, J., ed., Deliberative Democracy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998, p. 16
149
Referring to Habermas in Closa, C., ‘European Union Citizenship and Supranational democracy’, in Weale, A.
and Nentwich, M. (eds.), Political Theory and the European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional choice and
citizenship, Routledge, London 1998, p. 176
150
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 14
151
Ibid., p. 1
152
Lehning, Percy B., European Citizenship: Towards a European Identity? Erasmus University (undated, 1998
and/or later) http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/eur/papers/works/euro_citizen.html
153
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 14
154
Eriksen, E.O., J.E. Fossum, Democracy through strong publics in the European Union?, ARENA WP 01/16,
http://www.arena.uio.no/publications/wp01_16.htm and Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public
Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo
- 39 -
the ability to link and filter themes and topics, the problems and solutions aired in the civil society
and verbalized in the general public into the decision-making units via transnational networks and
strong publics.” 155
We will argue below that transnational networks and decision makers, who would be responsive to signals
from the civil society, require the emergence of a European public sphere. For that to happen, European
citizens must have a chance to meet each other in a framework simulating the public sphere in its widest
sense. That means not to reduce the understanding of the European public sphere to the network of national
public spheres but to expand it to include networks of individuals. We will return to the suggestion in the
subchapter on co-citizenship ( II.6) and in the chapter on Schools for Europe ( V).
To understand the importance of the public sphere it is worth venturing back to the 1950s and 60s
and together with Passerin d’Entrèves look at Arendt’s views upon the concept. She conceived of it as of a
key component of healthy citizenship. Interesting for the further development of our argument is her claim
that the construction of the public sphere depends “upon the existence of a common, shared world, and upon
the creation of numerous spheres of appearance in which individuals can disclose their identities and
establish relations of reciprocity and solidarity.” 156 If applied to the European space, the demand for some
training field, an arena where an initial experience with identity disclosure in an international context can be
gained, is obvious. Non-formal learning with a special attention to the Danish tradition will be offered as a
possible solution.
Arendt defends ‘thick’ democracy and ‘thin’ political identity 157. Democratic political life cannot
be built only upon periodical individual voting that takes place privately and anonymously. Continuous
public debate is needed for the formulation of common stances and allows for both similarities and
differences to emerge. They are examined and are a basis for newly formulated opinions. In this sense,
“political activity is not a means to an end; it is an end it itself.” 158 In the process of a discussion,
participants are instilled with values and attitudes that lie at the core of democracy – fairness, openness,
respect for the other and the commonly constituted rules.
Reactivation of the public sphere within the domain of a common political culture lies at the
beginning of a chain that leads through the practice of citizenship and constitution of collective identities (of
the post-national sort) into the attainment of effective political agency and constitution of a vibrant
democracy in Europe. 159
The key characteristic of the public debate is, similarly to the process of European integration, that
its result is unpredictable. 160 The assessment measure is the quality of interaction and the ability of the

155
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 24
156
Passerin d’Entrèves, M., ‘Hannah Arendt and the Idea of Citizenship’, in: Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of
Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 146
157
Ibid, p. 151
158
Ibid, p. 154
159
Habermas, J., ‘Reply to Grimm’, in Gowan, P., and P. Anderson (eds.), The Question of Europe, Verso,
London 1997, pp. 259-64, quoted in Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in
O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political Theory in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 102, Habermas, J., ‘Why
Europe Needs a Constitution’, New Left Review, 11, September-October 2001, pp. 5-26, and Passerin d’Entrèves,
M., ‘Hannah Arendt and the Idea of Citizenship’, in: Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 165
160
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 9
- 40 -
participants to learn from each other and to change throughout the process. 161 A debate presupposes that at
least at some point, the individual actors are in direct contact with each other. 162 The winning argument
should be the most rational and impartial one, not the one that is backed up most powerfully or lobbied for
most skillfully. The emergence of the public sphere in Europe does not aim to achieve a pre-established goal
but it should set up a necessary discussion process. “Opening up Europe to its citizens represents the start
rather than the culmination of a constitutionalising process.” 163
The challenges for the European public sphere formation are manifold and some of them have been
mentioned in connection with European citizenship and identity in the previous subchapters (such as the
prevalence of domestic matters over the European ones etc.). Critical remarks towards the conception of the
public sphere in a post-national setting concern the lack of intermediate structures of civil society (such as
political parties, associations, social movements and media) at a European level and a common language.
In the latter case, quality education of a “second first language” 164 and possibly other languages is a
prime task for formal curricula. In the former case, networks of non-formal learning opportunities can be an
effective bridging tool – by creating small samples of European publics they will generate more demand for
their transnational institutionalization.

II.6. Medborgerskab and Co-Citizenship


“With no general will or supranational identity, with
no individualized European body and mind, the
political ambiguity of Europe can be resolved only
through the development of a European fellow-
citizenship appropriate to the public space that it
opens up.” 165
The Danish term medborgerskab provides a remarkable link between the theoretical chapter dealing
with basic concepts ( II), the chapter focusing on learning aspects (III) and the subsequent one examining the
Danish folkehøjskole tradition (IV). It is also crucial for an understanding of the strength of the vision
presented in the chapter on Schools for Europe ( V).
Medborgerskab is a compound word; its first part, med, means “with”, the second part is not
usually used separately but it can be translated as citizenship. In Danish, there are two words that in English
fall under the notion of citizenship. It is statsborgerskab, which designates the legal and political status and
medborgerskab that “refers to an individual’s perception of his/her identity and belonging.” 166
No society can exist without interplay between the two aspects of citizenship. The study of the
latter, previously rather neglected, has recently gained many supporters. Their conviction is that a society’s

161
Ibid, p. 9
162
Steeg, M. van de, Aspects of a transnational European public sphere, paper for a workshop, University of
Florence 2001, p. 2
163
Bellamy, R., The ‘Right to have Rights’: Citizenship Practice and the Political Constitution of the European
Union, ESRC “One Europe or Several” Programme, Working Paper 25/01, p. 35
164
Habermas doesn’t see the requirement of English as problematic, especially considering the current level of
schooling. Habermas, J., ‘Reply to Grimm’, in Gowan, P., and P. Anderson (eds.), The Question of Europe,
Verso, London 1997, pp. 264, quoted in Bellamy, R., ‘Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe’, in
O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political Theory in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 102
165
Tassin, E., ‘Europe: A Political Community?’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 189
166
Korsgaard O., in Haas, C. and O. Korsgaard, Introduktion til begrebet medborgerskab, FFD, København 2003,
p. 5
- 41 -
coherence does not stand and fall solely with its institutions but depends very much on the feeling of co-
citizenship that binds its members. Today medborgerskab is therefore “a key concept for an understanding
of a long list of political and socio-cultural challenges and conflicts in various parts of the world.” 167
Medborgerskab, the way we use it, insists on the need for a post-national identity, as defined in the
previous subchapter ( II.5.1). The core questions attached to the study of the concept have a pedagogical
character: How to learn to live together and what values to build the common life on? 168 The consequences
of this phrase, if applied to integrated Europe (or even to the globalized world), are far-reaching. How do
we design learning for co-citizenship in order to capture so many learners and cover such deep concepts?
I have decided to go beyond the Danish term medborgerskab and work with its English counterpart,
co-citizenship. 169 It is a newly developed concept, whose variations in literature range from joint
citizenship, fellow-citizenship, and community citizenship 170 to citizenship practice 171. In Czech it is often
heard in connection with “our Roma co-citizens” and it paradoxically sounds as if co-citizenship expressed
the weakest connection possible to someone who, unfortunately, is part of our daily life. This view, of
course, is very far from or even opposite to what we mean by co-citizenship.
I developed the concept to provide and emphasize a transition from theory to practice, from
Habermas to the Danish authors, and from the general to the specific. The concept designates the practical
daily expression of the intersecting area between citizenship and identity, as it was suggested above ( II.3). It
encompasses our community of everyday.
Co-citizenship does not work with the legal aspect of citizenship, until it is needed to appeal or to
refer to common rules or procedures for conflict resolution. Similarly, the state plays a less significant role
here, although it provides an (often distant and abstract) framework within which co-citizenship develops.
The abstraction of post-national identity as expressed through constitutional patriotism is underlying in the
concept but it is the interaction in daily life that is the core of co-citizenship.
As Oommen aptly points out, legal citizenship can be changed instantly and even repeatedly
without shifting identity and without moving from one’s community 172 (he speaks of people in Bangladesh,
we can also mention the situation upon the splitting of Czechoslovakia). Co-citizenship, on the other hand,
has an important time component. It takes a while to become a co-citizen, especially if changing residence.
Co-citizenship thus does not make a difference in population statistics but it makes a difference in people’s
lives.
In the introduction we designed a co-citizen model representing the ideal “outcome” of learning for
co-citizenship. It described an individual who (1) shows global awareness and respects universal human
rights, (2) possesses regional competencies, (3) has a local sense of belonging and thus responsibility, (4) is
able to establish appropriate networks, and (5) is constantly learning.
The model cannot be understood as a portrayal of one human being, it is rather the unwritten
curriculum of learning for co-citizenship. The process itself must be joyful and it should fill people with a

167
Korsgaard O., in Haas, C. and O. Korsgaard, Introduktion til begrebet medborgerskab, FFD, København 2003,
p. 6-7
168
Ibid., p. 9
169
I hesitantly spoke of the use of the term co-citizenship in front of Viola Horská who encouraged me with great
enthusiasm to use it throughout the thesis. I am grateful for her support.
170
Tassin, E., ‘Europe: A Political Community?’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992
171
Wiener, A., ‘European’ Citizenship Practice: Building Institutions of a Non-State, Westview Press, Boulder,
1998
172
Oommen, T.K., Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity, Polity Press, Cambridge 1997, p. 227
- 42 -
hunger for life instead of fear of life. Unlike in a model where citizen is seen as a client, user, or customer 173
and brought into passivity by privatizing the public life, co-citizenship implies politicization of private life,
thus activity. That points to the fact that the practice of co-citizenship in accordance with the outlined
model, apart from being rewarding, is also demanding.
The first and probably the most difficult task is to establish one common basic framework; that of
(1) universal personhood. (2) Regional competencies encompass an extensive set of knowledge, skills and
understanding that, as Heater points out, people are often unwilling to develop. 174 The demand on interest
and time invested does not make up for the empowerment gained. However, this segment of the co-citizen
model is especially noteworthy when we speak of those who do no possess full legal citizenship in a country
of residence. The co-citizen model does not mention recognition or status but it works with (2) skills for
pressure and (4) networking for concerted power.
The two should equip the individual with the ability to exert pressure in a wider movement and
change his/her status, if necessary. Politicians have little to lose if they do not work for the benefit of
second-class citizens who do not possess voting rights. However, if those denizens 175 manage to integrate
into regional social movements and especially convince their co-citizens of their cause, then they’ll have to
be listened to.
Local responsibility goes hand in hand with a sense of belonging (3). “Human beings need
belonging, and belonging implies or requires somebody or somewhere to which one belongs. Belonging is a
condition of human identity.” 176 Combining the third and fourth point, we can claim that one cannot be
excluded from a community of “ideal” co-citizens; one can only exclude him/herself.
Applying the model to Europe presents a key challenge: There is no or very limited daily practice
of co-citizenship at the European level.

EU

MS MS MS MS MS

CIT CIT CIT CIT CIT CIT CIT CIT CIT

EU European Union
MS Member States
CIT Citizens and Residents of the MS
Existing Relationships
Lacking Relationships

Figure 2 – Co-Citizenship: The Missing Link

173
Eriksen, E.O., The End of Citizenship? New Roles Challenging the Political Order, ARENA Working Paper
No 26/99, Oslo, p. 9
174
Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 149
175
García, S., ‘Europe’s Fragmented Identities and the Frontiers of Citizenship’, in García, S. (ed.), European
Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993, p. 23
176
La Torre, M., ‘Citizenship, Constitution, and the European Union’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European
Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998, p. 446
- 43 -
Is that a contradiction that prevents learning for co-citizenship to take place? How can we
compensate for the missing link of daily interaction among common Europeans? Can a solution be
integrated into the co-citizen model?
Co-citizenship is in fact an old-fashioned concept. As Marianne Horsdal points out 177, while a
century ago people moved only in order to settle somewhere (“no reasons to move if you could stay”), the
increase in migration and traveling has rendered the traditional co-citizen community outdated, replaceable.
However, modern technologies and the trends of globalization and integration put an identity pressure on us
– we are vaguely aware that there are larger communities that we belong to, events in far-away places
influence our lives, and there is a sense of interconnectedness. But the spaciousness of our identity doesn’t
get many opportunities to grow. Spaciousness is that part of identity that increases through shared
experiences with other people. Applying that to the notion of co-citizenship, the precondition for increased
spaciousness encompassing Europe is a common experience with fellow Europeans.
In order to illustrate this reasoning, we can depart from the nation state. There is a general
conviction that we have something in common with our compatriots, the citizens of our nation state. Do we
know them all? Where does this conviction come from? It is a deeply engraved imagination. It has been
assembled from small occurrences of shared experience (bottom-up) combined with a construction of the
imagined community through symbols, myths, reference to ‘national interest’ etc. (top-down). Co-
citizenship relates to the former – it advocates the need for appropriate events of shared experience at the
European level from which a conviction of a European ‘we’ can be formed.
As we have said before, undergoing this process poses certain demands on the individual. I would
label the first one as searching for simplicity in complexity and vice versa – and being open to the
discoveries. “(…) people in their nakedness will see that there is more that unites them rather than what
divides them. But I can’t see how that would enter their heads unless they meet in person and discuss the
deeper meaning of life and humanity.” 178
The second challenge further develops the first one. Once we undergo a learning process in a
European setting, we mustn’t forget that one aspect of co-citizenship is to have a local sense of belonging
and responsibility. Living on a Euroromantic cloud of a past experience can prevent us from engaging
locally and can lead to isolation and praising of another imagined community. In the words of Rousseau,
“an insincere cosmopolite prefers to love the Tartars in order to be spared of loving his neighbours.” 179
The third demand is not to give up the respect for universal human rights and adherence to
constitutional values and democratic procedures in the process of citizenship practice within a small group,
where friendships and sentiments of affinity develop. In other words, one particular learning community
should never define itself by excluding others and it should always remain aware of the underlying norms
and principles that allowed it to come and work together in the first place.
Co-citizenship is a concrete concept relating to real life. The co-citizen model is its normative
content. Learning for co-citizenship is a process whereby a community of learners produces an added value,
which enhances the chance of an individual to come closer to the co-citizen ideal. The concept is applicable

177
Horsdal, M., Identity, Learning and Democracy, Journal of World Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2001 and
Horsdal, M., From Citizenship to Citizenships, conference contribution, www.people.hojoster.dk
178
La Torre, M., ‘Citizenship, Constitution, and the European Union’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European
Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998
179
Heater, D., What is Citizenship?, Polity Press, Cambridge 1999, p. 150
- 44 -
beyond the EU and even beyond Europe; it is a way of living together. However, people live in space and
that is why in this particular case we speak of learning for European co-citizenship.
Also, citizens have multiple identities, none of which should be threatened, challenged or replaced
by the practice of co-citizenship. Quite the contrary, especially during the suggested events of learning for
European co-citizenship, identities such as gender, urban or rural residence, high education or manual work
etc. should all be brought to surface and embraced.

In this subchapter, we have introduced the concept of co-citizenship. It is a dynamic notion, a


process, and a way of life. Learning for co-citizenship subsequently designated the development of abilities
and interest to practice co-citizenship in a way suggested by the co-citizen model. In chapter V we will
examine one particular example of a learning site for European co-citizenship that is inspired by the Danish
tradition of non-formal residential education of adults. However, we now turn to an analysis of the general
role of learning aspects in the process of post-national identity formation in Europe.

- 45 -
III. LEARNING ASPECTS
“Education is a privileged way to foster a new sense
of citizenship in a united Europe and to promote a
sense of belonging to a “greater we”. 180
We have in detail examined the theory and background for possible European identity formation.
Learning and its capabilities in the process of socialization and democratization can play a vital role in
today’s Europe. Citizens of European countries will become European citizens only if they are given
learning opportunities on a European level.
Learning for democratic co-citizenship as an expression of European post-national identity is the
core subject of this thesis. The main aim is to assess the relevance of the Danish tradition of non-formal
education in the process of creating a European public sphere. Before we study the Danish sources, the
present chapter will provide an overview of the activities and actors presently involved in the learning
processes connected to citizenship and its identity aspect, with special regard to the European dimension.
After an introductory part which will acquaint us with the key concepts and terminology, we will
move on to examine what role the EU as a provider of learning opportunities has. In the following
subchapters the spheres of formal, non-formal and informal learning will be dealt with. The purpose of this
chapter is not to provide an in-depth analysis of the performance of different actors or to write an exhaustive
list of their activities. The main aim is to point out how broad is the action range of learning, thus how
crucial it is to pay attention to the learning aspects when discussing European issues.
This chapter also serves to acknowledge the relevance and importance of all educational activities
although only one of them is later subject to a deeper examination. It has to remain clear, however, that
learning opportunities should never be seen as mutually exclusive. While I suggest that residential schools
and courses are well-suited for the purpose of establishing a European public sphere, it is obvious that they
cannot, and should not, replace any other current activities in the field of learning. On the contrary, they
could complement them and offer a much needed alternative to the existing learning sites.

III.1.1. Key Role of Learning


As Ernest Gellner noted, “[a]t the base of the modern social order stands not the executioner but the
professor. Not the guillotine, but the (aptly named) doctorat d’état is the main tool and symbol of state
power. The monopoly of legitimate education is now more important, more central than the monopoly of
legitimate violence.” 181 In a somewhat drastic comparison, Gellner points out the significance of education
in today’s society. If we assume that the most desired form of political power in Europe is a pluralistic
democracy, we can take Gellner’s argument one step further and claim that learning is central to ensure a
democratic future in Europe.
And looking from the other angle – democracy also has its unique position in education. “The
cultivation of the knowledge, skills and virtues necessary for political participation – is more important

180
Margarido Santos, M., ‘Lifelong Learning, Community Action and European Citizenship’, in Walther, A. and
B. Stauber (eds.), Lifelong Learning in Europe: Differences and Divisions, Neuling Verlag, Tübingen 1999, p.
208
181
Gellner, A., Národy a nacionalismus, Hříbal, Praha 1993, p. 45, in English quoted in Cederman, L.-E.,
Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European Demos, European
University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence, p. 20-21
- 46 -
morally than any other purpose of public education in a democracy.” 182 The acquiring of work skills and
development of intellect are both very imperative goals of education. “But more important than these is
learning to engage with each other in ways that display mutual respect, a concern for others’ needs, and a
belief in community.” 183
In our context of co-citizenship practice and identity formation in Europe, learning has become a
key variable. We have seen that politics, policies and politicians influence how citizens perceive their own
place in society. However, the impact of learning opportunities reaches much further. It gives space for
dialogue and genuine formulation of proposals for change and reform. If properly conducted, it leaves less
space for manipulation and prejudice. The learning networks themselves are little democratic laboratories
and if we admit that democracy is a way of life 184, then there is no better place to start with democratization
of Europe than in a learning environment.

III.1.2. Terminology
Although they are often used interchangeably, learning and education are slightly different terms,
at least in two ways. Learning designates a human activity while education refers to the societal
organization of it. While learning is a resulting process of education, there is an additional element in it.
“Directly implicit in the notion of learning is the idea of personal responsibility for one’s own educational
development.” 185
While only a few decades ago, a person “got some education”, which was sufficient for the
remainder of his/her life, in today’s knowledge and information society, the term lifelong learning (LLL)
draws attention to the presence of learning throughout people’s lives, either in a continuous or a periodical
way. The term (LLL) was formulated already in the 1970s, when the educational systems were put under
scrutiny after the upheavals of 1968. 1980s with their cuts in public expenditure were a dormant period in
this sense but the last decade of the century saw it reawakening.
The most recent term refers to lifewide learning that expands the understanding of the process in
space. Learning takes place not only in educational institutions and vocational training centers (formal
education) but also in associations and leisure clubs (non-formal learning) and through media and daily
interaction at the workplace and in family (informal learning). “Lifewide learning also makes us realise that
teaching and learning are roles and activities that can be changed and exchanged in different times and
places.” 186
This chapter will be divided into sections that correspond with the three basic categories of
“purposeful learning activity undertaken with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence”, as

182
Gutman, A. Democratic Education, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1987, p. 287, quoted in Jeffs, T. and
M.K. Smith, Informal Education – conversation, democracy and learning, Education Now Publishing, Ticknall
1999, p. 46
183
Jeffs, T. and M.K. Smith, Informal Education – conversation, democracy and learning, Education Now
Publishing, Ticknall 1999, p. 46
184
Hal Koch (IV.1.4.1) in his book ‘Hvad er demokrati?’ writes that democracy is not a system or a doctrine but a
“way of life”. Koch, H., Hvad er demokrati?, Gyldendal, København 1991, pp. 12-13, summarized in Bald, S. et
al., Demokrati, Krogerup 1996, pp. 9-13
185
Lifelong Learning: the contribution of education systems in the Member States of the European Union,
EURYDICE European Unit Document, Lisbon, March 17-18, 2000, p. 8
186
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000,
p. 9
- 47 -
they are labeled in the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning. 187 Formal learning takes place in public or
private educational and training institutions. It leads to the award of recognized diplomas and qualifications.
Non-formal learning complements the mainstream systems of education and training. Its providers
fall usually into one of the following three categories. It can be an employer or a business partner who
offers a learning opportunity as a form of benefit. In most cases, it is the civil society (associations, youth
organizations, churches, trade unions and political parties). It can also be an organization or a service set up
to complement the formal system mainly through leisure-time activities (such as arts, music and sports
classes) or private tutoring to prepare for examinations. Non-formal learning doesn’t usually lead to the
award of formalized certificates.
Informal learning is a natural accompaniment to everyday life. Unlike the two previous types,
informal learning is not necessarily intentional (thus partially denying the definition above), and so may
well not be recognized even by individuals themselves who acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge
from daily experience, from educative influences and resources in their environment – from family and
neighbors, from work and play, from the market place, books and the mass media. 188

III.2. European Union – An Actor in the Sphere of Learning


Before we have a closer look at the various formal, non-formal and informal learning activities that
could (or already do) enhance the practice of co-citizenship at the European level, we will dedicate some
space to assess the role of the EU. There is a clearly declared intention in this respect: “Encouraging active
citizenship through education and training on a lifelong basis as a key objective of future policy action is an
innovative enrichment of Community action in the field of education, training and youth. It comprises a
logical next step for development, building on the achievements and experience gained from previous and
existing action programmes and on the clear commitment of the European institutions to bring forward the
goal of creating a Citizens’ Europe.” 189 But the space for maneuver is clearly limited.

III.2.1. Legal Provisions


Thinking back to Gellner’s statement, it is understandable that the member states of the EU do not
want to give up their monopoly over educational matters. Because of a number of reasons, there is also little
pressure from the citizens to see education move to communitarian sphere of influence. Matters of identity
clearly play a crucial role in their position.
The legal basis for EU’s general policy in education is Article 149: “The community wishes to
contribute in the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between the member States
and, if necessary, by supporting and completing their action while fully respecting the responsibility of the
member States in the contents of the education and in the educational systems organisation, just as much as
their cultural and linguistic differences.” 190 The action range of the EU is thus limited to programs of
mobility, exchange and attempts at standardization.

