Title: Future citizens:
21st century challenges for young people

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Author: Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, Anna Zalewska and Alistair Ross (Edited by)

ISBN: 978-83-7587-431-0

Technical information: First edition, Cracow 2010, Format: 160 × 235mm, 360 page, Hardback, Sewn binding

English version of book



The phenomenon of citizenship, its meaning and practice, have changed through the ages. Its meaning has been shaped by language, history, literature, myths and social events (Melosik, 1998). Every social group and each historical time has had its own understanding of citizenship in terms of time and space (Harvey, 1989). The organization of feudal societies mirrored the duties and rights of the citizen in those times. Each society had its definitive meaning in legal, political and socio-economic terms, and individual members of that society had little knowledge of reality beyond a limited and fixed space. The renaissance significantly changed ideas of time and space, in part through geographical discoveries. The world became a place that it was possible to explore, and gave a sense of harmony through what were seen as natural laws. A belief in the objective representation of reality allowed for the creation of political maps, which asserted the ownership of land. The enlightenment further put space into order, giving each culture a fixed location in an order that was perceived of as absolute and immutable. Thanks to the enlightenment categories of time and space, the idea of citizenship became integrated and homogenous, excluded controversy, internal oppositions and inconsistencies. Time and space defined ‘who one was’ and became the basis for inclusion or exclusion from a civic group. Such a conception of citizenship was based on the individual’s duties towards that time and space. Time-related duties were, among others, maintaining tradition and culture in a geographically determined location, defending a given territory (Harvey in: Melosik, 1989).

The post-modern era challenges the enlightenment conceptions of time and space, and thus the citizenship model that stem from these. Post-modern theory suggests that human beings simultaneously live in different times and spaces. They are concurrently citizens of national, local, state, ethnic, global and continental communities. The idea of citizenship became internally inconsistent and fragmentised (Melosik, 1998; Ross, 2008). This provokes questions on how young people find themselves in this context – future citizens, who will soon assume civic roles, will shape the modern understandings of this idea and the attitudes stemming from it. Currently, in many European and non-European countries, there is discussion among academicians and politicians about social anomie, the deterioration of social bonds and a lack of interest in politics (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 2002; Bauman, 2001). In this context, concerns about attitudes towards social and political engagement become even more significant. It is especially important to identify factors that may enhance attitudes of engagement. One such factor is the educational system. How can it attempt to change young people’s manifest a lack of interest in social and political issues, a phenomenon that is part of the so-called ‘democratic deficit’ (Moravcsik, 2002)? Young people are now growing up in a complex and fast changing world, in which local and national issues are only comprehensible if set in a wider global context: yet we know little about their interest in such issues or about how prepared they are to engage in democratic processes to bring about change. Across Europe there are common concerns about the declining interest of young people in political and social affairs and the effectiveness of citizenship education (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2002, Bauman, 2001). But, in contrast to this, there is evidence that young people are interested in a wide range of local and global issues but may sometimes feel unprepared or unwilling to act for change (Holden, 2006). By seeking to understand young people’s perspectives in this study, we seek to contribute to understanding the extent to which specific European countries have successfully motivated and prepared young people as citizens on national, European and global level (Osler & Starkey, 2005). Surveys such as Eurobarometer ( rack the views of young adults, but there is little empirical research about the concerns of pupils and their motivation to act for change. Previous research on young people’s hopes and fears for the future has been spasmodic, reflecting the interests of individual researchers (e.g. Oscarsson in Sweden, 1996, Hutchinson in Australia, 1996 and Rubin in Finland, 2002).

