Negotiating the Networks of Space, Time and Substance: A Geographical Perspective on the Sustainable Citizen

Mark Whitehead, Anna Bullen

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This paper provides a critical geographical analysis of the emerging ideals associated with sustainable citizenship. We argue that the principles behind sustainable citizenship force us to think through the full range of geographical factors which frame citizenship and yet which are routinely overlooked in both geographical and non-geographical work on the citizen. We take the sustainable citizen to be both an epistemological challenge to existing paradigms of citizenship and a contemporary national and international policy goal. As an epistemological category we claim that the very notion of a sustainable citizen destabilizes the spatial, temporal and material parameters upon which modern forms of citizenship are based. At the same time, however, we also consider the limitations associated with contemporary national and international attempts to create a more sustainable citizenry, arguing that such initiatives often belie the radical potential of thinking about citizenship in sustainable terms. We take as our empirical focus the recently implemented curriculum for global citizenship and sustainable development being enacted in Welsh schools. Drawing on interviews carried out with education officials, teachers and students, we explore what sustainable citizenship means and the opportunities and challenges it faces as a political project.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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