ERG SES C 11, Arts and Education
During the last three decades, and especially after the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 which established the creation of the European citizenship, Europe has evolved to a social and political organism where a common European identity emerges (Smith, 1991; Dubrulle et Fragnière, 2009). This means the transition from the national citizenship to a more complex form of citizenship where the national identity coexists with the European one. Education and cultural policies in Europe illustrate this transition and focus on the fact that active citizenship will develop in a larger context instead of being enclosed in a limited national territory. This leads to the creation of a multitude of different cultural identities that interact with each other and assume diversity (Abdallah-Pretceille, 1999).
The young generation has to face this diversity. In this contribution, by accepting that multiple identities can be concentric rather than conflictual (Smith, 1992), we propose that cultural institutions, such as museums, reinforce their role in citizenship education in collaboration with schools. More precisely, we consider museums as places of non-formal citizenship education, since we admit that they participate at the expression of different cultural identities. Their role is to develop amongst young people the adequate skills to live in diversity and to assume multiple identities, from which emerges the respect and tolerance towards the others (Smith, 1991; Fragnière, 2009).
Meanwhile, this transition changes the way culture and heritage are represented, since this new wave brings to light approaches that consider diversity as crucial. This is reflected on the museum world where since the 1990’s new types of museums have emerged, such as the so called ‘Museums of Europe’, that tend to transform national museums (Mazé, 2014). European museums have a civic mission; to make Europeans aware of their belonging and identity, which is constructed on the interaction of different cultures and not by the exclusion of each other. The creation of a pan-European feeling of solidarity is seen to be crucial as well as the respect of human rights, seen as universal values that Europeans should spread all over the world.
In order to make our point, we adopt identity theories of Lévi-Strauss (1977) and Abdallah-Pretceille (1999) who see identities as a result of social construction and in constant interaction with the others. We use these theories in the context of intercultural museum education. In this spectrum, we focus on European citizenship education through museum activities for pupils in France and in Greece. Our research highlights, in particular, the role of citizenship education in museums on intercultural issues and aims in identifying good practices of intercultural and citizenship education in the perspective of promoting cultural diversity amongst pupils. The questions that emerge are:
How has the transition to a complex form of citizenship in Europe influenced the museum aims and practices towards the school public? Is this element of evolution evident in the aims and practices of the stakeholders (museum mediators and teachers) during museum visits?
Abdallah-Pretceille, M. (1999). L’éducation interculturelle. Que sais-je ?. Paris : Presses Universitaires de France. Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Keith, M. (2000). Research methods in education. Routledge Falmer (5th Edition). Dubrulle, M. et Fragnière, G. (2009). Identités culturelles et citoyenneté européenne. Diversité et unité dans la construction démocratique de l'Europe. PIE Peter Lang. Fragnière, G. (2009). Identité, nationalité et citoyenneté : Les nouveaux paradigmes de la culture politique européenne. In : Identités culturelles et citoyenneté européenne. Diversité et unité dans la construction démocratique de l'Europe. PIE Peter Lang. p.17-28. Lévi-Strauss, C. (1977). L’identité : séminaire interdisciplinaire. Paris : Grasset MacDonald, S. (2003). Museums, national, postnational and transnational identities. Museum and Society, 1 (1), p.1-16. Mazé, C. (2014). La fabrique de l'identité européenne. Dans les coulisses des musées de l'Europe. Paris: Belin. Smith, A.D. (1991). National Identity. Nevada: University of Nevada Press. The Maastricht Treaty Provisions amending the treaty establishing the European Economic Community with a view to establishing the European community (1992) Maastricht, 7 February 1992.
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