Citizenship Education and Human Rights in Sites of Ethnic Conflict: Toward Critical Pedagogies of Compassion and Shared Fate
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- Zembylas, M. Stud Philos Educ (2012) 31: 553. doi:10.1007/s11217-012-9293-8
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The present essay discusses the value of citizenship as shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict and analyzes its implications for citizenship education in light of three issues: first, the requirements of affective relationality in the notion of citizenship-as-shared fate; second, the tensions between the values of human rights and shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict; and third, the ways in which citizenship education might overcome these tensions without falling into the trap of psychologization and instrumentalization, but rather focusing on providing opportunities for social and school practices that manifest shared fate and compassion in critical ways. It is argued that what teachers and schools should try to do is to make practices of shared fate and compassion possible through creating conditions for children and young people to experience what it means to enact such practices in sites of ethnic conflict. It is also suggested that teachers and schools in sites of ethnic conflict cannot produce ‘new’ citizens on the basis of any values, no matter how ‘noble’ these values may be. The most that can be done is to help children and young people to critically reflect upon the conditions under which people in sites of ethnic conflict can act on the basis of shared fate and compassion and provide support so that these possibilities can become realistic.