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Writing the story of democracy might seem like writing a story of success. In more and more countries all over the world democracy has been established as the leading form of government.
However, democracy also has a less positive and optimistic side. Political scandals and corruption continue to shatter people's trust in its promises and institutions. This brings us to the topic of active democratic citizenship and civil society. Since the late 1980s these topics have continued to rise in importance in the fields of social and political sciences, and their influence has yet to reach a peak.
In comparison, civil society and citizenship remain relatively new topics for adult education, dating to the beginning of the 1990s. We also see that the respective national discourses within the different European countries differ immensely. Whereas the discourse on adult education and active democratic citizenship is quite lively in Great Britain or in Poland, in Germany there is only very little interest.
"Civil Society, Citizenship and Learning", the second volume of the Bochum Studies in International Adult Education, presents a variety of different perspectives on the topics of citizenship and civil society. The goal of this book is to give an overview of the European discourse on citizenship and civil society as well as on the discourse in some selected countries.
Agnieszka Bron ist Professorin am Institut für Pädagogik der Universität Bochum.