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Differential effects of school experiences on active citizenship among German and Turkish-origin students


  • The empirical research upon which this paper is based was supported by a grant from the European Commission 7th Framework Programme, FP7-SSH-2007-1, Grant Agreement No: 225282, Processes Influencing Democratic Ownership and Participation (PIDOP). It was awarded to the University of Surrey (UK), University of Liège (Belgium), Masaryk University (Czech Republic), University of Jena (Germany), University of Bologna (Italy), University of Porto (Portugal), Örebro University (Sweden), Ankara University (Turkey) and Queen's University Belfast (UK). P.J., K.E. and P.N. conceived of the study. P.J. and P.N. participated in the design and data collection. P.J. and K.E. conducted the analyses for the study and drafted parts of the paper. All authors participated in the interpretation of the data, read, edited and approved the final paper.


While research suggests that schools can foster active citizenship among youth, studies have not tested whether ethnic minority youth may benefit differently from school experiences than ethnic majority youth. In this study of 219 students (138 German majority and 81 Turkish-origin minority; Mage = 18.26; 55% females), we examined the association between different experiences at school and 4 indicators of youth active citizenship, controlling for various socio-demographic characteristics. Although value of social studies was associated with three out of four active citizenship indicators among both ethnic groups, the effects of the other school-related variables on active citizenship were moderated by ethnicity. Specifically, indicators of classroom climate, such as open classroom climate and classroom community, were only associated with greater active citizenship among Turkish-minority youth, while participatory factors, such as engagement in school decisions, were only associated with active citizenship among native German youth.