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Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry: The Case for Teaching Global Citizenship

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Abstract

This chapter makes a case for global citizenship education to begin addressing the many pressing problems facing humanity as a whole. Patriotism and nationalism, major components of traditional citizenship education, are impediments to fostering the type of global citizen our dire circumstances now require. Through the use of teacher anecdotes and cosmopolitan theory, the authors argue that the economic paradigm known as neoliberalism is a major threat to the state of the environment across the entire planet, and to civil society in many or even most nations. Frightening environmental, economic, social, and political problems, currently on humanity’s doorstep, require cooperation and coordinated strategies among nations. Some examples include the climate crisis, massive amounts of plastics in the ocean, obscene wealth inequality abetted by international tax havens, the rise of the racist Far Right and neo-fascism, increasing numbers of migrants and refugees, and deadly global pandemics such as COVID-19. In order to deal with these major global issues, this chapter calls for social studies to teach a global citizenship education infused with critical media literacy and moral cosmopolitan theory.
I am a citizen of the world.
Diogenes, 5th century BCE
Since the end of the Second World War, one of the most enduring educational
debates in both Canada and the United States pertains to citizenship education
(Osborne, 2010, 2008, 1999; Sears & Hughes, 1996; Stanlick, 2018; Westheimer,
2014). Excellent scholarship has provided insights into the concept of citizenship
itself and its importance to democracy. It is generally acknowledged that citizen-
ship refers to the rights and responsibilities possessed by a nation’s citizens, with
an inherent tension between whether these rights are simply bestowed upon a
person or must somehow be earned. Complicating matters even further, in educa-
tional circles citizenship is a contestable term with many different interpretations
of what constitutes the traits of a desired citizen.
Some scholars have developed taxonomies about the different types of cit-
izens fostered in schools (Sears & Hughes, 1996; Westheimer, 2014). Indeed,
Westheimer’s (2014) study resulted in a taxonomy that connected various kinds of
citizenship to political ideology— students in American schools were being taught
to be what he called either personally responsible, participatory, or justice- oriented
citizens. e study demonstrated that very few students were taught the principles
of justice citizenship.In general, two schools of thought have framed the scholarly
debates around citizenship within Western nations. One is civic republicanism and
the push for the common good. Based on the writings of ancient Greek philos-
ophers, civic republicanism posits that individuals can best realize their essential
CHAPTER 1
Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry:
The Case for Teaching Global Citizenship
Paul Orlowski and Ghada Sfeir
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 13
social nature in a democratic society characterized by active participation in polit-
ical life. e other school of thought is liberal individualism and its focus on rights
and civil liberties (Stanlick, 2018). Liberal individualism is the belief that individ-
uals should be free to pursue what they perceive as their rights and abilities, with a
minimum of interference from government. It emphasizes the individual over the
community. e next section describes the experience one of us (Paul) had while
teaching Civic Studies 11 in Vancouver in 2005, in which the focus was active cit-
izenship, the common good, and peace.
TEACHER ANECDOTE #1: USING PROTEST TO FOSTER
AN ACTIVE CITIZENRY
In the history of British Columbia, every social studies curriculum ever published,
from 1941 to the most recent, has stated that a major purpose of social studies is
to strengthen democracy and citizenship (Orlowski, 2011). Yet, as a veteran social
studies teacher, it seems to me that the field of social studies education has been un-
able to fulfill this promise. Despite the lofty rhetoric in support of democracy and
citizenship, the informed citizen is not ubiquitous in Canada, and the active citizen
is an even rarer entity. Fewer and fewer people, in per capita terms, are willing to
participate in the democratic process, from volunteering in citizen organizations
or on election campaigns, to protesting against offensive government or corporate
actions, even to using any of myriad ways to demonstrate what it is they believe.
First of all, of course, they have to know what it is they actually believe. How can
students form a political opinion or democracy be strengthened if the entire notion
of protest and its role in Canadian history is absent from what they learn in school?
