Absent bodies and invisible lives

4. ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP: There is no education outside the social realm

Photo: Glorianne Portelli

Education for Critical Active Citizenship (ECAC) is a project from Malta, based on the understanding that there is no education outside the social realm and, therefore, a critical reading of the social and economic realities is fundamental to competent and effective citizenship.  ECAC is urgent in a world that is becoming increasingly polarised, exploitative, individualistic and culturally invasive. ECAC challenges and resists the imposition of ‘monolithic thought’, generated through an increasingly standardized educational scenario that is characterised by uniform, transnational expectations and assessment procedures, and by a global obsession with vocationalism and credentialism. Changes in society can be achieved through the help of communities. In order to do so we have to unlock adults' reflexive potential with help of authentic dialogue. If we are able to do so, we get active citizens who can analyse, interpret and reinvent their communities.


Try to identify initiatives in your country (or municipality) that foster active citizenship, critical learning or participatory budgeting.

Example of good practice from Malta: Project about active citizenship in later life (placed in the municipality Ħad-Dingli (western coast of Malta))

Borg, C. and Formosa, M. (2013). Active citizenship and late-life learning in the community. Lifelong learning in Europe, 2