The current political times offer a complex global context to understand youth political attitudes and dispositions. This chapter describes both the international environment and the conceptual framework that justifies the need to better understand citizenship among youth in different countries of Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Traditional perspectives used to define citizenship fall short to the challenges of what is needed from a citizen in the 21st century, which has already brought the display of protests towards institutions, dissatisfaction with liberal democracies, the rise of authoritarianism and populism, concern about the climate crisis, and an increase of immigration. So, how can we understand and describe citizenship today? What is expected of the ideal citizen? The present book has three objectives. First, it aims to study good citizenship from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. It finds that there are five configurations, presenting more complex interpretations that show how youth endorse different citizenship norms into distinct profiles that are internationally comparable. Second, across the different chapters, the book describes and discusses how these different configurations are distributed between countries and schools, and what is similar and what is distinctive between these profiles when compared against a range of citizenship outcomes. Third, the book focuses on specific challenges facing countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and provides locally informed research questions and interpretations of findings. We use IEA’s International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 data to explore these objectives. We briefly describe the content of each chapter in the following sections and the methodological approach used in each chapter.
- Global citizenship
- International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS)
Recent developments have brought into question some of the long-held assumptions regarding the role of citizens and notions of democracy. The fall of communist regimes, the rise of post-industrialization, and the technological developments that allowed the expansion of social media have radically changed notions of good citizenship, how people participate in politics, and the ways in which the political system responds to these changes in society.
The argument that liberal democracy and capitalism have become the dominant paradigms for the future political organization of societies (Fukuyama 1992b) has been called into question by reality. The promises of liberal democracies to increase well-being and opportunities have not always been achieved and, in recent years, authoritarian and populist politicians have been elected in different democracies. In this context, young people seem less and less interested in participating in elections and party politics (Wattenberg 2002).
The spread of social media, once thought of as a tool for enhancing citizen participation, has shown to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, social media has facilitated the connection and organization of social and political movements. On the other hand, it has facilitated message manipulation and misinformation, which has become a real threat in terms of biasing public opinion with misleading information on topics subject to political debate. In the same regard, global challenges have brought new complexities when thinking about citizenship. The climate crisis, which has become a source of global unrest for younger generations, is a challenge to which economic and political systems have not yet responded. An increase in migration between countries has been used by some politicians to establish intolerant and xenophobic political discourses. Finally, along with these challenges, some authors have advanced essentialist interpretations suggesting that some cultures are less democratic than Western societies (Booth and Seligson 1984; Fukuyama 1992a; Lagos 2003; Seligson and Booth 1993). This stance promotes simplistic interpretations of citizenship that ignore historical, political, economic, and societal features that can provide a more nuanced understanding of citizenship around the world. This global scenario calls for a better understanding of citizenship and the urgent need for implementation of evidence-based policy measures for the citizenship development of current generations of students in order to better prepare them for the unprecedented local and global challenges they will face.
The purpose of this book is twofold. First, it aims to study good citizenship from a theoretical and empirical perspective, advancing more complex interpretations that show how different citizenship attributes may have counterintuitive interactions with different profiles of citizenship of young people. Second, the book focuses on specific challenges facing countries from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, providing locally-driven research questions and interpretations of findings. Through this approach, the authors seek to inform the reader about essential citizenship issues in different parts of the world. At the same time, the book draws attention to the scientific community of often ignored relations between citizenship norms and other civic outcomes. The dominant notions of citizenship—mainly from United States scholars—have implicitly imposed theoretical definitions, defined the focus, and generated interpretations of results that may not take into account the specific historical, economic, cultural, and political characteristics of different contexts.
The authors used data from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 to answer their research questions and perform empirical analyses. In the following sections, we briefly provide an overview of the book and summary of each chapter and its key ideas.
2 Understanding Citizenship From a Multidimensional Perspective
Citizenship is a polysemic term and a multidimensional concept. First, citizenship is polysemic because it does not carry a single unified meaning. Its meaning varies due to the contextual characteristics of societies, in particular their value systems. What are the requirements to be a citizen, especially to be a good citizen? Different political systems are organized in different forms, including via elite-driven forms, like liberal democracy, communitarian forms, or welfare state systems, among others. These forms of organization must be consistent with the prevalent value system of the societies in which they are enacted, which are dynamic and the result of historical processes (Conover et al. 1991; Denters et al. 2007). When the organizational form of a political system shows a mismatch with the values of the people, the system may face tensions with its citizens (Lipset 1959; van Deth 2017). Therefore, in different countries and regions, definitions of good citizenship vary regarding the expectations of how citizens should contribute to society.
