Call for Papers: Illuminating Citizenship Education Towards the 21st Century


In this special issue, we invite papers investigating transformative citizenship education to meet current and future societal challenges. Transformative education is used in a broad educational context as forming an ideological nexus between liberal education, progressive education, environmental education, and education for sustainable development (Mezirow, 1996; Pavlova, 2013; Freire, 2000; Taylor, 2017; McWhinney & Markos, 2003; Kitchenham, 2008). Increasing globalization, the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change are all examples of events our youth need to be able to tackle and address (Biseth et al., 2021, Voogt & Roblin 2012, OECD 2019). Thus, a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary focus on citizenship education is especially relevant to investigate possible comprehensive changes in education to address societal needs as described by the international community through for example the UN Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2015), for example as described in Target 4.7:  

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development (United Nations, 2015). 

Citizenship education cannot, therefore, only be an education preparing children for future participation in democratic life, but also plays a vital role in providing educational experiences in schools to promote democracy (e.g., Biesta, 2006; Apple & Beane, 1995; Westheimer, 2015). The OECD (2019) calls for 21st Century Skills illuminating the transversal skills needed by citizens of the 21st Century, including civic engagement, to achieve an inclusive and sustainable future. In addition, we argue that there is a need to consider how to connect other Sustainable Development Goals to illuminate citizenship education in the 21st century. 

 In this special issue, we invite empirical papers that can provide  

  • new insights on future and newly educated teachers’ ability to address contemporary societal challenges through citizenship education 
  • examples of how teachers and/or students can become agents of change  
  • didactical best-practice examples on how to empower students to become part of solutions needed to create sustainable and democratic societies 

Papers engaging in critical debates are also welcome, for example on the potential need for schools and teacher education to move away from traditional forms of teaching and learning, making educational content and methods responsive to the challenges for future generations of teachers. To ensure such an educational system, there might be a need to transform the focus in academia on individual achievements towards one that involves collaboration (Minnis & Steiner, 2005).  

 The papers are encouraged to have a comparative perspective, for example providing insights from variations of teaching methods used, comparing different aspects of or agents in the education system, multiple case studies, or country comparisons (see e.g., Bartlet & Vavrus, 2017). 

Progress plan 

Submission deadline: June 1, 2022 

Review: June-August, 2022 

Final Submission: November 15, 2022 

Final publication date December 2022 

Articles will be published consecutively once finalized through the copyediting and production process. 

Please read and comply with the submission requirements and author guidelines. Note in a comment upon submission that your manuscript is for this special issue.


Apple, M. W., & Beane, J. A. (1995). Democratic schools. ASCD. 

Bartlet, L., and Vavrus, F. (2017). Comparative Case Studies: An Innovative Approach. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education, 1(1), 5-17. 

Biesta, G. J. J. (2006). Beyond Learning: Democratic Education for a Human Future. Paradigm.  

Biseth, H., Hoskins, B., & Huang, L. (2021) Civic and Citizenship Education: From Big Data to Transformative Education. In H. Biseth, B. Hoskins, & L. Huang (Eds.), Northern Lights on Civic and Citizenship Education. Springer.  

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum. 

Kitchenham, A. (2008). The evolution of John Mezirow's transformative learning theory. Journal of transformative education, 6(2), 104-123.   

McWhinney, W., and Markos, L. (2003). Transformative education: Across the threshold. Journal of Transformative Education, 1(1), 16-37. 

Mezirow, J. (1996). Contemporary Paradigms of Learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 46(3), 158-72.  

Minnis, M. & John-Steiner, V. (2005). The challenge of integration in interdisciplinary education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2005(102), 45-61. 

OECD (2019). OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project background. 

United Nations. (2015). The 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  

Voogt, J., & Roblin, N. P. (2012). A comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21st-century competences: Implications for national curriculum policies. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(3), 299-321.  

Westheimer, J. (2015). What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good. Teachers College Press.