The Networking European Citizenship Education (NECE) is an organisation that was set up by the German Federal government after WW2. Its remit is to facilitate cooperation and dialogue among academics and practitioners across Europe and beyond. Its goal is to address the challenges posed for citizenship by contemporary developments in geopolitics, economics and cultural migration. The theme of the Thessaloniki conference was ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: citizenship education in an interdependent world. It brought together participants from Europe and North Africa to explore processes of ‘othering’ and social exclusion in Europe and beyond.
My contributions involved a workshop demonstrating how critical discourse analysis (a type of socially-engaged textual analysis) can be a powerful tool for teaching citizenship education in schools and other settings. I also presented a paper illustrating this with an analysis of UK media coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis. I found that different types of migrant are evaluated differently: asylum seekers are seen as legitimate, whereas economic migrants are illegitimate (thus implying that while it’s acceptable to flee war, it’s not acceptable to flee poverty). In the interests of defending ‘our national assets’ (welfare, housing) from the threat of both these groups, however, the coverage largely advocates tighter border controls to prevent their free movement in Europe.
Click here to see more on Jane’s co-presented paper, Critical Discourse Analysis as a tool for Citizenship Education: the case of the Syrian refugee crisis (with David Hyatt, Sheffield School of Education).