Talking Tolerance: Being Deliberative about Fundamental British Values

Keywords: Citizenship education, Deliberation, Ethics of care, Fundamental British values, Nationalism, Teaching


This article reconsiders the literature on civic nationalism and argues that, rather than representing an alternative to ethno-cultural nationalism, it is more accurate to think of the two terms at either end of a continuum. Whilst the fundamental British values (FBVs) are often interpreted through a cultural discourse, which serves to alienate and marginalise minoritised students and staff, this article demonstrates how teaching can avoid this framing and engage students with a civic discourse. Transcripts from secondary students’ conversations about religious freedom illustrate that they are capable of balancing rights sensitively, of reaching pragmatic solutions and demonstrating sympathy for others. This demonstrates that the FBVs may create opportunities for developing an ethics of care within a deliberative democratic project.


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