187
The characterization of the three types of learning activities is paraphrased or directly quoted from
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000
188
Titmus, C. et al. Terminology of adult education, UNESCO, Paris 1979
189
Learning for Active Citizenship: a significant challenge in building a Europe of knowledge
http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/citizen/citiz-en.html
190
Amsterdam Treaty, Article 149
- 48 -
It is worth noting that one of the most widely acclaimed and visible student mobility programs was
subject of contestation in its early days: “We may also recall a decision taken by the European Court of
Justice in Commission v. Council (30 May 1989), confirming the full legality of the Erasmus Programme,
which is then justified with reference to the objectives which are the raison d’être of the Community, such
as the realization of a citizens’ Europe.” 191

III.2.2. Policy Documents


Apart from legal provisions, a number of policy documents were issued that started EU-wide
processes or presented possible directions for development. In the mid-1990s lifelong learning approaches
were embraced. In the sphere of higher education, the Bologna Process was initiated in 1999, aiming at
enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of higher education institutions in Europe. Keeping in
mind the different traditions of higher education administration in the various member states and the
dissimilar trustworthiness and reputation of educational institutions within respective societies, one can
imagine that the Bologna process is a contested policy framework. The six core points concerned
cooperation and possibly harmonization in respect to degrees awarded, the organization of studies into two
main cycles, recognition of credits, mobility, quality assurance and European dimension in higher
education.
The Lisbon Process, a strategic framework adopted in March 2000 presents an outlook for the
educational and vocational spheres until the year 2010. Its aim is to make Europe a competitive area of
growth based on knowledge and social cohesion. The three main strategies concern quality and effectiveness
of education, improved accessibility for all and the connecting of the educational sphere with the wider
society.
Following the European Council meeting in Lisbon, the Commission prepared the Memorandum
on Lifelong Learning. 192 The aim of its six key messages was to offer a structured framework for an open
debate on putting lifelong learning into practice. The headlines were new basic skills, raising levels of
investment in Human Resources, innovation in teaching and learning, valuing learning, guidance and
information, and bringing learning closer to home.
The Memorandum puts an emphasis on the acquirement and constant updating of life skills and the
expansion of the range of the learning opportunities to include not only formal but also non-formal and
informal learning. It acknowledges that the task of learning activities is not only to increase employability
and ensure personal growth but that it is also responsible for enhanced social inclusion and active
citizenship. The two last points relate directly to what this thesis advocates.
The Memorandum suggested a shared responsibility for implementation of its proposals – both
vertical (EU, MS) and horizontal (NGOs, networks) – and declared lifelong learning as the framework for
the second phase of educational action programs. A consultation process followed the publication of the
Memorandum. The contribution advocating the establishment of the Schools for Europe was sent by the
Association for Community Colleges ( V.3).
“The importance of lifelong learning for Europe’s future has now been endorsed at the highest
level. The Heads of the Member States agree that in the next decade, the European Union should set an

191
La Torre, M., ‘Citizenship, Constitution, and the European Union’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European
Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998, p. 449
192
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000
- 49 -
example for the world. Europe can – and must – show that it is possible both to achieve dynamic economic
growth and to strengthen social cohesion. Emphasizing that „people are Europe’s main asset and should be
the focal point of the Union’s policies,“ the conclusion is that, above all, education and training systems
must adapt to the new realities of the 21 st century and that „lifelong learning is an essential policy for the
development of citizenship, social cohesion and employment.“ 193

III.3. Formal Learning


The task of formal (public) education has traditionally been apart from transmitting knowledge,
skill and sharpening intellect also to educate loyal and obedient citizens. Although university students have
numerous times gone to the streets and started revolutionary movements, this can be perceived as an
“undesired” side-product of the daily co-existence of critically thinking individuals partially protected by
the declared freedom of academic soil. However, in this case we will look at the more conventional aspects
of formal learning.
“Production” of citizens (of a state) has become a specialized field and formal schooling is based
upon the use of a common code such as a high language and printed media. Formal educational institutions
belong among the largest employers and sites of socialization. Their community role, especially where
enhanced by tradition and lack of other opportunities, can be significant.

III.3.1. Primary and Secondary Education


Learning for citizenship at this level takes usually the form of a marginal subject such as civic
education. Educational specialists point out the transversal character of civic education. Remembering Hal
Koch’s statement that democracy is a way of life, it is clear that citizenship cannot be “taught” once a week
for a couple of hours. Pupils are extremely receptive to discrepancies between what is taught and how it is
being taught. Speaking about equality, dialogue and participation is useless, even counter-productive, if
unfairness and authoritarian approach are commonly experienced. That is why educationalists emphasize
that citizenship education has to run across curricula, be integrated into all other programs and school self-
government. Civic education concerns the acquiring of knowledge but also skills and attitudes. Those have
to be “learnt by doing and taught by showing.” 194
The European dimension is still only marginally part of the curricula. However, theme days and
international projects (Comenius Action) bring Europe closer to the pupils. Language instruction usually
involves study trips and exchanges, or at least correspondence. It is very much up to the activity of a
particular school’s management whether their school is outward oriented and engaged in transnational
networks. True exposure to an embryonic European public sphere is, however, still limited.

III.3.2. Higher Education


Higher education students are no longer targets of citizenship learning in a formalized manner but
their possibilities of being exposed to European reality, though mainly on a bilateral basis, are quite

193
European Council Presidency Conclusions, Lisbon, 23-24 March 2000, paragraphs 5, 24 and 25, pp. 2 and 8;
European Council Presidency Conclusions, Santa Maria da Feira, 19-20 June 2000, paragraph 33, p. 6 quoted in
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000, p. 6
194
“Learn by doing and teach by showing” is a classic expression used to describe the educational methods at the
International People’s College in Helsingør, Denmark, to arriving foreign students.
- 50 -
extensive. Some of them will be examined below in the section on non-formal education. Formally there are
two EU projects that deserve closer attention.
The first one is the Jean Monnet program, which encourages higher education institutions to
develop new activities and research connected to European integration and to introduce Europe-related
subjects in their curriculum, especially in the field of social sciences. Criticism of the Jean Monnet program
can be summarized as an accusation of a conflict of interests, which is usually voiced by opponents of the
integration process as a whole. 195
The Socrates program, which covers the whole education system from nursery schools to higher
education institutions, needs to be mentioned here because of Erasmus, its action directed towards higher
education. Erasmus encourages transnational cooperation projects between higher education institutions,
fosters European mobility of students and teachers, and contributes to improved transparency and academic
recognition of qualifications and studies.
Student and teacher mobility under Erasmus could be regarded as a step in the direction of creating
a European public sphere. There are some shortcomings though. While the learning experience is to a large
degree only bilateral, the multilateral part of the experience is merely social. That leads to a creation of an
island of happy “internationals” who see the host society through the prism of their artificial rainbow
community. On a personal level, Erasmus stay is a period of undisputable personal growth and academic
enrichment but the intercultural learning and public sphere formation aspects are rather shallow. 196

III.3.3. Research Institutions


Out of the many research institutions, study groups and projects dealing with the topic of European
citizenship and identity there are two, whose studies, reports and working papers are directly relevant for
this thesis and have been used as sources. The first one is a thematic network attached to the Robert
Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The
IDNET 197, a multidisciplinary network on ‘Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public Discourses’
brought together five research institutions between 1999 and 2002 and directed its focus to three thematic
areas: European integration and European identity, European construction and multi-level governance, and
governance and media.
The researchers involved investigated the process of transformation of collective identities in
connection with the process of European integration. They examined both the socialization of policy-
making actors at the various levels and the public discourses taking place among citizens. The final report
brings a number of interesting observations:
 Zero-sum doesn’t apply vis-à-vis European and national identities.
 European integration has left its mark on citizens, however to a different degree on elites and
masses.
 European identity is being constituted from different ways of remembering the past – from
triumphant to traumatic.

195
One such group is the Danish Unge Mod Unionen (Youth against the Union). www.umu.dk
196
For a comparison of the impacts, advantages and shortcomings of Erasmus stays and Community College
Courses see Hórvath, V. and E. Jentges, ‘Identity and Integration among European Youths in Educational
Exchange Programmes’, in Europe of Rights, Accent – Community Colleges for Europe! No. 1, December 2003,
pp. 27-30
197
The IDNET description is based on http://www.iue.it/RSCAS/Research/Tools/IDNET/Index.shtml
- 51 -
 Socialization is useful for analysis, so is public sphere, which is slowly emerging.
 Eastern enlargement is seen both as a challenge and as a chance.

Out of the lessons suggested for policy-makers, there are some that have been supported throughout
this thesis, i.e. to take the existence of multiple national and European identities seriously, to go beyond
mere institution-building and focus on intercultural communication and to politicize European affairs.
One suggestion deserves a closer attention. According to IDNET the obstacles posed by linguistic
diversity can be overcome through consciously staged public rituals, such as festive openings of the
European Parliamentary sessions or the construction of monuments. 198 However, such rituals can have
adverse results – partially contributing to the deepening of the elite/citizens cleavage and in regions with
recent totalitarian experience increasing citizens’ alienation in respect to the European structures.
Alternative solution is seen in carefully designed educational opportunities such as those inspired by the
Danish tradition of non-formal residential learning.
The second research project is in fact based outside of the EU, at the Center for European Studies
(ARENA) of the University of Oslo. The CIDEL 199 project (Citizenship and Democratic Legitimacy in the
European Union) has connected nine partners from six countries that in the period 2002-2005 examine the
prospects for a citizen’s Europe. They conceive of the EU as of a rights-based post-national union, relying
on a full-fledged political citizenship. Opinions voiced by Erik O. Eriksen and John E. Fossum have been
extensively used in the previous chapter and have helped to substantiate the main argument of this thesis.
The role and impact of research institutions, in spite of their valuable contribution to academic
debate, is very limited with regards to the influence on the public sphere formation. Co-citizenship as a
daily life practice can from time to time use theoretical sources as a basis for inspiration or thematic debate
but its main learning space is life itself.

III.4. Non-Formal Learning


We have briefly defined non-formal learning in the introductory section of this chapter and some
additional points concerning particularly the differences between formal and non-formal learning will be
mentioned now. Non-formal learning has to struggle for acknowledgement, especially in countries where it
has a weak or no tradition (Southern, Central and Eastern Europe as opposed to e.g. Scandinavia). Non-
formal learning “is not usually seen as ‘real’ learning, and nor do its outcomes have much currency value on
the labour market. Non-formal learning is therefore typically undervalued.” 200
At the same time, it is becoming clear that schools can no longer keep a monopoly on supplying the
educational requirements of society. 201 The traditional individualistic learning is giving way to learning in
community, which is often more relevant for personal, social and professional development. As we have
mentioned when discussing Mullard’s consumer citizen discourse, formal education can no longer ensure a
job for life and it needs to be complemented by lifelong learning skills.

198
Risse, T. and M.L. Maier, (eds.), Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public Discourses (IDNET), Final
Report, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 2003
199
http://www.arena.uio.no/cidel
200
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000,
p. 8
201
Korsgaard, O., The Struggle for Enlightenment. Danish Adult Education During 500 Years. Danish-AWE,
København, 1998
- 52 -
A sign of the significance of non-formal learning is that many of its aspects are being adopted in
the sphere of formal learning (greater involvement of students, group work, selective courses, hands-on
methods etc.) However, significant differences remain. In the sphere of non-formal learning, there are less
clearly framed curricula and thus less “certification power”. The weaker social and financial position is
counterbalanced by voluntary involvement of learners and their intrinsic motivation. 202
In opposition to informal learning, some forms of curricula, structure and evaluation, are present in
non-formal education. Non-formal doesn’t mean chaotic – there are (flexible) structures, learning theories
are applied, and participant evaluation is a key feature. The strength lies in the possibility of making
advantage of a learning momentum without being tied to a pre-defined outcome. 203 Non-formal learning is
highly differentiated with regard to formats such as time, location, numbers and composition of participants,
dimensions of learning and fields of application of results. 204

Formal Non-Formal
Purposes Long-term & general Short-term & specific

Credential-based Non-credential-based
Timing long cycle / preparatory / full- short cycle / recurrent / part-
time time
Content standardized / input centered individualized / output
centered
academic
practical
entry requirements determine
clientele clientele determine entry
requirements
Delivery institution-based, isolated from environment-based,
System environment. community related.

rigidly structured, teacher- flexible, learner-centered and


centered and resource intensive resource saving
Control external / hierarchical self-governing / democratic

Figure 3 – Formal and Non-Formal Education 205

Non-formal learning as it is being practiced in the Danish folkehøjskole, will be extensively


discussed in the next chapter ( IV) and a number of examples of the above listed characteristics will be
offered. The Danish tradition uses two other terms that encompass most of what has been mentioned under
the heading non-formal learning. The expressions livsoplysning and folkeoplysning will thus be explained
and their specifics pointed out.

202
du Bois-Reymond, M., Study on the links between formal and non-formal education, Directorate of Youth and
Sport, CoE, Strasbourg, March 2003
203
From a conversation with Tomáš Balco.
204
From Council of Europe website. http://www.coe.int/T/E/cultural_co-
operation/Youth/3._Priorities_&_Programmes/1b._Priorities_2000-2002/Non-Formal_Education/_Summary.asp
205
Table adapted by Fordham in 1993 from Simkins, T. Non-Formal Education and Development. Some critical
issues, Department of Adult and Higher Education, University of Manchester, Manchester 1977, pp. 12-15 and
published by Mark K. Smith at www.infed.org/biblio/b-nonfor.htm

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III.4.1. Civil Society
In the sphere of non-formal learning, there are somewhat overlapping categories of the actors who
can deal with citizenship and who can contribute to the formation of European identity. The number of
NGOs (non-governmental non-profit organizations) that have transnational contacts or directly work on
projects related to European issues is fairly large. Church organizations and political parties also tend to
have partners from other countries but their main agenda doesn’t lie in the sphere of learning for co-
citizenship in Europe.
The same applies to leisure-time clubs and associations that are certainly important actors of
socialization but tend to lack a European dimension. On the other hand, international networks active in the
European area develop a European understanding of issues but the socialization aspect is limited by distance
and lack of funds.
In spite of the previously said, there are still several organizations and projects that connect the two
dimensions – co-citizenship and Europe. They are for example INEX that coordinates volunteer community
work abroad, EFIL (European Federation for Intercultural Learning) that provides quality training for
volunteers of the European member organizations of AFS Intercultural Programs or AEGEE that organizes
summer ‘universities’ for higher education students. Numerous other NGOs run individual projects that
enhance local community actions often leading to a greater European awareness (Soros foundations etc.).
Although electronic networks don’t provide the possibility of a personal encounter, some of them
encourage the formation of a European public sphere or at least inform about it (www.cafebabel.com,
www.politeia.net and others).
The European Youth Programme, existing in different forms since 1988, supports out-of-school
activities with the aim to prepare the young generation for living harmoniously in the EU. Its five actions
foster non-formal learning by distributing funds to youth networking or local projects.
European Voluntary Service (EVS), Action 2, enables young people to gain a volunteer
experience in one of the participating countries. In comparison with the Erasmus sub-program, the EVS is
closer to the aims advocated in this thesis. Not only it provides a personal experience but it engages a young
person in a purposeful activity for the benefit of a local community. It enhances solidarity among Europeans
and promotes volunteering as a key phenomenon in a functioning (civil) society.
The year 2000 also brought the second generation of action programs in the field of education
under the heading Socrates. The acknowledgement of the Danish tradition of non-formal education of adults
was a newly established Grundtvig Action, titled in honor of N.F.S. Grundtvig ( IV.1.1). Grundtvig
Action’s aim is to encourage European dimension of lifelong learning and to contribute – through enhanced
transnational cooperation – to innovation and improved availability, accessibility and quality of other
educational pathways. 206
In the section on formal learning we have mentioned that schools can play an important role in their
community. Community learning is a cluster of processes that engage people regardless of age into the life
of the community by providing them with learning, social, cultural and recreational opportunities.
Community in this sense is similar to the practitioners of co-citizenship; it is a group of people connected
through a shared living environment.
Community schools are those formal educational institutions that encourage non-formal learning
activities to take place on their grounds, thus enriching the formal learning of children, non-formal learning

206
Adapted from Grundtvig/Socrates information brochures.
- 54 -
of the other participants, and co-citizenship practice of the local community. Schools involved in
community learning adopt some aspects of what we will call for in connection with the Danish folkehøjskole
( IV) and the Schools for Europe (V). They use a pre-existing local community, which diminishes their
impact in respect to the European dimension.
Case Study 2 – Evropský klub
Six seven-graders at one Prague elementary school have signed up for an extra-curricular activity
called the European Club. Weekly meetings take place on the school premises in a room dedicated
otherwise to the outdoors club. The activities taking place aim at bringing Europe closer to the pupils, at
making it alive for them through images, sounds, stories, and games. The initiative, however, struggles with
two challenges. Young teenagers, who cannot fully relate to the concept of co-citizenship, do not profit from
the underlying lessons as much as young adults would. The participants show an unexpected amount of
factual knowledge so the second challenge is to bring them to think critically of what they have memorized
in classes of history and civic education. Dates and facts are not enough.
The theme of this thesis developed from an original research proposal concerning the connection of
the Danish folkehøjskole and the projects being carried out as part of the Grundtvig Action of Socrates. Two
publications produced as part of a Grundtvig Action project titled Active Citizenship and Non-formal
Education will be studied in the chapter on Schools for Europe ( V.2).

III.4.2. Private Sector


Businesses, although their main goal is to generate profit, provide specialized learning
opportunities that enhance the process of raising awareness about European issues (see Appendix 1, VIII.1).
There are educational agencies that specialize on adult education and training, there are private language
schools and organizations that coordinate job, au-pair and foreign language learning stays abroad. The
European program Leonardo supports practical training and work placement of recent graduates and the
project partners are often private enterprises.
Learning in this category is generally oriented at improving employability and has little relevance
for the co-citizenship practice. On the other hand, knowledge, skills and attitudes attained with a purpose of
improving business performance or employability can still have positive side-effects in the area of learning
for co-citizenship. The European public sphere dimension is limited, though.

III.4.3. Council of Europe


The Council of Europe (CoE) stands out in this section as a major promoter of both the citizenship
and European dimensions. Its position as an intergovernmental organization is both enhanced and limited by
that status. The disadvantage is that its impact is limited because its resolutions are not enforceable. The
European Court of Human Rights that is a CoE body denies the previously said when it comes to basic
human rights of which it is a Europe-wide watchdog.
The advantage is that the number of member states surmounts greatly that of the EU (currently 45).
Another advantage is that the CoE can start initiatives that would be too sensitive to be dealt with at the EU
level, thus making advantage of its intergovernmental character. Luckily, the cooperation with the EU is
fairly close (the proximity of the Strasbourg seat of the CoE, the European Court of Human Rights and the
European Parliament might play a positive role) so a number of joint projects have been carried out, such as

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the European Year of Languages, the web portal www.training-youth.net, the publication of T-Kits (training
kits), or the Youth magazine Coyote.
An outstanding project activity is the Education for Democratic Citizenship. It refers to
“activities that focus on preparing young people and adults for active democratic participation by which
they assume and exercise their rights and responsibilities in society.” 207 It was set up in 1997 and its second
phase runs between 2000 and 2004.
Its aims lie both in research (defining the values and skills necessary for democratic citizenship,
how they are acquired and multiplied) and in connecting it with practice (application of concepts, skills and
competencies in learning strategies and concrete activities). The term ‘sites of citizenship’ has been
introduced to describe the wide range of grassroots projects that take place across Europe.
The shortcomings of the EDC project are twofold. As Viola Horská, the Czech EDC coordinator
says, the efforts to bring down barriers between the youth and the decision-makers and between theory and
practice are hindered by the reliance on member states’ compliance with resolutions and declarations that
are not binding. Depending on NGOs’ dedication to the ideals of the EDC project is often not sufficient.
Second, while education for active citizenship is formally part of curricula, the lack of “learning by daily
experience” undermines its impact.
Education for Democratic Citizenship is a measure that needs to be complemented by the bottom-
up formation of a European public sphere of citizen’s movements, associations, political parties and
learning networks. The European Year of Citizenship through Education declared for 2005 can be a step in
that direction. Education for democratic citizenship is a transversal problem and it has to be tackled
accordingly, at all levels of the society. For that we will now turn to informal learning.

III.5. Informal Learning


Informal learning is a category that comprises a wide range of human activities. There is lesson to
be learnt from every situation and encounter. Informal learning is present within formal and non-formal
learning but it is clearly the most difficult to grasp, evaluate and influence.
The European dimension of informal learning can be seen in holiday periods abroad and in
watching sports tournaments. Co-citizenship practices are expressed in the shopping center and in the means
of public transportation. Without being aware of it, we form opinions about reality even from the smallest
possible signs. Actually, the smaller or fewer those signs, the more influential each one of them is.
That is the danger of informal learning. It can lead to prejudice, stereotype and can be skillfully
manipulated. Even the most elaborated systems of formal learning and an existing sphere of non-formal
learning have little impact if the daily co-existence in society denies the principles of democracy, rule of
law, equality and solidarity.

III.5.1. Family, Social Networks


Family and social networks play a formative role when it comes to basic values and attitudes.
Before a young person can go and experience “the world”, his or her views have been shaped to a great
extent. This statement partially denies the purpose of the thesis – to argue for the importance of non-formal

207
http://culture.coe.int/citizenship
- 56 -
residential learning of young adults at a European level – but the limitation of my suggestion has to be
acknowledged, especially vis-à-vis a non-receptive environment.
The question for the Schools for Europe remains whether they can fulfill their purpose if their
participants show reluctance to the very idea of democratic dialogue because they have been brought up in
isolation from it.

III.5.2. Media and Information Channels


The influence of family and social networks is subject to little filtering. In the case of media and
other information sources, there seems to be a possibility of selection. But the truth is that the bombardment
by media that struggle for attention because attention means survival is difficult to avoid. Unfortunately,
particularly those private media preclude quality public debate by forcing simple answers to complex
questions.
The more responsible (and often non-profit or public) media and information sources can be
divided into three subcategories. First, there are media that tend to show an educative approach and are
based in the member states (typically public broadcasting). They inform, more or less objectively, about
issues relevant mainly for a particular country, rarely taking a pan-European position. Second, there are
transnational media, often in various language mutations that tend to present a broader outlook but their
readership or audience is rather limited (Euro-News, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, The
Economist, ARTE, Le Monde Diplomatique etc.). They address a group that usually already feels to a great
degree European. Third, there is the internet and other information sources that require an active approach
of the receiver who must show interest in a particular issue and a willingness to research it.

In this chapter we have provided a broad though not exhaustive overview of the various learning
aspects relevant in the discussion about European citizenship and identity. Spheres of formal, non-formal
and informal learning guided us through the examination, and several organizations, action programs and
activities have been identified as contributing somehow to the post-national identity formation. We now turn
to a very specific example of a living tradition of non-formal residential education of adults that has been
the main source of inspiration for the writing of this thesis.