Second, citizenship is a multidimensional concept because we require different attributes and constructs to cover all its aspects. These aspects include critical dimensions of citizenship like civic knowledge, political participation, beliefs about democracy, understanding of democracy, and attitudes towards different population groups, among others (Schulz et al. 2016; Stokke 2017; van Deth 2007). However, these attributes of citizenship are not consistently correlated (Isac et al. 2014). For example, some attributes of citizenship might be especially convenient for democratic systems, such as a positive inclination towards electoral participation. However, high political participation may also present negative attitudes towards the equal rights of minorities among some groups. Therefore, simplistic definitions that assume that certain dimensions of citizenship are beneficial for democracy under all circumstances may be misleading. The present gap is relevant for both the understanding of citizenship as a research topic, and the proposal of policy measures for citizenship development.
The study of the multifaceted nature of the definitions of citizenship may benefit from an in-depth theoretical understanding, sophisticated methodologies, and contextual interpretations that can illuminate specific situations in different countries. The chapters of this book aim to combine these three elements to research citizenship. The book includes a systematic review of the literature that provides a conceptual framework for the analysis of good citizenship. It uses a person-centered approach to develop theoretically informed citizenship profiles of the students that participated in ICCS 2016, based on their responses to different citizenship norms. Finally, based on these profiles, the book offers two types of analysis. First, it studies the general trends of citizenship and their relationship with school variables in the participating countries. Second, it offers specific research questions and answers related to pressing issues in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, dwelling on citizenship norms endorsement profiles from students, different dimensions of citizenship, and relevant contextual variables from each region.
3 Substantive Overview
The book consists of 12 chapters, including this introduction. Chapters 2–5 provide a general overview of good citizenship and establish the basis for more in-depth analyses in the rest of the book. Chapter 2, through a systematic literature review, answers the question: “What is a good citizen?” In doing so, it analyzes 120 academic articles that deal with the concept of good citizenship in the period from 1950 to 2019. The chapter shows that the concept of good citizenship has been an essential part of the discussion in many academic fields, including political science, education, sociology, anthropology, evolution, and history, among others. Within these disciplines, the concept of good citizenship is broadly defined, incorporating notions from multiple fields. Moreover, most of the work of this literature has been produced in Western countries with comparatively high-income levels. Despite this feature of the literature, there is no single notion of good citizenship, and, on the contrary, the idea of what a good citizen is seems to be a mutating concept related to both new global challenges and local contextual characteristics. Finally, the chapter concludes that the literature has produced empirical evidence, based on the existing norms of good citizenship, which focus on a citizen’s ideal attributes.
Chapter 3 is the empirical backbone of the book, which provides the primary variable of discussion of the book. This section uses a multigroup latent class to produce comparable realizations of citizenship norms profiles, across the 24 participating countries from ICCS 2016. Following the literature on this matter, the profiles are developed using 12 items of citizenship norms selected from ICCS 2016. These items cover a wide range of citizenship norms, including “always obeying the law,” “voting in every national election,” “promoting human rights,” and “engaging in political discussions.” The chapter presents a structurally homogenous model that allows the classification of students in interpretable and comparable groups of citizenship norms profiles across countries. The selected model used to represent the different forms of endorsement to citizenship norms consists of five different classes. These are comprehensive, duty-based, socially-engaged, monitorial, and anomic profiles. The first profile encompasses students who endorse all citizenship norms. In contrast, the anomic profile consists of students who do not highly endorse any of the presented citizenship norms. Duty-based students highly endorse formal participation in politics. However, these students disregard participation in protests, demonstrations, and participation in the local community. Conversely, socially-engaged students highly endorse active participation in protests, demonstrations, and participation in the local community, but disregard participation in elections and party politics. Finally, the monitorial profile endorses the relevance of voting and participating in protests and the promotion of human rights, yet to a lesser degree than the previous group. These profiles are used in the other chapters either as an outcome or predictor variable to study specific issues of good citizenship around the globe.
