Concepts and Perceptions of Democracy and Governance beyond the Nation State: Qualitative Research in Education for European Citizenship


  • Andreas Eis



The empirical research presented in this paper focuses on concepts and perceptions of European politics and citizenship which are expressed by students and teachers in secondary schools. The qualitative study is based on semi-standardized interviews, written surveys, and classroom research (video transcripts, observation records). The results suggest that many young people are amenable towards transnational patterns of identity and they tend to combine pragmatic-optimistic expectations with European Union citizenship. Many of the students interviewed seem willing to adapt themselves to a larger European environment. However, many of the teachers voiced ambivalent notions while expressing veiled scepticism, although they rarely expressed open criticism based on their own fears towards political developments in a unified Europe. The classroom research shows that in the examined civic education lessons, the everyday concepts of students are seldom questioned and sparsely developed towards social-science-based explanatory models. Sometimes even misleading concepts are enforced in classroom interaction instead of being clarified by the development of adequate categories and models.