When the BC Ministry of Education put out a call for interested social studies
teachers to pilot a new Grade 11 course in civic studies, I jumped at the oppor-
tunit y.1 Every social studies course I have taught has had a focus on the role of
political ideology in influencing important movements and events of the past and
present. But Civic Studies 11 included a heightened emphasis on civic deliberation
and civic action, both of which are highlighted as curriculum organizers, clearly
distinguishing it from the more passive social studies courses.
e focus on political ideology in the civics course also enabled me to address
the question of what constitutes a good citizen in a much more sophisticated man-
ner than merely talking about citizenship as a one- dimensional concept. I made
extensive use of a taxonomy developed by Westheimer and Kahne (2004) that
examines the politics of educating for democracy. eir study revealed that a con-
servative conception of the good citizen emphasizes law and order, responsibility,
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14 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
and patriotism; a more liberal variant urges people to participate in civic affairs;
and a more radical version encourages participation to the point of protest, includ-
ing acts of civil disobedience.
e Civics 11 curriculum offered state- sanctioned permission to teach about
different versions of the good citizen, as well as current social and economic issues,
in municipal, provincial, national, and international contexts. e split of the pol-
itical spectrum into two— a social spectrum and an economic one— allowed the
students to understand political ideology at a deeper level. For example, they could
comprehend why liberals and social democrats agree on social issues (e.g., minority
rights), and why they disagree on many economic issues (e.g., corporate tax breaks
and unions). ey came to comprehend the conservative desire for small govern-
ments in social areas but not in law enforcement and the military.
During the final term of the school year, students in Civics 11 were given a
series of assignments to demonstrate that they had participated in the political
process and were not merely armchair critics. Each student had to write a letter
to the editor on a political issue and, after some editing on my part, submit it to a
major newspaper (some were even published!); complete volunteer work related to
a community issue (many chose to volunteer for the World Peace Forum, which
Vancouver hosted in June 2006); and attend a political rally or protest, whether
progressive (like myriad anti- war rallies in Vancouver) or conservative (such as
pro- life rallies), as a participant or an observer. Students were to give me a pam-
phlet of the rally, a one- page report that described the crowd in terms of race,
gender, and age, as well as messages from rally signs.
Not one student complained about these assignments because, I presume,
they had developed a political consciousness. Many expressed positive reflections
about being at a protest. One student even took it upon herself to write a five-
minute speech that she presented at a relatively large pro- democracy rally in east
Vancouver (Orlowski, 2011, p.165). It was the preponderance of anti- war senti-
ment, however, that led me to see that the students were very concerned about
people who were victims of war, people who lived in distant lands, and the bur-
geoning weapons trade. I began to understand what it meant to be a global citizen.
REIMAGINING CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
We believe that almost all of the scholarship devoted to citizenship education
should be reconsidered as we head into the third decade of the 21st century. We
make this claim based on the traditional focus of civics or citizenship education,
namely, to foster citizens in relation to national issues. In an edited Canadian
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 15
textbook for teaching secondary school social studies, Osborne (2008) states this
focus succinctly: “e success of a democratic country depends on the knowledge,
skills, and values of its citizens” (p.3, emphasis added). is same national focus
appears in citizenship education in the United Kingdom. Bottery (2003) claims
that “at the present time the political body defining the terms and boundaries
of citizenship is something called ‘the nation state’” (p. 102). Commitment to
the nation- state— either in terms of patriotism, nationalism, participation, social
justice, diversity of voices, or strengthening a country’s democratic system— has
traditionally been the emphasis of citizenship education. All but two items on
this list are important components of the global citizenship education that we
are advocating for in this chapter. Patriotism and nationalism are the outdated
outliers— allegiance to one’s country and nationalist fervor appear to be causing
more problems on the international stage than they are helping to solve.
e recent rise of the far right2 is clearly evident throughout many European
nations. At the time of this writing (summer 2019), white nationalist parties have
formed governments in Hungary, Poland, and Italy. An anti- immigrant party
is in power in Italy with the potential for like- minded governments elsewhere
(Giuffrida, 2018). Where they are not the government, they sometimes hold the
balance of power, such as with the Swedish government that formed in January
2019 (Henley, 2019). Of course, the biggest global expression of white nationalism
now controls the White House in Washington. Although the current federal gov-
ernment in Canada is progressive on issues involving refugees and immigration,
recent elections in the country’s two biggest provinces, Ontario and Quebec, indi-
cate that Canada is not immune to these nationalist tendencies. All far- right pol-
itical parties espouse extreme patriotism to their country (or province) and want
barriers of some kind to thwart refugees and immigrants from entering, especially
if they are not white. is political focus on patriotism is clearly obstructionist in
ameliorating problems associated with the mass movement of peoples, and it is
also an obstacle to enacting global strategies to take on even more pressing issues.
