Does Europe Matter? A Comparative Study of Young People’s Identifications with Europe at a State School and a European School in England.

Nicola Savvides, Daniel Faas

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Abstract

This article explores the extent to which young people in predominantly middle-class environments identify with Europe and considers the influence of European education policy, school ethos and curricula. We compare data drawn from individual and focus group interviews with students aged 15–17 at a state school and a European School in England. The empirical analysis was informed by post-structuralism and found that young people at both schools developed multidimensional, multifaceted identities. Students at the European School, which has an ethos of developing both national and European identities, identified themselves more as European than their peers at the state school, which integrated students on the basis of a common British citizenship. The findings suggest that the policy on the European dimension in education contributes towards developing students’ identification with Europe and to their knowledge of Europe, though not at the expense of their ethnic and national identities, which were stronger than their European identities. Lack of a European dimension in education (both in and out of school) seems to result in a lack of identification with and knowledge about Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-390
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Volume51
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2016

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school
european identity
national identity
student
post-structuralism
education
school policy
lack
ethnic identity
middle class
citizenship
curriculum
interview
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