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IV. INSPIRATION FROM DENMARK
“(…) the folkehøjskole is the single most original
contribution Denmark has made to international
thinking about popular education – original because
of the comprehensive and profound meaning attached
in Denmark to the concept of ‘popular education’.” 208
In the previous chapter we have seen that the educational process concerning co-citizenship at the
European level involves a variety of actors and approaches ( III). This chapter will deal exclusively with one
of them – the Danish non-formal residential educational institution, the so called folkehøjskole 209.
We will first look at the history of the institution, making clear its close connection with the
development of Danish society over the past one hundred and fifty years. Then, the key characteristics of
the folkehøjskole will be analyzed, including legal, financial and pedagogical matters. Due to the fact that I
want to offer the folkehøjskole as a source of inspiration, a significant part of this chapter will look at the
various ways in which the folkehøjskole format has been introduced to non-Danes or used beyond the
boundaries of Denmark. This section should be regarded as a lead-in to the following chapter where the idea
of Schools for Europe ( V) will be dealt with. However, the present chapter will be concluded with one more
section that will assess the outlook of the Danish folkehøjskole for the near future.
Mentioning Denmark in connection with European affairs usually results in a discussion about its
position as a small Nordic rebel, a country with several exceptions from the Treaties and a tendency to
question the proposed policies. However, Danish understanding of democracy, commitment to sustainable
development, use of renewable sources of energy, dedication to wide public dialogue and decision making
by consensus deserve a more positive closer look at what the Danish society has to offer in the form of the
folkehøjskole.
Although a comparison between mid-19 th century Denmark, where first folkehøjskoler were
established, and today’s Europe is a somewhat daring attempt, there are certain parallels to be found. Both
communities struggled with their members’ respective identities – being Danish in the 1860s had a similarly
unclear content as being European nowadays. The future of both was a question in itself – in what form,
how self-aware and playing which role in the wider world? As we will see below, the constant need to
struggle for democracy, to revitalize it and expand it is a common feature for both. The personal quest for
discovering the deeper meaning of life within a community is also a permanent characteristic of humankind
– one that the folkehøjskole helps to develop.
Before embarking on a historical journey, I would like to name the main characteristics of the
folkehøjskole, in order to provide a general framework for the understanding of its development since its
conception up until these days.
A popular introduction to the concept of the folkehøjskole is to say that it is a type of institution that
cannot be described – it requires a personal experience in order to be understood. 210 Having said that, I
would like to list a number of characteristics that are common to the folkehøjskoler in Denmark: 211

208
Carlsen, J., Borgå, O., The Danish “Folkehøjskole”, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, København,
1996, p 2
209
The term folkehøjskole (plural folkehøjskoler, abbreviation FHS, plural FHSs) will be used throughout the
paper in the Danish original, unless authors using other terms are being quoted. In those cases, folkehøjskole will
be interchangeable with folk high school, folkhighschool, and højskole. By using the word folkehøjskole I refer to
the institution in general, not any specific school.
- 58 -
 residential educational institutions
 free of state control and intervention
 not part of the formal education network
 teaching adults or young adults
 providing general education that doesn’t lead to degrees or certificates
 free of tests or exams
 subjects taught are not as important as the mutual interest of both the students and the teacher
 each term becomes a self-governing community
 there is no strict pedagogical requirement for the teachers
 use of dialogue as the main learning tool
 each term has a limited duration (several months for the long courses, a week or a couple of weeks
for the short courses)
 involve students in some physical work for the benefit of the school community
 most teachers live on the school premises

Most of these characteristics will be expanded upon in the following sections of the chapter. At this
point, I will only briefly comment on the terminology used. I have decided to stick to Danish terms
describing the central aspects of the folkehøjskole, mainly because any simple translation could be
misleading. Every new term will be elaborated upon and explained in order to provide a reference for its
later use in Danish.
The often used translation of folkehøjskole (FHS) as “folk high school” reminds of the North
American secondary school enriched with a folk touch, which gives a wrong impression about the Danish
concept, where højskole is strictly connected to the non-formal educational institution (the folk part of the
title being often dropped recently), while gymnasium stands for a secondary school. To avoid confusion, I
will strictly use the term folkehøjskole in its original form or as an abbreviation FHS.

210
Carlsen, J., Borgå, O., The Danish “Folkehøjskole”, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, København,
1996, p. 2
211
Collected based primarily on Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S.
Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 2
and Kulich, J., Grundtvig’s Educational Ideas in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, Forlaget
Vartov, Copenhagen 2002, p. 185
- 59 -
IV.1. History of the Folkehøjskole
“Perhaps it could be said with some justification that
the latest chapter in the Danish Folk High School’s
history shows an inclination to bask in the light of a
glorious past at the expense of undertaking the
necessary discussion of the Folk High School idea in
present society.” 212
Although the focus of this thesis lies mainly in the present time and in the future, we will dedicate a
portion of it to the account of the history of the FHS movement, to the meeting with the key figures that
shaped it and the description of the principal chapters of its development.

IV.1.1. Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872)


The spiritual father of the FHS is considered to be N.F.S. Grundtvig – Danish clergyman,
theologian, bishop, philosopher, poet, historian, writer, politician and hymn writer, to name the most
outstanding of his activities. Grundtvig was an extremely productive author who had a complex character
and whose extensive writings are being subject to manifold interpretation. His prose is rather heavy as
opposed to his lively poetry and hymn texts, some of which have become popular folk songs. While
Grundtvig wrote a lot, in his educational thinking he was an advocate of levende ord, the “living word”,
acknowledging the importance of formulating one’s opinions in the process of a dialogue.
Grundtvig perceived reality as consisting of relations, both on the personal and societal level. He
was certainly non-individualistic and stood on the side of the common people, however opposing Marxist
notion of the class struggle. His view of society and education was historic and poetic and he envisioned
human development as recognizing the various dimensions of human existence while making clear its
essential unity.
The origin of the FHS dates back to the 1830s when its seeds were planted during N.F.S.
Grundtvig’s journeys to England. Grundtvig was an adult man at that time, a person who had been stirring
public opinion and academic debate among theologians in Denmark for quite some time already. Yet the
most important and widely acknowledged chapter of his life was only to begin.
What he saw at the residential college of Cambridge was of great inspiration to Grundtvig. He
admired the free dialogical atmosphere among students and teachers, who shared not only academic debates
but also residential life and meals. If the basic characteristics of a FHS educational philosophy should be
narrowed to one, then it would certainly be vekselvirkning, “the living interaction” 213, conceived during
Grundtvig’s two trips to England in the 1830 214.
The political situation in Denmark at the time was that of absolutism. The power of king Frederik
VI, the monarch who as crown prince was a supporter of the major land reforms in the second half of the

212
Henningsen, H., ‘The Danish Folk High School, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, p. 293
213
Bugge, K.E., ‘Grudtvig’s Educational Thinking’, in: Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, p. 272
214
Interestingly enough, two crucial concepts discussed in this thesis owe some inspiration to the British Isles.
The public sphere (see Chapter II) that “sprang forth in British coffeehouses from 1680 to 1730…first consisted
of literary, then of political sphere.” Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General,
Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 3
- 60 -
1700s 215 that were vital for creating a social class that for a century dominated the “clientele” of the folk
high schools, was unlimited by a constitution.
It is no secret that Grundtvig not only supported the absolutist regime but was also quite skeptical
of the democratic changes in the late 1840s. He perceived the king as a solid guarantee of freedom and
opposed the bloody revolutionary changes that had been seen in France several decades earlier. As K.E.
Bugge underlines, Grundtvig understood liberty as a self-restrained privilege and claimed that freedom must
rest on reciprocity. When the king introduced consultative assemblies that were a step in democratization of
the absolutist society in the early 1830s, Grundtvig was right there to suggest that an institution that would
enable a folkelig education of the farmers together with the civil servants be created. 216
“Now I have my eye on something that unfortunately would be completely new among us, namely
an institution of Enlightenment, where the People could gradually wake to self-awareness and
where the leaders would learn just as much from the youth as the youth from them, a kind of living
Vekselvirkning and mutual instruction, through which a bridge could be laid over the yawning abyss
that hierarchy, aristocracy, Latineri and social ambition have build for the people on the one side,
and its leaders and teacher, with a handful of so-called educated and enlightened ones on the other
side, this yawning abyss, which if it is not bridged, then all of our middle class society and all
possibilities for peaceful, historic progressive development must soon fall into its precipice.” 217

A number of Grundvig’s concepts that appeared in the previous paragraphs require a closer
examination. One of the most strikingly wide notions is folkelighed (noun), that of being folkelig
(adjective). A number of authors attempt to list what exactly falls into the meaning of these words.
Folkelighed, as Poul Dam explains, is a kind of popular identity possessed by every people. Unlike the
abstract genius of the nation, this is a “concrete concept, based on cultural realities.” 218 The charm of
folkelighed lies in its inclusive character – it is something created over time by all those living together,
sharing a common history, love of their fatherland and mother tongue. In the days of Grundtvig, it was
sometimes the ruling class, who would exclude themselves from the folkelighed, which, to a degree
emphasized the common people.
According to the website of the Danish FHSs, in today’s use of the word folkelighed, which would
literally translate as “peopleishness” or “of people and by people”, there are three main dimensions. One
that stresses the anti-elitist ideology; second that describes the belonging to a specific people or nation; and
third that accentuates human simplicity as a value in itself. In this regard, Danish royal family and
politicians are applauded when behaving a folkelig way (1); communal singing of folk songs remains of
great cultural value in Denmark (2); and good folkelig art is readily enjoyable, without any prior
requirements or intellectual effort. 219

215
For a detailed account of the land reforms see Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk
High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991
216
Henningsen, H., ‘The Danish Folk High School’, in: Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, pp. 287-288
217
quoted in Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-
Violent Path to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991, p. 171
218
Dam, Poul, Grundtvig’s Vision of Mankind and his Ideas on “folkelighed”, in: Education for Life.
International Conference on the Ocassion of the Bicentenary of N.F.S. Grundtvig. Copenhagen, Denmark,
September 10-14, 1983. Det Danske Selskab / The Danish Institute, p. 33
219
www.folkehojskoler.dk/old/int/
- 61 -
Steven M. Borish lists a number of defining points of the term folkelig that he collected from Danes
during lectures, out of which the following enrich the previous ones.

 It is something that collects people or brings them together, not something that divides people.
 It is something that represents the best and highest aspirations of the people.
 It is something that at the same time reminds people of their own roots and traditions without
denigrating the traditions of other people (both elements must be present)
 It is something that speaks to, or has a message for, the entire people…and all social classes, not
just one social grouping of class
 It is a group of people in positive action, something positive.
 It has a lot to do with equality or sameness among people
 It is like a good fertile field, a ground in which something good can grow… 220

All these elements are not only linked to the term folkelig but through the concept illustrate the qualities of
popular education that Grundtvig was advocating for the folkelig højskole, as the original title of his
suggested institution read.
Grundtvig perceived folkelighed as the circumstances under which an individual becomes aware of
his or her own uniqueness within a social, national, and universal or global setting. These circumstances, as
mentioned above, included the necessary process of living interaction that should lead to a “cultural
formation, identity and responsibility of the individual.” 221
Grundtvig understood learning as a mutual process where both teachers and students engage in a
dialogue that enriches the two parties. In spite of being an avid writer himself, Grundtvig advocated the use
of det levende ord, the living word, as a principal teaching tool. One of the reasons was a ten-year period of
police censorship that Grundtvig had to go through. He lectured all over Denmark and cultivated det levende
ord contained not only in lectures but also in songs and talks. Books, especially those written in a language
other than the mother tongue (mainly Latin and German) were characteristic for the “school of death”,
which Grundtvig strongly opposed.
It was the use of det levende ord in the above described process of equal and balanced living
interaction, vekselvirkning, that would allow both the teachers and the students to learn from each other,
mutually. K.E. Bugge clarifies the term by contrasting it with simple dialogue (where there is no mention of
what goes on before and after a dialogical session) and dialectics (which involves the past and the future
perspective but by being a logical concept, it needs to fit into a logical framework). Grundtvig’s
vekselvirkning offers a challenge of the two – while embedded in a historical perspective (beginning of time
until the end of the world) it adds a development perspective to dialogue, and it adds a human perspective to
dialectics. 222
The ultimate goal of learning should be livsoplysning, “enlightenment for life”. Grundtvig argued
that life cannot be understood until it is experienced; therefore books and classrooms don’t lead to
comprehension. Life can only be taught through life itself and that is a key element in grasping the purpose

220
Borish, S.M., Danish Social Movements in a Time of Global Destabilization, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag,
Vejle 1996, pp. 130-131
221
www.folkehojskoler.dk/old/int/
222
Bugge, K.E., ‘Grundtvig’s Educational Thinking’, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, pp. 276-9
- 62 -
and character of the folkehøjskole. The whole tradition of the folkehøjskole and the educational “system”
surrounding it is therefore referred to as folkeoplysning, instead of non-formal education.
Grundtvig’s educational thoughts have been inspiring generations of educators worldwide. Given
his extensive writing, Grundtvig is difficult to grasp and to be faithful to, also because he changed opinions
and wrote “on top of himself”. One of the leading Grundtvig scholars, K.E. Bugge suggests that in order to
respect Grundtvig in his entirety, one must be challenged by him. In his understanding, relevance doesn’t
mean repetition, it means challenge. Bugge finds the following three aspects of Grundtvig’s educational
thought challenging today, therefore still relevant:
 ideas of freedom and responsibility, in other words emancipation and commitment; with an ethical
dimension
 ideas of mutuality, that is his view of vekselvirkning, which should be free, living and natural
 ideas of cultural identity. 223

IV.1.2. The Formative Years (1844-1864)


IV.1.2.1. Christian Flor (1792-1875)
Although a royal decree was granted in 1847 for Grundtvig’s idea of the school for life that he
envisaged in his 1838 publication School For Life and the Academy in Søer, the school never saw the light.
Paradoxically, it was already in 1844 that a group of self-owning farmers under the leadership of professor
Christian Flor founded the first school based on Grundtvig’s teachings in Rødding, North Slesvig. After the
pre-natal stage of the folkehøjskole, the first institution was born.
When Denmark peacefully adopted its constitution in 1848/49, the schools became a place where
farmers could send their youths hoping that they would get a better insight into the progressive farming
techniques but also the use of the newly born democracy. What they harvested was even more – a young
person that became better aware of his role in society and of the fundamental questions concerning human
existence.
During this initial period of the existence of the folkehøjskole, which can be dated between 1844
and 1864, the basic foundations were laid for the organizational and pedagogical structure of the school.
Christian Flor invited not only farmers but also other citizens to join his school. The aim was not to make
farmers become somebody else (by preparing them for university education or a position in the public
service) but to become a better self. He struggled with the dilemma between giving preference to technical
agricultural subjects or to livsoplysning. But very much in line with Grundtvig’s teaching, it was Flor who
introduced the humanistic subjects such as history, literature, political philosophy, and mythology. His
argument was the following:
“The farmer is oppressed because he is unable to participate in the life of society. Excluded from
the councils of government, he sits fearful and dejected, believing that he knows nothing outside of
his narrow sphere of competence. To teach him to sow and plough his fields more effectively will
not by itself be sufficient to overcome this lack of knowledge and self-confidence. What he must

223
Bugge, K.E., ‘Grundtvig’s Educational Thinking’, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, pp. 276-9
- 63 -
learn in these schools is a point of view that unites him with common human experience and draws
its strength from exposing him to all of life’s different areas.” 224

IV.1.2.2. Christen Kold (1816-70)


It is somewhat symbolic, that Grundtvig only provided general philosophical guidelines but it was
up to the first FHS men to enrich these rough sketches with colors and detail. The most outstanding figure in
the folkehøjskole movement was Christen Kold, who founded the school in Ryslinge on the island of Fyn in
1851. While we must be thankful to Flor, who defended the general aspect of the folkehøjskole education as
opposed to the more narrow and traditional vocational training and who also struggled for the exam-free
character of the school; it was Kold who gave the school the basic daily routine and life mechanisms. Group
singing, common duties, sharing of the “extended family life” between teachers, students, the principal and
his wife (who often bought the school premises as they came and sold them as they went), are among those
mechanisms.
Kold, unlike Grundtvig, wrote nearly nothing during his lifetime. However, he was a charismatic
storyteller and lecturer and the spirited lecture became one of the basic building blocks of the FHS
timetable. The length of the course was stabilized at about four to five winter months for young men and
later three to four summer months for young women. Kold’s school offered no luxury but rather a Spartan
regime, where sharing a mattress was not an expression of close friendship but an unavoidable need.
The age of students settled around the late teens and early twenties. Kold experimented with
younger ages but experience showed him, that the older the students were, the better their grasp of the
essence of life was, just as Grundtvig had suggested.
Kold also agreed with Grundtvig in the need to enlighten, educate his students. But his contribution
lay in the emphasis on encouraging them first, bringing them to life. He rightly claimed that what students
needed instead of written instruction was “the right kind of oral instruction, one which will bring them to
life and widen their feeling for the world in which they live.” 225
The scholarship system was also introduced in this period – some of the wealthier farmers
supported children of the poorer ones. This process, as much as Grundtvig observed it only from a scholarly
distance, became a living example of a folkelig way that he envisioned for the school. The fact that the
folkehøjskole format was not dictated from a distant capital or from a professor’s desk gave it a power to
survive in the ever changing society.

IV.1.3. The Golden Period


The folkehøjskole had exactly the time it needed to establish itself as a credible institution when
Denmark waged the war against Prussia. The major loss of territory in 1864 and the fear of disappearance of
national identity that followed paradoxically meant a lively force for the folkehøjskole movement. The
preservation and building up of Danishness among the farming rural population (the majority of the society)
became the main role of the folkehøjskole of that time. The much quoted expression “outward loss, inward
gain” was to symbolize the upcoming decades.

224
Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path
to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991, pp. 183-4
225
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
p. 169
- 64 -
What symbolized them in terms of national economy was the double transformation of the
agricultural sector. During the 1880s and 1890s the traditional grain production was subject to a major
challenge from international markets. Some of the schools at that time followed the example of Askov
folkehøjskole where two lines of education were introduced in the 1860s. Folkeoplysning remained one, but
it was complemented by vocational training concerning energy production (windmills) and agriculture. The
demand on teachers since then was twofold – their double qualification had to consist of being professionals
in a specific field and of acting as “big psychologists”.
The farmers, used by then to take control of their own affairs and educated to collectively find
inventive solutions, managed to transform the farming into a very competent diary production
complemented by related businesses. The Danish ham became an international trademark and many argue
that such a transformation would not have been possible without the self-confidence and self-reliance taught
at the folkehøjskole. 226
The other transformation closely connected to the first one, was the start of the cooperative
movement. Within a few decades, most of agricultural products originated from the cooperative farms. Not
only did farming for the next half a century remain the main sector of Danish economy but the peasants who
short time before had no political power, became a well organized political force.
The year 1892 brought the first legislation on the folkehøjskole. It is since then that the relationship
between the state and the school has been developing in a codified manner. The school has made its way
into the “catalogue” of educational opportunities in the country but guarded carefully its independence vis-
à-vis the state.

IV.1.4. Politics and the Folkehøjskole


While the state had to remain outside the schools, politics entered them and has remained there.
There have been attempts to usurp the folkehøjskole for different ideological purposes but precisely because
of the free character of the schools, there was never enough united yet decentralized power to exert a major
force on the schools. There have been Marxist and other left-wing attempts, some schools remained tied to
the study of Bible and Christianity.

IV.1.4.1. Hal Koch (1904-64) and Democracy


The Second World War meant an unexpected trial for the FHS movement. Its national character,
something that was a side effect of the historical development of the 1860s and something that Grundtvig
did not plan in its entirety (his focus was just as much on the universal as it was on the national) suddenly
turned its back to the folkehøjskole.
Words and concepts used by the representatives of the FHS movement and dear to the teachers and
students suddenly became dangerous. “To the folk high schools Nazism meant a special challenge, as some
of the Grundtvigian core concepts were part of the Nazi vocabulary: folk, popular, the spirit of the people,
popular revival, people’s enlightenment, etc.” 227
Hal Koch, a legendary scholar, writer, activist, folkehøjskole principal and chairman of the The
Danish Youth Association initiated a debate that was to decide whether the FHS should retain its national

226
Erle, Jakob, in: Warren, Clay (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for
Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 67
227
Korsgaard, O., The Struggle for Enlightenment. Danish Adult Education During 500 Years. Danish-AWE,
København, 1998, p. 21
- 65 -
focus or whether the new direction should be that of democracy. Unlike many, Koch argued that national
culture doesn’t need to be the unifying force within a society – it can be replaced by a common political
struggle for democracy. The shift to a democratic basis in popular adult education was yet another proof of
the viability of the FHS model.
In his 1945 book about democracy, Koch defined it very simply as ‘dialogue’. His much quoted
statement is that democracy is a ‘way of life’. Later on, when he became the principal of Krogerup højskole
north of Copenhagen, he tried to connect the notion of people’s democratic dialogue and political
enlightenment with the membership in associations and political youth organizations. 228 Such a limitation
proved unfeasible in the free and open environment of the FHS where meetings of people with different
backgrounds have become the main asset; and the attraction of good numbers of students the existential
need. However, Koch’s idea of democracy as participation and responsibility resonates still today, as the
following words by Johannes Ingberg confirm:

“The group at Krogerup had the Grundtvigian idea that a school shall influence the students to be
active in society because democracy is not only that you have a list, a ballot, every fourth year on
which to make a cross (…) but you have the idea in the working place, in the educational system, to
take responsibility. Democracy is not just to ask for your rights; but it is first of all to take the right
responsibility in both bigger and smaller societies. It helps people to meet people.” 229

Koch was rightly aware of one particular feature of the FHS that makes it unique within the field of
education for democracy and active citizenship. We have already spoken of the importance of positive
feelings in the learning process ( II.6) and will return to them later again but let’s hear how Erik Bjerre
quoted Hal Koch at an international conference dedicated to Grundtvig’s legacy titled Education for Life:
“Up till this day the folkhighschool is the happiest solution found to the most essential problem facing
democracy: the problem of the education of the grown-up youth to live their lives as human beings and good
citizens.” 230

IV.1.4.2. Folkehøjskole and the Political Parties


The FHS catered historically to rural farming population and most of its students during the first
decades came from families of farmers who gained their property based on the land reforms and who were
the founding members of the Forenede Venstre (United Left). The connection with that party’s heir, the
liberal Venstre, is still noticeable today. The division of the party members between those with a FHS
background (the most outstanding example being the present minister of European Affairs and Integration,
Bertel Haarder) and those who belong to the liberal, business school wing, is worth pointing out. 231
Nowadays it is the Radikale Venstre (Social Liberal Party) who stand to a great extent for the cause of the
changing folkehøjskole (especially in respect to internationalization of the schools). 232

228
Henningsen, H., ‘The Idea of Folk Enlightenment – and its Rediscovery in Our Time, in Zøllner, L., Andersen,
A. M. (eds.), Enlightment in an International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995, p. 221
229
Johannes Ingberg in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for
Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 29
230
Education for Life. International Conference on the Ocassion of the Bicentenary of N.F.S. Grundtvig.
Copenhagen, Denmark, September 10-14, 1983. Det Danske Selskab / The Danish Institute, p. 25
231
Based on a conversation with Jakob Erle.
232
Based on a conversation with John Petersen.
- 66 -
Given the kind of experience that one gets from the FHS, it is no surprise that early in the 20th
century a significant portion of the members of the Danish Parliament had had a FHS stay behind them. 233
In that sense I would argue that the folkehøjskole has contributed to the demand on the Danish political elite
to remain in close contact with the people. It was therefore not surprising that one could hear the word
folkelig being a greatly contested concept in the debate over the leadership of the Social Democrats in the
autumn of 2002.