In this book we include a significant part of the data gathered in the research program: Citizens of the future: the concerns and actions of young people around current European and global issues. This project addressed questions about the concerns of young Europeans about their personal, local and global futures, focussing on issues such as democratic processes, poverty, unemployment, human rights, the environment and conflict. It was aimed at investigating whether they are optimistic or pessimistic, and whether they are willing to work for change or are uncommitted to social participation. The young Europeans at the heart of this study are members of diverse societies, each of which has a different history of relationships to the European Union, but aspires to participate fully in this community. Part of the original conception of the project was built on the work of Cathie Holden and her colleague, David Hicks, on young people’s conceptions of the future – their personal future, the future of the local area with which they have direct experience, and the future of the world. Cathie Holden was originally to be one of the editors of this work, but was unable to participate because of unforeseen pressures and events: we are grateful to her for her contribution to the planning and execution of the project.

The study sought to elicit the understanding of young people from these societies of issues central to social and civic participation, such as democratic processes, poverty, unemployment, human rights, the protection of the environment and global conflict. This unique data set should inform national and European policy in the fields of civic participation and citizenship education, thereby assisting the process of EU integration and addressing the ‘democratic deficit’ (Moravcsik, 2002). We especially wished to understand:

  young people’s hopes and fears concerning their personal, local and global futures in a range of European contexts, including age related differences;

  their attitudes towards ‘glocalisation’ (Robertson, 1994), including current European and global issues, such as democratic processes, poverty, unemployment, human rights, the protection of the environment and global conflict;

  the extent to which their home and school experiences have helped them understand and engage in these issues, and their identification of further needs; and

  the extent to which they feel motivated and committed to act for change and the factors influencing it, at local, national and global levels.





Notes about Authors


Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz is PhD Psychologist graduated in Warsaw University (Poland). Currently works as a tutor in University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn. For many years she has been interested in the issues of personal and social development. She is author and co-authors over 30 articles and 4 books on the field of social and educational psychology published in Poland and abroad. Her special interests are active citizenship and self--responsibility. Beata has been involved in international projects on citizenship education, member of seven scientific grants founded by national and international organizations. Currently she leads two international research and educational projects, is a member of Executive Committee of international association CiCea and a member of Scientific Committee of European Science Foundation. She is also active on the field of popularization psychological knowledge in both education and business (publication e.g. Harvard Business Review).


Anna Maria Zalewska is Associate Professor in Warsaw School of Social Science and Humanities (Poland), Head of Department of Psychological Diagnosis, organizer of education. She leads courses on psychology of individual differences, quality of life and job attitudes. Main fields of her research interests: the impact of individual differences in personality and environment factors on social behavior, subjective well-being and quality of life of adults and young people. Leader or a member of research team in scientific grants, founded by European, national or local authorities. She published one book Two worlds. Affective and cognitive evaluations of quality of life and their antecedents among high and low-reactive persons (2003) and over 60 articles in specialized journals and books in Poland and abroad. Currently she is a member of the ESF Pool of Reviewers, Polish Psychology Association, European Association of Personality Psychology (EAPP), Children’s Identity and Citizenship European Association (CiCea).


Alistair Ross is an Emeritus Professor at London Metropolitan University, and also holds a Jean Monnet ad personam professorship, awarded by the European Commission. He continues to work part-time at The Institute for Policy Studies in Education (IPSE) at London Metropolitan University. His research centres on aspects of social justice within education: how children and young people find a voice in society and understand their identities and rights in society, and citizenship education; and how educational policies and practices can ensure that individuals and groups all benefit from education, maximise their potential, and no groups are disadvantaged. He is currently making a study of young Europeans’ constructions of identity and citizenship in east/central European states and candidate countries. He formed the IPSE Institute in 2000, and was it Director to 2009, and formed and led the Erasmus Academic Network, Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe (CiCe) from 1998 to 2008.



Kim Allen, PhD, is an experienced researcher working within one of London Metropolitan University’s leading research institutes. Her main research interest is in young people’s educational choices and career aspirations, and the ways in which popular culture and media inform these. She is particularly interested in the ways in which young people’s identities and future aspirations are mediated by gender, social class, ethnicity and locality. Kim has managed and contributed to a range of research projects around young people’s future aspirations. Her PhD, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), examined government policy for creativity in education and the creative industries, and involved research with young women in education and training for the performing arts and creative industries.