THE CALL FOR GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
Myriad major problems in the 21st century require solutions that go far beyond
the borders of any one nation- state. Environmental concerns require a global cit-
izenry able to comprehend the dire threat posed by climate change, pandemics,
diminishing supplies of fresh water, ocean pollution, and endangered species, to
name only a few. Moreover, the investigative journalism project called the Pan-
ama Papers demonstrated that much of the world’s wealth is hidden in offshore
tax havens (Harding, 2016). ese havens enable wealthy individuals and major
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16 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
corporations to avoid paying taxes, resulting in withering financial support for
civil society in most nations. On another related front, sales of increasingly sophis-
ticated weaponry have resulted in many nations’ economies becoming dependent
on this unsavoury industry, while at the same time placing massive segments of
humanity in war zones and similar perilous situations. In fact, led by American
arms manufacturers, the global arms industry is now worth about $100 billion
USD a year (Bowler, 2018). Related to these environmental and economic issues is
the challenge mentioned in the previous section, namely, the growing movement
of refugees and migrants seeking somewhere to live in relative safety.
It seems clear that traditional citizenship education has outgrown its useful-
ness to deal with all of these global issues and impending catastrophes. Moreover,
multicultural education that attempts to connect people from different cultures to
the nation- state where they live is becoming less helpful (Sfeir, 2016). A new kind
of citizenship education is needed. We are entering an era in which schools should
foster global citizens, people who feel attached to the Earth at least as much as
the country in which they reside. We are arguing for a citizenship education that
fosters a responsibility and even a loyalty to all of humanity and, by corollary, to
all of life, and to the Earth itself.
e economic paradigm known as neoliberalism has resulted in unrestrained
corporate power and a grotesque concentration of wealth in the top one percent
of most countries’ populations (Harvey, 2005; Orlowski, 2015). Neoliberalism
consists of policies designed to increase corporate profits and the wealth of the
wealthy: corporate tax cuts, privatizing the commons,3 deregulating industry, and
taking away the collective bargaining rights of workers (Orlowski, 2015). Also
known as the corporate agenda, neoliberalism is very similar to the laissez- faire
economics of the Industrial Revolution. In the West it is strongest among English-
speaking nations, most likely because of American hegemony.4 In 2018, according
to a report released by Oxfam International, “Billionaire fortunes increased by
12 percent... or $2.5 billion a day, while the 3.8 billion poorest people saw their
wealth drop $500 million every day” (Holland, 2019). is dynamic is fuelling
anger across the world, adding to the rise of far- right populist parties in many
countries. e following teaching experience, told in Paul’s voice, highlights prob-
lems neoliberalism introduced into Canadian civil society over 20 years ago.
TEACHER ANECDOTE #2: WHITE DEFENSIVENESS AND
TEACHING FOR CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS
Over 20 years ago, I was walking across the campus of an east- end Vancouver
working- class high school when a white Grade 12 student I was teaching, unaware
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 17
of my presence, yelled out to some Grade 8 students of East Asian ancestry, “Go
home, ya immigrants!” e subsequent conversation between us did nothing to
quell the disturbing feelings I had when he first demonstrated his racist attitude.
is student was quite strident in his objections to East Asian people living in
Vancouver. According to him, they were easing themselves into a higher standard
of living by taking potential jobs away from white people, jobs he believed right-
fully belonged to him and others like him.
As it turned out, many white, working- class youth were feeling threatened
by the proximity of so many Asian people (Orlowski, 2001). Indeed, many were
worried about their futures, both economically and socially. e common response
was to accept the values and political ideology of a populist right- wing social and
political movement, one that has since gained power in both the United States and
Canada. Witness the rapid growth of the so- called Tea Party movement in the
United States in 2010, the presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016, and
recent provincial election victories by conservative governments espousing anti-
immigrant and refugee discourses in Canada.
