Two of my former students, Keren Wang (now in a PhD program at Penn State (Communication Arts and Sciences)) and Nabih Haddad (now in a PhD Program at Michigan State (Education)) have presented a very interesting paper at a recently concluded conference. Entitled "International Organizations and Participatory Global Citizenship: Civic Education beyond Territoriality," the paper considers issues at the intersection of civic education, the university and the state within enlarging systems of globalization. They ask: "Is it then possible to give an account of democratic life that transcends the totality of the state?" And they point to the framework within which this question is examined: "The paper would argue that such vision is possible when we let go the static-centric foundationalist view of democracy and civic engagement."
International Organizations and Participatory Global Citizenship: Civic Education beyond Territoriality
Keren Wang, Penn State University
Nabih Haddad, Michigan State University
Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to examine civic education through the lens of global citizenship. Contemporary globalization has fractured the idealization of citizenship in relations to states, and postsecondary institutions are now in a position not only to promote, but also project globalized values through civic education and engagement. This paper argues that civic engagement needs to be reassessed in light of global transformations. Through a complex system of assessment regimes, international organizations (IOs) such as the OECD are now projecting norm-based transnational human rights enforcement systems that may guide the discursive parameters of civic education curriculum. Due to these IOs’ ability to confer prestige, and promote stratification, they then have the ability to extraterritorially impose a set of regulatory mechanics onto foreign institutions themselves. They now have the ethos to construct a regulatory apparatus based on the logos of those transnational legal systems they construct, and thus promote. The emphasis is not on any fixed forms of disciplinary structure per se, but on a discursive democratic process that allows for substantive and legitimate participation of transnational legal structures by all civil society actors. The case of Survival International further provides an excellent educational artifact that opens the possibility for a civic pedagogy of participatory global citizenship. Overall, this article concludes that regulatory power has not only seeped away from states, but IOs and civil society actors are now wielding an immense amount of regulatory power that demands knowledge, curriculum, and education policy to shift towards the transnational level. This paper concludes by arguing that civic engagement needs to be reassessed in light of global transformations. This, of course, advances the idea of global citizenship in the hope of expanding the possibility of catalyzing civic engagement that transcends clearly defined borders, while respecting the pluralistic experiences of a diverse world.