Chapter 4 presents a general comparative analysis of good citizenship in the 21st century to address the question of how countries’ characteristics relate to the distribution of profiles across countries. In order to understand notions of good citizenship, this chapter uses a comparative policy approach to uncover the relations between the citizenship norms profiles and political, economic, and cultural attributes of countries and regions included in ICCS 2016. This section argues that, although civic norms profiles are a set of common patterns across countries, there are also large differences in the distribution of these profiles among countries. General results include the low proportion of students endorsing citizenship norms with an anomic profile and a higher proportion of comprehensive and socially-engaged profiles. Complementary, national income and the use of social media for political and social issues are the two variables that most consistently explain differences in notions of good citizenship across countries.
Chapter 5 uses a school effectiveness approach to analyze students’ citizenship configurations in the sample of countries included in ICCS 2016. This chapter uses a multinomial multilevel model to analyze the relationship between students’ citizenship norms profiles and the characteristics of their schools. The results show that schools with higher opportunities for civic learning seem to promote a comprehensive profile of citizenship norms endorsement, in comparison to other profiles of citizenship norms. Likewise, schools with higher levels of open classroom discussion are positively related to students displaying a comprehensive profile, in contrast to anomic and monitorial profiles. These findings suggest that school practices from civic education are critical variables in developing more participatory citizenship profiles. In terms of civic background, it is clear that being interested in political and social issues and discussing these topics outside the school increase the odds of the comprehensive profile. A similar result was found regarding students’ engagement with social media for political purposes. Across schools, students who post and read political and social issues in social media environments are more likely to present a comprehensive profile of citizenship norms endorsement, in contrast to other profiles. Finally, in terms of socioeconomic variables, schools with higher socioeconomic status students are more likely to have socially-engaged or duty-based profile students instead of comprehensive profile students.
Chapter 6 investigates the political culture and citizenship norms in the five Latin American countries that participated in ICCS 2016. It stresses that the history of the region is plagued by political unrest, civil war, human rights abuses, and military dictatorships, which have interrupted the development of democracies. Over the last decades, several attempts have been made to consolidate representative regimes in the region, especially in post-dictatorship periods, but scholars have questioned the quality of these democracies (e.g., Haynes 2003; O’Donell 1994). The chapter aims to answer the question: To what extent do democratic ideals coexist with authoritarian ideas? To this end, the study uses regression models, with robust standard errors, and different predictors to explain students’ support for authoritarian government practices. The results indicate that, in Latin America, there is a significant level of support for authoritarian ideas among students, which is consistent with previous research focused on the adult population. Additionally, students from the duty-based and comprehensive profiles show higher levels of support for authoritarian practices. In contrast, students with monitorial and anomic profiles are less likely to support these types of practices. Finally, civic knowledge protects young people from authoritarian ideas and moderates the effect of different citizenship norms endorsement.
Chapter 7 examines tolerance of corruption among students in Latin America. Specifically, this chapter investigates the relationship of tolerance of corruption with citizenship attributes (e.g., authoritarian beliefs, civic knowledge, and endorsement of citizenship norms), levels of open classroom discussion that students experience in the school, and parental education (as a student background variable). Governments in this region have promoted reforms to increase transparency in governmental practices, assuming that citizens can identify, condemn, and denounce corrupt acts. Such efforts may be futile if citizens hold high levels of tolerance for corruption. This chapter studies which students are at higher risk of tolerance of corruption and addresses how schools may promote the endorsement of anti-corruption norms. Civic knowledge and authoritarianism are the main predictors of tolerance of corruption, accounting for 49% of the variance at the population level. In a multilevel model, open classroom discussion is a negative predictor of tolerance of corruption. However, when civic knowledge is included, open classroom discussion diminishes its effects, thus displaying indirect effects. Citizenship norms are related to tolerance of corruption in complex ways: anomic students are less tolerant of corruption than their classmates. In contrast, monitorial students have higher levels of tolerance to corruption. Finally, schools with a concentration of duty-based students are more tolerant of corruption than the rest of the schools.
