UBC Graduate Research

A common ground between liberalism and multiculturalism? : addressing citizenship and Canadian identity in British Columbia’s social studies curriculum Essex, Graham


Public schooling has long been considered a venue where society has a say in the development of its citizens. Citizenship in Canada, however, is contested territory. Throughout Canadian history, the country has faced questions of who belongs as part of the nation, and the rise of multiculturalism as federal policy has only seen these questions grow. In light of this, it is worth considering the way citizenship has been, and continues to be, constructed in our schools. This is especially the case with a new curriculum entering our schools. In this paper, I consider liberal and multicultural theory, the history of multiculturalism in Canada, and then focus teaching of History and Social Studies has evolved in Canada over time. Finally, I will examine the nature of citizenship as constructed in British Columbia’s Social Studies curriculum at the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade levels, in both the 2006 and the 2015 curriculum documents.

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