Essay Example on Race, Education, and Citizenship

Published: 2024-01-11
Essay Example on Race, Education, and Citizenship
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Education Philosophy
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1665 words
14 min read


The idea of citizenship presents with its specific philosophical dilemmas. The interpretation of citizenships is subjected to varied ambiguous forms and notions. In this part, the main exploration aspects would be of philosophical difficulties that are experienced, from trying to establish the concept of education for citizenship. This is because, to understand the intellectual element of citizenship truly, one has to look at the ground level. This ground level is brought about by education for citizenship. This is because of the diversification of society around us. Certain aspects of citizenship, such as civic virtue, seem strong enough in the community to satisfy the overall thirst for what citizenship entails. These virtues are attuned with what liberal citizens sought after. This is because of the liberal rationale for the continued moral high ground to diversity and justice. A debate on the national level is unavoidable if there is to be a feasible education for citizenship in the country. The ideas discussed in this section would lead to a better understanding of philosophies on citizenship.

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Philosophical Prospective on Citizenship

The education systems have undergone an overall haul in their quest to enact measures that would either change the perspective on citizenship education or make it even stronger. This activity has been ongoing for twenty-five years to create a more suitable citizenship education role in the system. These significant reforms have been carried out through the schools' curriculum by introducing specific topics to classrooms (Isin, 2017). These topics have ranged from civics, political education, democratic education, citizenship, and national education. From a philosophical perspective, the traditional role of citizenship education was to foster national loyalty, patriotism, and a sense of understanding of how the country works. This has since changed as the goal is to create an account of what it truly entails to become a good citizen. Through the inception of bodies such as the UN, COMESA, and others, the adoption of concepts such as multiculturalism and dual citizenships has impacted traditional citizenship goals (Isin, 2017). These new reforms have emphasized the need for humanity, democracy, and diversity, which have led to cross-cultural acceptance.

The demand for citizens to become more critical is rising as the world carefully examines the citizenship curriculum. Different philosophers have tried to push for critical citizenship reforms over the years, which has often been described as a perennial dilemma. Drawing perspectives from the educator's inception of critical citizenships provide an ambiguous nature that can be defined from critical pedagogy. It mainly brings about the importance of political involvement. Scholars such as Paulo Freire are accredited with the citizenship education in England, which focuses on the active promotion of citizenship in other forms (Isin, 2017). In decision-making scenarios, the need for critical thinking is ever stressed. Critical thinking is enforced in English curriculums because of its benefits in the decision-making scenarios. In this section, there will be a few questions that will be addressed. The first one looks at how to distinguish critical thinking and pedagogy. The second one how, from a philosophical perspective, can citizenship education be promoted? This will be achieved by analyzing some philosophical theories. These theories would offer an insight into what the philosophical perspective on citizenship entails. The philosophical arguments presented in this section are too many to address all but the few that will be chosen to offer more insight into what the ideologies and feelings encompass this topic.

Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy

Philosophers have linked critical thinking to logic in determining arguments and arriving at an acceptable conclusion. However, some believe that a deeper understanding of critical thinking would develop ideologies and moral values in citizenship among people. This can only be achieved by including these aspects of critical thinking in the citizenship education curriculum. Philosophers such as Giroux and Lipman have been advocating for the harnessing of moral orientation and metacognitive understanding. The heart of critical pedagogy is mainly attributed to the works of philosophers such as Paulo Freire. Freire's works in this field changed the thinking of educators globally. Through incorporating a Marxist approach to his work opened new avenues of thinking. He argued the need for educators to embrace dialogue hence helping in opening up the people's perspective (Stuteville & Johnson, 2016). The importance of praxis to this synergistic approach would help people reflect and become involved in their struggle for liberation. Many philosophers later identified critical pedagogy in school as promoting political act, pushing for justice on the social front, and empowering educators. These two aspects, critical thinking, and pedagogy form the basis for a philosophical understanding of citizenship through understanding critical citizenship.

Ideology and Politics

Different philosophers take different approaches when it comes to citizenship. Some of them view it as an extension of political theory. This might be true to some extent, and hence the concept of ideology and politics is raised. Other philosophers consider citizenship a social theory, while the rest view it as a self/subjectivity extension. The element of ideology and politics is mainly associated with a Marxist approach. Here citizenship embodies an extension of democracy, power, injustice, and oppression. This view is against the moralistic approach of critical pedagogy that focuses on a liberal political approach (Stuteville & Johnson, 2016). To properly understand the concept of citizenship, liberal pedagogics identify it as the promotion of equality, inclusivity, and freedom in political and ideological aspects.

