Justifying Citizen Political Participation in Norwegian Political Education

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
Author: Kjetil Børhaug
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Declining adolescent political participation means that political education has become a pressing public and political issue. In response, much attention is being paid to the way in which political education offers meaningful reasons for individual political participation. Critical textbook analysis may help us understand how political education affects participation. To what extent do textbooks explicitly present justifications for political participation? What kinds of justification are offered? This article analyzes Norwegian social studies textbooks, and concludes that justifications of adolescent political participation are central. Justifications include the individual pursuit of preferences, individual duty in a "contract" with the state, and identities. However, these justifications are also questionable, for they are generally either individualistic or avoid real political movements.