Are cosmopolitan dispositions learned at home, at school, or through contact with others? Evidence from young people in Europe
Journal of Youth Studies 19:3
2016, Heft: 19:3, S. 338-357
There has been a resurgence of interest in cosmopolitan theories of citizenship over the past two decades, as academics and policymakers have sought to understand and conceptualise citizenship affiliations that transcend the nation-state. As part of these debates, a number of theories have been developed to try to explain the emergence of cosmopolitan dispositions, and in particular, why some citizens develop these dispositions and others do not. This article seeks to refine these theories by testing their assumptions on a youth sample, by drawing on the findings of the wider youth socialisation literature, and by comparing the relative merits of different ‘sources’ of cosmopolitanism (namely cognitive engagement; contact with cultural Others; learning a foreign language; and exposure to discussions about international issues in the public and the private sphere). To do so, the analysis draws on data from the 2009 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) and its survey of young people aged 14. Using these data, this article will show that each of these theories are positively associated with cosmopolitan sources, but that the strength of these relationships is variable and that not all sources of cosmopolitan dispositions are equal. Based on these
findings, this article will argue that schools can play an important role in cultivating cosmopolitan dispositions at this particular life stage.