Homo politicus: Homo comparativus? Thoughts on the concept of ‘citizen’ from a comparative perspective

Issue 20-21

“Homo politicus: Homo comparativus? Thoughts on the concept of ‘citizen’ from a comparative perspective”

Pella Kalogiannaki



This presentation deals with some of the fundamental concerns relating to the present-day concept of citizen from the perspective of Comparative Education (CE), as they pertain to the current context in politics and ideology, economy and society, culture and education. In this framework we propose that modern CE could study three dimensions/levels of the citizen: a. The micro-dimension or micro-realisation, which relates to the personal dimension of citizen, i.e. as socio-psychic entities, how he learns through school to participate in political and social processes; b. The medio-level, or medio-realisation, which has to do with the socio-spatial dimension, i.e. as active members of local, national and wider society, how citizens co-operate, participate and work in common with others within the context of their wider environment; and finally, c. The macro-level or macro-realisation, which relates to the socio-temporal dimension, to how citizens see themselves as members of national and wider multinational space, and how they define themselves within the context of they society in which they live, on the basis of their past and present, which to some extent determine their future. We argue that CE needs to focus on the following needs: the need to free studies from ethnocentric comparisons and analyses, the need to seek out wider issues on the micro-/ medio- / and macro-levels, relating to the concept of citizen in the 21st century, the need to develop the concept of the universal citizen in terms of world-society, the need for transition from a globalisation based on economics to one founded on culture or solidarity. We believe that in this transition, CE has an important role to play, and that an educational and cultural reality that takes the citizen as its starting point one can be linked to it. For that very reason, CE must enter a period of rethinking and of new outlooks on things and concepts. In other words, it will be capable of studying collective forms of human action on the educational, cultural and political level. It will look at the new challenges in the area of production-based society and international level science, as well as at the orientation of values in the so-called “information society” or “knowledge society”. We argue that in our days Homo Politicus, is the Homo Comparativus who is identified with a new, humanistic and global Comparative Education.