Social Focus

In this approach, citizenship is thought to be a representation of a person's social responsibility. This philosophy takes a more conservative. This is in line with Freire's beliefs that citizenship is founded on social responsibility. To be considered a citizen, social traits such as humility, love, kindness, and togetherness embodies the true definition of citizenship. Philosophers believe that teaching this aspect in schools would eventually be accepted by society through generations. This would enhance collectivity, solidarity, and social support (Stuteville & Johnson, 2016). Although some argue that the maintenance of individuality in society would be affected by assimilating socialism as a symbol of citizenship, collective society's focus embodies citizenship's actual definition.


This aspect brings out philosophical arguments that are both for and against morality. Philosophers such as Kuhn believe that to understand citizenship; indeed, a self-critical journey must be taken into account. Understanding the role you play in society is the first stage in understanding citizenship from a singular perspective. Philosophers argue that through critical thinking and self-reflection, the root of social evils can be identified. The more intuitive a critical thinker becomes, the subjectivity of their reasoning becomes apparent. Through analyzing this aspect from within, one can truly understand the concept of compassion (Stuteville & Johnson, 2016). Different philosophers have explained in their literary works that self-analysis provides a deeper understanding of the connection between emotions and morality.

Critical Citizenship

Critical citizens are people who are intentions are to employ democracy as the ideal form of governance. Philosophers argue that citizens' value is measured by the nature of their relationship with those in governance. They believe that there are two different types of citizens; the autarchic and autonomous. This distinction was brought about by two philosophers who mainly focused on the attributes that already existed in society regarding the self-definition of citizenship. The definition for the autarchic citizen is one who follows all the rules and regulations set by the government (Tan, 2020). They are described as being spirited, have minimal deliberation and self-determination. Philosophers view this kind of citizen as one who believes the ideologies and politics presented are in their best interest, whether real or not.

On the other hand, autonomous citizens are believed to be high spirited and critical. Philosophers believe that they have achieved a specific critical rationale on the matters brought to them. Critical pedagogics, the ideal definition of citizenship, whether from critical democratic or justice-oriented concepts, include the understanding to improve the community through social justice.

Definitions of citizenship, such as relating it to citizenship education, bring about aspects of critical pedagogy. Philosophers believe that the inclusion of a constructive curriculum to the education system would be led to an acceptable form of citizenship in the community. Hence creating a framework for critical citizenship is in its sense critical. Some philosophers have adopted the citizenship distinctions discussed above to create a parallel between civic education associated with autarchic and citizenship education associated with autonomous citizens. Different countries have taken various approaches to their citizenship education. For instance, France uses Ă©ducation civique that inherently does not denote an autarchic representation. By focusing on humanities, moral education, among others, they characterized their philosophy of citizenship into their people (Tan, 2020). Development of models showcases that political and cultural aspects are the ideal methods to integrated ideal citizenship education. Focusing both on individualism and self-reflection paves the way for including human action, feeling, and rights. This reflection interaction relates explicitly to social, humanistic, and individualized cooperation, which essentially provide citizenship with a new meaning.


To carefully understand what critical citizenship entails, a critical approach in education, citizenship should be embraced. Different philosophers agree that integrating this critical approach would provide a gateway that would lead to social change. Following norms such as social structural analysis presents the concepts of ideological elements responsible for the first step in change. This change is structured around the total abolishment of all social injustice practices that are committed in society. Integrating these concepts into citizenship education in the curriculum fosters intercultural mingling, cooperation in the society, critical thinking and awareness, and reasoning. Rather than eradicating oppression, teaching aspects such as human rights would give birth to oppression being classified as a social evil and eventually rooted out. Advocating for this type of inclusion would create citizens who embrace their differences and seek unity in their multiple identities (Tan, 2020). This would create a unifying democratic discourse. Using education to build sound characters through citizenship education programs may seem like a difficult concept to agree with. Still, different philosophers believe that it is the only way to understand the concept of citizenship and change it truly.

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