Context and curriculum in two global cities: A study of discourses of citizenship in Hong Kong and Singapore


  • Theresa Alviar-Martin The Hong Kong Institute of Education
  • Mark Baildon National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University



Citizenship, civic identities, curriculum, global cities


This qualitative, comparative case study examined global civic education (GCE) in the Asian global cities of Hong Kong and Singapore. Guided by theories that position curriculum at the intersection of discourse, context, and personal meaning-making, we sought to describe the ways in which intentions for GCE reflect broader societal discourses of citizenship and how curricula allow students to tackle tensions surrounding national and global citizenship. We found that Singapore and Hong Kong have adopted depoliticized forms of citizenship as a means of inoculation against global ills. These types of citizenship are more nationalistic than global in nature; moral rather than political; and focused mainly on utilitarian goals to produce adaptable workers able to support national economic projects in the global economy. Although critical, transnational, and other emergent civic perspectives are apparent in both cities, the data yielded little evidence of curricular opportunities for students to become exposed to alternative discourses and reconcile discursive contradictions. The findings inform current literature by illuminating the nexus of local and global discursive practices, implicating the ability of curricula to accommodate both novel and established civic identities, and forwarding suggestions to bridge disconnections between theoretical and local curricular definitions of global citizenship.



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Author Biographies

Theresa Alviar-Martin, The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Theresa Alviar-Martin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and fellow of the Center for Governance and Citizenship at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Her research examines citizenship education in culturally diverse democracies from global and comparative perspectives. Theresa’s writing has been published in several academic books and peer-reviewed journals, including Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Educational Research, Teachers College Record, and Theory and Research in Social Education.


Mark Baildon, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University

Mark Baildon is Associate Professor and Head with the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group at the National Institute of Education (Singapore). His scholarly interests focus on ways to support social studies inquiry practices and 21st century literacies in new global contexts. He has published two books: Social Studies as New Literacies in a Global Society: Relational Cosmopolitanism in the Classroom (with James Damico, Routledge, 2011) and Controversial History Education in Asian Contexts (co-editor; Routledge, 2013).




How to Cite

Alviar-Martin, T., & Baildon, M. (2016). Context and curriculum in two global cities: A study of discourses of citizenship in Hong Kong and Singapore. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 58.



Education for Global Citizenship