Chadderton, C (2015) 'Civil defence pedagogies and narratives of democracy: disaster education in Germany.' International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34 (5). pp. 589-606. ISSN 1464-519X

Official URL:


‘Disaster education’ is a fledgling area of study in lifelong education. Many countries educate their populations for disasters, to mitigate potential damage and loss of life, as well as contribute to national security. In this paper, which draws on interview data from the German Federal Office for Civil Defence and Disaster Assistance and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, archival research, analysis of websites and promotional materials as well as relevant academic literature, I examine disaster education and preparedness for national emergencies in Germany. I argue that it is not generally extended to the general public, rather confined to trained experts, decentralised, localised and exclusive. Theorising disaster education as a ‘civil defence pedagogy’, a type of public pedagogy, which contributes to shaping narratives of national identity, I argue that it is unlikely that Germany will develop a more inclusive, universal, formalised nor high-profile campaign in disaster education in the foreseeable future. This, I suggest, is due to narratives of the German democratic nation as secure, federal, peaceful and unified, which originated at the founding of West Germany in 1949, and continue to shape contemporary political narratives.

Item Type: Article

Article available to read at URL below.

Keywords: disaster education, civil defence pedagogies, security narratives, democracy, Germany
Divisions: Institute for Education
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 14:28
Last Modified: 03 May 2018 14:29
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)