IV.1.5. Modern Challenges


Let us step back in history for some more time. A new legislation on the FHS was passed in 1942,
separating the vocational training from the “original” folkehøjskoler whose curricula we described in
connection with Christian Flor. The term general education, which up until then used to describe the goal of
formal gymnasium education, appeared in the legislation, in opposition to Grundtvig’s aim of
folkeoplysning. 234 It was not very clear in which direction the FHSs were heading.
The 1950s brought a new challenge for the FHSs. Agriculture was replaced by industry as the most
important sector of Danish economy and just as the socio-economic and demographic conditions changed,
so was forced the folkehøjskole. Urban population with good access to quality public schooling presented a
new source of students for the FHSs. That meant that the schools had to offer an alternative to formal
education and adjust their course offers accordingly.
As the 1950s drew to an end, another wave of discussion about the role, purpose and content of the
FHS education surfaced. As Erik Bjerre describes 235, a meeting of concerned FHS people with industrial
leaders and businessmen took place at that time, asking whether practical subjects should be included in the
FHS program of study. The answer was an explicit “no”. The merit for FHS students was to get new
inspiration, a sparkle in their lives. Bjerre sees two areas in which the FHSs are irreplaceable: they facilitate
the search for, if not the discovery of, a deeper meaning of human life and they contribute to a more humane
society (awareness of Denmark’s role in the world; appreciation of a man’s dignity; experience with
democracy in daily work and life). 236
Late 1960s and early 1970s were a period of deep social and political changes in most parts of the
Western world. The question of life in its complexity surfaced once again as the vital substance in the
folkehøjskole experience. In the following decades, further reexamination of such questions through self-
expression by means of music, visual arts, creative writing etc. became common.
The year 1970 brought another Act on the folkehøjskole, which had been negotiated for over fifteen
237
years. The Act legislated on all free boarding schools together (agricultural, continuation, domestic
science and FHSs). In spite of their common origin dating back to Grundtvig’s idea of free schools, they no
longer formed a spiritual community. The law kept the FHSs as institutions that wouldn’t provide formal
qualifications, which was a tough provision in a modern educational society of those days.

233
Based on a conversation with Kristof Kristiansen
234
A new series of folkehøjskole laws was passed in the 1990s. In the Consolidated Act from 1993/4 folkelig
oplysning replaced “general education” as the definition of the main aim of the courses, because it expressed the
tradition that is to be maintained and extended. “General education” remained as the main rule for teaching.
Single subjects or groups thereof should never prevail over the general.
235
Bjerre, E., ‘The Folk High School – Grundtvig’s Intuition on Adult Education, in Education for Life.’
International Conference on the Ocassion of the Bicentenary of N.F.S. Grundtvig. Copenhagen, Denmark,
September 10-14, 1983. Det Danske Selskab / The Danish Institute, p. 25
236
Ibid, p. 25
237
Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD, Copenhagen 1991
- 67 -
However, it proved successful – new generations were given a place where they could dream of a
different society. Students expected a great amount of personal freedom; they were educated, came from the
cities, they shared the spirit of 1968, believed in a bottom-up approach and belonged to a generation in need
of rediscovering the whole world. The subjects and the historical-traditional approach were of little interest
to them. It was the flat structure of the FHS, the possibilities for social life, creative activity, and discussion
that attracted them.
Once the schools weren’t any longer a tool for the inclusion of the rural population into the life of
the society, other attempts were being made on how to utilize them by the flourishing welfare state. Social
workers often recommended a folkehøjskole stay to individuals with severe psychological problems. The
schools didn’t prove to be able to function as therapeutic places for large numbers of such people, the free
spirit and entrepreneurship worshipped at the folkehøjskole often meant further deterioration of a person’s
condition. 238
The FHSs weren’t spared of some more explosive attempts to challenge the sometimes
authoritarian way of leading the schools by their managers, the principals. The wish for further
democratization and more student rights and self-governance gave way to the founding of some new schools
that diverted from the traditional Grundtvigian vision and substituted it by their own, usually a left wing
ideology. 239 At the same time, the schools were some of the most ardent opponents of the country’s
accession to the EEC in 1972/3. It became obvious that the national sentiment and self-confidence were still
deeply rooted in parts of the FHS world.
The complexity of the surrounding society had an obvious impact on the FHSs. If up until not long
before it had been possible to speak of a “FHS movement”, the folkehøjskoler of the 1970s and 1980s were
as diverse as ever. The individual became the center of attention; a certain level of welfare was secured for
most of the society and the concept of growth was adapted to the personal level. 240 New topics came to the
forefront of FHS interest – the environment, disarmament, development issues etc. In many cases,
unfortunately, the society itself and democracy therein were not considered as a true part of the
environment, which seemed to be the concern of many. 241
It is not an exaggeration to say that roughly from the 1960s the mention of the crisis of the folk
high school is a periodically reappearing if not a permanent impression of the state of affairs within the
folkehøjskole. There is still much discussion about how general the education at a FHS should be, what the
still acceptable deviations from the “norm” are, what the norm really is and who should define it. The recent
decades have seen a popularity of short courses that have a special focus (ceramics, sailing, theater, bicycle
riding, ecofarming etc.).
At the same time the folkehøjskole is often regarded as a place where abstract philosophical ideas
detached from real life are being discussed. Jakob Erle, the director of the International Academy of
Education and Democracy, strongly disagrees that the folkehøjskole is, should be or should be regarded as a
mixture of an old institution promoting traditional values and a school where the “unuseful” is being taught.

238
Warren, Clay (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners
Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998
239
Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path
to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991
240
Korsgaard, O., The Struggle for Enlightenment. Danish Adult Education During 500 Years. Danish-AWE,
København, 1998, pp. 21-23
241
Henningsen, H., ‘The Danish Folk High School, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, p. 295
- 68 -
He claims that the social skills that the FHSs are excellent in instilling in their students are of priceless
value to the individual who is a member of the modern information and knowledge-based society. 242
We will return to a discussion about the future prospects of the folkehøjskole at the end of this
chapter and will conclude this analysis of modern challenges for the FHSs with an optimistic view: “…there
has been uneasiness in Folk High School circles in fearing they would be overrun by the developments in
society (…) But each time the doubts have proved to be unnecessary. The Folk High School proved it could
adapt to trends in society, and its core did not become superfluous as a result of developments in society –
on the contrary.” 243

IV.2. Institutional Matters


“What does it mean for a democratic society to have
a school where those with university background and
those who never finished the seventh grade can meet
in a noncompetitive setting and encounter each other
as real persons, stripped at least in part of external
credentials?” 244
The brief characteristic of the folkehøjskole in the introduction to chapter IV mentioned its
independence from the Danish state. Financially, the different schools have always depended first and
foremost on their ability to attract students. In that sense the institution was established as a free enterprise
(although non-profit) and it keeps this “market orientation” up to this day. At the same time, its value for
the Danish society is expressed through complementary state funding that is conditioned by the number of
students that enroll. The freedom regarding policies and internal running of the school is essential and the
state is not allowed to intervene, unless the schools break the law, especially through financial dependence
on or ideological control by other entities. 245
The schools’ financial sanity is ensured when a sufficient number of students signs up for the long
autumn and spring courses (at least one course lasting 20 weeks or two courses lasting 12 weeks each) and
the short summer courses. The minimum number of students required for any given school to be granted
state funding is 24 “annual students” (one annual student corresponding to one student staying at the school
for 40 weeks; two students staying for 20 weeks or an equivalent). Without the minimum attendance, in
other words without the support of the state, a school ceases to exist.
The growth of popularity of the short summer courses is due to a number of demographical and
social factors. Leisure-time society demands a great variety of offers regarding free time and periods of
holidays. Lifelong learning has become a natural part of our lives and personal development is widely
encouraged. While in 1970 the number of students coming for the short courses amounted to 8,000 (7% of

242
Erle, Jakob, in: Warren, Clay (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for
Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, pp. 70-76
243
Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD, Copenhagen 1991,
p. 51
244
Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path
to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991, p. 412
245
Six Rejsende (traveling) folkehøjskoler had to close in 1996 because of their connection to the infamous Tvind
movement lead by Amdi Petersen. Several pieces of legislation had to be passed in order to prevent a similar
abuse of the schools by groups seeking their own profit and abusing students’ and teachers’ labor.
- 69 -
annual students), the figure went up to 44,000 by 1990 (25%). It means that the number of people with some
FHS experience has gone up considerably (10-15 thousand yearly to 50-60 thousand in that time period).
Students pay a fee of about EUR 130 per week and the school co-finances the rest. At the end of
each year, the Danish state reimburses 85% of the school expenses (more than a half of the amount goes to
staff salaries, the rest is used partially to maintain the school property and to scholarships). In 1994, 46% of
the students were paying the full fee themselves; 246 the rest received additional help from their municipality,
county or a private foundation. By 2003, this figure went up to 76%, pointing to the financial cuts of the
new liberal government (elected in 2001). We will return to a more detailed analysis of state support for
international participants ( IV.4.3) but let’s mention here that in 2003 it amounted to 3.3% of the fees
otherwise payable by students.
The schools can generate additional income by renting out their premises for the purpose of outside
educational activities, conferences and seminars, or by their own fundraising. That usually takes place in the
form of community activities, Christmas trade fairs, public lectures with voluntary fees, exhibits of student
work, concerts and the like. The involvement of each particular school in its local community depends very
much on the approach of the principal and the staff, on the reputation of the institution, its tradition 247 and
the corresponding will of sponsors to contribute to its budget or scholarship fund.
One of the characteristics and requirements for the FHSs is their residential character. With a
limited number of exceptions, they provide not only the learning program but also accommodation for both
students and teachers. The school premises can be historical buildings transformed for the current needs and
standards of comfort or modern ones constructed only recently. Schools are usually located in the
countryside or at the outskirts of towns. In the year 2004 there are 86 FHSs registered in the common
catalogue published by the Folkehøjskolernes Forening i Danmark (Association of Danish FHSs, FFD).
Their geographical distribution is quite even all over Denmark, although north Zealand, Funen and central
Jutland show a higher density of FHSs (see Appendix 2, VIII.2).
The head or manager of each school is its principal, forstander, sometimes together with his or her
spouse (forstander par). The role of the principal is to ensure the daily running of the school, manage the
staff and teachers. The principal is appointed by the school board (bestyrelse), the governing body of each
FHS. The board oversees the school’s activities and decides on the general trends of development.
The students are mainly young people (87% are under thirty); the minimum age is set by law to
17½ for most of the schools and 16½ for the youth FHSs (ungdomshøjskolerne). There is a number of
pensioners’ FHSs (pensionisthøjskoler) and some schools that are sports oriented (idrætshøjskoler).
Compared to the social makeup in Denmark, there is an overrepresentation of recent secondary school
graduates and women (59%), while immigrants are underrepresented (3% of FHS students as opposed to 8%
in the society).
The law stipulates that in each course the majority of students have to come from Denmark. Long
folkehøjskoler courses are mainly frequented during a year’s break between secondary and university
education 248, while summer short courses cater to a wider variety of participants. While there’s choice of

246
All figures in the following paragraphs come from a statistical overview Folkehøjskoler i tal.
Undervisningsministeriet. Højskoleudvalget, 2004 (www.uvm.dk)
247
One way to see the tight historical connection between a school and its community is to find out that a number
of schools have a simple street address such as Højskolevej, Højskolebakken, Højskolen, Flors Allé etc.
248
Young people in their early twenties are most likely to respond positively to offers such as: “We won’t give
you an answer to the question of what you will use your life for but we can help you research it and find it for
yourself.” (Information brochure of Grundtvigs højskole in Hillerød)
- 70 -
virtually any length of course, the majority of participants come for courses of 16 to 24 or one to two
weeks’ duration.
There are two reasons why FHSs need to widen the spectrum of their long-course participants.
Secondary school graduates, who are the main target group, are pushed more and more to cut their break
between secondary and university education to a minimum and thus climb the ladder of formal education as
fast as possible. The break is still a popular choice among young people but the competition of ways how to
spend it is bigger than ever. Young people can choose to travel, get a job at home or abroad or do a
voluntary service. FHS stay is just one of the many alternatives.
Apart from that, considering the demographical development, the schools cannot rely solely on
secondary school graduates for their long courses. The challenge is to attract young people with rural,
worker or immigrant background who presently do not perceive a half a year’s break in their lives dedicated
to a FHS stay as an option, often on financial grounds.
Another possibility is to open the schools up to international participants, which is a tendency
already taking place. The portion of foreigners among FHS students rose from 10% in 1994 to 20% in 2003.
In 2003, 27% came from EU member states while Europe as a whole was represented by 37%.
Who are FHS teachers and how to characterize them? There is no simple answer to that question.
Formally speaking, they are pedagogues out of whom about one half has an academic education. Some of
them are graduates of Den frie Lærerskole in Ollerup where teachers for the various types of free schools
are being educated.
Most teachers have an outside professional experience before they are employed at a FHS and quite
a few retain external commitments even during their FHS career. As Ole Borgå emphasizes: “We have a
tradition that folkhighschool teachers are not only teachers but also have outside activities in connection
with the local community or with their former work, so that they are not isolated on an island but working
together with society and the folkhighschool.” 249
Thinking back to what we said about the contribution of Askov højskole’s combination of
professional education and folkeoplysning, I would claim that there are two main aspects whose combination
characterizes a good FHS teacher. It is their expertise in the subject matter that they teach and their ability
to inspire, to show their humanness, to encourage and arouse. To be a FHS teacher is not a mere job, it is a
lifestyle, a conviction. 250

249
Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners
Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 151
250
One of the most inspiring texts about being a FHS teacher is Frederik Christensen’s essay ‘To Be a Folk High
School Teacher’ in Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD,
Copenhagen 1991, out of which I select the following excerpts:
“…There is, as we know, no special educational background for folk high school teachers. In Denmark,
everyone, in principle, can be a teacher at a folk high school, but normally one has some kind of theoretical
education.…But a folk high school teacher must find out for herself or himself why she or he is at folk high
school.…Therefore she or he can never relax as a subject-expert, but must at the same time be: artist,
philosopher, and scientist. She or he will often grieve over being a bungler, an amateur, a dilettante; but exactly
this disquiet is his strength and his opportunity.
…The most important thing in the tradition, the new high school teacher has to rely on, is Grundtvig, whose
pedagogic genius lies in the “indirect method”: First you must learn to love life, then you can reform the world.
Nearly all other pedagogic philosophies stress the opposite: First you must reform the world, then you can
love.…The folk high school teacher who can only stimulate critical thinking will not have very much importance.
He will become tiring and unimportant, like all moralizing people. He will have to scream louder and louder to be
heard, like the tabloid papers. He will leave behind him a human wasteland. He will deaden and bore ten for
every one he stimulates, as Grundtvig says.”
- 71 -
As Grundtvig claimed, “we learn to know because we first love” 251 so the task of a good FHS
teacher is to create an environment of trust and to support creative, inventive and critical thinking in an
atmosphere of respect and tolerance. The mutuality of the learning process and equality between a teacher
and his or her students are crucial and Arne Andresén adds: “(…) teachers who have enthusiasm for life
should be chosen as instructors. Folk schools should have teachers who are not driven to teach subjects but
to create learning experiences.” 252

IV.3. Courses, Methods and Living Together


“[True enlightment] gives us not only a holistic
but a strangely optimistic view of human
nature, very much at odds with the hardness
and pessimism which has come to characterize
much of late twentieth century life.” 253
In the previous subchapters we have followed the history of the folkehøjskole and analyzed its
current position in the Danish society with respect to financing, human resources, clientele, and basic data.
In this subchapter the essence of the educational format will be assessed, underscoring especially those
points that differentiate the FHSs from other educational institutions.

IV.3.1. General Education – A Variety of Choices


We have already characterized the historical development vis-à-vis the general focus of education
but little was said about the concrete courses offered and pedagogical tools used. “Besides history,
literature, and poetry, the main subjects of the folk high school were to be the Danish constitution, economic
life in Denmark, and the Danish folk singing. Teaching and dialogue were to be conducted exclusively in
the people’s language.” 254
Such a short account would be virtually impossible nowadays. Flipping through the common
catalogue of all the FHSs, one can find course offers varying from glass blowing, over language instruction,
outdoors life, portrait painting, psychology, kayaking, film analysis, rhetoric, to corporate communications,
mythology, and journalism. As Christen Kold would say – feeling, fantasy and imagination should be
employed during a learning process.
The Act on FHSs states that folkeoplysning is the main goal of instruction while general education
shall be the rule for teaching. What it means is that a variety of courses can be used to enlighten students but
no subject or a group thereof should dominate the timetable. There are schools that have a declared basis in
art classes, sports, languages or religious studies but the combination of a wide range of subjects and a
possibility for students to combine them in their respective timetables remains the predominant
phenomenon. A number of schools offer a study trip as an integral part of their courses – students travel to
Prague, Barcelona, Scotland but also to Greenland, Cuba or China.

251
Grundtvig, N.F.S., Selected Writings, Knudsen, J. (ed.), Fortress Press, Philadelphia 1976, p. 172
252
Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners
Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 88
253
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
p. 165
254
Henningsen, H., ‘The Idea of Folk Enlightenment – and its Rediscovery in Our Time, in Zøllner, L., Andersen,
A. M. (eds.), Enlightment in an International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995, p. 216
- 72 -
As much as the specific subjects are a guiding element in student’s choice of a FHS that they want
to go to, there is a personal and social experience common for all FHSs, given their residential format,
teachers’ approach and emphasis on life. “In addition to specific themes, the folk high schools teach their
students how to be active citizens of the world.” 255 There is something difficult to grasp behind the everyday
life at a FHS, something that for most students makes it an experience of their lifetime. “The debate about
the meaning of things, about values and democracy, citizenship, freedom and love goes on. It is vital so long
as we are in the interesting situation of not quite knowing what it means to be a human being.” 256

IV.3.2. Learning instead of Teaching and Being Taught


“Folk High Schools have always aimed to be primarily communities in which a living interaction
can take place between teacher and taught and in which both learn from one another.” 257 Mutuality of the
learning process and equality between teachers and students is a prime characteristic of the classes. Students
share a great deal of responsibility for how a given course is going to look like. At the beginning of each
term they create plans and projects that they want to work on and they discuss the main themes and topics,
which should guide their work. Teachers play the role of a facilitator rather than of an instructor – they do
not pour wisdom into students’ heads but encourage them to search for it themselves.
“Learning by doing” is a phrase depicting a predominant educational approach. Its fulfillment
comes mainly through group work and the formation of committees with diverse responsibilities. By being
“forced” to defend one’s opinions vis-à-vis the opinions of others, by discussing, compromising and
becoming aware of one’s role within a team, students acquire competencies that are truly for livet, for life.
“Grundtvigian ideal of holding together thinking and feeling, heart and head, of seeking for a collaborative,
rather than a competitive model for society (…)” 258 shows a joyful alternative to the often prevailing
atmosphere of anxiety, boredom and senselessness that young people are familiar with.

IV.3.3. Daily Routine


The weekly timetable that each student composes based on the course offer has to contain a
minimum of 24 lessons. Depending on the size of the schools there is usually a choice of two or more
subjects in each time slot. While this system applies to the majority of workdays, so that students are
divided into smaller groups, there are also communal activities that everybody takes part in (see Appendix
3, VIII.3).
One of them, dating back to Grundtvig’s days, is a morning assembly with singing together
(morgensang or fællessang). Different schools organize it at a different time (after breakfast or after the first
lesson) but the general purpose of the activity is to bring everyone together, make practical announcements
and to give the floor to either one of the teachers or one or more of the students who make a short
presentation on a topic of their choice. Imagination is the limit – you can tell jokes, explain how the brain
produces smiles, do a nature-protection happening, share your favorite piece of music or film, comment a
recent political development, conduct a Buddhist ritual or a Christmas celebration.

255
Donslund, A.-M., The Danish Folk High Schools, FFD, Copenhagen 2001, p. 18
256
Ibid
257
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
p. 165
258
Ibid, pp. 163-4
- 73 -
An integral part of the morning assembly is singing together. The music teacher or one of the
students usually accompanies on a music instrument and except for some special occasions the songs are
chosen from “the blue songbook”, folkehøjskolens sangbog. The first edition came out in 1894 and the 16 th
edition from 1974 is now being sold in its 9 th reprint. There are no page numbers but the number of songs
amounts to 572. Each term soon discovers a set of their favorite “hits” that become a musical symbol for
their FHS stay – towards the end of the term it is enough to shout a number and students start singing
spontaneously. About one hundred lyrics come from under Grundtvig’s pen, some are traditional folk songs,
some come from the Nordic countries, some are hymns, and others make reference to workers’ movements.
Today’s students are often unaware of the historical tradition behind fællessang but the effect of
communal singing remains the same as one hundred years ago 259. A powerful joint experience where
everyone can take equal part creates community awareness. The sound produced actively by all, the constant
repetition of some melodies and lyrics penetrates deep into everyone and is thoroughly joyful. The use of
Danish (in most songs) forms a bond between students, their mother tongue, and its poetic beauty.
Another regular common activity is the foredrag, the (spirited) lecture. It usually takes place once
a week and lasts for about an hour. It is either one of the teachers or a visitor who speaks in one of the big
halls of the school. When I described the teachers and especially the principal, I didn’t mention one of their
important skills. They are usually excellent public speakers who are able to combine thoughtful content with
either funny, touching or provoking form.
While daily routine contained in the timetable provides a framework for life at the school, it is the
round-the-clock activities that form the basis. In the school for life, there is no dividing line between
learning and living. As Allchin says: “This educational process takes place in the context of a common life
involving living and eating, singing, playing and working together as well as studying and learning, in
which hard realities and difficult topics can be understood in a way which is not altogether out of harmony
with the deepest longings of the heart. It is a process which is apt to give birth to unexpected hope.” 260

IV.3.4. Living Together


The residential character of the FHSs, especially during the long courses, provides a unique
educational setting.
“If one desires to awaken people and to provide true opportunities for them to find themselves and
to develop their full potential, it can hardly be done in a series of weekly evening classes. Such
vehicle is suitable for vocational training and hobby and interest classes, but not for the
examination of deep question of one’s existence and spirituality, and of social responsibility and
coherence. This requires ongoing, daily, sustained effort in a supportive community setting, which
only a residential experience can provide.” 261

Living together is the most rewarding but also the most challenging part of a folkehøjskole stay.
There are two critical aspects that ought to be examined. The first, external one, concerns the fact that

259
The assertion about unawareness comes from analyzing the results of a questionnaire survey conducted by
Urska Novak among the students of Ryslinge højskole, Autumn term 2003
260
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
p. 165
261
Kulich, J., Grundtvig’s Educational Ideas in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, Forlaget
Vartov, Copenhagen 2002, p. 201
- 74 -
“living together” takes place in an enclosed community that can choose to remain within the boundaries of
the school premises for the whole duration of the term. The community creates its own rituals, rules and
atmosphere that naturally fall apart as the participants go different directions when the term ends. The
outward isolation can lead to a feeling of senselessness, especially in the latter part of the term, and can
interfere with re-integration of the participants into the society.
The second challenge, the internal one, can have very positive outcomes or can result in deep
crises, depending on how it is managed. 262 By virtue of having a few dozen young people share their full
days for a number of weeks, a team-building process is initiated. Academic conflicts can take place during
the lessons but true conflicts usually occur outside the classes. The subject matter is no longer what you
think but what you do, how you behave, how you are able to coexist with others. The challenge here is to
deal with problematic issues of the group dynamics in an open, respectful and constructive way; otherwise
they can escalate with no way back or, and that might be the worst option, be left unattended.
In order to illustrate what “living together” in the context of a FHS means, I will mention some of
its main building blocks. One of the introductory characteristics of a FHS was that each term forms a self-
governing community. What it means in practice is that according to a predefined electoral key,
representatives of students form a council that is an equal partner for the teachers in matters of planning,
solving problems and decision making. It is up to each term to use the council to push through certain ideas
and to launch a healthy process of conflict resolution.
Apart of the “political” self-governance, there are numerous other options for “practical self-
governance”, meaning a day-to-day management of the team by the team itself. One of such possibilities is
the household duties performed by all students according to a fair plan. Small groups of students help on a
daily basis to set the tables before meals, clean them afterwards, and mainly wash the dishes. There is a
specific time when cleaning of the school property takes place, which is performed by the students as well.
Other duties might include the distribution of mail and newspapers. Especially the cleaning duty is
somewhat symbolic – there is a cleaning staff that is professionally responsible but household duties teach
students a certain social responsibility and they contribute to making the stay a bit cheaper.
Long gone are the days of Christen Kold when a number of students shared one mattress and slept
together in one dormitory. Students nowadays live in single or double rooms with private bathroom. Given
the overall standard of living in Denmark, for some it is the first experience of sharing a room with another
person. Rooms are usually organized in such a way that a certain number of them forms a subgroup of the
school total, especially in the larger FHSs.
Roommates and floor mates are responsible for how their environment looks like – they decide
about the decorations and about the cleaning. Such a close interpersonal experience reminds of a family
relationship; it has similar pitfalls but can be similarly rewarding. Again, it is up to the students to find out
whether the former or the latter will be true.
Students are encouraged to take initiative regarding special events and projects related either to
one of their courses or to general education as such. As often said, imagination and reasonable budgetary
requirements are the limits. It is up to whoever has an idea to convince others the others that the project is
something worth the while. It can be a special meal, an activity in the local community, an invitation for a
guest lecturer, an art exhibit or a sports competition.

