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Critical understanding of U.S. youths’ citizenship: Implications for citizenship education in the multicultural society

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Abstract:

With the impact of globalization on various spheres of society, including education, there is a growing argument for expanding the discussion about citizenship education in globalized environments. Growing up within increasingly multicultural and interconnected societies, today’s youth are developing new forms of civic attitudes, as well as ‘attachments and identifications’ as citizens within three levels of communities: local-cultural, national, and global community.

Positioned in the urban U.S. context, the purpose of this study is to develop critical understanding of youths’ citizenship in a multicultural society. Two interrelated research questions delve into complexity of this issue:
What are youths’ constructs of citizenship in the context of their experiences and their relationship to the processes shaping their citizenship in the various levels of multicultural communities in the U.S.?
Across the varying levels of the multicultural society, in what ways do young people’s constructs of citizenship translate into their sense of agency as citizens?

The study is framed within a newly envisioned conceptual framework for constructing citizenship for youth. Viewing citizenship as a ‘membership’ in a society, the framework consists of three interrelated dynamics that determine the positionality of one’s citizenship. These include: the politics of institutionalized social relations, as enforced through ‘universal’ social and political forces and policies; the social processes and practices evident in educational, as well as other environments; and an individual’s struggle for self-definition and identity formation as a citizen.

Conducted within this conceptual framework that takes into consideration youths’ position within society, the research employs poststructural feminist theory to frame its design and the position of the researcher. The study is rooted in the qualitative interpretative design with the elements of critical ethnography. This design allows for expressing researcher’s reflexivity, as well questioning how youth develop their sense of agency as citizens based on their experiences impacted by social discourses and based on the relationships of power among various members of society. Moreover, the elements of critical ethnography are used to clarify the distinct positions of each student and the shared culture among students impacted by their different realities or contexts within which their life experiences occur.

The study explores the perspectives of youth in two public schools located in New York City and in north New Jersey. Using two purposive samples of youth exposed to advanced social studies curriculum, the data is collected during a 12-week period through non-participant class observations and researcher’s journaling, small group interviews of students, online reflective journaling of the interviewees, and follow-up interviews with individual students.

Through a rich qualitative analysis, the primary objective of the study is to develop an understanding of youths’ construct of citizenship, and their ability to enact that construction of citizenship through development of a sense of agency as citizens. In transforming these findings into recommendations for citizenship education programs that will enable youth balance their citizenship identity across different levels of a multicultural society, the study will complement the findings from numerous rigorous quantitative studies that have been calling for a greater understanding around youths’ citizenship.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

citizenship (61), youth (51), educ (35), societi (31), studi (26), understand (21), multicultur (20), research (19), global (19), experi (17), u.s (16), social (14), develop (13), program (13), within (13), citizen (12), process (12), new (12), focus (10), posit (10), school (10),

Author's Keywords:

Youth, citizenship, citizenship education, multiculturalism.
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Name: 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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MLA Citation:

Josic, Jasmina. "Critical understanding of U.S. youths’ citizenship: Implications for citizenship education in the multicultural society" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina, Mar 22, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p298573_index.html>

APA Citation:

Josic, J. , 2009-03-22 "Critical understanding of U.S. youths’ citizenship: Implications for citizenship education in the multicultural society" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p298573_index.html

Publication Type: Dissertation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: With the impact of globalization on various spheres of society, including education, there is a growing argument for expanding the discussion about citizenship education in globalized environments. Growing up within increasingly multicultural and interconnected societies, today’s youth are developing new forms of civic attitudes, as well as ‘attachments and identifications’ as citizens within three levels of communities: local-cultural, national, and global community.

Positioned in the urban U.S. context, the purpose of this study is to develop critical understanding of youths’ citizenship in a multicultural society. Two interrelated research questions delve into complexity of this issue:
What are youths’ constructs of citizenship in the context of their experiences and their relationship to the processes shaping their citizenship in the various levels of multicultural communities in the U.S.?
Across the varying levels of the multicultural society, in what ways do young people’s constructs of citizenship translate into their sense of agency as citizens?

The study is framed within a newly envisioned conceptual framework for constructing citizenship for youth. Viewing citizenship as a ‘membership’ in a society, the framework consists of three interrelated dynamics that determine the positionality of one’s citizenship. These include: the politics of institutionalized social relations, as enforced through ‘universal’ social and political forces and policies; the social processes and practices evident in educational, as well as other environments; and an individual’s struggle for self-definition and identity formation as a citizen.

Conducted within this conceptual framework that takes into consideration youths’ position within society, the research employs poststructural feminist theory to frame its design and the position of the researcher. The study is rooted in the qualitative interpretative design with the elements of critical ethnography. This design allows for expressing researcher’s reflexivity, as well questioning how youth develop their sense of agency as citizens based on their experiences impacted by social discourses and based on the relationships of power among various members of society. Moreover, the elements of critical ethnography are used to clarify the distinct positions of each student and the shared culture among students impacted by their different realities or contexts within which their life experiences occur.

The study explores the perspectives of youth in two public schools located in New York City and in north New Jersey. Using two purposive samples of youth exposed to advanced social studies curriculum, the data is collected during a 12-week period through non-participant class observations and researcher’s journaling, small group interviews of students, online reflective journaling of the interviewees, and follow-up interviews with individual students.

Through a rich qualitative analysis, the primary objective of the study is to develop an understanding of youths’ construct of citizenship, and their ability to enact that construction of citizenship through development of a sense of agency as citizens. In transforming these findings into recommendations for citizenship education programs that will enable youth balance their citizenship identity across different levels of a multicultural society, the study will complement the findings from numerous rigorous quantitative studies that have been calling for a greater understanding around youths’ citizenship.


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