Transnational Solidarities: A Study of Schools promoting a European ethos

Although solidarity is a core issue of contention in Europe today, there is a surprising lack of attention to how young people engage with the concept of solidarity. The project addresses this lacuna by comparatively examining the different meanings of solidarity mobilized for and by young people in different school contexts that explicitly promote a European ethos, and how these meanings are mobilized.

Through qualitative empirical research in schools considered to span “transnational educational spaces” (i.e. Schola Europaea organised by the EU for the children of EU-employees and Europaschulen – state schools in Germany that promote bilingualism and intercultural learning) the project addresses the following key questions:

  1. What understandings of solidarity are promoted through the explicit policies and curriculum of different schools promoting a European ethos?
  2. How do teachers and pupils engage with the schools’ officially-endorsed notions of solidarity in their everyday school practices?
  3. How do schools with European ethos position themselves in terms of their official and everyday use of notions of solidarity?

These questions are empirically grounded in policy analysis, textbook and curriculum analysis, classroom observations, interviews with teachers and other staff as well as focus groups with students.

Overall, the project:

  • responds to the pressing need across Europe to understand how contemporary young people engage with solidarity in their daily practices
  • responds to calls to take transnational dynamics and methodologies in education research more seriously
  • generates novel insights into how, why and when different meanings of solidarity are mobilized by young people in Europe in various schooling contexts
  • makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates about Europeanisation and globalisation in and of education.