262
The “living together” aspect will be re-examined in the Schools for Europe chapter, where this dimension
poses another set of challenges.
- 75 -
The lessons learnt can be anything from “lobbying”, public speaking, project management,
fundraising, marketing techniques to dealing with failure or success, responding to criticism and admiration
or being target of gossips and envy. All these skills are useful later on in life, especially if they are properly
“digested” and assessed during the FHS stay.
Something similar applies to social skills and behavior. The reality of seeing one’s character
“naked to the bone” and being forced to deal with how it is perceived by a close yet varied community can
be a tough test for personal integrity. There is no escape for a fairly long period of time and what you might
get away with in the diluted outside society bounces back at you with unexpected speed and intensity in a
FHS.
Friendships are built and sometimes broken; relationships are subject to public scrutiny, every
move is being monitored. Not fulfilling a certain responsibility cannot be excused by telling a lie. In an
ideally developing term, new understanding and new realization of the importance of interdependence,
responsibility and interaction takes place among most of its participants.
As we have mentioned earlier and as K.E. Bugge argues, if a single most important characteristic of
the educational value of the FHS should be chosen, it would be the living interaction, which is exemplified
and enabled mainly by living together. Going back to Grundtvig and keeping in mind the arguments from
the previous paragraphs, there is a good reason to believe that he was right when he said that the FHS is a
school for life (skolen for livet) because “life cannot be explained until it is experienced.” 263

IV.3.5. Validation
Validation, that is the assessment of what a person learns at a FHS translated into a language
understood by those outside the schools, is a contested issue. We have mentioned that a FHS stay is test and
exam free and does not lead to the award of degrees or certificates. However, we have also seen that it is
competence-giving and should be regarded as such. “The fact is that a student must struggle with success or
failure in strictly personal terms, stripped of the reward hardware around which competitive schools
crystallize the social and personal identities of those who move through them.” 264 In other words, intrinsic
motivation is a key prerequisite for wanting to go to a FHS and for making the most out of the stay. Many
other types of schools can only dream of saying that for their students “the driving force are not exams but a
desire to know and understand more”. 265
It is clear though, that a degree of outside recognition is desirable, or even necessary, if the schools
should survive. Within the Danish society, there is a certain level of awareness about the contribution of a
FHS stay to an individual’s personal development, although such awareness is not transversal in the society.
It is often difficult to explain what a FHS experience has given to a person and thus difficult to explain in
anticipation what it can mean. Folkehøjskolernes Forening i Danmark (FHS Association) placed the
following marketing page in their latest catalogue.

Højskolerne – we shape your success


Success is to make a trumpet sound like a trumpet
Success is to find melody in life

263
Grundtvig, N.F.S., Selected Writings, Knudsen, J. (ed.), Fortress Press, Philadelphia 1976, p. 153
264
Borish, Steven M., The Land of the Living. The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark’s Non-Violent Path
to Modernization, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City 1991, p. 411-2
265
Translated from the Grundtvig’s højskole catalogue.
- 76 -
Success is to find out which education you are most suitable for
Success is to get used to eat olives
Success is to do a double somersault with a full heart
Success is to learn to draw something that looks comparable
Success is to give uncertainty a certain sparkle
Success is to be pushed out of course and to find a new one
Success is to meet a person whom you think you have always known
Success is to dare to change the meaning
Success is to become better in something you are already good at
Success is to know how to choose which one of the 86 FHSs you will go to
Success is to know that there are many forms of success 266

Emphasizing the notion of success changes the FHS rhetoric that we have observed so far. As I
argue throughout the thesis, there is no reason not to do that. The FHS experience and the competencies
acquired throughout the stay are not “just” a contribution to the personal development of an individual; they
have (or can have) a wider social implications. Today’s Western societies are increasingly demanding and in
need of such skills that the FHS is irreplaceable in instilling.
Apart from participation credentials and assumed improvement of competencies within the subjects
studied, students gain social and intercultural skills which are extremely useful in the internationalized
society. They can demonstrate that they are able to take the responsibility for their own learning, which is a
good preparation for higher educational studies as well as for work in internationally connected world. 267
This is being recognized by some institutions in Denmark (universities award extra points in the
admission procedures, some employers give preference to former FHS students etc.) and it should be placed
higher on the agenda in the European context as well.

IV.4. Sharing the Folkehøjskole


“The establishment of a wider international
network of folk high schools, each based on its
own national and cultural tradition, could be
one of the candles of which Kennedy spoke –
It’s better to light one candle than to curse the
darkness.” 268
In the previous subchapters we have examined the history of the folkehøjskole, its position as an
institution within the Danish society and its main characteristics concerning educational methods and tools.
The following subchapter brings a critical analysis of the different ways in which the awareness about FHS
format can be disseminated beyond Denmark and provides an assessment of the various current
implementations thereof.

266
Translated from Fælleskatalog. Folkehøjskolernes Forening i Danmark, København 2003/04
267
Donslund, A.-M., The Danish Folk High Schools, FFD, Copenhagen 2001, pp. 22-3
268
Borish, S.M., ‘“Stick the finger down into the soil and smell where you are”: Some Thoughts on The
Implication of The Folk High School Model In An International Perspective’, in Zøllner, L., Andersen, A. M.
(eds.), Enlightment in an International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995, p. 62
- 77 -
The first clarification that has to be made, concerns terminology. When the “spreading” of the
folkehøjskole format beyond Denmark is being discussed, different authors use different words to describe
the process. Peter Manniche, the founder of the International People’s College in Helsingør, said for
instance, that folkehøjskole couldn’t be exported but it could be imported. Importing leaves room for
inspiration, interpretation, and adaptation, he claimed. 269 I find the term “import” limiting in the sense that it
doesn’t encompass the activities taking place on Danish soil, which I consider essential for the
understanding of the viability of the FHS on the international scene.
K.E. Bugge chronologically lists additional terms that accurately illustrate the historical period in
which they were conceived. 270 In the post-war years the aim was to “export” the folkehøjskole, which fitted
well with the rise of the standard of living when fridges, washing machines and cars were the much traded
commodities. The 1960s brought a realization that the “transfer of ideas is a much more delicate and
complicated affair than the export of machinery.” 271
Later a “gardening” language was adopted – we spoke of seeds planted in a foreign soil or branches
grafted into the stem of a foreign culture, to use Bugge’s expression. There was a growing awareness that
under different conditions the crop might not end up quite like in the country of origin. The 1980s and
1990s saw a shift to the spiritual language and “inspiration” became the prime expression. Given the
decades of experience with the process of “imp-ex and replanting”, it became clear that the outcome of a
process of inspiration might differ fundamentally from the source.
I have chosen to use the term “sharing” for a number of reasons. I believe it expresses the equality
between the actors involved. The term does not imply that there are only two of them, which is another
positive aspect. It also contains a notion of common responsibility for the joint ownership. It suggests the
will, desire and commitment of the parties to establish a lasting relationship, based on exchange of expertise
and experience. However, “sharing” is an umbrella term that doesn’t exclude any of the previously
mentioned; on the contrary, it anticipates the main idea of the upcoming chapter about the Schools for
Europe (V).
The second clarification concerns the fact that it is actually not easy to overview all the examples
of FHS dissemination worldwide because the methodology for assessment of the links is quite ambiguous.
Speaking of the FHS in the Danish context is comparatively uncomplicated because of its legal anchoring,
long tradition and clarity of terms and definitions; also in respect to internationalization. That is not the case
in other parts of the world but for our purposes it is more important to examine the possible challenges that
can be encountered in the process of sharing the FHS and to mention some of the outstanding examples.
In this subchapter we will look at three different approaches to sharing, however they are
intertwined. First, it is the application of FHS ideas outside of Denmark. Second, it is a unique example of
an international FHS within Denmark, and third, it is the support for a certain level of internationalization at
all remaining Danish FHS.
The challenges in respect to these categories are numerous but there is one that cuts across the three
of them. Denmark as a small but wealthy country, which has been active in developmental aid for decades.

269
Lawson, M., ‘Extending the Grundtvigian Vision: Peter Manniche (1889-1981) and the International People’s
College, Helsingør, Denmark,’ in Zøllner, L., Andersen, A. M. (eds.), Enlightenment in an International
Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995, p. 82
270
Bugge, K. E., Some International Varieties of Grundtvig Inspiration, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A.
Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, p.
191
271
Ibid.
- 78 -
After World War II it seemed suitable to introduce Grundtvig to the post-colonial countries because certain
parallels could be drawn between 19 th century Denmark and the Third World. Grundtvig’s teaching was
aimed at empowering ordinary people and at democratization, both of which were needed in the developing
countries.
Danes’ expectations, however, were often unmet. What is good at one place in one time is not
necessarily good for other place in other time. Certain concepts from the FHS vocabulary even provoked
adverse reactions. A similar scenario repeated after the fall of the Berlin Wall in the Baltic States that were
being integrated into the Nordic cooperation structures. Comparable disappointment can be witnessed when
international participants are coming to Denmark to experience the FHS format. They often lack the ability
to integrate into the flat structure of the FHS, are difficult to motivate and pursue their own personal goals
rather than contributing to the whole community.
The challenge being described here is the use of one value system and set of criteria to work with
people with another historical experience and value priorities (ingroup projection model). We will return to
this issue both in the latter sections of this chapter and in the chapter on Schools for Europe ( V). It is of key
importance to be aware of this challenge both when assessing the current activities and in drafting the future
ones. While multilateral approach based on commitment to deliberation as a tool for communication and a
basis for decision making can be suggested for European space, it is less likely to be successful in a
community with worldwide participation.
It can be inspiring, however, to expand upon the idea of possible challenges by listing the policy
implications that Borish suggests for a successful introduction or borrowing of a social institution between
cultures.

 importance of local self-determination and the right to adapt the concept to local needs and
conditions
 necessity of a primary cultural base in the local cultural community (difficult or impossible to be
run by outsiders)
 avoidance of an isolated entity – anchoring in a greater social movement, resulting in the creation
of wider social networks
 remaining faithful to the major goal of building self-confidence and a positive attitude toward life
 understanding of a larger social context in order to understand the success of the institution 272

Borish’s points are certainly reflected in the struggle for establishment of the Schools for Europe.

IV.4.1. Examples Worldwide


Danish scholars and FHS activists have conducted a number of researches with the aim to monitor
the dissemination of Grundtvig’s ideas worldwide. As we have seen above, there are numerous challenges
involved in such initiatives. If we overcome the culturally imperialistic approach that dictates what exactly
is the proof of having been inspired (such as residential character of an institution, educating adults, no
giving of qualification, having a certain length etc.) and acknowledge that wherever someone feels he or she

272
Borish, S.M., ‘“Stick the finger down into the soil and smell where you are”: Some Thoughts on The
Implication of The Folk High School Model In An International Perspective’, in Zøllner, L., Andersen, A. M.
(eds.), Enlightment in an International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995, pp. 58-62
- 79 -
has been influenced by Grundtvig’s teaching or the folkehøjskole, we usually get a sample that can inspire
us in return.
There is no doubt that Grundtvig was a quintessential Dane but above all he was a human being and
his ideas belong first and foremost to humanity (if it dares to listen to him). Regarding his emphasis of the
folkelig, Bugge explains: “School for Life envisaged by him should be folkelig. In other words, it should
always reflect the cultural identity of a particular people. Furthermore, it should respond to the challenges of
a particular historical and political situation,” 273 which is a universalistic approach free of cultural
relativism.
Folkehøjskoler and other institutions inspired by them or directly by Grundtvig are present in most
parts of the world. However, as Bugge points out, there are three regions that have been interestingly
immune to the FHS idea. They are the predominantly Catholic countries, countries with communist regimes,
and the Islamic countries, with exceptions such as the Philippines or Bangladesh. The reason can be seen in
a certain incompatibility of definitions or desirability of notions such as equality, democracy and openness.
On the other hand, a certain form of a folkehøjskole has existed in all the Nordic countries, among
the Danish communities in the US, in England, the Netherlands and in Germany. We don’t have the space to
examine how they are related to the Danish model and for our purposes it is not of prime interest. The
development in Western protestant countries of non-formal education is quite similar to the Danish case and
can serve mainly as an illustration of the overall picture, just like the areas of formal and informal education
did in the previous chapter (III).
In some Third World countries and parts of Europe however, the inspiration by the Danish FHS is
better observable, because the overall social conditions are so different that the lessons learnt are of greater
significance. Members of societies in transition realize (often quite suddenly) the importance of non-formal
education and thus the usefulness of the folkehøjskole, which “(…) can react more quickly to changes in
society and to citizen’s needs.
Moreover, the folk high schools can do important social work of a preventive nature. At a time
when there is little trust in political parties or movements, there is an obvious need for an institution which
is not tied to political power and which can both teach people to fight for their rights and mould young
274
people’s characters so that a completely new generation of political leaders can emerge.”
As regards the Baltic States we are witnesses to a large amount of direct contacts, study trips and
exchanges of students and teachers. The problem remains that the financing of the local projects has been
largely external and that the donors have been setting the rules and requirements, thus implanting their
views. A typical donor–recipient dilemma has appeared; the donor not being satisfied with the progress
made and the recipient not welcoming the emphasis on matters of little local relevance.
In the case of the Third World we are back to the issue of presumed relevance and its practical
impact. While some aspects of the FHS tradition proved not to appeal to local populace, there are others that
they chose as worthy of multiplication. On the basis of the Bangladesh experience, Hansen emphasizes two
of them – the anti-elitism and pro-development – and expands them as follows:

273
Bugge, K.E., Some International Varieties of Grundtvig Inspiration, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A.
Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, p.
188
274
Marju Sarv from the Alu Folk High School in Estonia answering a question about why she wishes to set up a
folkehøjskole in the Baltic countries. Quoted in Björkstrand, G., ‘Grundtvig’s “Education for Life” and the
Cultural Challenge Facing the Baltic and Nordic Countries Today’, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A. Hjelm,
J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, p. 169
- 80 -
 working against patriarchal and patronizing teaching methods, and elitist attitudes
 advocating equality and justice, empowerment, awareness-raising among the marginalized and
underprivileged, human rights and democratization (modern words for freedom and people’s right
to influence their destinies)
 contributing to overcoming alienation in societies under rapid transformation, i.e. decolonizing the
mind
 focusing on adults, increasing the potential to remedy their situations, creating a second chance for
everyone
 using modern teaching methods based on equality and participation 275

Bugge, on the other hand, summarizes the Danish connection of the gonobidyalaya (“school of the
people”) project in Bangladesh in two points only:

 a student-centered and participatory approach


 emphasis on cultural awareness

He continues by saying: “It is of the essence of the folk high schools that their activity should proceed in an
ongoing dialogue with their own cultural and societal setting.” 276
As we can see, at least in the scholarly analysis, the requirements for acknowledging Grundtvigian
inspiration have shrunk considerably. The main reason probably being that time has tested the Third World
projects and the most successful ones show little factual connection to the folkehøjskole as conceived and
understood in Denmark.
Some of the outstanding figures and projects combining Danish inspiration and local anchoring are
for example Edicio de la Torre from the Education for Life Foundation in the Philippines, Kachi E. Ozumba
from the Grundtvig Institute in Oba, Nigeria, the Mitraniketan People’s College in India (with joint
inspiration by Grundtvig, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Arthur E. Morgan) and the five
gonobidyalayas with their related projects in Bangladesh.
Both Kristof Kristiansen and Ove Korsgaard emphasize that copying of the Danish model can lead
to weak financial sustainability, thus jeopardizing the project altogether. The above mentioned examples
have probably as many points in common with the Danish folkehøjskole as they have differences. However,
the ability to be inspired without becoming enslaved has delivered exceptional results.

IV.4.2. International People’s College


In 1921 Peter Manniche (1889-1981) founded a school in Helsingør, which drew from the
folkehøjskole tradition but developed with a number of distinct characteristics. The main one was the
student target group. The fresh horrifying experiences of World War I convinced Manniche that there was a
need for an institution that would bring people from both sides of the conflict together to a place where they
could learn to live, work and study side by side, in a friendly atmosphere, thus overcoming prejudice about

275
Hansen, H. B., ‘Education for Life or for Livelihood? Grundtvig and the Third World Revisited’, in Allchin,
A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A. Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus
University Press, Aarhus 2000, p. 205-206
276
Bugge, K.E., Folk High Schools in Bangladesh, Odense University Press, Odense 2001, p. 59
- 81 -
each other. Manniche used Grundtvig’s and Kold’s teaching and is sometimes called Grundtvig’s
ambassador for the rest of the world.
The language of instruction at the International People’s College (IPC) became English but a
number of classes were dedicated to learning about the host country. During more than eighty years of its
existence, IPC attracted representatives of oppressed and marginalized groups worldwide (Jews, black South
Africans, Latin Americans), facilitated dialogue between opposed groups (Israelis and Palestinians, students
from the Balkans), introduced democracy to young people from countries in transition (Central and Eastern
Europe, China, South East Asia) and gave a chance to witness these encounters to well-off students from the
Western World (Danes, Americans, Japanese, Germans).
IPC is an idealistic place with immense potential in areas such as conflict resolution, team-
building, post-conflict trauma healing, inter-cultural learning and communication. However, this potential
places great requirements at the teaching staff and at the students as well. The case of IPC shows the
challenge of an institution based on values pertaining to one political culture, which opens up to people
often cherishing very different if not opposing values. While it might seem reasonable that the school
should be trying “(…) to contribute to democratic development based on stable Nordic values such as
solidarity, the equality of sexes, tolerance, openness, and the rule of law and order,” 277 this undeclared
assumption is the key to the failure of IPC to fulfill its potential.
As we have seen in the characterization of the teaching methods and other educational tools at the
Danish folkehøjskole, there are many in-built processes that are based on the belief that there should be
equality between sexes (washing dishes), that problems should be placed on a discussion table and solved
consensually after an open debate (student council), that rules agreed upon should be followed for the
benefit of the community (common projects, household duties) etc. It is an immense challenge to bring
together young adults from around the world who have been raised in societies with completely different
value systems and ways of living together. It is an unrealistic expectation that these people will
harmoniously blend and function according to common rules and conventions.
A stay at IPC is a rewarding experience for every individual participant. Living together with peers
from about thirty different countries is enriching, even if the depth of understanding often doesn’t go
beyond regional folklore, improved English language skills and a vague awareness of the differences and
commonalities. The Danish government has been supporting IPC students through individual and
institutional grants, hoping to contribute to the spreading of the Danish understanding of democracy beyond
Denmark. This was being done through government agencies Demokratifonden and later Højskolepuljen
( IV.4.3).
Various projects were aimed at bringing activists and potential multipliers to IPC, who would then
be able to “import” some of what they have learnt into their home societies. Recent years have seen an
increase in participants from Asia who are able to finance their stay and consider it as an extended language
course. Kristof Kristiansen, the current principal, doesn’t perceive that as a major problem but rather as
another challenge to being able to adjust. In respect to internationalization of the FHSs, he sees it as a way
of survival, which, as he claims, makes IPC a stronger bearer of the folkehøjskole tradition.

277
Nordic Council of Ministers defining Nordic values in Björkstrand, G., Grundtvig’s “Education for Life” and
the Cultural Challenge Facing the Baltic and Nordic Countries Today, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A.
Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, p.
169
- 82 -
The main problem during IPC long courses remains the lack of knowledge about the FHS format
and the values that it is based upon; and above all the lack of commitment to democratic dialogue on the
part of the students.

