Building the Twenty-First Century Citizen:
Civic Education for Civic Engagement
Professor Helen Haste
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Bath, UK
Visiting Professor, Centre for Governance and Citizenship,
The Hong Kong Institute of Education;
Visiting Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA
Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter, UK
Date: 11 June 2013 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Venue: Room D1-LP-07,
Lower Podium Floor, Block D1, Tai Po Campus
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po
‘Political socialization’ has for too long narrowly defined civic engagement in terms of partisanship or voting. Research and theory have expanded civic engagement, to include community action, making one’s voice heard through less conventional routes and being an aware, alert citizen monitoring political events; increasingly this includes blogging and social media. These expand definitions of the ‘good citizen’ and a more rounded, effective democracy, also more consistent with social and political change.
To improve civic education we need to consider the broad range of activities through which young people pursue a public good, and where they often translate strong moral concerns into civic goals. Traditional civics education, focusing on institutional structures or on the historical rhetoric behind national identity does not address these issues. A ‘new civics’ agenda recognizes the wide range of issues that motivate young people to civic engagement. In particular, young people frequently say they are ‘uninterested in politics’ yet a majority are active in more broadly defined civic participation. Professor Haste will illustrate these arguments with data from the UK, China and South Africa.
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Professor Helen Haste is currently visiting the Centre for Governance and Citizenship, HKIEd as Visiting Professor. She has been working for forty years on moral and political development and action through empirical and theoretical work on peace movements, gender politics and political engagement of young people. She has written extensively on the intersection of cultural discourses and narratives, the negotiation and social construction of meaning, and how the individual’s thinking is generated in interaction with these. She has also explored these ideas in relation to science and society.
Her work on unconventional civic action, alongside her work on moral commitment, define civic participation more broadly, with civic engagement arising from a wide range of experiences and preconditions, for example conventional participation associated with voting, making one’s voice heard which is associated with single issue politics and with unconventional action, and participating in the community from a motive to help others. Her studies also show that civic identity and responsibility include affective and cognitive sensitisation combined with a belief that the individual has the resources to take action. Her current research project, with Robert Selman and Xu Zhao of HGSE, funded by the Harvard China Fund, is exploring how young people in China understand civic and socio-moral issues and the extent to which they feel able and motivated to engage in civic activity.
Her long-term work on science, society and gender has explored the cultural images of science, how they reflect dominant models of rationalism, how these are associated with conceptions of gender and how they influence motivation to take up science interests. Her current involvement with the six nation EU-funded project on Science Education and Diversity explores these issues internationally.
Haste is co-editor of the journal Political Psychology, and was President of the International Society of Political Psychology in 2002. She received the Nevitt Sanford and the Jeanne Knutson awards from that organisation for her contributions to the field of political psychology. She received the Kuhmerker Award from the Association for Moral Education in 2011 for her lifelong contributions to moral education. She is Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Royal Society of Arts and a Member of the British Academy of Social Sciences. For many years she was closely associated with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, serving as a Vice-President from 2002-8 and as Chair of Council from 2002-4.
Some of her recent publications include: “The Future Shapes the Present; Scenarios, Metaphors and Civic Action” (co-authored with Hogan, A.) in Understanding History and the Construction of Identities in a Global World (2013, Information Age Publishing); “Citizenship Education: a Critical Look at a Contested Field” in Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth (2010, John Wiley) ; Identity, Community and Citizenship, report commissioned by the UK Department of Children, Families and Schools (2009, Beyond Current Horizons, Bristol).
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