Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 317–329 | Cite as

Democracy in Education

  • Lotte Rahbek Schou


The point of departure in this article is the Danish debate about democracyin schools. This article presents a first step in a study of how the relationshipbetween democracy and education can be understood. A juxtaposition of thetwo concepts requires, first of all, an analysis of how the concept of democracyis used in the educational debate. In this article three models of democracy areapplied as an analytical framework: a liberal model (Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Rawls,Dworkin), a communitarian model (MacIntyre, Sandel, Nussbaum) and a communicative/deliberativemodel (Walzer, Benhabib, Taylor, Habermas). Numerous contradictions and tensionsbetween concepts of democracy and education can be found in such a juxtaposition,depending on which conception of democracy one chooses to apply. In this articleI discuss which conception affords us the most meaningful concept of democraticteaching. As an introduction, a brief historical overview of the interplay betweendemocracy and education in Danish school is provided.

communitarian deliberative democracy democratic teaching 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benhabib, S.: 1992, Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics, Routledge, London/New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bessettes, J.: 1980, ‘Deliberative Democracy: The Majority Principle in Republican Government’, in R.A. Goldwin and W.A. Schambra (eds.), How Democratic is the Constitution? American Enterprise Institute, Washington.Google Scholar
  3. Dewey, J.: 1916/1966, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Dworkin, R.: 1985, A Matter of Principle, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Habermas, J.: 1991, Erläuterungen zur Diskursethik: Philosophische Aufsätze, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt aM.Google Scholar
  6. Habermas, J.: 1992, Faktizität und Geltung: Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt aM.Google Scholar
  7. Habermas, J.: 1995, ‘Reconciliation through the Public Use of Reason: Remarks on John Rawls' Political Liberalism’, The Journal of Philosophy XCII, 3, 109–131.Google Scholar
  8. Kant, I.: 1785/1965, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, Felix Meiner, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  9. Koch, H.: 1945/1981, Hvad er demokrati? Gyldendal, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  10. MacIntyre, A.: 1981, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  11. MacIntyre, A.: 1990, Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry, Duckworth, London.Google Scholar
  12. Neill, A.S.: 1963, Summerhill, Hart Publishing Co., New York.Google Scholar
  13. Nussbaum, M.C.: 1986, The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  14. Nussbaum, M.C.: 1992, ‘Virtue Reviewed: Habit, Passion, Reflection in the Aristotelian Tradition’, Times Literary Supplement, July 3.Google Scholar
  15. Rawls, J.: 1971, A Theory of Justice, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  16. Rawls, J.: 1993, Political Liberalism, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Rawls, J.: 1995, ‘Reply to Habermas’, The Journal of Philosophy XCII, 3, 132–180.Google Scholar
  18. Ross, A.: 1946, Hvorfor demokrati? Munksgaard, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  19. Ross, A.: 1949, ‘Hvad er demokrati?’, in H. Koch and A. Ross (eds.), Nordisk Demokrati, Westerman, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  20. Sandel, M.J.: 1982, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  21. Taylor, C.: 1975, Hegel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  22. Taylor, C.: 1990, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  23. von Braunmühl, E.: 1989, Antipädagogik: Studien zur Abschaffung der Erziehung, Beltz Verlag, Weinheim/Basel.Google Scholar
  24. Walzer, M.: 1983, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lotte Rahbek Schou
    • 1
  1. 1.The Danish University of EducationDenmark

Personalised recommendations