Are education and nationalism a happy marriage? Ethno-nationalist disruptions of education in Dutch classrooms

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Following Gellner, citizenship education has often been framed in terms of nationalism. This framing is supported by methodological nationalism that legitimizes nationalism as either functional (civic nationalism) or natural (ethnic nationalism). Based on a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data, this study of the dynamics in the classes of a Dutch faculty of social professions highlights the disruptive impact of nationalism on citizenship education, spilling over to other courses as well. Ethno-nationalist discourses in Dutch media and politics as well as in multiculturalism approaches used in citizenship education fuel conflicts between non-migrant students and students with a migration background that disrupt education. It is argued that in globalized settings like these classes, a more viable approach to citizenship education would take an institutional instead of communitarian perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-49
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • Citizenship
  • civic nationalism
  • education
  • ethnic conflicts
  • ethnic nationalism
  • the Netherlands

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