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European citizenship education: towards which patriotism? a normative analysis of civic education on the eu scale


With the advent of the EU constitution, especially after the French and Dutch No to the draft Constitution, the question of how to create a sense of belonging and solidarity among European citizens has become of a great importance. In this respect, civic education is viewed as a way to put the EU citizenship into practice. More precisely, it is widely considered as a means to foster the cohesion of the European political community as well as the common allegiance to it. But, given the fact of pluralism which inescapably characterizes the European societies, how is it possible to conciliate these aims of unity and stability with the respect for moral, religious, cultural and national diversity?

In order to analyse this tension, we propose to investigate both the normative sources and the normative consequences of the project to promote a European patriotism through education. To do so, our research will focus on the contemporary debates about constitutional patriotism Civic education indeed constitutes a relevant way to question the differences between a thick version and a thin version of constitutional patriotism. Is its aim to consolidate the foundations of a European moral community. Or considering the disagreements about the good life is it preferable to abandon any attempt to construct a substantive collective identity?

This question leads us to examine the theoretical and practical conditions under which the public promotion of democratic values and/or norms is compatible with the liberal politics of neutrality on the one hand, and with the multiculturalist struggle against homogenization on the other hand. Conceived in the framework of an applied political philosophy, this normative analysis will be supplemented by various studies directly applied to the E U perspective (in particular: Eurydice's report on Citizenship Education at School in Europe and the new programme Citizens for Europe launched by the European Commission).

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