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Social Contract Pedagogy: A Dialogical and Deliberative Model for Global Citizenship Education (Background paper for the Futures of Education initiative)
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Paris | 2020 | 26 p.
Richard Desjardins; Carlos Alberto Torres; Susan Wiksten
Corporate author: 
© UNESCO 2020

We propose that together Social Contract Pedagogy (SCP) and Global Citizenship Education (GCE) offer a comprehensive vision including key principles and core elements that are important for rethinking education and shaping the future of the world. We introduce the novel concept of Social Contract Pedagogy (SCP) as a means to adapt the social contract in liberal democracies which has been (conceptually) located at the level of the state, to the level of the classroom and other pedagogically relevant contexts. A key feature of this pedagogy is the negotiation of values and norms in ways that maintain cohesion and inclusion and avoids too much power in the hands of sectarian extremes (of any kind) which tend to impose their views on others, oppress and exclude. This includes using fake news, denying scientific debates and/or any extremely politicized interpretations of evidence and facts to obfuscate or deny consequences of individual and group choices and behavior, but also ‘othering’ of any kind whether from the political right or the political left. In our view, this is an essential premise for the education of democratic citizens. Citizenship education of this kind is seen as essential for the survival and growth of liberal democracies in the future.


Resource Type: 
Case studies and research papers
Civic / Citizenship / Democracy
Human rights / Human dignity
Peace / Culture of peace
Social justice / Equity
Level of education: 
Primary education
Secondary education
Higher education
Lifelong learning
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
Non-formal education


Global citizenship education; Social justice education; Social contract pedagogy; SCP; GCE