Democratic Citizenship and Lifelong Active Learning

John Annette

in Active Citizenship

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638666
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671939 | DOI:
Democratic Citizenship and Lifelong Active Learning

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This chapter reflects on the plurality of opportunities presently being developed in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world for deliberative democratic participation of citizens to revitalise local communities. It examines the limitations of the theory of social capital which views community volunteering as the model for promoting civic renewal, without recognising the importance of the political aspect of civic engagement. It explores New Labour's social policies on neighbourhood renewal and civic engagement in terms of creating a new relationship between state and civil society, replacing government by governance. This, the chapter argues, looks to a new democratic politics which might include ‘referendums, consultative activities, and deliberative participation’. The chapter focuses on a particular initiative in adult learning introduced by the UK Home Office's Civil Renewal Unit, namely the Active Learning for Active Citizenship (ALAC) programme. It provides a community-based ‘learning framework’ which recognises difference while enabling ‘a shared political identity of citizenship’. It views experiential learning as a means to advance the programme of active citizenship.

Keywords: active citizenship; United Kingdom; social capital; community volunteering; New Labour; civil society; social policies; neighbourhood renewal; civic engagement; experiential learning

Chapter.  2878 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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