Sunday, December 2

Would citizenship lessons help in minority integration?

Country after country is trying to increase the integration of its minorities by insisting on language lessons, citizenship lessons, examinations and the like. Does this work? Well, here's a paper which tries to shed light on the debate. Pretty encouraging, wouldn't you say? (mind you, one angle of further research would be to explore this via the ethnic - religious dimension - All minorities are not the same!)


The Civic Attitudes of Ethnic Minority Youth and the Impact of Citizenship Education

Author: Jan Germen Janmaat

Published in:  Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Volume 34, Issue 1 January 2008 , pages 27 - 54


This paper compares the civic attitudes of migrant and native youth in five West European countries, and explores the effect of citizenship education on the civic orientations of migrant children. Use is made of data from the IEA Civic Education survey. This survey involved a large study among 14-year-olds in 28 countries. The paper finds that migrant youth generally are at least as supportive of civic values as the ethnic majority. They do not embrace the civic notions of patriotism, institutional trust and gender equality to the same extent as the dominant group, though. Differences between the two groups on gender equality and to some degree also on institutional trust disappear, however, when social background variables are controlled for. It is concluded that differences between the allochtonous and autochthonous groups in the espousal of civic values are mostly a reflection of social differences and that migrant cultures are not obstructing the adoption of these values. This contradicts the conservative notion that civic values are specific to Western cultures and therefore incompatible with migrant cultures of other origins. It is further concluded that ethnic minority youth are likely to benefit more from citizenship education than the majority group.

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