Chapter 8 focuses on citizenship norms among native and immigrant students from a European perspective. It first considers the unprecedented diversity in student populations in Europe resulting from the recent rapid influx of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Additionally, it considers European education policy frameworks, which stress that citizenship education needs to promote common attitudes and values in the student population while respecting cultural diversity. Based on these two elements, the chapter focuses on understanding attitudinal differences between immigrant and European-born students in nine European countries participating in ICCS 2016. While holding constant other background characteristics, immigrant students are less likely to be socially engaged and endorse more comprehensive norms in four out of the nine European countries and regions participating in the study; this includes Denmark, Sweden, Malta, and Belgium (Flemish). For all other groups, immigrant students were less likely to be duty-based in countries such as Sweden and Belgium (Flemish) than the comprehensive profiles. In Malta, in particular, immigrant students were less likely to present a monitorial profile than a comprehensive profile. Overall, the authors found that native-born and immigrant students tend to endorse similar configurations of norms in most European countries. When differences in citizenship norms adherence exist, the most common finding indicates that immigrant students are more likely to hold comprehensive citizenship norms (e.g., Denmark, Sweden, Malta, Belgium). The authors conclude that further research is needed to understand students' motivations to endorse different citizenship norms among European countries.
Chapter 9 studies European citizenship norms and tolerance in adolescence. The chapter considers both the sudden influx of immigrants and the provisions in the Treaty on European Union regarding “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities” (Article 2) as part of the challenge to understand citizenship. Specifically, it investigates how existing norms-based citizenship profiles relate to the concept of political tolerance, analyzing the relationship between the profiles and the support of students for equal rights of others (immigrants and women) in society. The study reveals two clear patterns. First, students in the comprehensive profile deal well with the ambivalence present in the definition of tolerance, especially regarding equal rights for immigrants. This group scores high on all the indicators of good citizenship. It seems to be able to disagree with others, and hence also to work with immigrant groups towards higher social cohesion in Europe. Second, the other citizenship norms profiles seem to have issues giving equal rights to other groups. The duty-based, monitorial, anomic, and even the socially-engaged students, show significantly lower support for equal rights for immigrants, in comparison to the comprehensive students. This latter result can imply a very narrow interpretation of the rights of non-Europeans in Europe.
Chapter 10 studies the predictors of democratic and traditional values in Hong Kong SAR (hereafter Hong Kong, for ease of reading), the Republic of Korea (hereafter Korea), and Chinese Taipei. This chapter uses structural equation modeling to analyze Asian students’ understanding of democracy, distinguishing between threats to democracy and rights in democracies, while challenging essentialist assumptions proposing that Asian cultures may be inclined to organize themselves around “soft authoritarian regimes” (Fukuyama 1992a; Tu 1996). Furthermore, by focusing on understandings of democracy, the chapter challenges several of the definitions of citizenship posed by Western scholars, which focus mainly on participation. Results show that Asian students have a reasonably sound grasp of threats to democracy. Similarly, students also present a fair understanding of the rights and opportunities democracy provides. Altogether, these results reflect on the fact that, in all of these societies, democracy, local tradition, and authoritarianism have all been present as part of their social and political history. Concerning the citizenship norms, the study finds that only for the case of Chinese Taipei, duty-based students scored lower than the comprehensive group on Threats to Democracy, and engaged students scored lower on Rights and Opportunities. School-based civic learning programs and political discussion outside schools emerged as the most robust variables to enhance students’ understanding of democracy in terms of rights. However, these same variables are not necessarily related to understanding threats to democracy.
Finally, Chap. 11 analyzes protest cultures as preferred forms of future civic engagement for Asian students. Hong Kong, Korea, and Chinese Taipei have been recent sites of both legal and illegal protests, many of which have involved young people. The study explores the extent to which illegal protest is considered as a form of future civic engagement by students using a person-centered approach that yielded five latent classes: Radicals, Radical Activists, Conservatives, Pragmatic Activists, and Reluctant Participators. These profiles were compared to conventional citizenship norms to understand Asian students’ citizenship values and their proposed civic actions. The chapter observes that the Pragmatic Activists, the Radicals, and the Radical Activists all considered participating in protests as a form of civic engagement. These groups are not only willing to take part in illegal forms of protest, but also legal forms, including electoral participation. Thus, it seems that these groups are more politically engaged than other profiles.