To a large extent, this conservative movement is being fuelled by an attitude
of white defensiveness on the part of fearful white people who perceive a threat to
their privilege (Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2017). For several months after this discon-
certing racist event at the high school, I contemplated how to address it with all
the students and pondered how to shape it as a research question for my upcom-
ing master of arts thesis in a program at the University of British Columbia in
Vancouver. A couple of months later, while I was walking along Commercial
Drive in Vancouver’s east end, I came across some unique graffiti on a brick wall
that read “Class War, Not Race War!” e proverbial light bulb immediately went
on, leading me to formulate a question that would provoke some understanding of
the intersections between issues of race and social class. is question was, How
do working- class youth perceive racist attitudes and economic inequality?
e subsequent research resulted in a critical ethnographic study examining
the ways 25 working- class youth from five different racial groups perceived racism
and economic inequality (Orlowski, 2001). e most interesting finding from this
research, and one that has profoundly shaped the way I teach, is that all of the
racist attitudes and race prejudices that surfaced during the study were rooted
in economic concerns. To a large degree, it appears that the salience of social
class awareness is a factor in working- class racism. Yet remarkably, social class is
rarely if ever discussed in high school social studies courses (Orlowski, 2011; Ross,
2018). is is undoubtedly a factor in the rise of a “false” political consciousness
among many working- class voters (Frank, 2012; Orlowski, 2011). My pedagogy
has evolved into teaching for a political consciousness that includes a class analysis.
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18 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
In other words, I believe the absence of social class in the typical high school
education of Canadian and American adolescents is a major factor in the rise of
false political consciousness and in the support for far- right populism. Anti- racism
learning objectives in the courses I teach always include discussions of class inter-
ests, the commons, and most importantly, a critique of neoliberalism and its effects
on civil society.
In terms of connecting the various social classes across national borders, stu-
dents need to understand the pressures all working- and middle- class people face
across the entire world as corporations play one country against others to lower
wages and deregulate working conditions and environmental practices. A focus
on so- called free trade deals is important to see how this occurs, and even how
these trade agreements hinder research into and development of alternative energy
sources (Klein, 2014). Students need to understand how sweatshop labour prac-
tices in faraway countries are an affront to human rights and dignity that affects
all of us. Because of this research and my experience teaching in working- class
settings, my pedagogy in both high school and teacher education classrooms for
the past few decades always incorporates ideology critique and a deconstruction of
neoliberalism (Orlowski, 2015).5 is is an example of teaching for global citizen-
ship, a term open to further explanation.
WHAT IS GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION?
Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all
neighbors in a global community.
President Jimmy Carter
Before we discuss global citizenship education (GCE), we must first address what
we mean by the word global. A review of the academic literature reveals multiple
interpretations of the word global (Carano & Bailey, 2018), which is always used as
an adjective (as in global economy or global geopolitics). For our purpose, we will
consider global to refer to the interconnectedness of all people and all living things
existing within the same planetary systems of Earth, such as those that are natural
(e.g., atmosphere, oceans) and those that are human made (e.g., the globalized
economy, racial power hierarchies).
We have already discussed the term citizenship from a more traditional per-
spective in the preceding sections. Global citizenship, in its most basic interpreta-
tion, is the realization and positioning of one’s self in a globalizing world. Global
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 19
citizenship advocates for a set of values, skills, and knowledge “toward a borderless
sense of citizenship in the world twinned with a mandate for active engagement”
(Stanlick, 2018, p.355, emphasis added). Morais and Ogden (2010) identify three
main components of global citizenship that students should understand: first, social
responsibility (global justice and disparities, altruism and empathy, global intercon-
nectedness and personal responsibility); second, global competence (self- awareness,
intercultural communication, global knowledge); and third, global civic engage-
ment (involvement in civic organizations, political voice, and global civic activism).
In 2006, Oxfam UK published a set of principles to help K– 12 teachers edu-
cate about the characteristics of global citizenship, saying that a global citizen
• is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
• respects and values diversity
• has an understanding of how the world works
• is outraged by social injustice
• participates in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global
• is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place
• takes responsibility for their actions. (cited in Stanlick, 2018, p.356)
ese principles cover the range of global challenges mentioned earlier in the
chapter. ere is one principle pertaining to the environment with the mention of
making the world a more “sustainable place.” We believe it should be nearer the
top of the list or otherwise emphasized, given the gravity of climate change, ocean
pollution, and dwindling food stocks.
Cabrera (2005) considers the group called No More Deaths to be an example
of global citizenship.is is a group of mostly American faith- based individuals
who volunteer to do humanitarian work in order to help undocumented migrants
at the border of Mexico and Arizona. e group was founded in 2004, and is still
very active in 2019 as they engage in intense political and legal battles with Trump
supporters who desire a border wall.6 Members of No More Deaths want to stop
the fatalities of poor people seeking safety and a better life (Devereaux, 2019).
