Building bridging Social Capital in a Divided Society: the role of Participatory Citizenship Education

Participatory citizenship education has been highlighted as a strategy to promote social cohesion in divided societies whereby collaborations with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inter-school links have been proposed as tools to improve social networks between schools and communities. This article explores the role and meaning of citizenship education and cross-community participation in promoting social capital and social cohesion. School survey findings, focus groups and interviews with young people and educators indicated that differences between school sectors and established allegiances with particular communities and NGOs may limit the potential for citizenship education to produce bridging social capital and serve to reproduce bonding social capital. It is argued that the introduction of citizenship curricula into segregated schools systems in divided societies may be useful to promote citizenship values and positive attitudes to the other but insufficient to promote the development of bridging social capital and, ultimately, social cohesion in the long term.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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