Living in the Global Village: The Value and Development of Global Citizenship among Youth
Type of Degreethesis
Human Development and Family Studies
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Globalization in the 21st century is imposing new complex sociopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges that point to the need for global citizenship (Arnett, 2002; Korten, 1996). Given the demands on young people to be globally aware and involved and the limited amount of research in the area of global citizenship, it is important to explore the nature of global citizenship by building on the previous work conducted at the single-state level. Thus, the current study aims at providing initial answers to the following questions: 1) what does it mean to be a global citizen?; 2) Are there different pathways for becoming civically engaged at the global level?; and 3) are there different types of globally engaged youth? Based on what is known about single-state citizenship and global citizenship a theoretical model that incorporated global civic knowledge, skills, engagement, and identity as they developed within social contexts (family, friends, school, community, and media) was used to guide this study (see Davies, 2006; Keeter et.al, 2002; Tourney-Purta, et al. 2001a, 2002b); Zaff et al., 2003).The study’s design included self-accounts from globally engaged young adults ranging from 19 to 30 years of age. Qualitative and quantitative analyses revealed that respondents perceived having empathetic concern for others (especially those in need) regardless of origin, race, or religion orientation, having global knowledge, and engaging in action to solve social, political, economic, and environmental issues at the global level as the most descriptive characteristics of a global citizen. Multiple regression analyses yielded several interesting patterns, many of which were consistent with previous research. The most central findings include the importance of having a strong sense of identity and having feelings of efficacy in explaining civic participation for engagement in civic activity. Also important was the value of the community and school contexts in explaining past, current, and frequency of engagement. A strong association between engagement and identity also was confirmed, as was the relevance of media and friend contexts for achieving a global civic identity. The findings from the cluster analyses were mixed and not necessarily as anticipated, especially for the political v. social solution. Respondents tended to vary more on the degree of involvement than on the kind of involvement. The implications for educational programs and policy are discussed.