4 Methodological Overview of Empirical Chapters
The empirical analyses presented in Chaps. 3–11 use different methodological perspectives, described below (see Table 1). Before describing the methods of each chapter, it is important to stress that the empirical analyses carried out in Chaps. 4–10 use the citizenship norms profiles produced in Chap. 3 either as an outcome or as an independent variable.
Chapter 3 uses a structurally homogeneous latent class model to generate citizenship norms profiles across countries. The realizations of this fitted model are then used in the rest of the book as manifest variables. Chapter 4 presents a series of descriptive analyses at the country level in which profiles of good citizenship are treated as outcome variables and related to different social, economic, and institutional characteristics of the countries. Chapter 5, following a school effectiveness approach, uses a multilevel multinomial logistic model specifying citizenship norms profiles as outcomes, while students and school attributes are included as covariates. Chapter 6 studies the relationship between the citizenship profiles and characteristics of the Latin American political culture collected through the Latin American module in the ICCS survey. It fits a series of regression models in which the citizenship norms profiles were included as covariates to predict students’ support of authoritarian government practices, along with other students’ attributes, including civic knowledge and socio-demographic factors. Chapter 7 fits a series of multilevel models to study the tolerance of corruption among students in Latin America, using the citizenship profiles as predictors. Chapter 8 studies citizenship norms among native and immigrant students from a European perspective, it fits multigroup multinomial logistic models in which citizenship norms profiles were specified as outcomes. Chapter 9 studies the relationship between citizenship norms and attitudes towards equity for women and immigrant groups. It fits multigroup multinomial logistic regression models in which attitudes towards these groups are predictors of the citizenship norms profiles. Chapter 10 uses structural equation models to test how the understanding of democracy is explained by the profiles of good citizenship and other variables. Finally, Chap. 11 uses a latent profile analysis and generates three profiles to classify Asian students according to their preferred forms of civic engagement. A multigroup mean comparison was used to enhance confidence in the selected solution, comparing students’ attitudes towards civic learning, civic values, civic participation experiences, student-teacher relation, and other variables of interest. Finally, multinomial logistic regression analysis is used in this chapter to study the relative weight of predictor variables on the profiles for civic engagement.
All estimates present in this book include the survey design of the ICCS 2016 study. Students’ responses in this study are obtained via a stratified two-stage probability sampling design, where schools are selected systematically with probability proportional to size within each stratum. Within each school, an intact classroom is randomly selected, and all its students respond to the different instruments included in the ICCS 2016 study (for more details, see Schulz et al. 2018). Because students’ responses from the same schools and classrooms are not independent observations, this can lead to underestimating standard errors of estimates of fitted statistical models (Rabe-Hesketh and Skrondal 2012; Snijders and Bosker 2012). To avoid Type I error inflation due to its design, fitted models in the present book used corrections for variance estimations. Population average models (McNeish 2014) used in Chaps. 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11 rely on Taylor Series Linearization (Asparouhov and Muthén 2010; Stapleton 2008) to get correct standards errors. In all these chapters, survey weights were equally weighted, so all countries contributed equally to the point estimates (Gonzalez 2012). Additionally, multilevel models included in Chaps. 5 and 7 rely on the pseudo maximum likelihood method. In these chapters, survey weights were re-scaled, so all countries contributed equally. Moreover, within each country, survey weights were scaled for multilevel models to the effective sample size (Stapleton 2013). In summary, the presented estimates take advantage of the ICCS 2016 study design to provide inferences to their respective sampling frame of reference.
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The authors would like to thank the sponsorship of the Center for Educational Justice ANID PIA CIE160007, as well as the Chilean National Agency of Research and Development through the grant ANID/FONDECYT N° 1180667.
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Treviño, E., Carrasco, D. (2021). Good Citizenship and Youth: Understanding Global, Contextual, and Conceptual Tensions. In: Treviño, E., Carrasco, D., Claes, E., Kennedy, K.J. (eds) Good Citizenship for the Next Generation . IEA Research for Education, vol 12. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75746-5_1
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