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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 14. Iron Man Democracy: Militainment and Democratic Possibilities | William M. Reynolds

Extract

And it maybe that we no longer know how to create the kinds of situations in which persons choose themselves as committed and free. As we have said, they may have the liberty to speak, to buy books, to change jobs, to leave home; but they do not know what it is to reach out for freedom as a palpable good to engage with and resist compelling and conditioning forces, to open fields where options can multiply, where unanticipated possibilities open each day.

—Greene, 1988, p. 115

So we get high on trivia, and forget that, whether Presidents have been impotent or oversexed, drunk or sober, they have followed the same basic policies. Whether crooks or Boy Scouts, handsome or homely, agile or clumsy, they have taxed the poor, subsidized the rich, wasted the wealth of the nation on guns and bombs, ignored the decay of the cities, and done so little for the children of the ghettos and rural wastelands that these youth had to join the armed forces to survive—until they were sent overseas to die.

—Zinn, 2000, pp. 59–60

As I sit in my office and write this chapter, I reflect on my attempts to develop with my students a critical democratic educational experience. I have struggled to develop this experience in public high schools, Native American schools, and universities (Reynolds, 2003). This particular chapter is not written out of some type of misguided nostalgia for what...

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