Classroom Ethnography (related to Social Science Education) (4-2021)


This issue of JSSE is dedicated to any kind of “thick description” (Clifford Geertz) that is suitable to make regional practices of social science education in classroom visible to readers abroad. Such description of cultures of citizenship education systematically reflects subjectivity in social research and aims to evoke a sense of “being there” in the reader’s mind. Papers including direct observations of the “daily grind” of social science education in its regional context are encouraged. The aim is to promote and develop a European professional network of ethnographic research in the field of social science education and classroom.

Ethnographic description is well suited to capture the richness and complexity of social science education practices and could concentrate on current practices as well as practices in contemporary national educational traditions and histories. Such practices could include material objects (e.g. student notebooks or digital media devices), the semiotic dimension (flags, pinboards or other wall decorations), biopolitics (seating of students, rules of communication), all performative and emotional moments in classroom.


Thematic focus is strictly directed towards educational contexts, mainly in school environments of all ages, from elementary school to vocational schools. Outdoor classroom activities could be included too, such as student council practices, service learning and other activities towards democratic engagement. Descriptions of everyday social science teaching as well as special occasions such as public events like Democracy Fair, European Day, national memory days or flag ceremonies are welcomed.

Covid-19 pandemic impact on social science classroom culture under new conditions will be another focus: What is the impact of physical distance and virtual participation on topics or forms of learning? How does the meaning of the body and physicality change classroom communication during digital or hybrid learning? Who owns the material or virtual classroom and who sets the rules? What are the consequences for social and civic relationships among the students? Will a generalised virtualisation of citizenship education silence critical students or encourage them to speak up? What happens to the opportunity of informal, silent, unobserved communication among peers and of their ongoing reaction to steps, material, tasks etc. mostly predetermined by the teacher? Will learners’ opportunities for intervention and interruption, resistance and disobedience disappear or, on the contrary, increase? Will the teacher or the virtual teaching agent dispose of new techniques to make imparting the model of a good citizen smoother and more efficiently or will their efforts disappear into the void of the private cells where students are technically connected to virtual lessons without being collectively involved?

Research methods could include all types of ethnographic documentation, like portrait of single student or teacher, pictorial analysis (compare JSSE 2014-1), discourse analysis, just to name a few.

Please feel free to outplay the possibilities of digital publishing: integrate visual documents of textbooks, teacher or student notes, stills or screen shots, video or audio clips with commentaries from teachers and students. The goal is to create a vivid and multi-perspective image of citizenship education cultures around Europe.

Peer review criteria - theory and research orientation; interdisciplinary approach, internationalism, originality, quality standards* - will be sensitively adapted to the methodological purpose of this issue. For example, “internationalism” within this issue is fully met by the “national” and “typical” single case.

Language policy: Besides English, bi-lingual publishing (English and other regional European language) is highly welcome. Divergent from the usual JSSE rules, meaningful documents already published in a regional language can be reprinted and made accessible for a global English audience.

Editorial team:

Katarina Blennow, Lund University, Sweden

Hana Cervinkova, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland

Tilman Grammes, Universität Hamburg, Germany



If you consider to submit a paper, please contact in advance: 



The following schedule will be used:

First submission by authors to editors: 20 May 2021                           

Response to authors by editors: 31 July 2021                                       

Final submission from authors: 15 September 2021                                         

Final reviewing and papers ready for layout: 15 November 2021                   

Publication: 15 December 2021                                                                             


All authors are kindly asked to follow the editorial guidelines of JSSE.