18-11-04 John Petersen
Dear Seminar-participants and members,

In the context of this week’s web-seminar, I would like to make you aware of the splendid work done by Lucie Čížková. Lucie has delivered a thesis at the Charles University in Prague with the title “Learning for European Co-Citizenship – Danish Contribution to the Educational Aspect of Post-National Identity Formation in Europe”.

This thesis analyzes the current debate about the concepts of citizenship and identity with a special regard to the process of European integration. It uses Jürgen Habermas’ teachings to point out the necessity to redefine these concepts so they capture the reality of today’s Europe. It examines the learning processes that enhance post-national identity formation in Europe and suggests that the Danish tradition of non-formal residential education of adults, the folkehøjskole, can be used for the purpose of learning for European co-citizenship. The initiative that supports the establishment of a European variant of the Danish schools, the Association for Community Colleges, is pointed out as a practical example of that use.

Download from the ftp-server: http://seminars.acc.eu.org/Seminars/(1)%20First%20European%20Community%20College%20(FECC)%20-%20A%20proposal%20for%20European%20Citizenship%20Education/Principles%20-%20European%20Citizenship%20Education/Learning%20for%20CoCitizenship/Thesis.pdf

Just a few highlights:

“…the essence of learning for co-citizenship in Europe should be the commitment to the process of peaceful democratic dialogue and discussion, allowing each individual to venture on a path of questioning, defining, doubting, redefining and co-defining his or her identity within a community of co-citizens” (p.10)

“Formal education is constrained in the area of learning for co-citizenship by the unequal relationship between the teacher and the students, by clearly defined curricula that leave little space for adjustment and flexibility, and by the need to make the ‘immature’ identify with the values of the ‘mature’ part of the society. Post-nation citizenship is rarely encouraged and the protected imagined community is that of the nation state. Last but not least, citizenship needs to be learnt through citizenship practice, for which there are limited conditions in the formal educational institutions. These weaknesses are resolved in the sphere of non-formal learning to which Community College courses belong” (p.91).

“The essence of Europe […] is not to look back at the sometimes glorious and other times bloody past of Europe. It is neither in the bargaining about quotas, nor about blaming “Brussels” for local mischief. The essence of Europe should lie in the commitment to the process of peaceful, open, and democratic dialogue, through which Europe and Europeans could come closer to defining what Europeanness consists of.” (p. 99)

“The common journey suggested […] is the establishment of European Community Colleges, schools where Europeans could come together to discuss European issues in a non-formal learning setting while simultaneously forming small samples of European public sphere.” (p. 99)

Yours humble,