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Educating for Democratic Consciousness

Counter-Hegemonic Possibilities


Edited By 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 5. Reinventing Democracy: Challenges and Counterhegemonic Alternatives for Brazilian Education | Ranilce Guimaraes-Iosif


The discourse of the impossibility of changing the world is the discourse of those who, for different reasons, have accepted the status quo and have also been profiting from it. The status quo is an expression of the withdrawal from the fight for change. There is a lack of capacity to resist in those that accommodate, or in those that accommodate and perish.

—Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of Indignation, 2000, p. 40–41)

I started working as an educator in Brazil in 1993 and I received what can be described as an undemocratic education that was based on the education model adopted in the years of military dictatorship (1964–1985). Furthermore, I started my practice as a teacher in traditional institutions without a history of offering democratic education. It was only after actively participating as an educationalist in a democratic educational administration in a public school located on the outskirts of Brasilia from 1998 to 1999 that I was able to understand more in depth the contributions that democratic principles and practices could bring to education. Traditionally, Federal District (FD) public school principals were nominated by the ruling party. Conversely, in 1998 all FD public school principals were elected democratically by the members of the school community. The result was very positive because everyone felt represented and began to participate more actively in activities promoted by the school. Students, parents, and teachers felt empowered with the ability to elect the school administration team that would be in...

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