A quick perusal of Oxfam’s set of principles above indicates that these people
are exhibiting the traits of global citizens. Opposing groups such as Operation
Gatekeeper exhibit the opposite of global citizenship— they claim to be motivated
by patriotism, a key component of traditional citizenship education, and clearly
not suited to helping migrants.
A related concept gaining attention in global education, one associated with
global citizenship, is cosmopolitanism. ere are many versions of cosmopolitanism
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20 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
and its offshoot, cosmopolitan education. In the next section, we will discuss the
aspects of cosmopolitanism that we believe will strengthen citizenship education
in Canada and beyond. e version we support in the current geopolitical moment
is moral cosmopolitanism.
Cosmopolitan Education for the 21st Century
A cosmopolitan outlook would respond to the vital needs of others, whether they are
near or far and irrespective of their nationality, race, caste, religious commitments,
gender, or ethnicity.
Stan van Hooft, Cosmopolitanism: A Philosophy of Global Ethics
Despite much overlap, global citizenship is not exactly synonymous with any of
the many versions of cosmopolitanism. Cabrera (2005) contends that “global cit-
izenship is fundamentally concerned with individual requirements in a global
frame” (p.171). Yet moral cosmopolitanism, by contrast, includes the principles of
various global institutions and their role in protecting the rights of all individuals.
is version of cosmopolitanism highlights the importance of global organizations
such as the United Nations to protect each person.
Cosmopolitanism rejects the we versus they binary that works to differentiate
groups of people such as citizens and immigrants. According to Warf (2012), cos-
mopolitanism is “an ethical, moral, and political philosophy that seeks to uncouple
ethics from distance, arguing that each person is bound up with, and obligated
to, humanity as a whole” (p.272). Immigrants and citizens belong to the same
human family. Warf contends it is important to foster a cosmopolitan commun-
ity that transcends national borders as a strategy to combat the rapacious greed
of neoliberalism. In fact, the International Monetary Fund, an American- based
financial organization that had unashamedly promoted neoliberalism since the
1970s, recently released a report called “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” in which the
authors conclude that cutbacks in social spending and privatization of the com-
mons has resulted in extreme poverty throughout the world (Ostry, Loungani, &
Furceri, 2016). Despite this rather late admission by the International Monetary
Fund, hegemonic neoliberal discourses are difficult to challenge. Neoliberalism
has affected almost all aspects of civic life in Canada (Orlowski, 2015) and beyond
and continues to concentrate wealth at the upper echelons of economic elites.
In her seminal work called Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism, Nussbaum (2002)
urges social studies and civic studies teachers to incorporate aspects of global
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 21
citizenship into their pedagogy in order to foster in students a sense of moral or
ethical allegiance to a global society. Her ideas infuse GCE with a moral cosmo-
politan orientation. Nussbaum advocates for education that eschews the politics
of difference, of patriotism, and warns against expressing the rhetoric of human
rights without actually supporting those rights. is pedagogy would challenge
the profitable global trade in weapons and the effects these weapons have on civil-
ians in faraway places. In early 2019, there were debates in Canada and the United
States about cancelling weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia. It is our belief that if
more people understood the suffering and death in Yemen from Saudi incursions,
the debate in mainstream media would focus more on human rights than on lost
business opportunities (see Momani, 2018).
Nussbaum (2002) outlines four major reasons that teachers should incorporate
this cosmopolitan- influenced GCE into their pedagogy. First, cosmopolitan edu-
cation provides students with self- knowledge as it invites them to critically exam-
ine their ways of life, values, preferences, and beliefs through counter- hegemonic
analysis. In the classroom, students could reflect on their lifestyle choices around
the use of plastics, the burning of fossil fuels for transportation, or the treatment of
workers in factories where their clothes are made. An informed and active global
citizen would contemplate making personal changes to address this knowledge.
Second, this kind of education emphasizes the importance of international co-
operation and dialogue to solve major global issues. is is especially important
in addressing environmental issues such as climate change, pandemics, plastics
choking our oceans, and diminishing worldwide fresh- water supplies. e Paris
Agreement signed by almost every country in 2016 is an example of this global
dialogue. Also known as the Paris Climate Accord, it is an agreement within the
United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) among all signatory nations
to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Every nation in the world has signed on to
the accord, although the Trump administration announced in late 2019 that the
United States will withdraw from it as soon as legally possible. e lack of enforce-
ment with nations not meeting their reduced carbon dioxide levels underscores
the need for GCE. Informed citizens would not be so complacent upon learning
that governments have not met their targets or have even increased carbon dioxide
emissions.
