This article examines the extent to which citizens of migrant origin are included within discourses of national identity in civic education curricula in England, France and Ireland. We explore how much space is given to citizens of migrant origin in discourses of national identity in civic education curricula and how they fit with central values normalized by a higher degree of recognition in schools. Although early immigration systems assumed that incorporation of migrants into the national polity would take place via socialization in education, the failure to include citizens of migrant origin in the contemporary ‘imagined community’ articulated in civic education discourses risks marginalizing some citizens which gives rise to a sovereignty gap. The disparity between legal and cultural belonging of some individuals in Western Europe presents a major challenge for education systems which are tasked with making national identity discourse resonate with a globalized citizenry. The study found that despite commonalities around the promotion of human rights and democracy, civic education curricula diverge with regard to representation of religion. Moreover, nationalistic aspects of the French model contrast with a multicultural, and recently global, approach to citizenship education in England and the promotion of European citizenship in Ireland.
Source: Irish Educational Studies Volume 31, Issue 1, 2012