IV.4.3. Internationalization, Demoktratifonden and Højskolepuljen


We have so far analyzed two ways in which the awareness about the FHS format reaches people
beyond Denmark. In both of them the common issue is the redefinition of the folkehøjskole or its alteration
due to different circumstances. The third example is a “reverse” one. The process of internationalization of
the Danish FHS means that existing schools located throughout Denmark receive a number of foreign
students who mingle with the Danes and adapt to the existing structures.
Internationalization in its earlier stages was aimed at students who either studied the Danish (or
other Scandinavian) language in their home country or had a connection to a network cooperating with
schools that shared its ideological, religious or other focus (Christianity, workers’ movement, sports
associations). Diversity was therefore minimized or “redirected”, although voices calling for a change
appeared already then: “Students from abroad ought to be considered equal participants in folk high school
courses. This of course would presuppose relaxations of the strict rules that Danish is the one and only
teaching language on folk high schools courses. The opening of the international and European Society in
the coming years is in itself an argument for this change.” 278
The main source of funding for international activities at the FHS at that time was Demokratifonden
(Democracy Fund) – a framework of financial support for internal and external educational and
developmental activities aimed at enhancing democracy worldwide. Demokratifonden was being
administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish International Development Agency
(DANIDA) and served a wide range of purposes with little geographical limitation.
Second half of the 1990s saw a change of policy. Exceptions from the law about Danish majority
among participants were granted and some principals asked for more freedom in opening up to the
international “market”, especially given the growing competition in non-formal education. “Folkehøjskole
should be able to work internationally. Only in a very narrow understanding the Grundtvigian needs to
remain Danish national. If it should retain its meaning today, it has to be understood also internationally –
279
and the law should enable the schools to work on this scale.”
The change is also clearly visible when comparing the two official brochures introducing the FHS
to English speaking audience. In the 1993 version we can read a fairly deep account of the history of the
FHS, its role in today’s society and its international activities (published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
one of the authors being an FFD 280 employee). By 2001 the theoretical and descriptive brochure gave way to
a marketing material (published by FFD itself), a catchy and inviting story about a few persons’ experiences
and impressions from a FHS stay, complemented with basic facts about the history of the FHS. Added were
detailed instructions about how to find out more information about the individual schools, how to apply for
a stay and how to get possible financial support: “If the main purpose of your stay at a folk high school is to

278
Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD, Copenhagen 1991,
p. 63-64
279
Written by Torben Jørgensen, the principal of Ryslinge højskole,for the Ministry of Education’s magazine
“Uddannelse” no. 4/97. The quote is introduced by saying that if market conditions should apply for the FHSs,
then they should apply either fully or not at all (internationalization thus being a natural development).
280
Folkehøjskole Forening i Danmark, Association of Danish Folkehøjskoler.
- 83 -
learn about democracy and/or human rights, the folk high school you are going to attend may apply for a
grant from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Democracy Fund.” 281
The growing process of internationalization was under way when the new Danish liberal
government (elected in autumn 2001) abolished Demokratifonden. At that time, Højskolen Østersøen had
had several years of experience with Danish-German courses and summer projects with European
participants. Ryslinge højskole was conducting the World Classes for NGO youth activists from around the
world. Brandbjerg højskole introduced its European Studies program and many other schools included
“Danish language and culture for Foreigners” or “International Line” into their course offers. New sources
of funding were discovered and the dependence on the Danish state in respect to internationalization
decreased.
While some people feared internationalization of the folkehøjskole as a major threat for its integrity,
others welcomed the trend as the only possibility for future, especially when considering the current social
processes: “Today we work on this cultural meeting idea, saying that the building-up of international skills
and open-mindedness is very important for the future of our planet. We are interested in foreigners. We
want to be a part of their lives, with our own lives having this transnational skill. I think it is important for
European development and for the whole globe.” 282
In 2003 a limited version of what Demokratifonden used to administer was introduced.
Højskolepuljen reduced both the external and internal scope of support, compared to Demokratifonden. Its
target group outside of Denmark are young people from the ten new member countries of the EU and the
sole recipient on Danish soil, as the title says, are the folkehøjskoler. The first year of Højskolepuljen meant
that 3 million DKK (about EUR 400 thousand) were allocated for the purpose of inviting as many as 250
young Central and Eastern Europeans to Danish FHSs.
Case Study 3 – Active Citizenship in a New Enlarged Europe
In the autumn of 2003 twelve young Europeans from the nine EU accessing countries and one
Japanese joined a regular autumn term of about 90 participants at Ryslinge højskole on the Danish island of
Fyn. The aim of the three-month project coordinated by Rex O. Schade was to discuss about Europe at a
time of enlargement. The strength of the FHS format was proved by the fact that the group developed a
strong feeling of unity in diversity. The weaknesses, however, were numerous. Integration with the rest of
the students was hindered by language problems and lack of organized activities for that purpose. Many
situations that could have been used to explore the differences in approach to issues such as compliance
with the rules or improvisation were left unattended. The project content had little or no clear direction and
the amount of knowledge, depth of understanding and insight fell below of the potential of the project. In
spite of that a small European public was created and the bonds among participants remain strong. 283
The following are excerpts from the FFD press release reacting to the launching of Højskolepuljen:
“The Danish FHS is ready to become a crucial meeting place for the European youth (…) A few generations
ago, the major experience during a FHS stay was to meet young people from other corners of one’s own
country and the FHS did its share by building a bridge between cultural differences within the old nation

281
Donslund, A.-M., The Danish Folk High Schools, FFD, Copenhagen 2001, p. 23
282
Mogens Godballe in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for
Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 127
283
In order to address some of the major drawback and to offer positive solutions, the Project Assistant Proposal
was written. It is accessible here.
- 84 -
state. But the world has become a village. The cultural differences that need to be bridged now range over
borders and continents.” 284
The press release continues with a series of viewpoints that are worth noticing. The first one being
that the government’s approach is visionary because it will be the young people who will take over
European integration process. Thanks to cross border encounters they can form better opinions about their
future. The FHS is then praised for having been acknowledged as an institution that can enable such
interpersonal contacts. It is also stated, that some of the young people who will have been exposed to
Danish democracy at a FHS might come back to receive part of their education in Denmark or to seek a job
there. FFD’s chairman, Louis Mogensen, emphasizes that it is the Danish egalitarian generosity that is
symbolized by the budgetary grant and that it is something that the Danes would like contribute with to the
European cooperation.
He concludes by saying that young Europeans should by means of their FHS stay become eager to
influence the development, start new initiatives, and “give the European society a positive and optimistic
tendency as a community that is based on more than just economy and finances.” 285 This view is somewhat
exemplary for a FHS representative. There is a great degree of idealism among folkehøjskole people
counterbalanced by some very pragmatic voices (e.g. Kristof Kristiansen). We will now go on to assess
which of the two poles of opinion might prove to be viable in the years to come.

IV.5. Future of the Folkehøjskole


“Many people today are depressed or inactive in many
ways, and democracy is not just a method of making
constitutional laws and saying “This is democracy.” It
first is a question of having active citizens and
ongoing debates where people are interacting with
each other. The Grundtvigian concept is not a political
program but a program that aims at how people
should communicate.” 286
What is the outlook of the folkehøjskole for the future bearing in mind how it has been developing
and adapting to the needs of the society? While this thesis has been written out of a deep conviction of the
need for and usefulness of the FHSs, an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
concerning the future of the schools will now follow. 287
Strengths of the FHSs format lay in the fact that it deals with fundamental issues – existential and
ethical. 288 That is being done in the most effective way – through real life learning and periods of living
together. It addresses both local and universal themes, an approach that is very much in vogue, and even
more in need nowadays. The FHS has numerous times shown its ability to adapt and to survive under

284
Lindsø, E. (ed.), Anerkendelse af højskolernes europæiske indsats, Højskolebladet, 127. årgang, 20/2002, p.
19
285
Lindsø, E. (ed.), Anerkendelse af højskolernes europæiske indsats, Højskolebladet, 127. årgang, 20/2002, p.
19
286
Ole Borgå in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong
Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 152
287
SWOT analysis is an assessment often used in organizational development and project management. It
analyzes the internal Strengths and Weaknesses but also the external Opportunities and Threats in order to design
appropriate future action.
288
Based on a conversation with K.E. Bugge
- 85 -
changing conditions. It has also proved that it can perform as a valuable arena for discussions about
democracy. 289 Strengths of the FHS lay in what it deals with, how it does it, and in having been tested by
time and varying circumstances.
The most pronounced weakness of the folkehøjskole is that what is perceived as an outer threat is in
fact an internal problem, an issue that must be dealt with without looking for excuses outside. The
externalization of problems is closely connected with a lack of self-reflexiveness. 290 The schools become
isolated entities that instead of dealing with the complexities of the world 291, close them outside of their
walls. Internal conflicts tend not to be ‘lived out’; preference is given to appearance of harmony. A
connected problem is the loss of the ‘living word’ – while creative subjects enhance self-expression, the
‘living word’ subjects are crucial for raising awareness about identity as having both a psychological
(individual) but also a sociological (social) aspect, none of which can or should be avoided.
A weakness difficult to observe at individual FHSs is the fragmented character of what used to be
the FHS “movement”. While it would go against the decentralized and self-governing character of the
schools to force uniformity upon them, it would certainly be a contribution if there was a better sense of
unity and the principals engaged in a frequent and open debate about issues concerning the future of the
schools, with subsequent discussions taking place among the students.
The ideological weakness of the FHS can be pointed out by saying that Grundtvig conceived of the
schools as of an opposition against “the Roman yoke” 292, against the German and Latin, as a nationalistic
project. There is not enough space to build an argument refuting this claim by pointing out to the historical
circumstances and to the importance of the universal dimension in Grundtvig’s teaching. 293 However, there
is a certain challenge contained in the fact that the schools were conceived for a historically rooted national
community 294 and now are needed by a post-national polity. The fear of everything international
(immigrant, multicultural, European) instead of the eagerness to embrace it, is certainly not a rare
phenomenon. 295
The list of opportunities is, not surprisingly, the longest one. Paraphrasing František Palacký – if
the schools didn’t exist already, they would have to be invented now. The previous chapters have
sufficiently shown that there is an urge for institutions of non-formal education that could respond to the
various tasks that societies face nowadays. “(…) this special form of school can have significance for the
building up of democracy and social forms in which discourse and dialogue are the turning point.” 296 The
schools need internationalization in order to be able to keep faithful to their tradition of dialogue open to

289
http://www.ufv.dk/ufv/UFVHOME.NSF/docs/A99D12D11762F40BC1256BD50045596F
290
Henningsen, H., ‘The Danish Folk High School, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, p. 293
291
Based on a conversation with Marianne Horsdal
292
Björkstrand, G., ‘Grundtvig’s “Education for Life” and the Cultural Challenge Facing the Baltic and Nordic
Countries Today’, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A. Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.), Grundtvig in
International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, p. 170
293
For a study on the local and universal perspective in Grundtvig’s hymn-writing see Bugge, K.E., Spor i sne,
Danmarks Lærerhøjskole, København 1999, pp. 67-81
294
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
pp. 162-3
295
See for example Björkstrand, G., ‘Grundtvig’s “Education for Life” and the Cultural Challenge Facing the
Baltic and Nordic Countries Today’, in Allchin, A.M., S.A.J. Bradley, N.A. Hjelm, J.H. Schjørring (eds.),
Grundtvig in International Perspective, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, pp. 170-171
296
Ole Vig Jensen, former Minister of Education, as quoted in a paper by Lis Nielsen, quoted in Kulich, J.,
Grundtvig’s Educational Ideas in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, Forlaget Vartov,
Copenhagen 2002, p. 192
- 86 -
members of all segments of society. The post-national community, in return, needs the FHSs as laboratories
or training fields for public discourse and co-citizenship.
A great opportunity is the ability of the folkehøjskole to respond to complex social developments in
a joyful manner. Depression, materialism and inactivity are difficult to combat unless a more attractive
alternative is offered. As Kold used to say, the FHS should have the ability to wind its students up as a clock
so they can live out of the inner energy for the rest of their lives. If carried out properly, a FHS stay
combines the use of mind with the deep experience of feeling attached to a community through an intimate
encounter with fellow human beings. 297
The FHS can also be exploited as a tool transforming knowledge into personal realization and
personal realization into a social force. The method used is the living interaction based on communication,
which is understood discoursively. Democracy grows from the individual citizen but cannot be limited to
him/her, as we have seen with reference to Arendt. It is the ‘thick’ democracy, the daily testing thereof, that
is being practiced at the FHSs. 298 Values come from life and have to be tested in life. FHS provides a safe
place for such testing – it brings people together and through living interaction allows them to let their
differences grow smaller or at least to become aware and respectful of them.
The ability of the folkehøjskole to inspire has been tested numerous times so it can be expected to
keep on doing so. The “interaction and fusion of thought and action, of love and knowledge” appeals
worldwide. 299 Shedding a global light on the personal, local and national life 300 is in demand now more than
ever. The opportunity of the FHS is that it has a matching offer for the personal and social needs of today. 301
Outer threats facing the FHS relate mainly to its financial viability, which, if resolved in an
unfavorable manner, can lead to the loss of independence. 302 A partial response can be to address another
threat; that is the perception of the FHS as an outdated institution that symbolizes ‘pleasant uselessness’.
This thesis is but a small piece within the mosaic of good arguments showing not only the usefulness, but
the indispensability of the folkehøjskole not only in Denmark where it has achieved much already, but also
in the wider post-national European setting.
The future of the folkehøjskole format within Denmark remains very much open. 303 Currently, an
expert committee has been set up by the Danish Ministry of Education to address the development. Ove
Korsgaard, one of the committee members summarizes that the FHS history can be regarded from three
different perspectives as that of decay, continuity or transformation. He suggests taking the harder
transformation road because the FHS has shown that it has the ability to adjust and take new forms of

297
Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 1997,
p. 163
298
Birkelund, R., ‘Grundtvig og demokratiet – Om oplysning, dannelse og demokrati’, in Korsgaard, O., U. Jonas
(eds.), Poetisk demokrati: Om personlig dannelse og samfundsdannelse, Gads Forlag, Copenhagen, 2001, p. 45
and Ole Borgå in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for
Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p. 152
299
In 1930s Liang Shuming, a Chinese thinker, used a concept of lixing which was inspired by Grundtvig and
contained all the above aspects. Allchin, A.M., N.F.S. Grundtvig. An Introduction to his Life and Work, Aarhus
University Press, Aarhus 1997, p. 327
300
Korsgaard, O., ‘Højskolen som dannelsesinstitution’, Undervisningsministeriets Højskoleudvalg, 25/3-2004,
www.uvm.dk, p. 10
301
Henningsen, H., ‘The Danish Folk High School, in Allchin, A.M., D. Jasper, J.H. Schjørring, K. Stevenson
(eds), Heritage and Prophecy. Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus
1993, pp. 296-297
302
Based on a conversation with Knud-Erik Therkelsen
303
Korsgaard, O., ‘Højskolen som dannelsesinstitution’, Undervisningsministeriets Højskoleudvalg, 25/3-2004,
www.uvm.dk, p. 11
- 87 -
legitimacy and identity. Korsgaard identifies three key challenges to be resolved by the schools – relation to
the concepts learning and competence, relation to the concepts general education and folkeoplysning and
relation between three forms of sovereignty (the state, the school, the students). Can and should the future
of the FHSs be primarily formulated by laws from parliament, the ideological base of the schools’ general
assemblies or by popular need? 304
The remarkable parallels between some aspects of the debate about the future of Europe with the
debate about the future of the folkehøjskole is yet another signal that the two could join paths and embark on
a common journey of mutual enrichment and stimulation. That is also the topic of the next chapter.

304
Korsgaard, O., ‘Højskolen som dannelsesinstitution’, Undervisningsministeriets Højskoleudvalg, 25/3-2004,
www.uvm.dk, pp. 10-11
- 88 -
V. SCHOOLS FOR EUROPE
“Who are to be the citizens of the European polity?
(…) A demos, a people cannot, after all be a bunch of
strangers.” 305
This final chapter of the thesis is its natural culmination. It combines theories, ideas and best
practices of the three previous chapters – the theoretical one, dealing with basic concepts; the educational
one, focusing on learning aspects of citizenship and identity in Europe; and the Danish one, introducing the
folkehøjskole – a non-formal residential institution of adult education.
The title of the chapter, Schools for Europe, is borrowed from the headline of the theme-year 2001
of the Association for Community Colleges (Appendix 4, VIII.4) 306. I found appropriate to use a neutral
expression that would symbolize the link between the Danish folkehøjskole and the European Community
College, i.e. the European variant of the folkehøjskole, to which this chapter is dedicated. From now on I
will use the term ‘Community College’ (CC) when speaking of the proposed institution, ‘Community
College course’ (CCC) when referring to single events organized to confirm the vision, and ‘European
folkehøjskole course’ to describe similar activities unrelated to the European Community College project.
The remaining terms will be introduced when appropriate.
In the first subchapter, we will re-examine some of the themes covered in the previous parts but we
will use a new approach backed up by the concrete proposals for the establishment of European Community
Colleges. In the second subchapter, some of the academic works that relate to, inspire, or justify the vision
of founding Community Colleges will be presented in order to anchor the third, more practical subchapter,
theoretically.

V.1. Alternative Synthesis

In chapter II we dealt with concepts of citizenship and identity and examined some theoretical
models that work with these concepts. What role do they play in the vision of Schools for Europe? How are
some of these theories brought into practice?
Clearly, citizenship and identity are viewed in the post-national perspective, encompassing Europe
in the widest, non-exclusive, sense and working with constitutional patriotism as normative content. The
basic preconditions for identity formation are the respect for diversity and the recognition 307 of each
individual’s uniqueness – and those are clearly cherished. The awareness of the plurality of ideas of a good
life 308 gives the freedom to reformulate one’s own identity in the process of learning. The willingness to
tolerate and the eagerness to embrace differences 309 is enhanced by the ‘project’ type of approach – there is
a common task, an activity that unites all participants. ‘Thick’ identities, however, have their important

305
Weiler, J., ‘European Citizenship – Identity and Differentity’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European Citizenship: An
Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998, p. 7
306
‘Schools for Europe’ edition of Das Haus, La Maison, The House – European Youth Magazine, edition 26,
XI/2000, Schools for Europe. Annual 2001 of the ACC, Aabenraa
307
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
308
Lehning, Percy B., European Citizenship: Towards a European Identity? Erasmus University (undated, 1998
and/or later) http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/eur/papers/works/euro_citizen.html
309
Reif, K., ‘Cultural Convergence and Cultural Diversity as Factors in European Identity’, in García, S. (ed.),
European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993, p. 131
- 89 -
place during CCCs and European folkehøjskole courses. Sharing cultures and gaining an insight into each
other’s background, history, art, cuisine – all that contributes to mutual appreciation of diversity.
We spoke extensively of trust and legitimacy. In a small community setting the abstract and
impersonal trust characteristic for the society at large is replaced by getting to know each other and by
developing trust based on specific actions and experiences. The ‘institutional’ and decision making structure
is transparent and open to all; its effectiveness and responsiveness are easily assessed by the members of the
community, the process of feedback is constant in immediate.
Thinking back to Habermas’ concepts and theories, we discover that a number of them are being
put into life at these events. Constitutional patriotism is exemplified by the fact that participants share
very few ‘thick’ identities but when they come together, they are willing to comply with common rules that
are either set in advance or formulated by the given community. Before feelings of affinity develop, the only
thing that binds the members of the community together is the adherence to norms, principles and basic
humanistic values.
Deliberative democracy has an ideal place for development here. There is time and space
dedicated to discussions; it is the very purpose of being together. Proper deliberation can take place – with
shared interpretative frames and common themes 310, with participants disclosing their identity, formulating
opinions, arguing, convincing each other of their views, being encouraged to share their honest opinion and
show their character and value orientation. Learning and alteration of preferences provide a good basis for
the stability of the integrated community. 311 The solutions and decisions offered can be directly subject to
public debate, and their proponents need to defend them in front of the full community.
A small sample of a European public sphere is being created as well. The problem of divided
publics is solved by having one sufficiently small community, where problems of distance or complexities
of communication are not a real challenge. The elite and the masses are part of one entity – elites emerge in
a natural and transparent process, without the interference of aggressive media spots, powerful lobbying and
gossipy assumptions. The engagement in political discourse and action helps to create a common notion of
‘we’. One has to undergo a constant process of articulating and defending his or her competing conceptions
of identity. 312
“In order to gain identity, you must be aware that you are not alone, that you have a social context
and an historical context, and both of these perspectives are important. You cannot gain identity by
sitting in a chair and speculating solely by yourself. You have to go through a constructive dialogue
within these contexts. These contexts are not holy, but they give you something and somebody to
have a dialogue about and with and, in that way, to have the possibility of development. Otherwise,
according to Grundtvig, nothing will happen without this challenge.” 313

The theoretical chapter concluded with the examination of the concept of co-citizenship. We can
argue at this point that a European political community based on a common sense of identity won’t emerge

310
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL–
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo, p. 24
311
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
312
Passerin d’Entrèves, M., ‘Hannah Arendt and the Idea of Citizenship’, in: Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of
Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992, p. 158
313
Interview with K.E. Bugge in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S.
Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998, p.
55
- 90 -
from an abstract idea but rather from a personal experience with a public sphere of co-citizens that can give
meaning to a post-national European polity. The Community Colleges are an ideal place for learning for co-
citizenship. Their participants live in a pure co-citizenship setting where for a period of time the whole
group is together day and night in an enclosed space. It is here that the co-citizen model can come near to
being reached.
The learning aspects that were examined in chapter III were often described as inappropriate for
the tackling of the task of enhancing a process of post-national identity formation.
The subchapter about the EU’s role in the field of learning pointed out the limitations given by its
legal status. The strength of the CCCs is that they are grassroots initiatives, which can be financially
supported through current programs (such as Youth) while keeping their independence.
Formal education is constrained in the area of learning for co-citizenship by the unequal
relationship between the teacher and the student, by clearly defined curricula that leave little space for
adjustment and flexibility, and by the need to make the ‘immature’ identify with the values of the ‘mature’
part of the society. 314 Post-national citizenship is rarely encouraged and the protected imagined community
is that of the nation state. Last but not least, citizenship needs to be learnt through citizenship practice, for
which there are limited conditions in the formal educational institutions. These weaknesses are resolved in
the sphere of non-formal learning to which Community College courses belong.
Citizenship education can and should be initiated at a young age but true learning for co-citizenship
with all its experiential aspects can only take place when a young adult can fully engage in the practice of
co-citizenship, with the necessary ability for abstraction, networking and responsibility. That is why the
proposal is directed to adults, usually between 18 and 25 or 30 years of age.
The suggestion for the establishment of European Community Colleges does not aim to replace any
current forms of schooling but it offers to complement them. When it comes to language learning, which is
a vital precondition for European co-citizenship practice, the situation is complex. There are regions,
especially in Southern Europe, where the quality of English language instruction is still fairly low. A
learning experience at the European level can provide a valuable source of motivation, both before and after
the event. At the same time, safeguarding linguistic diversity in Europe can be enhanced by dividing the role
of language as a communication tool (English) from its role as an artistic expression (mother tongue). The
two can be enhanced during co-citizenship learning events.
Media are a powerful source of information and influence. However, their way of approaching
complex issues is often simplistic, ignorant and focused more on attracting the largest number of readers,
listeners or viewers possible rather than on enlightening the general public and encouraging public debate.
Their role cannot be replaced but Community College events offer an opportunity not to work with
abbreviated slogans but rather to talk, discuss and exchange views on the different issues. Mailing lists that
connect groups of recipients can serve as a source of alternative information based on real life experiences
and direct impressions.
The idea of the European Community Colleges is directly inspired by the Danish folkehøjskole
(chapter IV). That is why Hal Koch’s statement is worth repeating here: “Up till this day the folkhighschool
is the happiest solution found to the most essential problem facing democracy: the problem of the education

314
Torres, C.A., Democracy, Education and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World,
Presidential Address to the Annual Meeting of the Comparative International Education Society (CIES), Buffalo,
New York, March 20, 1998, p. 55-56
- 91 -
of the grown-up youth to live their lives as human beings and good citizens.” 315 Danes who move in the
folkehøjskole milieu are convinced that people’s education and enlightenment that has been given so much
attention in Denmark is the key to democracy that they would like to see being spread beyond their
borders. 316
The personal experience with the folkehøjskole format lay at the beginning of an initiative urging
for the establishment of CCs in Europe. We have in great detail described the history and institutional
matters relating to the Danish folkehøjskole, the general methods used, the examples of sharing the
folkehøjskole format, and the possibilities for future development of the FHS. Those are valuable sources of
inspiration and lessons to be learnt. As we have pointed out, the project of the founding of a European
Community College is in fact a response to most of the critical remarks while holding on to the positive
aspects of the tradition.