Nussbaum’s third reason for a moral cosmopolitan education is to persuade
people to acknowledge the moral or ethical obligation to ensure the right and
access of “other human beings to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (2002,
pp.13– 14). is ethics extends toward migrants, refugees, and exploited workers
across the world. Moreover, the moral or ethical obligations to all human beings
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22 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
bring gender into the discussion. In recent years, Western media have reported
stories about gang rapes in India and the oppression of women in many Muslim
countries. At the same time, however, the #MeToo movement that began in the
United States and spread to other Western nations has demonstrated that extreme
forms of sexism and misogyny exist globally. Cosmopolitan education can and
should address this.
Nussbaum’s fourth reason for cosmopolitan education is that it teaches stu-
dents to cross all socially constructed boundaries of difference by fostering empa-
thy and caring toward distant others. is would undoubtedly require students to
learn about geopolitics, and the devastation and destruction caused by war and
enabled by international weapons sales in countries such as Yemen, Syria, and
parts of Africa. Empathy for all of humanity is required.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
is chapter has laid out a case for GCE, infused with a moral cosmopolitan
orientation, to begin addressing the many pressing problems facing humanity as
a whole. Patriotism and nationalism, major components of traditional citizenship
education, are impediments to fostering the type of global citizen our dire predic-
ament now requires.
ere are burgeoning problems for humanity to address in the near future.
Some of them pertain to the environment— if left unchecked, climate change, the
tons of plastic choking the oceans, diminished fresh- water supplies, and especially
pandemics pose frightening scenarios. Many of the problems involve geopolitics—
caravans of migrants and refugees, war zones, and other areas perhaps not technic-
ally at war, but filled with gun- fuelled violence and connected to the growing global
weapons trade. Other situations that need to be challenged by a global citizenry are
economic: tax havens that allow the wealthy to escape paying their fair share, the
dismantling of social welfare programs in most countries today, and the economic
paradigm known as neoliberalism. Indeed, the unregulated corporate agenda put
forth by neoliberal economics is at the root of almost all other problems.
Neoliberalism provides the basis for a new class war, one that is attempting
to replace the Fordist arrangement between capital and labour and end the influ-
ence of Keynesian economics. Evidence suggests that a class war has been enacted
by the economic and political elites for over 30 years— rst, the victims were
working- class families, and in recent years, the middle class has been targeted
(Monsebraaten, 2011; Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development
[OECD], 2011; Yalnizyan, 2011). A false political consciousness is leading many
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Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 23
working- and middle- class people to support neoliberal policies for deregulation,
privatization of the commons, union busting, and tax cuts for corporations and the
wealthiest citizens (Frank, 2012; Orlowski, 2011, 2015). Neoliberalism empha-
sizes that the role of the state must include the creation of markets in areas such as
education, health care, social security, and even environmental pollution (Harvey,
2005). Put more succinctly, “neoliberalism attacks human dignity” (Kumar, 2015).
If more citizens understood this, the neoliberal project would lose support across
the world.
If citizens in various countries understood global trends pertaining to, for
example, the concentration of wealth for economic elites as social safety nets
disappear, a global resistance would ensue. We are advocating to include critical
media literacy in GCE: global citizens need to be educated to understand that cor-
porate media across the planet is a hegemonic device. is is especially important
around media obfuscation strategies involving climate science.7
We do not naively believe it an easy sell to replace traditional citizenship edu-
cation with educating for global citizenship infused with moral cosmopolitanism.
Educational partners and citizens who see the world through a conservative lens
would be upset with the removal of patriotism and nationalism from the curriculum.
Moreover, conservative people tend to deny human- made climate change (Dunlap,
McCright, & Yarosh, 2016) and many are opposed to the influx of refugees and
migrants (Sharp, 2019). Although it may take some time to gain support for GCE,
making progress requires a well- thought- out rationale. Conservatives may accept
the position that Appiah (2006) put forth: moral cosmopolitanism is about an orien-
tation toward all of humanity and a call for peaceful coexistence among peoples that
does not in any way dismiss our cultural affiliations. Will such a balanced account
be enough to placate the conservatives among us? Hopefully it ushers in recognition
that global citizenship, more than an abstract idea, is necessary to survival.
