Democracy, education and citizenship : towards a theory on the education of deliberative democratic citizens

University dissertation from Stockholm : HLS Förlag

Abstract: The present thesis suggests ideas for a theory on the education of deliberative democratic citizens in a multicultural society in terms of what I have called Eddemcit. It involves a) an ideal view of democracy in communicative and discourse-ethical terms, b) a comprehensive view of an autonomous citizen, c) two conditions for deliberation in terms of opportunity and freedom, d) a core value in terms of conscious social and cultural mediation, e) democratic principles as heuristic devices, f) an understanding of democratic deliberation in terms of intersubjectivity, processes and the better argument.My theory offers an alternative to four different common approaches to democratic deliberation in a theory of multicultural education: the exclusion-of-independent-schools approach, the civic-value approach, the tourist approach and the sameness-and/or-difference approach. It is also argued that it cannot be reduced to or exclusively identified with the five predominant ways of understanding and practising democratic education in Sweden: democratic forms, majority rule, transmitting or acquiring (neutral) information, specific ends or the preparation of children and young people, i.e. the fostering of civic virtues.It suggests a test of how far gaining understanding, and norms, knowledge and values are intersubjective, and motivated by the force of the better argument in a process of deliberation.My suggestion is that children and young people are deliberative democratic citizens in education in so far as they are free and have the opportunity to try out different orientations of the mind, and seek understanding and an intersubjective legitimisation of various issues, problems and questions on different dimensions of citizenship.

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