Learning Active Citizenship
The current debate on citizenship and citizenship education in the European context is defined
by the idea of active citizenship. There are two tendencies in this development that are
significantly challenging the traditional understanding of citizenship and citizenship education.
The first is the change of focus from citizenship understood as a passive legal status to
more of a process, participatory and society-oriented citizenship, which places an emphasis on
citizens’ responsibilities rather than rights. The second is the change of focus from political
citizenship understood as a participation in the public or political sphere to the citizen engaging in
volunteering activities in civil society and community. This extension of citizenship practices
from political participation to participation in the whole society, as well as the reorientation
of citizenship discourse from human rights to citizens who are expected to be active in taking
individual responsibility for charitable activities or functioning of the society have a deep
impact on the further development of the concept of European citizenship and the practices
of citizenship education in the EU member states.