V.2. Academic Background


In this subchapter, we will get acquainted with five figures who have in one way or another
enriched the current spectrum of ideas about the folkehøjskole as dressed in a European garb. They are
academics, teachers, lecturers, organizers and visionaries; and they have all contributed to the formulation
of this thesis. However, their list is not exhaustive. Both Denmark and other Nordic countries have a
number of scholars and practitioners who express their opinions about the future of the FHS vis-à-vis
Europe. 317 Their contributions can be found in the yearbooks of the different schools, in the Danish
folkehøjskole magazine Højskolebladet, and in other periodicals, research papers and publications.
My selection is partially due to the connection of the authors to (a) Højskolen Østersøen, which has
been organizing European folkehøjskole courses for over six years, (b) to the Association for Community
Colleges, who is the main advocate for the establishment of the First European Community College
(FECC), or (c) to the Socrates-Grundtvig II international project on Citizenship and Non-formal Education.
I personally interviewed four of the authors, which has co-defined the logic of my selection.
Ove Korsgaard is an assistant professor at the Danish University of Education and the chairperson
of the Association for World Education (AWE). Currently, he is a member of the højskoleudvalg, an expert
committee set up by the Danish Ministry of Education to assess the outlook of the folkehøjskole for the
future, due to report at the end of 2004.
Korsgaard was a FHS teacher and principal and his educational research includes studies about
adult education, physical education and democracy. He has been combining the ideas of citizenship and
learning and some of his conclusions are very relevant for our research. In the study Struggle regarding
Citizenship he points out how the concept of social citizenship has been giving way to that of active

315
Hal Koch quoted by Erik Bjerre in Education for Life. International Conference on the Ocassion of the
Bicentenary of N.F.S. Grundtvig. Copenhagen, Denmark, September 10-14, 1983. Det Danske Selskab / The
Danish Institute, p. 25
316
Based on an interview with Ole Borgå in Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating
N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York
1998, p. 168
317
Veje, O., ‘The Danish Folk High School tradition and Europe’, conference contribution: Visions for Europe,
Højskolen Østersøen, July 26, 2000 and several others, some of their views can be found at
www.people.hojoster.dk
- 92 -
citizenship and how adult education has transformed into lifelong learning, all that on the background of
events such as the legal formulation of European citizenship. 318
In the introduction to a book titled Learning for Democratic Citizenship Korsgaard defines that
there is a didactic triangle concerning learning for democratic citizenship. It includes (1) knowledge and
understanding, (2) values and dilemmas, and (3) skills and competences. 319 There is no doubt that the co-
citizen model could incorporate some of Korsgaard’s ideas and vice versa.
In his seminal essay titled A European Demos? The Nordic Adult Education Tradition –
Folkeoplysning – Faces a Challenge, 320 Korsgaard identifies three dimensions of the term folk, which has
been so significant in the FHS history. Folk in his opinion has referred to both a social, an ethnic, and a
political category in the Danish tradition and the latter meaning thereof can be transposed to the European
level. “The fact that there is as yet no strong perception of a European folk need not be a hindrance. The folk
as demos can emerge from the difficult process involved in establishing a European democracy. And
folkeoplysning can serve as a midwife. That is what happened in the Nordic region in the 19 th century, when
folkeoplysning played a significant role in establishing democratic citizenship within the frame of a nation
state.” 321
Claus Haas is a researcher at the Danish University of Education who in 2001 finished his PhD on
Citizenship and Democratic Education. His essay Jürgen Habermas: Education for Post-National
Citizenship was a key text for the development of my argument about the need to connect Habermas’
theories with the learning aspects. Haas criticizes Habermas for “underestimating the continuing
possibilities of the nation state to hold on to their identity policy hegemony, as long as they hold on to the
educational system.” 322
Haas took part in a three-year Socrates-Grundtvig II project on Citizenship and Non-formal
Education (2000-2003) and contributed with a theoretical work on citizenship where he analyzes the
multicultural present that has shaped the notion, the integration process in Europe and then offers three
models of learning for citizenship that are linked to the liberal, republican, and deliberative theories of
democracy. 323
Marianne Horsdal is an assistant professor at the Institute of Education and Research of the
University of Southern Denmark. She studies affiliations and learning for active citizenship, using a unique
narrative approach through the analysis of life-story interviews. 324 Similarly to what we have claimed

318
Korsgaard, O., ‘The Struggle regarding Citizenship’, in Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R. (eds.),
Learning for Democratic Citizenship, Association for World Education and the Danish University of Education,
Copenhagen 2001, pp. 66-80
319
Korsgaard, O., ‘Introduction’, in Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R. (eds.), Learning for Democratic
Citizenship, Association for World Education and the Danish University of Education, Copenhagen 2001, pp. 12-
14
320
Korsgaard, O., ‘A European Demos? The Nordic Adult Education Tradition – Folkeoplysning – Faces a
Challenge’, Journal of World Education, vol. 32, no. 2, 2002, pp. 13-19
321
Ibid, p. 19
322
Haas, C., ‘Jürgen Habermas: Dannelse til postnationalt medborgerskab’, in Korsgaard, O., Poetisk demokrati:
Om personlig dannelse og samfundsdannelse, Gads Forlag, København, 2001, p. 142
323
Haas, Claus, What is Citizenship? –an introduction to the concept and alternative models of citizenship,
Active Citizenship and Non-formal Education –a Socrates-Grundtvig II project, FFD, Copenhagen 2001
324
Horsdal, M., ‘Affiliation and Participation – Narrative Identity’, in Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R.
(eds.), Learning for Democratic Citizenship, Association for World Education and the Danish University of
Education, Copenhagen 2001, pp. 124-136
- 93 -
throughout this thesis, Horsdal writes: “LLL is not a means to an end, but an end in itself in a life-time
perspective.” 325
Horsdal uses fascinating methods and ways of expression to illustrate a simple fact: identity is
defined in relations. She introduced the term ‘spaciousness’ which I find very apt in connection with the
concept co-citizenship ( II.6). Horsdal says that personal experiences with different people expand the
spaciousness of our identity, which is an inherently positive process. 326
In our interview, Marianne Horsdal said that identity formation easily takes place when people do
something together for a common goal. However, they have to be ready and able to keep on reconstructing
their identities. In that sense, the reflexivity encompassed in a FHS stay is certainly valuable but it can be
regarded only as a complement to citizenship learning beyond and before a study period at a folkehøjskole.
The construction of identity should not, according to Horsdal, be done in opposition to an ‘Other’.
We have mentioned previously, that if we allow considering ourselves as unique and unrepeatable creatures,
we are more likely to grant that feeling to others as well. That relates to the idea of simplicity in complexity
and vice versa. A variation thereof is that an individual is nothing without a community and a community is
nothing without individuals.
Further, the spaciousness of any community is limited only by our open-minded approach. “The
stranger may be a potential member of a community of practice constructing a we in a different connection.
However, this openmindedness is a matter of learning.” 327 Horsdal sees the FHS as a place that allows
people to search for these different connections and to form multiple communities of practice. However, the
limitation of the FHS, as listed in the SWOT analysis ( IV.5) of the folkehøjskole future, is that it is
increasingly becoming isolated from the outer world thus not giving the chance to develop the abilities to
deal with the complexities of today.
In her study Description of the Competencies Related to Active Citizenship, published as part of the
Active Citizenship and Non-formal Education project 328, Horsdal lists a set of twelve competencies for
active citizens that she has extracted from life-story interviews. She also describes the process of conducting
a life-story interview, which is a method fitting well into the FHS environment – it requires time, trust,
openness, interest and mutuality.
Apart from the competences, Horsdal also identifies the threats that are particularly worth heeding
when conceiving the Community College courses. “It is a great challenge for non-formal education to create
learning sites which can help us to live with spaciousness and openness in a world full of diversity. In a
complex society democratic coexistence can be threatened in several ways: (1) When we try to reduce
complexity by thinking in stereotypes. (2) When we shield ourselves against the world in anxiety – also

325
Horsdal, M., ‘Affiliation and Participation – Narrative Identity’, in Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R.
(eds.), Learning for Democratic Citizenship, Association for World Education and the Danish University of
Education, Copenhagen 2001, p. 126
326
Horsdal, M., Identity, Learning and Democracy, Journal of World Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2001 and
Horsdal, M., From Citizenship to Citizenships, conference contribution, www.people.hojoster.dk
327
Horsdal, M., ‘Affiliation and Participation – Narrative Identity’, in Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R.
(eds.), Learning for Democratic Citizenship, Association for World Education and the Danish University of
Education, Copenhagen 2001, p. 131
328
Horsdal, M., Description of the Competencies Related to Active Citizenship, Active Citizenship and Non-
formal Education –a Socrates-Grundtvig II project, FFD, Copenhagen 2001
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locally. (3) When we superficially and lonely skate about in the environments. (4) And when we long back
to a past that only exists as a longing.” 329
Jesper Nielsen is a young project leader at Højskolen Østersøen. He has been in charge of the
European folkehøjskole courses there since 1999. He doesn’t publish very much but his imprints are
noticeable in the design of the courses and in the subsequent reports. As a folkehøjskole teacher, he deals
mainly with the topic of internationalization of the FHS, and argues for a more active Danish approach vis-
à-vis Europe, which he describes as an everyday reality.
Nielsen is critical of the mistrust between people and the political process of European integration
and as a solution he suggests focusing on the local implications thereof. He encourages the course
participants (especially in the East-West Dialogue courses) to make local educators, politicians, activists
and journalists think of Europe and address the growing gap between ‘Brussels’ and common people.
Nielsen urges to “make education a priority as a matter of democratic necessity” 330 at the European
level and not to limit it to young people only. He sees a clear connection between the understanding of the
world, the experience of Europe, and local responsibility; a view that resonates in the co-citizen model
( II.6). There is a need to bring Europe to people, and people should come to Europe and give it a human
face through personal encounters. That reduces fear and enhances competences, among other things.
In a European event titled The European “us” Workshop, which was organized in February 2002,
Nielsen brought together ten young Europeans who tried to answer a guiding question: We are part of
Europe but which part and of what Europe? They used Horsdal’s narrative approach and conducted life-
story interviews with each other. Tracing back the first memory of feeling European, the participants
identified an experience of success, of being recognized and appreciated within a European community of
practice (learning community). That led Nielsen to the conclusion that “(…) today it seems the individual
perceives a “me” before they perceive an “us” and an “us” is only meaningful in so far it makes personal
sense.” 331 The local and the personal focus are two defining aspects of the courses taking place at Højskolen
Østersøen under the coordination of Jesper Nielsen.
John Petersen has been the chairperson of the Association for Community Colleges (ACC) ever
since it was founded in August 1999. He had been the co-organizer of two Minority Courses at Højskolen
Østersøen (1997 and 1998) whose former participants were the driving force behind the establishment of the
ACC.
Petersen draws a great deal of theoretical inspiration from Habermas but complements it with
practical proposals on how to carry through his visions. While it is difficult to assess with accuracy, it can
be expected that a great deal of the visions and ideals underlying the existence of the ACC comes from
Petersen. He admitted to have introduced Habermas’ teaching to the other ACC board members so the
influence, though indirect, is undisputable.
Petersen strives for the formation of a public realm in Europe and believes that Europe could serve
as a model for the world if it embraced identity in the form of constitutional patriotism (this term, similarly
to deliberative democracy, is not explicitly mentioned in ACC documents but its underlying presence can be
found in between the lines). The drafting of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is a key step (in the top-
down fashion) in the right direction, which needs a bottom-up and continuous following. European public

329
Horsdal, M., Identity, Learning and Democracy, Journal of World Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2001 and
Horsdal, M., From Citizenship to Citizenships, conference contribution, www.people.hojoster.dk
330
Nielsen, J., Being part of Europe!, The European “us” Workshop report, Aabenraa 2002, p. 11
331
Ibid.
- 95 -
realm needs common media, language learning, Europe-wide associations, i.e. civil society to emerge. But
mainly “European citizenship is something which cries for education and training and that (…) would
demand institutions serving the task.” 332
European Community Colleges with an ingrained practice of deliberative democracy are identified
as able to fulfill that task. “(…) face-to-face meetings between people in courses lasting for a longer time
and within the residential school format (Community Colleges / Folk High Schools) would be a splendid
way in which at a common level we could supplement the socializing functions of our existing school
systems. That this works as demystifying our neighbors, shaming mental barriers and through this even
create mobility on the labor market, are experiences we have made in real life in the ACC.” 333
While the focus of the ACC is on CCs in Europe, Petersen often introduces his articles with a
reference to world issues, to educational matters of Danish politics. Enlightened European debate is
articulated as a main goal, but “Europe is lower on our hierarchy than is dialogue. We don’t want to repeat
history making Europe into an exclusive concept.” 334

V.3. Mapping the Development


The original idea that lies behind the current efforts to establish European Community Colleges can
be traced back to the two Minority Courses that took place at Højskolen Østersøen in 1997 and 1998. For a
period for four weeks, around 60 young people from all over Europe lived together and experienced the
Danish folkehøjskole format while discussing issues concerning minority issues in a cross-border region of
Southern Jutland – Schleswig-Holstein.
The grass-roots movement that eventually led to the establishment of the Association for
Community Colleges had a clear message: We have experienced a FHS stay and we believe that having such
institutions around Europe would enhance European democratic dialogue and would enable Europeans to
meet each other in a non-formal educational setting.
The Association for Community Colleges was founded during an internet meeting on August 11 th,
1999. Ever since then it has been working to promote the idea of establishment of Community Colleges in
Europe. Although there is a direct link with the Danish folkehøjskole, and the original experience of the
founders of the ACC comes from it, there was an attempt to move away from the misleading folk concept
and the equally problematic English translation of højskole, high school. The title Community Colleges was
proposed by Anne-Marie Morris, principal at the Rødding Højskole. 335
Because of the rules set out in the Danish Folkehøjskole Act regarding the necessary majority of
Danish participants in any given course, the possibilities of transforming any of the existing Danish schools
into a European Community College have been weak. State funding would not be awarded and there is no
European provision that could grant continuous running of such an institution.
This situation has been addressed ever since 1999, when a letter to the Minister of Education
Marghrethe Vestager (Radikale Venstre) was sent (September 28, 1999) explaining the possible historical
role of the CCs and advocating for exemption from the law under the condition that a certain portion of

332
Petersen, J., ‘Education for European Citizenship’, Journal of World Education, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2003,
p. 14
333
Ibid.
334
Petersen, J., Follow-up on the validation debate, ACC mailing list, March 23, 2004
335
Campaigning for Community Colleges. Annual 2000 of the ACC, p. 3-4
- 96 -
funds for the European CCCs will be raised outside of Denmark (namely from European institutions) or
private foundations.
Parallel to that, the aim of establishing a European Community College has been pursued at the
European level. The ACC has been sending its comments when the public debate opened up about the
Memorandum on Lifeong Learning and it has suggested initiating an Action 6 under the Youth program that
would, apart from many other progressive changes, rid the organizers of CCCs of the repeated struggle for
funding and connected paperwork. 336 For that purpose, the Act on European Community Colleges was
drafted during a Schools for Europe Community College course in December 2001 (Appendix 5 , VIII.5) and
used as a legal “maximum model” that is challenged namely by the Article 149.
If the strengths of the ACC should be assessed, then in the first place it is the combination of vision
and practice. Individual European Community College courses have been taking place (e.g. four of them in
2003) with different guiding topics such as human rights and minority issues in Europe. At the same time,
continuous activities take place to promote the idea of the European Community College and to help the
growing number of members (around 400 at the time of writing) to exchange best practices and ideas for the
future.
Case Study 4 – Youth 2002
The ACC along with another four organizations and thirteen folk high schools all over Denmark was the
driving force behind a large scale European project titled Youth 2002. 1000 young Europeans came to
Denmark at the beginning of July 2002. They marked the beginning of the Danish Presidency of the
European Council by spending two weeks together at thirteen different folk high schools and by drafting a
common proposal for a European constitution. They formed a sample of a Europen public, enjoyed unity in
diversity, put faces on the map of Europe and experienced the non-formal residential educational format.
They worked hard for a common goal in a democratic, cooperative and friendly manner. Many of Youth
2002 participants later joined the ACC and signed a declaration (Appendix 6, VIII.6) voicing the desire to
have Community Colleges appear throughout Europe.
The second strength lies in the continuity of the work. The basic idea is easy to grasp and it speaks
to all those taking part in the CCCs. At the same time, it has the power to attract the other international
students that are coming to Denmark either through højskolepuljen or to the summer European folkehøjskole
courses at Højskolen Østersøen.
Let us pause here and compare the three initiatives. Højskolepuljen was described in greater detail
in the previous chapter but without reference to the “ingroup projection model” (see IV.4). A Danish
folkehøjskole is a wonderful place for intercultural exchange but it is not, especially with a clear local
majority, a sample of a small European public sphere. One seemingly more ‘international’ approach could
be noted when the International Student Network was initiated in autumn 2003. Its purpose is to “support
foreign students [read international students at Dansih FHSs] and help them overcome whatever problems
there might be.” 337 While networking among international students staying at the different Danish
folkehøjskoler is certainly a positive development, the declared purpose of the network lies far away from
contributing to the post-national identity formation in Europe.

336
Mehmeti, M. and N. Woltring, ‘A View for the Future’, in Creating the Powerhouses of Tomorrow by
Inspiring People Today. Journal of World Education, full edition, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring 2003
337
Dordzhieva, O.V., International student meeting in Snøghoj, email from November 27, 2003
- 97 -
The European courses at Højskolen Østersøen are greatly relevant to the mission of enhancing the
links between Europe and its citizens and among the citizens themselves. While the Minority Courses for
people active NGOs (2000 and 2001), the East-West Dialogue focusing on the local approach to European
affairs (2002 and 2003), and Youth 2003 working with enlargement expectations and experiences have all
produced significant results (accessible to the outsider through informative yet attractive reports and the
resourceful Peoplesite at www.people.hojoster.dk), they lack the sense of continuity and underlying mission
that the ACC has.
The ACC mailing list has proven as a valuable long-distance tool to discuss issues of common
interest and to gather opinions both about the direction that the ACC should take and about current
European issues (Madrid bombings, the case of Cyprus etc.) from those who might have been directly
affected by them.
The most extensive discussions have concerned the First European Community College (FECC),
i.e. the intermediary aim between the existing practice of the individual CCCs taking place in different parts
of Europe and the goal of forming a European public sphere through the existence of permanent Community
Colleges in all of Europe. One broad discussion concerned the general aims, means and mission of the
FECC, and focused especially on the question of which courses should be offered at the FECC. A
subsequent email exchange focused on the topic of validation, which is currently much discussed at the
European level.
The title of a new ACC periodical was also proposed in an email round of suggestions. The
irregular ‘ACCENT – Community Colleges for Europe!’ magazine has had its first two issues published; the
first one titled Europe of Rights and the second Youth Proposal for a Common European Constitution. ACC
materials can also be found on its website www.acc.eu.org that serves as a tool both for the members and as
an information source for the public. The vibrant discussions, the quality of publications and the scope of
activities make the ACC a viable alternative to the mainstream elite European discussion.
However, there is a certain challenge connected to the development of the ACC. It is to strike a
balance between acting as a visionary organization, a lobby group and a friendship network. All three
aspects are ingrained in the very character of the ACC where the means and methods are also an end in
itself. Members of the ACC are mostly those who have experienced the FHS format either at a Danish
folkehøjskole or directly through the ACC or they are Danes or other Nordic people who can relate to the
idea of non-formal residential education as a valuable instrument for the shaping of a society and its
democratic development.
The challenge for the ACC is to open up for (non-experiential) multiplication beyond Denmark.
This thesis is an attempt to enhance such multiplication – to provide a comprehensive account of the reasons
to support the establishment of Community Colleges at a European level. It should appeal to scholars
working with notions such as democratic citizenship and identity, to decision makers guiding Europe into its
future, to educators looking for alternatives how to make Europe more accessible, to journalists who want to
encourage an informed public debate, to people engaged in the Danish folkehøjskole who might be doubting
its future prospects, and mainly to all those common Europeans who want to see democratic Europe as a
promising opportunity for themselves and the next generations.

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VI. CONCLUSION
May 1, 2004 brought a long-awaited enlargement of the European Union by ten new member
states. 75 million new legal Europeans appeared in the statistics overnight. Fireworks, speeches and open-
air events marked the beginning of another era in European history. The opinion polls have registered,
however, that a majority of Czech respondents feel that nothing has changed in their lives since the entry
into the EU.

This thesis examined how the Danish tradition of non-formal residential education of adults could
be relevant in enhancing the process of post-national identity formation in Europe, thus leading to the
existence of a European public sphere defined by functioning practice of co-citizenship.
We have argued for the dynamic understanding of the concepts of citizenship and identity and
offered alternative theoretical view upon them, exemplified by the teaching of Jürgen Habermas. A new
term, co-citizenship, was introduced to reflect how concepts developed by Habermas can integrate learning
aspects. The practice of citizenship education and learning in Europe was monitored in order to
contextualize the in-depth examination of the Danish tradition of non-formal residential education of adults,
the folkehøjskole.
Having done that, we could see that the two paths of our argument, i.e. the need for co-citizenship
learning opportunities at a European level on one hand, and the need of the folkehøjskole to be transformed
and modernized on the other hand, have met. The common journey suggested for the two of them is the
establishment of European Community Colleges, schools where Europeans could come together to discuss
European issues in a non-formal learning setting while simultaneously forming small samples of European
public sphere.
The essence of Europe, in this understanding, is not to look back at the sometimes glorious and
other times bloody past of Europe. It is neither in the bargaining about quotas, nor about blaming “Brussels”
for local mischief. The essence of Europe should lie in the commitment to the process of peaceful, open, and
democratic dialogue, through which Europe and Europeans could come closer to defining what
Europeanness consists of.

No speeches, no fireworks, no open-air events can make Europe become of age and convince
Europeans that they are witnesses to something unique and worth belonging and contributing to. Only a
constant process of democratization, transparent reforms, and growing legitimacy through engaged
participation can change Europe’s future. Learning opportunities with discussions, enlightenment, and open
hearts and minds can bring Europeans together and give them a chance to discover their common
understanding of Europe and to make Europe grow mature. Europeans will then surely notice a difference.

