Dialogue and its conditions: The construction of European citizenship

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The Council of Europe's White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue provides an example of the way in which dialogue has become part of the current mode of governance in Europe. Throughout current policy, the terms ‘dialogue’ and ‘voice’ inform the introduction of practices and tools that constitute the citizen, or active learning citizen. Notions of voice and dialogue operate through educational and social practices today that are constitutive of a particular mode of subjectivation that renders the individual – through their freedom to speak, to participate and to be critical – governable. Current policy frames citizenship as a learning problem. In order to facilitate the development of competences for lifelong learning and active citizenship such policy seeks to establish ‘a common language’. The concern with seeking a common language in respect of education and of citizenship is taken up in the discussion in this article, which places the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue into the context of current related European policy, and indicates how dialogue operates in the current mode of governmental subjectivation. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Stanley Cavell, this article draws attention to the governance of dialogue itself – the inculcation of the individual in to a language of culture, citizenship and democracy that is depoliticised and which, it is argued, denies disagreement and conflict as central aspects of political life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages13
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Education


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