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Children's participation : an Arendtian criticism

Jessop, S. (2011) Children's participation : an Arendtian criticism. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43 (9). pp. 979-996. ISSN 0013-1857

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Hannah Arendt's critique of education in 1950s USA provides an important way of understanding the development of citizenship education. Her theory on the nature of childhood and her concepts of natality and authority give insight into both the directions of current policies and practices, and the possible future states into which these elements may crystallise. It is argued that education for citizenship is an expression of the hope that children will 'save' us from ourselves and that there are two distinct directions that this hope is taking, one representing an orientation to the past and the other to the future. Arendt's critique focuses on what she argues is the proper relationship to both past and future that the educator must maintain. The argument is contextualised through the Scottish approach to citizenship education.