Citizenship as individual responsibility through personal investment

an ethnographic study in a study circle


  • Annika Pastuhov Åbo Akademi University
  • Fredrik Rusk Nord University



citizenship, popular education, ethnography, liberal adult education, study circle


The aim of this article is to shed light on how the democratic ideal of institutionalised Nordic popular education is realised through an ethnographic field study in an English as a foreign language study circle. The study focuses on how participants express their citizenship when taking part in the study circle. Citizenship is viewed as a dynamic concept comprising the aspects of ‘being’ and ‘acting’ and constructed in and through social interaction. The study circle is arranged as a classroom practice: The study circle leader organises the activities, while the participants engage in exercises and attempt to learn correct usage. Through their participation, the participants take individual responsibility for what they see as their lack of sufficient knowledge of English. The participants describe their participation as a personal and voluntary investment in themselves. In light of the study, the individual stance is discussed as limiting possibilities for responsibility and thus expressions of citizenship.


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How to Cite

Pastuhov, A., & Rusk, F. (2017). Citizenship as individual responsibility through personal investment: an ethnographic study in a study circle. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 9(1), 95–108.