Citizenship education under authoritarian Islamic nationalism: an exploration of teachers’ conceptions of citizenship in Turkey

Şen K.

JOURNAL OF CURRICULUM STUDIES, vol.0, no.0, pp.1-16, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 0 Issue: 0
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00220272.2023.2185106
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Periodicals Index Online, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-16
  • Keywords: Authoritarian Islamic nationalism, citizenship education, populist nationalism, social studies teachers, Turkey
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


This study explores a group of social studies teachers' conceptions of citizenship by taking into consideration the country's increasingly authoritarian political culture. It offers an analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out with 20 teachers working at state middle schools in a relatively secular city. The study found that the majority of the teachers are subscribed to a non-democratic conception of citizenship that prioritizes an uncritical loyalty to the nation, inculcates passive compliance, relies on a pro-Muslim notion of human rights, and makes little room for political issues discussion. Despite that, some teachers seem to develop oppositional discourses and seek ways to claim their agencies. The study concludes that the authoritarian Islamic nationalism in power has intensified the ethno-religiously nationalist, statist, and duty-centric aspects of citizenship education (CE). Some teachers' explicit emphasis on pro-Islamic and anti-western discourses and almost all teachers' explicit concern to stay away from politics emerge as novel characteristics that are consistent with the dictates of Turkey's authoritarian regime. It seems authoritarian populist nationalism redresses citizenship as an exclusionary notion grounded in race, ethnicity, religion, and civilizational claims. Insights from this research may help the advocates keep CE supportive of democratic values under authoritarian conditions.