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Nation state, popul(ar)ism, and discourses of global citizenship: examples from Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence

Swanson, D. M.; Gamal, Mostafa


Mostafa Gamal


Through a critical examination of Scottish curricular policies and practices, this chapter addresses the ways in which nationalist popul(ar)ism assembles a range of identities, discourses and representations of the Scottish nation. It argues that the appropriation of global citizenship as articulated in such national policy frameworks as the Scottish national curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), acts to hide its agency as producing ‘global citizenship’ as a complex site of discursive power that seeks to serve the hubris and intentions of nationalist discourses. By way of exemplification, a first section critically speaks to the ways in which these sentiments can be found within the Scottish Higher English curriculum, and the power of effect this holds symbolically in the discursive construction of the Scottish citizen. Working heuristically from Arnott and Ozga’s (2016) view that in its attempt to mobilise some of the resources of nationalist sentiment, the Scottish Government deploystwo interrelated discourses: The first one is an economy-driven, outward referencing discourse that aims to position Scotland as a key player in the global economy; the second master discourse, is inwardly referencing and promotes the nation to itself. An examination of this inwardly referencing discourse reveals the cultural postering, narratives and tropes that undergird the political project of Scottish nationhood. The second section supports the first by providing a critical discursive analysis of global citizenship policy and curricular intentions. It articulates how these are taken up in ways that centralise Scottish nationhood and the framing of youth identities within these nationalist global citizenship discourses, also alluding to the effects of power in such discursive manoeuvrings. In articulating the above concerns, this chapter seeks to reveal concomitant relationships between the reactions to expanding neoliberal institutional governance borne out by the rise of Alt-right fascism and Trumpianism, and nationalist popul(ar)isms, elements of which can be found embedded within educational institutions and mandates, such as those of global citizenship education and curricula.


Swanson, D. M., & Gamal, M. (2017). Nation state, popul(ar)ism, and discourses of global citizenship: examples from Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. In The Implications of `New Populism' For Education. Stroud: E&E Publishing

Publication Date Aug 7, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 8, 2022
Book Title The Implications of `New Populism' For Education
ISBN 9780993108556
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