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Emotions, Belonging and Collective Identity Formation in Education: Balancing Between Unity and Diversity in Flanders

Debates on social cohesion, (sub)national identities, and citizenship are prominent in contemporary society. This research aims to understand the influence of education in the making of (collective) identities, by studying the role of emotions in the construction of feelings of belonging. Education has a key role in promoting a shared sense of belonging to strengthen social cohesion. Emerging interest in citizenship education is perceptible in research, policy and practice, and substantial literature explored the normative, 'fact-based' nature of citizenship education. Yet, previous research has shown that ethnic minority students in Europe construct different collective identities than ethnic majority students and that (sub)national identities are less attractive for minority youth. This implies that civic knowledge and attitudes are not able to emotionally bind minority students to an 'imagined national community'. Emotional investments of citizenship and belonging in education have gone relatively understudied. Hence, this study focuses on the emotional processes related to issues of belonging and citizenship in education, without ignoring power relations and the social and political context involved. With the use of a sequential mixed-methods design, this study aims to explore how (collective) identities are constructed by young people and how belonging and citizenship are understood, enacted, and experienced in schools in Flanders.
Date:1 Nov 2020 →  31 Oct 2021
Disciplines:Education, culture and society not elsewhere classified, Political sociology, Education policy, Race and ethnic relations, Citizenship