陳 思聡准教授Sicong Chen
Citizenship is membership of a political community in the simplest sense. The concept has become central yet contested in contemporary social sciences against the background of globalization, postmodernism, poststructuralism, and the weakening but still powerful nation-state, which is the exclusive locus of modern citizenship. Who are citizens? Who are good citizens? What rights and responsibilities should citizens have? What do citizens ought to do in relation to the state and other political communities below and beyond the state? These are some primary questions about citizenship that are now deemed as having no universally applicable answers and requiring historical and contextual considerations. I focus on the meaning of citizenship as social construct and the teaching and learning of citizenship in contemporary Asian societies.
I approach citizenship and citizenship education through both sociological-descriptive (what it is) and philosophical-normative (what it should be) inquiries, which I connect by using critical theory. Research methods I have used include discourse analysis, questionnaire survey, and interview.
I have done research in China and Japan, with continuous attention in the cases of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. My doctoral project investigated the discourse of citizenship in Chinese media and Chinese university students’ and migrant workers’ understandings of citizenship. I just completed two Japan-China comparative studies, one on global citizenship education and the other on education for social justice, through analysis of official documents, national curricula and textbooks.
My analysis of textual materials is primarily guided by Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis. I use some basic functions of SPSS in analyzing quantitative survey data.
In doing research I hold dear the critical consciousness and perspective, which is indeed a, if not the, tradition of social science. Society needs social sciences to tell not merely what it is and why it is, but equally if not more importantly, what goes wrong, how to right the wrong, and what can be done to make it better.
An enjoyable and successful postgraduate study, doctoral study in particular, often requires a clear and self-convincing answer to the question: why do I study this? The answer has the magic of turning frustration to fun and will guide you when no end seems to be in sight.
Citizenship education cuts across at least political science, sociology, philosophy, and education. It is an interdisciplinary field. Indeed, society is not formed along invented or artificial disciplinary lines. As long as no discipline can exhaust our understanding of the world, interdisciplinary perspective is necessary.
I am getting interested in two interdisciplinary topics. One is city and citizenship education and the other psychology and citizenship education. I have been reading literature on critical urban theory and the ideas of just city and spatial justice on one hand and critical psychology theory on the other, and thinking about how space and psychology may constrain and enable citizenship and citizenship education in Asian cities.
○Delanty, Gerard (1997) Social Science: Beyond Constructivism and Realism. Buckingham: Open University Press.
○Heater, Derek (1999) What Is Citizenship? Cambridge: Polity Press.
○Minnich, Elizabeth (2017) The Evil of Banality: On the Life and Death Importance of Thinking. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.