1 Department of Curriculum Research, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Komparativ uddannelsespolitik, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - Research Programme on Lifelong Learning, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University4 Danish School of Education - Research Programme on Lifelong Learning, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
In 2001 a new emphasis on learning for democratic citizenship has been championed by the European Commission's Communication on Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality. The communication recognizes active citizenship as one of the four "broad and mutually supporting objectives" of the lifelong learning strategy. Accordingly, civic competence, which "equips individuals to fully participate in civic life", has been identified by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (2006: 17) as a key competence to be given priority in all member states in the years to come. The article introduces the core principles of a European study aiming at investigating, from a comparative perspective, ways in which adults can achieve competencies relevant for democratic citizenship. Furthermore it presents and discusses selected findings. The findings suggest that, in spite of the shift from education to learning for democratic citizenship within the European discourse, the emphasis on lifelong learning and the consequent equal recognition of in-school and out-of-school learning activities, most empirical research in the field of education for democratic citizenship remains primarily concerned with school-aged pupils. When available, research which focuses on the links between adult education and learning for democratic citizenship is highly theoretical and rarely supported by empirical evidence.