Educational research, governmentality and the construction of the cosmopolitan citizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


The turn to cosmopolitanism in educational research on citizenship education is indicative of a wider discourse of cosmopolitanism evident throughout social and cultural policy. This discourse represents a more ‘light-hearted’ use of the term than the philosophical tradition offers. This discourse should not be dismissed, however, but, instead, attention should be paid to who the citizen is that is addressed by such language. An analysis informed by Foucault's concept of governmentality draws attention to the way in which the discourse of cosmopolitanism relates to the entrepreneurial self and the form of accountability demanded of the knowledge economy. A particular understanding of citizenship and of our relations to others becomes apparent. In educational research on citizenship education, cosmopolitanism is afforded a problem-solving role in relation to globalisation and, more specifically, diversity. Attention is drawn to a meta-level, of the role of particular forms of research in answering to the demand for accountability. Research practice in educational research, or more specifically, education policy sociology concerned with citizenship education, is conducted in terms of the policy language it seeks to critique. Rather than seeking the openness associated with cosmopolitanism, therefore, such research is itself accountable to the demands for particular knowledge of the citizenry. This treatment is also evident in contemporary urban planning policy, similarly concerned with cosmopolitanism as a response to diversity and inclusion. In the current discourse of cosmopolitanism, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’ and indeed ‘citizenship’ operate in particular ways through social and educational policy that rather than being dismissed should be addressed due to their role in the construction of contemporary citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalEthics and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2009


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Citizenship
  • Governmentality
  • Educational Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Educational research, governmentality and the construction of the cosmopolitan citizen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this