Agnieszka Bojanowska is a holder of two MA degrees – in Social Psychology from Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities and English Studies from University of Warsaw. She is currently working towards her PhD in psychology at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, focusing on subjective well-being, social support and temperament from a developmental perspective. While pursuing her academic interests, she worked as a researcher in a European Science Foundation Research Grant. At the moment, she is a lecturer in Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities and a freelance translator.



Elena Briones is a postdoctoral fellow at European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER) in Utrecht University, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. She received her Ph Doctor Europeus with distinction in the University of Salamanca and she was an Assistant Professor at Department of Social Psychology of the University of Seville and Córdoba. Her main research focus is on self regulation and psychosocial variables related to the acculturation and psychosocial adaptation in academic contexts. She has published articles in Spanish and abroad journals (The Journal of Social Psychology, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, International Journal of Psychology, Psicothema, Cultura & Educación), conference papers, and book chapters in these fields. Currently she collaborates on international and Spanish projects on education and social psychology, and she is member of the research group Gender, communication systems, believes and education, belonging to the Andalusian Research Plan (PAIDI).



Melinda Dooly teaches at the Faculty of Education, Autònomous University of Barcelona (Spain). Before joining the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, she taught at the Universidad de San Andrés (La Paz, Bolivia) and worked for the Unidad de Análisis de Políticas Sociales y Económicas (UDAPE), also in Bolivia. She is the author of numerous journal articles, chapters and books dealing with language teacher training. She has been a guest teacher at universities in Europe and the USA and has participated in several international educational projects and was the national coordinator (Spain) of the Academic Network Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe from 2005 to 2010. She is the co-editor of the book series entitled Telecollaboration in Education. Her most recent book, Doing Diversity. Teachers’ Construction of the Classroom Reality (2009) is part of the Linguistic Insights book series.



Sumi Hollingworth is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Education (IPSE) at London Metropolitan University. She is a sociologist with research interests in education and social inequality, urban schooling, social class, youth and new media. She has recently co-authored a book with Louise Archer and Heather Mendick (forthcoming Open University Press) on Urban Youth and Schooling, and is currently undertaking doctoral research on urban young people and social mixing.


Sarah Minty (MPhil. and MA (Hons) University of Glasgow, UK) is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Education (IPSE) at London Metropolitan University. She specializes in school-based research with young people, children, members of the school workforce and parents, and is involved in a number of studies and evaluations of programmes and interventions. She was Principal Investigator on an evaluation of the Young Speakers Programme for We Are What We Do and is currently evaluating Media Trust’s Youth Mentoring Programme. She is interested in how citizenship education and Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) can impact on young people’s behaviours and aspirations, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.



Wojciech Siegień is psychologist, social anthropologist, ethnographical researcher, MA of Interfacultative Individual Human Studies at Warsaw University. PhD student of University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Social Science Faculty. Currently finishes work on his PhD dissertation about reconstruction of young Poles gender identity. Main area of research: clinical psychology, and transition studies in terms of gender relations (field research held in Poland, Belarus and Russia). Researcher in the ECRP project.


Claudia Vallejo Rubinstein studied Social Communications at the Catholic University of Chile and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where she’s been living, studying and working for eleven years. She is currently research assistant at the Autonomous University in Barcelona and works as a specialized technician for GREIP, a consolidated research group on Plurilingual Interaction and Teaching from the Department of Language Teaching Methodology which works in various fields related to the study of communicative interaction as a social and learning activity. She has been involved in several international projects regarding education in multilingual contexts and social inequalities in education. She has worked as a teacher in communications and taken part in seminars and other projects dealing with critical discourse analysis and gender, cultural diversity and intercultural communication, and applied to the fields of education and the mass media. Her PhD thesis, still in process, focuses on the social representation of gender in the Mass Media and its consequences and relationships with other social spheres.


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