Fostering “global citizens”? Trends in global awareness, agency, and competence in textbooks worldwide, 1950‒2011

Abstract

Global citizenship education (GCED) has gained attention in academic and popular discourse as a vehicle for building a more peaceful and sustainable world. This article asks how various aspects of GCED have been present in textbooks cross-nationally over time. Based on a longitudinal dataset of over 600 social science textbooks from around the world, the article argues that textbooks have increasingly incorporated global awareness, global agency, and skills to recognize various perspectives. Findings further suggest that what it means to be a “citizen” has expanded beyond national boundaries, such that individuals are increasingly viewed as global agents, able to contribute to and make a difference not only for their local community but also for global ones. This view is especially adopted in textbooks from countries that are democratic, and embedded in the international community.

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Correspondence to Seungah S. Lee.

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Many thanks to John W. Meyer, Francisco O. Ramirez, Patricia Bromley, and Julia Lerch for their insightful and generous feedback on several drafts. The article also benefited from useful comments and related work by participants in Stanford’s Comparative Sociology Workshop. Most of the textbooks analyzed come from the library of the Georg Eckert Institute in Braunschweig, Germany, whose staff was extraordinarily helpful in aiding my work.

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Lee, S.S. Fostering “global citizens”? Trends in global awareness, agency, and competence in textbooks worldwide, 1950‒2011. Prospects (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09465-2

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Keywords

  • Textbooks
  • Global citizenship
  • Competence
  • Agency