Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Tina Helwig

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Doctoral research Project

Active involvement in social movements as an expression of civic education (working title)

The purpose most frequently ascribed to civic education is that of supporting people in accessing participation in the life of a society or of providing them with the knowledge they require in order to attain such participation. In some instances, the definition of civic education founds itself upon a desired objective, with societal participation as the ultimate and principal aim. These views of civic education generally place teaching and the associated didactic principles at front and centre, which may result in an increasing neglect of the circumstances in which learning takes place and of processes of knowledge appropriation. My doctoral research seeks to change the view, proceeding from the assumption that social movements act as spaces within which people effect a civic education that manifests in individuals’ active involvement in and commitment to the cause, without the overt application of pedagogy. I draw on grounded theory for the systematic analysis of the qualitative data that underlie the study, both to enable the inclusion of the various types of data material available and to ensure the openness to the process and its outcome that we require in order to identify the presence of civic education outside conventional educational settings.