Challenging or consolidating neoliberalism: prominent discursive traces on a university-level citizenship course

Sen A.

HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT, vol.40, no.3, pp.613-626, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/07294360.2020.1765319
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.613-626
  • Keywords: Global citizenship education, internationalisation of higher education, neoliberalism, cosmopolitanism, commercialisation of higher education, GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP, HIGHER-EDUCATION, CURRICULUM, KNOWLEDGE
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Citizenship education (CE) has become popular with various descriptors at different levels of education. In higher education, it has gained status with the title of global CE (GCE). Although the ways of delivery of GCE vary within and across universities, research suggests that the prevailing ideology of neoliberalism that promotes a notion of de-contextualised and individualistic citizenship seeps into all forms of GCE. Therefore, attempts have been made to strengthen alternative conceptualisations of GCE that challenge inequalities and facilitate the participation of marginalised identities. This study reports on the curriculum development of an alternative form of GCE underpinned by the theories of cosmopolitan citizenship. Empirical evidence (interviews, observation notes, evaluation data and other course materials) is drawn from three iterations of a GCE course taken by 124 students at a Russell Group university in the UK from 2016 to 2018. The study concludes that the prevalence of neoliberal GCE may be effectively challenged by recognising the significance of collective action and integrating a strong practical dimension to the curriculum.