The Scout.org website uses "cookies", both internal and from third parties. Cookies are small text files placed on your end user device and help us to distinguish you from other users, to enhance your experience on scout.org. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies on our website. You can change your browser's cookie settings at any time. To find out more about how we use cookies and how to manage your browser settings read our Cookies Policy.

News

Global Citizenship Education - A unique study of World Scouting

1st Jan 2008

Barcelona, Spain based Eduard Vallory has just completed his two-year doctoral research on 'World Scouting as a global citizenship builder', as a Research Fellow (2004-06) of Fitzwilliam College - University of Cambridge. His remarkable thesis titled 'Global Citizenship Education – Study of the ideological bases, historical development, international dimension, and values and practices of World Scouting' is available in both English and Catalan.

Dr. Jacques Moreillon, former Secretary General of the World Organization for the Scout Movement (WOSM) pinpointed its relevance and contributions during his comments as part of the thesis committee: “This thesis is not just exceptional, it is unique. Unique because it is the first ever written academic study on World Scouting, both in its origin, evolution and globality. The only other work that has endeavoured to give an idea of the history and contents of World Scouting has been Laszlo Nagy's "250 million Scouts", but it was not - nor did it pretend to be - a comprehensive academic study”.

The thesis itself is available for download at www.escoltes.cat/research. Continue to read the interview with Eduard where goes more in-depth about the thesis, what it's about and why he chose the topic of Scouting for his studies.

Interview with Eduard Vallory - author of 'Global Citizenship Education'

What is the thesis is about?
The thesis has two main objectives. First of all, it attempts to show, through an analysis of World Scouting, that citizenship education – based on civic and inclusive values – can combine the nurturing of loyalty to one’s national community with the sense of global belonging. The second objective is to bridge the gap in our knowledge of World Scouting, one of the biggest world youth movements in contemporary history (both in numbers and geographical presence) that has influenced the vast majority of societies on the planet, and to explain the relevance of Scouting in social science studies.

Historically it has been assumed that nationalism and cosmopolitanism were opposite tendencies, and that strengthening national identity weakens the sense of global belonging, and vice versa. The analysis of the World Scouting case, though, contradicts this: it is a non-governmental movement with citizenship education as its aim, with a presence in 165 countries (at the time of analysis) on 5 continents, assembling almost 30 million children and youth. Since its formalisation as a World Organization, it has combined its educational action with local rooting, national identity, and the sense of global belonging, through living together in diversity. All previous studies have centered on national cases, but World Scouting (WOSM+WAGGGS) has never been analysed as a whole before: its historical and ideological consistency, the quantification of its world dimension since 1920, the coherence of its practices and the capacity of its actions to create social change.

This research on World Scouting attempts to show that its educational action helps to create a model of inclusive citizenship that combines national identity with global belonging through the sum of its principles and purpose, organisational system, dimension, consistency over the years and practices. To do so, the analysis will answer questions formulated on four topics:

  • The ideoloical consistency of World Scouting;
  • Its consistency over the years;
  • The quantification of its world, current and historical dimension; and
  • The coherence of local practices with the values it promotes globally.

How did you go about building the thesis?
The research techniques used in this thesis combine the finding and collating of historical and current documentation, bibliographical and documentary analysis and qualitative and quantitative techniques: the qualitative techniques are the key-informant interviews while the quantitative techniques are the finding, collating, processing and producing of statistical data on World Scouting figures today and from the past. These methodological practices can be divided as follows:

  • Bibliographical analysis and establishing of the theoretical framework.
  • Bibliographical compilation (never done before) and analysis of academic studies on Scouting.
  • Selection and analysis of more than a hundred historical and current World Scouting documents.
  • Key-informant interviews (close to 30).
  • Research, selection, processing and statistical analysis of the historical data of WOSM.
  • Processing and statistical analysis of current WOSM and WAGGGS data, and comparison with the data of the United Nations Population Fund.
  • Analysis and comparison of Scout projects on peace, human rights, development, environment, community and international dimension.

Why did you chose to explore the topic that you did? Why Scouting?
I wanted to take advantage of my background as an International Commissioner in Scouting and Youth Platform Scout Representative and combine that experience with the political science debate on citizenship education, and on national identity and global belonging. The encouragement of Jacques Moreillon and his involvement in providing key documentation, some of it totally unknown until now, has been also fundamental for the research to be possible.
There are three limitations of previous studies on Scouting:

  • What is called “methodological nationalism”, which means that all studies has been on some national Scouting instead of World Scouting as a whole;
  • Many of them deal with controversies about scouting previous to 1920, forgetting that after 1920 (when WOSM was created with clear legal boundaries and a constitution) there are no controversies on its commitment with peace and the international dimension; and
  • The lack of criteria to analyse and react in front of the organisations using the name “Scout” without being recognised.

What are some of the key findings of your research?
Statistically, the data on WOSM’s historical evolution show that WOSM has witnessed an increase in its national member associations parallel to the increase in the number of independent states around the world, with similar growth rates for all continental regions. The increase in individual members was also constant from its origins up until the 1970s, when it levelled off. This growth took place mainly in Asia and North America. Given that we cannot contrast the data with the real population census, it was analysed as raw data, without taking into account the development of the population.

Analysis of the age ranges after 1968 shows that adolescents make up the biggest age group and the youth category has always been weak, except in Europe, where the child range has always been the biggest, and North America, where this was the case until 1999. If we look at participation in World Scout Conferences, we see that associations in Europe led the way until the 1950s, when they were joined by Asia, which became the joint leader with Africa from the 1970s onwards.

What do you hope your research will achieve?
I hope that it will:

  • Show the importance of World Scouting as a subject of study for social sciences, and to encourage further research on related areas.
  • Provide a better understanding on what World Scouting is and what is its contribution to building global citizenship. This contribution is fundamental for our shared aim of a world society with peace and justice.
  • Supply a well structured data set of World Scouting census, that could be used for country to country statistical analysis of Scout census evolution since 1968.

More about Eduard Vallory

He holds an MA in Social Sciences (University of Chicago) and a PhD in Political Science (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona).

Between 1995 and 2000 he was Head of External Relations of Escoltes Catalans, and Vice-President and International Commissioner of the Catalan Federation of Scouting and Guiding, attending several European and World conferences and events of WOSM and WAGGGS. He was President of the National Youth Council of Catalonia (CNJC), where he directed the document 'The Salient Points on Youth Policy' (1999) which was one of the first reference documents on youth policy worldwide.

He was Chief of Staff of the Ministry for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia (2000-2003). Since 2006 he has been the Director-General of the new higher education institution Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

Picture: © Eduard Vallory