Extensions of citizenship? Exploring digital, global, and environmental citizenship education

Claire Shaw, Anna Björk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Citizenship education has throughout history been used as a tool for articulating and embedding politically set visions of societies. As such, it has functioned as a response to contemporary political challenges and the changing societal landscape. Simultaneously, new forms of citizenship have emerged to equip students - and citizens - with new capacities and values. These citizenships include digital, global, and environmental citizenship, each figuring within education policy discourse to differing extents. The extensions continue to transfer ‘citizenship’ from its state-centric origins towards contemporary global governance structures and other points of reference. At the same time, these citizenships also create new demarcations and challenge the legal dimension of citizenship. This paper examines how these forms of citizenship are presented on a national and transnational scale. The curriculum and policy approaches of three European nations, three transnational organisations and one academic institution are analysed to assess how citizenship is recontextualized in the face of globalisation, climate change and digitalisation. When applied to the presentations of these citizenships in education, the traditional dimensions of citizenship reveal an emphasis on the values and duties of digital, global and climate citizens, with the onus placed on citizens’ responsibility to others. Generally, the rights associated with these citizenships and, particularly who guarantees such rights, are less clear. By discussing these citizenships within contemporary contexts at multiple geographic levels, the paper provides concrete examples of the debates on and uses of the concept of citizenship and the roles of citizenship education. In so doing, we shed light on some of the more recent extensions of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-177
JournalPostcolonial Directions in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • world citizenship
  • citizenship
  • digital communication


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