Global Citizenship Education: Values to be taught in the Light of the Rising Identity Crisis.


Byline: Iram Rubab, Anusheh Bakht Aziz, Ahmed Usman and Aaisha Amjad


The most significant feature of the 21st century is the broad economic, social, cultural and political revolution, often called globalization1of the world or its conversion into a "global village"2or a "network society"3. This massive change has resulted in the emergence of a 'shrinking world' where due to 'time-space compression'4, there has been an increased interaction between different cultures whose influence is not only confined to the economic domain, but has also affected the social and cultural scenario. It can be rightly said that changes in the socio-political situation of the world are the imminent consequence of economic globalization because the two phenomena's are closely interwoven5. However, globalization is a very complicated and a multifaceted process6. On one hand, globalization promotes 'homogeneity, synchronization, integration, unity and universalism' but on the other hand, it hampers 'localization, heterogeneity, differentiation, diversity and particularism'.

These two consequences of globalization are inevitable processes. Hence, the effects of globalization can be manifested in the form of struggles pertaining to identity and social-political scenes of today's world7. As Castells (1996) states, our world and our lives are being shaped by conflicting trends of globalization and identity because the two are consistent on many levels and hence 'coexist'8. This is because although globalization has become a major resource for human capital development and information technology, this greater influx of knowledge and penetration of different cultures is having deteriorating effects on social and cultural environment where identity is concerned9.

While identity can be simply defined as a way, if not universal, of socially modifying cultural experiences10, on this matter British cultural scientist Hall is of the point of view that identity can be defined as recognition of familiar features and can include, but is not confined, to ethnic, linguistic, religious, historical, territorial, cultural and political attributes with a certain group11. His idea coincides with the concept of 'sameness, belonging and unity', which are expressed by a known psychologist Erikson, whose definition of identity encompasses the concept of sameness and continuity of the self across time and space. However, Hall states that although identity is associated with a shared 'true self' of people with common historical or cultural backgrounds, it is also a never completed process and is 'logged in contingency'.

Hence, Hall's concept of identity enables people to ask and answer questions like, "What we are?" and "What have we become" and so is based on the framework of "fluid and contingent"12. Hence, identity gives meaning to the lives of people by answering these vital questions. At this juncture, it is important to recognize-as stated before-that culture changes, if not dramatically, when it is brought in contact with other cultures and societies, which is what globalization symbolizes13. At the same time, culture's effect on development of identity cannot be denied as stated by Tomlinson (1999), 'people make culture and culture makes people in the form of cultural identity'14. This means that any alteration in culture will definitely influence the process by which people derive their identity. It also means that through education we can create awareness among people that can supplement the process of identity construction.

This article explores in detail how and what type of identity crisis is caused by globalization and expounds on how global citizenship education can assist young people in their struggle for a coherent identity.

Globalization and Identity

It has been established earlier that globalization has an effect on the identity of people, as Eriksen (2018) suggests that identity is basically a sense of sameness and belonging which helps a person identify themselves with a certain group of people. He further says that it is normal for children in their teenage to be unclear about their identity, as they themselves are being introduced to several different ideas of being. However, if this lack of clarity appears in adults, it is surely a cause of concern15. At the same time, globalization has completely altered the process of identity construction; people now develop a sense of self from global media rather than solely from values and family16. This new process of identity construction is considered a threat by conservative members of society, who feel that it is affecting their cultural values.

Hence, globalization and increased influx of media are considered a threat to the local cultures because globalization talks about uniformity and homogeneity, which inevitably means suppression of diverse cultures due to spread of one. The World Values survey shows that people around the globe have different ways of identifying...

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