PV-08: Cooperation and Solidarity
The feeling of belonging shared between members of a society and trust in each other and in those representing them (in government) is an important and desirable characteristic of democratic societies. Inclusive citizenship education should help learners explore with whom they feel ‘solidarity’ and what creates the boundaries to this group.
Why it is important in context of inclusive citizenship education?
For societies to flourish and to be inclusive, first societies need to exist. Their existence is not to be verified by any objective observation but it is the subjective experience of a sense of belonging and of ownership shared among individuals who recognise themselves as being members of those societies.
The inclusiveness of a group can be defined as the preparedness of all their members to trust each other and to be accountable to each other for the effects of their actions.
In societies characterised by diversity, it is particularly important for inclusive citizenship educators to help learners develop solidarity with each other across communities.
Context, issues, processes
Democratic citizenship requires a shared feeling of belonging which facilitates the participation of all – including groups who are sometimes marginalised – and it is based on commitment to equality and equity. This is in addition to the need to respect to the diversity of identities, opinions and beliefs represented within democratic societies
Education should help learners recognise that membership in social groups brings with it a shared responsibility to collaborate, to protect the rights of each other and to contribute to the renewal of the values which underpin group practices. Learners should also gain a variety of group learning experiences to increase their collaborative skills, understand the impact of their behaviours on others and discuss how the benefits of collective work should be shared.
Individuals’ democratic participation in a society is a constant balancing act between the inclusiveness of the feeling of belonging and the exclusiveness of the feeling of ownership. Communication and collaboration skills need to be developed together with a commitment to honesty, openness and to work effectively against any form of discrimination or exclusion.