23 SES 12 A, The State of Play of Active Citizenship in Europe: Concepts, Policy, Engagement and the effects of the Economic Crises
This symposium will map the current situation concerning citizenship concepts, policies and engagement from across the 27 EU member states. The symposium will present findings from the Active Citizenship and the EU project funded by the European Commission. The project has collected and analysed qualitative and quantitative data on concepts, policy, practice and engagement from European Union countries to give a picture of the state of play regarding Active Citizenship in Europe. The qualitative data was collected in the form of a country fiche compiled by experts from each EU country. In addition, quantitative analysis was performed on existing data bases including the IEA International Citizenship and Civic education database 2009, the European Values Survey 2008, the European Social Survey 2010 and the Eurobarometer 2011.
The results of analysis show that the current and major influence in European concepts, policy and practice for facilitating engagement is the economic crisis. The concept of active citizenship has shifted in a number of countries towards a more liberal communitarian concept of citizenship with a greater focus on volunteering and a cultural notion of the citizen. However, at the same time one of the first areas which have been cut by national policies has been the support for community projects. The countries with the highest debts are those in most need of a strong civil society to support democracy in the current context of economic and political upheavals.
The first paper will focus on the concept of active citizenship and how this is understood in the different EU countries. It will also provide an overview of the levels and trends of engagement. The next two papers will be two case studies from Denmark and the Netherlands. The final paper will provide an overview of policies from across the European Union countries and the effects of the economic crises.
The implications of these changes in policy and practice will be discussed for active citizenship, European citizenship and democracy in Europe.
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