Framing the Good Citizen

Pykett, Jessica; Saward, Michael and Schaefer, Anja (2010). Framing the Good Citizen. British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 12(4) pp. 523–538.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-856X.2010.00424.x

Abstract

This article interrogates the norms of good citizenship invoked in and across different social domains, using the example of citizenship education in the UK as one field in which good citizenship is constituted. It is possible to make visible the political struggle inherent in the mechanisms of framing the good citizen by unpacking the differences between citizenship as acts, status and virtues. This is a necessary step in assessing good citizenship claims in the absence of moral and political absolutes. We deploy a two-tiered account of Butler’s theory of performativity to examine how ordinary citizenship acts are preceded by elite rhetorical framing. We conclude that citizenship, like democracy, is always enacted in particular contexts in which positioning, method and motives play an important part.

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