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Educating for Democratic Consciousness

Counter-Hegemonic Possibilities

Series:

Ali A. Abdi and Paul R. Carr

This book has received the AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award 2013.
There is a widespread, but mainly untenable, assumption that education in Western societies (and elsewhere) intuitively and horizontally aids the democratic development of people. An argument could be made that in contemporary liberal democracies, education was never designed for the well-being of societies. Instead of the full inclusion of everyone in educational development, it becomes dominated by those with a vested interest in the role of the liberal state as a mediating agent that, ultimately, assures the supremacy of the capitalism and neoliberalism. This book extends beyond a theoretical analysis of democratic education, seeking to tap into the substantial experiences, perspectives and research of a wide range of leading scholars from diverse vantage points, who bring themselves and their work into the debate connecting democracy and education, which elucidates the reference to counter-hegemonic possibilities in the title.
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Chapter 2. Recontextualizing and Reculturing Education for “Democratic” Consciousness: Social and Philosophical Analyses | Ali A. Abdi

Extract

The location of education in human life is complex, expansive, descriptively and critically interconnected or disjointed but always of discernible importance for the lives of those who have to survive and selectively “succeed” in today’s multiply constructed and, ipso facto, interconnected economic, political, cultural, and technological contexts. The placing of some qualification on the word succeed is important in that if one salient factor of learning programs is to constructively aid the livelihood possibilities of the public, as is so many times claimed by the adherents of schooling, than we need to have some viable perspective on the meaning and de-meanings of this livelihood success, or as it may be officially known, personal and social well-being. This well-being, while it can and should be effective in one’s individual and individualistic realties, should, nevertheless, be responsive to the plurisubjectivities that, for better or worse, inform our existences, relationships, and expectations.

It is on such basis that we are, in our post-1648 Westphalian locales, as much as anything else, political beings who must negotiate our way in the so-called democratic connections (robust or nominal) that create and sustain the policy paradigms that regulate our beings and personhoods. Certainly, the story of democracy is replete with false claims that have been more exclusive in their educational and social development contexts than inclusive, but that should not chase us away from the primordial intentions of the democratic ideal, which in its pragmatic notations, should aim for something less than perfect, but minimally...

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