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VII. BIBLIOGRAPHY
VII.1. Primary Sources
VII.1.1. Documents
Bridging Community Colleges. Annual 2003 of the ACC, Århus
Campaigning for Community Colleges. Annual 2000 of the ACC
East-West Dialogue 2002 for young Europeans, Final Report, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 2002
Europe of Rights, Accent – Community Colleges for Europe! No. 1, December 2003
The East Is Coming, Youth 2003 – EU Enlargement, Report, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 2003
Folkehøjskoler i tal. Undervisningsministeriet. Højskoleudvalget, København 2004 (www.uvm.dk)
Fælleskatalog. Folkehøjskolernes Forening i Danmark, København 2003/04
Das Haus, La Maison, The House – European Youth Magazine, Schools for Europe, full edition, ed. 26,
XI/2000
Højskolernes Fremtid. Eksistens, faglighed og politik. Folkehøjskolernes Forening i Danmark –
generalforsamling, København, June 15-16, 2001
The Minority Course 1997. Report, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 1997
The Minority Course 1998. Report, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 1998
Minority Course 2001 for Young Europeans Active in NGO’s, Catalogue of European Ideas and
Impressions, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 2001
The Missing Link between Europe and the Citizen. East-West Dialogue 2003 for young Europeans, Report
Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa 2003
A New Europe – promoting solidarity through non-formal education, Højskolebladet and Højskolen
Østersøen, Copenhagen and Aabenraa, January 2004
Referat fra 2. møde i Højskoleudvalget. Undervisningsministeriet. Højskoleudvalget, København 17/3-2004
(www.uvm.dk)
Schools for Europe. Annual 2001 of the ACC, Aabenraa
Transylvania Community College 2001, Journal of World Education, full edition, Vol. 31, No. 2, Autumn
2001
Where Are You? Active Citizenship in a New Enlarged Europe, EU-team Report, Ryslinge højskole,
Ryslinge 2003
Youth 2002. Annual 2002 of the ACC, Aabenraa
Youth 2002 – Bridging Europe. Web Dialogue Summary. World Economic Forum and Monday Morning,
Copenhagen 2002
Youth Proposal for a Common European Constitution, Accent – Community Colleges for Europe! No. 2,
December 2003

VII.1.2. Interviews
Tomáš Balco, student and participant, IPC Spring 2000, Youth 2002, Schools for Europe Community
College II 2003, Transylvania Community College 2003, Praha, 22/4-2004
Knud Eyvin Bugge, Grundtvig scholar, Vartov, København, 27/11-2002
Lotte la Cour, head of secretariat, Nævnet vedrørende EU-oplysning, København, 5/12-2003
Agneta Derrien, principal administrator, E.D.C., Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 19/2-2004
Jakob Erle, director, International Academy for Education and Democracy, København, 10/12-2002
Marianne Horsdal, professor, Syddansk Universitet, Kolding, 10/11-2003
PhDr. Viola Horská, E.D.C. coordinator, Výzkumný ústav pedagogický, Praha, 9/4-2004
Ingrid Johansen, international adviser, Cirius, København, 5/12-2004
Ove Korsgaard, chairman, Association for World Education, Vartov, København, 6/2-2003
Kristof Kristiansen, principal, International People’s College, Helsingør, 29/11-2002
Jesper Nielsen, coordinator, Minority Course and East-West Dialogue, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa,
11/11-2002
Katarina Oravcová, participant, Minority Course 2000, Praha, 8/4-2004
John Petersen, chairman, Association for Community Colleges, ACC Programme Office, Aabenraa, 10/11-
2002 and Århus, 22/11-2003
Knud Erik Therkelsen, principal, Højskolen Østersøen, Aabenraa, 11/11-2002
Youth 2002, several participants at Oure Idrætshøjskole and International People’s College, Helsingør, July
2002
Daniel Zuchowski, participant, Minority Course 1998, Ryslinge, 5/10-2003

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Jeffs, T. and M.K. Smith, Informal Education – conversation, democracy and learning, Education Now
Publishing, Ticknall 1999
Korsgaard, O. (ed.), Adult Learning and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century, Association of World
Education, Jelling 1997
Korsgaard, O., The Struggle for Enlightenment. Danish Adult Education During 500 Years. Danish-AWE,
København, 1998
Korsgaard, O., Walters, S., Andersen, R. (eds.), Learning for Democratic Citizenship, Association for
World Education and the Danish University of Education, Copenhagen 2001
Korsgaard, O., ‘Hal Koch: En republikaner I grundtvigiansk klædedragt’, in Korsgaard, O., Poetisk
demokrati: Om personlig dannelse og samfundsdannelse, Gads Forlag, København, 2001
Korsgaard, O., U. Jonas (eds.), Poetisk demokrati: Om personlig dannelse og samfundsdannelse, Gads
Forlag, Copenhagen, 2001
Kritzinger, S., European Identity building under the perspective of efficiency: A multiple identity approach,
ECPR 29th Joint Sessions of Workshops, Grenoble, 6 – 11 April, 2001
Kulich, J., Grundtvig’s Educational Ideas in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, Forlaget
Vartov, Copenhagen 2002
Kymlicka, W., Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Oxford
University Press, New York 2001
La Torre, M., ‘Citizenship, Constitution, and the European Union’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European
Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998
La Torre, M. (ed.), European Citizenship: An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the
Netherlands 1998
Lawson, M., ‘Extending the Grundtvigian Vision: Peter Manniche (1889-1981) and the International
People’s College, Helsingør, Denmark’, in Zøllner, L., Andersen, A. M. (eds.), Enlightenment in an
International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs Forlag, Vejle, 1995
Lawson, M., The International People’s College 1921-1996: A Celebration of Seventy Five Years of
Working for Peace and International Friendship, Handy-Print A/S, Skive 1996
Lundgaard, L. (ed.), The Folk High School 1970-1990: Development and Conditions, FFD, Copenhagen
1991
Marshall, G., Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998
Meehan, E., Citizenship and the European Community, Sage, London 1993
Mouffe, C., ‘Democratic Citizenship and the Political Community’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of
Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992

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Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London
1992
Mullard, M., ‘Discourses on citizenship: The challenge to contemporary citizenship’, in Bussemaker, J.,
(ed.), Citizenship and Welfare State Reform in Europe, Routledge, London 1999
Nentwich, M., ‘Opportunity structures for citizen’s participation: The Case of European Union, in Weale, A.
and Nentwich, M. (eds.), Political Theory and the European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional
choice and citizenship, Routledge, London 1998
Newman, M., Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union, Hurst & Company, London 1996
Oommen, T.K., Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity, Polity Press, Cambridge 1997
O’Sullivan, N. (ed.), Political Theory in Transition, Routledge, London, 2000
Passerin d’Entrèves, M., ‘Hannah Arendt and the Idea of Citizenship’, in: Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of
Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992
Reif, K., ‘Cultural Convergence and Cultural Diversity as Factors in European Identity’, in García, S. (ed.),
European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993
Rose, R., ‘Democracy and Elections,’ in: Rose, R., ed., International Encyclopedia of Elections, pp. 56-7,
Macmillan, London 2000
Soysal, Y.N., ‘Changing Citizenship in Europe: Remarks on postnational membership and the national state,
in Cesarani, D. and M. Fulbrook (eds.), Citizenship, Nationality and Migration in Europe, Routledge,
London 1996
Steenbergen, B. van, (ed.), The Condition of Citizenship, Sage, London 1994
Tassin, E., ‘Europe: A Political Community?’, in Mouffe, C. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992
Titmus, C. et al. Terminology of adult education, UNESCO, Paris 1979
Turner, B., ‘Outline of a Theory of Citizenship’, in Mouffe, Ch. (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy:
Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, Verso, London 1992
Vranken, M., ‘Citizenship and the Law of the European Union’, in Holmes, L. and P. Murray (eds.),
Citizenship and Identity in Europe, Ashgate, Aldershot 1999
Wallace, H., ‘Deepening and Widening: Problems of Legitimacy for the EC’, in García, S. (ed.), European
Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, Pinter Publisher, London 1993
Walther, A. and B. Stauber (eds.), Lifelong Learning in Europe: Differences and Divisions, Neuling Verlag,
Tübingen 1999
Warren, C. (ed.), Democracy Is Born in Conversation. Recreating N.F.S. Grundtvig for Lifelong Learners
Around the World, Circumstantial Productions Publishing, New York 1998
Weale, A. and Nentwich, M. (eds.), Political Theory and the European Union: Legitimacy, constitutional
choice and citizenship, Routledge, London 1998
Weiler, J., ‘European Citizenship – Identity and Differentity’, in La Torre, M. (ed.), European Citizenship:
An Institutional Challenge, Kluwer Law International, the Netherlands 1998
Wiener, A., ‘European’ Citizenship Practice: Building Institutions of a Non-State, Westview Press,
Boulder, 1998
Znoj, M., ‘Cesta od normativní teorie demokracie k teorii procedurální a zpět’, in Habermas, J., Shapiro, I.,
Teorie demokracie dnes, Filosofia, Praha 2002
Zøllner, L., Andersen, A. M. (eds.), Enlightenment in an International Perspective, Nornesalen and Kroghs
Forlag, Vejle, 1995

VII.2.2. Articles
Čížková, L., Youth 2002, July 2002, www.integrace.cz
Delgado-Moreira, J.M., European Politics of Citizenship, The Qualitative Report, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997
http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR3-3/delgado.html
Delors, J., ‘La Grande Europe’, Futuribles- analyse et prospective, January 2003, no.282
Falk, R., ‘The Decline of Citizenship in an Era of Globalization’, Citizenship Studies, Vol.4, No. 1, 2000,
pp. 5-17
Gerlach Hansen, O., ‘Medborgerskab i vor tid’, Folkeoplysning, Nr.1, September 2003, pp. 8-9 and 14
Habermas, J., ‘Citizenship and National Identity: Some Reflections on the Future of Europe’, Praxis
International, vol. 12, no. 1, 1992, pp. 1-19
Habermas, J., ‘Why Europe Needs a Constitution’, New Left Review, 11, September-October 2001, pp. 5-26
http://www.newleftreview.net/PDFarticles/NLR24501.pdf
Habermas, J., J. Derrida, ‘After the War: The Rebirth of Europe’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 31,
2003 and ‘A Plea for a Common Foreign Policy: The demonstrations of Feb. 15 against the war in
Iraq designed a new European public space’, La Libération, May 31, 2003 (unauthorized translations
published on the internet)
Horsdal, M., ‘Identity, Learning and Democracy’, Journal of World Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2001

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Hórvath, V. and E. Jentges, ‘Identity and Integration among European Youths in Educational Exchange
Programmes’, in Europe of Rights, Accent – Community Colleges for Europe! No. 1, December
2003, pp. 27-30
Isenson, N. (ed.), ‘Philosophizing about Europe’s Rebirth’, Deutsche Welle, June 3, 2003, http://www.dw-
world.de/dwelle/cda/detail/dwelle.cda.detail.artikel_drucken/0,3820,1433_AD_884292_A,00.html
Jørgensen, T., ‘Slip højskolerne løs’, Uddanelse, Undervisningsministeriet, 6/6-1997
http://www.uvm.dk/gammel/apr979.htm?menuid=4515
Katz, R.S. ‘Models of Democracy: Elite Attitudes and the Democratic Deficit in the European Union’,
European Union Politics, vol. 2, no.1, 2001, pp. 53-79
Korsgaard, O., ‘A European Demos? The Nordic Adult Education Tradition – Folkeoplysning – Faces a
Challenge’, Journal of World Education, vol. 32, no. 2, 2002, pp. 13-19
Korsgaard, O., ‘From Adult Education to Lifelong Learning’, Journal of World Education, vol.32, no. 2,
2002, pp. 34-37
Korsgaard, O., ‘Højskolen som dannelsesinstitution’, Undervisningsministeriets Højskoleudvalg, 25/3-2004,
www.uvm.dk
Lindsø, E. (ed.), ‘Anerkendelse af højskolernes europæiske indsats’, Højskolebladet, 127. årgang, 20/2002,
p. 19
Nielsen, J., ‘Til kamp for Europa’, Højskolen Østersøen Årsskrift 2000, pp. 60-61
Ort, A., ‘Má Evropa svou identitu?’, Mezinárodní politika, ročník XX, č. 12/96, pp. 13-15
Petersen, J., ‘Højskolen, Europa og legen med lyset’, Højskolen Østersøen Årsskrift 1998, pp. 26-30
Petersen, J., ‘Europæiske højskoler er fremtiden’, Højskolen Østersøen Årsskrift 1999, pp. 26-29
Petersen, J., ‘Om et fremtidigt europæisk civilsamfund’, Højskolebladet, 127. årgang, 19/2002, pp. 3-7
Petersen, J., ‘Education for European Citizenship’, Journal of World Education, Vol. 33, No. 1, Spring
2003, pp. 13-15
Saglie, J., ‘Values, Perceptions and European Integration’, European Union Politics, Vol. 1 (2): 227-249,
2000
Sánchez-Cuenca, I., ‘The Political Basis of Support for European Integration’, European Union Politics,
Vol. 1 (2): 141-171, 2000
Schieder, P., ‘A better Europe’, The Europeans, issue 41, October 2003
Syberg, K., ‘Habermas’ beklagelser’, Information, September 26, 1997, p. 11
http://www.information.dk/Indgang/VisArkiv.dna?pArtNo=19970926s11a01
Tallberg, J., ‘The Agenda-Shaping Powers of the EU Council Presidency’, Journal of European Public
Policy, 2002
Truong, N., ‘Entretien Habermas – Un référendum pout une Constitution européenne’, Le Monde de
l’éducation, no. 290, mars 2001

VII.2.3. Working Papers, Reports and Other Materials


Amato, G. and J. Batt, The Long Term Implications of EU Enlargement: Culture and National Identity,
European University Institute, RSC Policy Paper no. 99/1, Florence
Audigier, F., Basic Concepts and core competencies for education for democratic citizenship, Council for
Cultural Cooperation, Education for Democratic Citizenship, CoE, Strasbourg, June 26, 2000
Barth, T. and M. Enzell, (eds.), Collective Identity and Citizenship in Europe: Fields of Access and
Exclusion, ARENA / The Van Leer Institute Report No 3/99
Bauböck, R., Citizenship and National Identities in the European Union, Harvard Jean Monnet Working
Paper No. 4/97 http://www.jeanmonnetprogram.org/papers/97/97-04-.html
Bellamy, R. and A. Warleigh, Cementing the Union: Civic nationalist and Cosmopolitan Globalist.
Conceptions of European Citizenship, University of Reading (undated, 2001 and/or later)
www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/lp/PolIR/EURCITFINAL.pdf
Bellamy, R. and Castiglione, D., The Uses of Democracy: Reflections on the European Democratic Deficit,
University of Reading and University of Exeter, date not specified (1999 and/or later)
Bellamy, R., The ‘Right to have Rights’: Citizenship Practice and the Political Constitution of the European
Union, ESRC “One Europe or Several” Programme, Working Paper 25/01
Bîrzéa, C., Education for Democratic Citizenship: A Lifelong Learning Perspective, Council for Cultural
Cooperation, Education for Democratic Citizenship, CoE, Strasbourg, June 20, 2000
du Bois-Reymond, M., Study on the links between formal and non-formal education, Directorate of Youth
and Sport, CoE, Strasbourg, March 2003
Carlsen, J., Borgå, O., The Danish “Folkehøjskole”, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, København,
1996
Carey, L. and K. Forrester, Sites of Citizenship: Empowerment, participation and partnerships, Council for
Cultural Cooperation, Education for Democratic Citizenship, CoE, Strasbourg, July 17, 2000
Cederman, L.-E., Nationalism and Bounded Integration: What It Would Take to Construct a European
Demos, European University Institutie, RSC No. 2000/34, Florence

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Černoch, P., Otázka národní a evropské identity ve vztahu ke členství České republiky v Evropské unii, FSV
UK, Praha 2001
Čížková, L., Folkehøjskole – součást dánské identity, FSV Univerzita Karlova, Praha 2002
Čížková, L., Folkehøjskole – A Solar Panel for the Danish Society, Københavns Universitet, 2002
Čížková, L. Håb fra Tjekkiet, Bundmøde presentation, Christiania, December 13 th, 2002 adapted for a
Morgensang presentation at Ryslinge Højskole, October 13th, 2003
Čížková, L., Post-national Multiple European Identity Formation, Københavns Universitet, 2003
Delors, J. et al., Learning: The Treasure within - Highlights, UNESCO Publishing, Paris 1996
Donslund, A.-M., The Danish Folk High Schools, FFD, Copenhagen 2001
Duerr, K. et al., Strategies for Learning Democratic Citizenship, Council for Cultural Cooperation,
Education for Democratic Citizenship, CoE, Strasbourg, July 19, 2000
Education for Life. International Conference on the Ocassion of the Bicentenary of N.F.S. Grundtvig.
Copenhagen, Denmark, September 10-14, 1983. Det Danske Selskab / The Danish Institute 1983
Eisenstadt, S.N., ‘Some Reflections on the Construction of the Collective Identity’, in: Barth, T. and M.
Enzell, (eds.), Collective Identity and Citizenship in Europe: Fields of Access and Exclusion,
ARENA / The Van Leer Institute Report No 3/99
Eriksen, E.O., The Question of Deliberative Supranationalism in the EU, ARENA WP 99/4, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_4.htm
Eriksen, E.O, J.E. Fossum, The European Union and Post-national Integration, ARENA WP 99/9, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp99_9.htm
Eriksen, E.O., The End of Citizenship? New Roles Challenging the Political Order, ARENA Working Paper
No 26/99, Oslo
Eriksen, E.O., J.E. Fossum, Democracy through strong publics in the European Union?, ARENA WP 01/16,
http://www.arena.uio.no/publications/wp01_16.htm
Eriksen, E.O., Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics, CIDEL -
ARENA Working Paper 3/04, Oslo
Fossum, J.E., Identity-politics in the EU, ARENA WP 01/17, Oslo,
http://www.sv.uio.no/arena/publications/wp01_17.htm
Fossum, J.E., The European Charter – Between deep Diversity and Constitutional Patriotism?, CIDEL -
ARENA Working Paper 5/03, Oslo
Føllesdal, A., Union Citizenship: Unpacking the Beast of Burden, ARENA WP 01/9, Oslo
Føllesdal, A., Citizenship: European and Global, ARENA WP 01/22, Oslo
Friis, L., Challenging a Theoretical Paradox: The Lacuna of Integration Policy Theory, CORE
Arbejdspapir 2/1995, København
Goul Andersen, J. and Hoff, J., „Reluctant Europeans“ and the European Union: Citizenship and
Democratic Deficit, Institut for Statskundskab, Københavns Universitet, Arbejdspapir 4/1992,
København
Haas, Claus, What is Citizenship? –an introduction to the concept and alternative models of citizenship,
Active Citizenship and Non-formal Education –a Socrates-Grundtvig II project, FFD, Copenhagen
2001
Haas, C. and O. Korsgaard, Introduktion til begrebet medborgerskab, FFD, København 2003
Ham, P.van, Identity Beyond the State, COPRI, Working Paper 15/2000, Copenhagen
How Europeans see themselves: Looking through the mirror with public opinion surveys, Office for Official
Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001
Hopper, P., Who Wants to be a European? Community and Identity in the European Union, conference
contribution, Meanings of Community, Universita Palackého, Olomouc, July 6-11, 2003
Horsdal, M., Description of the Competencies Related to Active Citizenship, Active Citizenship and Non-
formal Education –a Socrates-Grundtvig II project, FFD, Copenhagen 2002
Horsdal, M., J. Gleerup, Changes in Life Politics, Self Politics and Learning, manuscript
Jareño Alarcón, J., A Question on Liberal Citizenship, Universidad Católica de Murcia-UCAM,
http://www.hottopos.com/notand8/jareno.htm
Kühnhardt, L., Towards Europe 2007 – Identity, Institution-Building and the Constitution of Europe, Center
for European Integration Studies, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Discussion
Paper C85 – 2001, Bonn
Kumar, K. Europe, the Nation-State and the Question of Identity in an Era of Multiculturalism, conference
contribution – Columbia University 2000, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ces/conference2000/papers/a-
2_kumar.doc
Kymlicka, W., Immigrant Multiculturalism and Multi-nation Federalism. New challenges. A talk at the
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, June 1999
Laursen, F., Theories of European Integration – Background paper for lecture on “European Integration:
What and Why?”, The Graduate Institute of European Studies, Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan,
March 2002

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Learning for Active Citizenship: a significant challenge in building a Europe of knowledge
http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/citizen/citiz-en.html
Lehning, Percy B., European Citizenship: Towards a European Identity? Erasmus University (undated,
1998 and/or later) http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/eur/papers/works/euro_citizen.html
Lifelong Learning: the contribution of education systems in the Member States of the European Union,
EURYDICE European Unit Document, Lisbon, March 17-18, 2000
Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, October 30, 2000
Nielsen, J.B., Folk High Schools as an example of non-formal education in Denmark, unpublished, May
2002
Nielsen, J., Being part of Europe!, The European “us” Workshop report, Aabenraa 2002
O’Dwyer, T. Adult Learning. A key for the 21 st century, UNESCO 5th International Conference for Adult
Education CONFINTEA V, Hamburg, 14-18 July 1997
O’Shea, K., Developing a Shared Understanding: A Glossary of Terms for Education of Democratic
Citizenship, Education for Democratic Citizenship, CoE, Strasbourg, October 22, 2003
Østergaard, U., European Identity and the Politics of Identity, draft version, undated (2000 and/or later)
Parks, J., Sub-State Identities and the European Union: A Two-Way Flow of Legitimacy, British Council
Essays (undated, 1999 and/or later)
Risse, T. and M.L. Maier, (eds.), Europeanization, Collective Identities and Public Discourses (IDNET),
Final Report, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 2003
Steeg, M. van de, Aspects of a transnational European public sphere, paper for a workshop, University of
Florence 2001
Torres, C.A., Democracy, Education and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World,
Presidential Address to the Annual Meeting of the Comparative International Education Society
(CIES), Buffalo, New York, March 20, 1998
Veje, O., The Danish Folk High School Tradition and Europe, conference contribution, Højskolen
Østersøen, July 26 th, 2000
http://www.people.hojoster.dk/database/contribution.asp?ContributionID=97

VII.3. Internet Sites


Association for Community Colleges (ACC) http://www.acc.eu.org/
Association for World Education (AWE) http://www.world-education.dk/
CIRIUS www.ciriusonline.dk
CIDEL http://www.arena.uio.no/cidel
Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC) http://culture.coe.int/citizenship
EU Nævnet www.eu-naevnet.dk
European Union www.europa.eu.int
Folkehøjskoler www.folkehojskoler.dk
Folkehøjskolernes Forening (FFD) http://www.ffd.dk/
Den frie Lærerskole http://www.dfl-ollerup.dk/
Grundtvigsiden www.grundtvigsiden.homepage.dk
Grundtvig Village www.nfs-grundtvig.dk
Habermas Forum www.habermasforum.dk
IDNET http://www.iue.it/RSCAS/Research/Tools/IDNET/Index.shtml
International Academy for Education and Democracy (IAED) http://www.iaed.info/
John Petersens Hjemmeside www.johnp.dk
Newropans Magazine www.newropeans.org
Nyteuropea www.nyteuropa.dk
Partnership – Coucil of Europe/European Commission www.training-youth.net
The Peoplesite http://www.people.hojoster.dk/
Undervisningsministeriet (Danish Ministry of Education) www.uvm.dk
Vartov www.vartov.dk

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VIII. APPENDICES

VIII.1. Appendix 1 – EU Seminars by Private Enterprises (1 page)


As part of the chapter on learning aspects I wanted to examine how the members of the Big Four
(PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte & Touche) perceive their role as educators
vis-à-vis European issues. In the Czech Republic, they all conduct expert seminars mainly for their clients.
A set of three questions was sent out but only one reply with answers (plus one excuse and one
promise) came back. It is reprinted as Appendix 1. Its source is PricewaterhouseCoopers Česká republika,
s.r.o. and it is dated January 14, 2004.
The responses show a clear focus on cooperation with media through an information campaign and
on enhancing preparedness of businesses for the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU. To expect more
than that would have been unrealistic. Considering the professional preparation of the seminar contents and
the targeted selection of the participants, the information gained can serve a valuable purpose.
The limited role of private actors in the sphere of learning for co-citizenship, however, was
confirmed.

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VIII.2. Appendix 2 – Folkehøjskoler in Denmark (1 page)
The map shows the geographical distribution of the FHSs in Denmark, as of January 1, 2004.
Source: Folkehøjskoler i tal. Undervisningsministeriet. Højskoleudvalget, København 2004 (www.uvm.dk),
p. 13 based on FHSs’ reports to the Danish Ministry of Education.

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VIII.3. Appendix 3 – A Folkehøjskole Timetable (1 page)
This sample timetable shows a weekly routine at a Danish folkehøjskole, namely Ryslinge Højskole in
autumn 2003. Translated from Danish.

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VIII.4. Appendix 4 – What is the ACC? (1 page)
A short presentation of the Association for Community Colleges.

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VIII.5. Appendix 5 – Act on European Community Colleges (6 pages)
The text was prepared by the participants of Schools for Europe Community College in December 2001.

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VIII.6. Appendix 6 – Declaration of Youth 2002 (3 pages)
The declaration was signed by most of the participants of Youth 2002. It was distributed throughout Europe.

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VIII.7. Appendix 7 – Projekt diplomové práce (3 pages)

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