Addressing frightening environmental, economic, social, and political problems,
right now on humanity’s doorstep, requires co- operation and coordinated strategies
among nations. Advances in technology and an interconnected global economy are
increasing the impetus for citizens across the planet to harmonize goals and improve
chances for survival for every being, human and other. ere is definitely hope for a
brighter future if GCE is embedded in schools across much of the world.
QUESTIONS
1. Greta unberg, a Swedish teenager and climate activist, has called for
students to skip school one Friday each month to attend a climate strike,
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24 SECTION I KNOWING AND DOING
and there are other such student rallies to protest infractions attracting
millions of teenagers across the world. Would you allow your students to
miss class to attend a climate strike, or other forms of rallies for rights?
Explain.
2. Teacher Anecdote #1 addresses war, militarism, and the global weapons
trade. In 2018– 19, President Trump refused to stop selling weapons to
Saudi Arabia, which uses these weapons against the people of Yemen,
arguing that it is bad for business. How would you address the binary of
ethics versus the economy?
3. Teacher Anecdote #2 explores the anti- immigrant attitudes of white
working- class adolescents and the common narrative about immigrants
taking jobs from white Canadians. is is not always appropriately ad-
dressed in classrooms. One social studies teacher interviewed by Sfeir
(2016) explained that he tells his students that immigrants occupy only
menial jobs that Canadians do not want and therefore that newcomers
pose no threat. Unfortunately, this perspective can lead to other danger-
ous misconceptions, perhaps most obviously to an increased intolerance
when immigrants qualify for higher- skilled positions. How would you
address the issue of immigrants and employment opportunities with your
students?
4. In the 20th century, considered the Century of Human Rights, this dy-
namic reached its zenith in 1948 with theUN’s Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. Discrimination against an individual based on identity
markers such as race, culture, class, gender, religion, and nationality was
strongly discouraged.Use this important UN document to outline a les-
son to help students understand that all immigrants, migrants, and refu-
gees are also deserving of human rights.
5. In 2020, the world was struck by a frightening global pandemic caused by a
coronavirus that led to a disease called COV ID- 19. Each country responded
to this differently and with varying degrees of success. How might peda-
gogy from a global citizenship perspective address future global pandemics?
NOTES
1. For a more detailed description of piloting Civic Studies 11, see Orlowski (2008).
2. Further to the right on the political spectrum, the rise of far right politics in many countries
today refers to extreme nationalism and authoritarian or fascist tendencies. Political parties
considered to be far right often adhere to policies that are xenophobic, anti- immigration,
Teaching Global Citizenship.indd 24Teaching Global Citizenship.indd 24 8/11/2020 9:51:34 PM8/11/2020 9:51:34 PM
Chapter 1 Global Problems Require a Global Citizenry 25
anti- communist, chauvinistic , misogynistic, racist , and supportive of ethnic cleansing and
even genocide.
3. One of the tenets of neoliberalism , privatization of the commons refers to corporate forces
commodifying and obtaining profits from various aspects of the social welfare state.
Examples of this are the privatization of health care and tax dollars funding privately owned
schools, two cornerstones of civil society.
4. Hegemony is the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant
group through persuasion, often through corporate media sources. Power is gained by the
dominant group through the acceptance by the masses of its interests as universal interests.
5. For some examples of the critical pedagogy Orlowski employs, please see Orlowski (2008,
2011, 2015).
6. No More Deaths was founded in 2004 by various religious groups in southern Arizona. Some
members are going to trial in 2019 because they left jugs of water for the suf fering migrants.
7. For an example of this type of critical media literacy, see Orlowski (2018).
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Chapter
Full-text available
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Chapter
Full-text available
This is the introductory chapter of the book "Media Literacy for Citizenship: A Canadian Perspective" (published in August 2018). Drawing on Canadian examples, this Introduction summarizes the other chapters that offer case studies of how the media cover important topics such as climate change, war and terror, Indigenous activism, and the burgeoning fake news phenomenon. Written with the intention of fostering informed and media literate citizens, this engaging and timely book focuses on deconstructing neoliberal discourses and its serious impact on civil society, the environment, and democracy. This book is a valuable resource for courses in communications, journalism, media studies, and social studies education.
Thesis
Full-text available
Vital to Canadian social and cultural cohesion in a globalized world is an urgent need to enact new social and educational discourses and initiatives essential to expand an understanding of our interconnected relationships that coalesce with the key tenets of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is a theory that endorses a sense of global responsibility and connectedness, eCommons
Article
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The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option. In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now. Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.