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Studies on Balkan and Near Eastern Social Sciences

Edited By Rasim Yilmaz and Günther Löschnigg

This volume is a collection of empirical and theoretical research papers in the social sciences regarding the Balkans and the Near East written by researchers from several different universities and institutions. The studies include a wide range of topics from economic, financial, political, agricultural, sociological, international relations to historical, cultural, and feminist issues in the region of the Balkan and Near East. The book is aimed at educators, researchers, and students interested in the Balkan and Near Eastern countries.

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The Relationship between Education and Democracy in Turkey (Salih Türedi / Harun Terzi)

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Salih Türedi1 and Harun Terzi2

The Relationship between Education and Democracy in Turkey

Introduction

The determinants and effects of democracy have been among the basic research areas of the political economy literature. The relationship between education and democracy is also one of the intensely debated issues within this context. Although this topic was first addressed from a philosophical perspective by John Dewey (1916) in his study entitled “Democracy and Education”, the first systematic study of it was carried out by Lipset (1959) using an approach referred to as “modernization hypothesis” or “Lipset’s hypothesis.” Such an approach deems a country’s economic development level, and especially its educational level, to be a compulsory prerequisite of a sustainable and stable democracy. Lipset (1959) expressed this view as follows: “Education presumably broadens individuals’ outlooks, enables them to understand the need for norms of tolerance, restrains them from adhering to extremist and monistic doctrines, and increases their capacity to make rational electoral choices. If we cannot say that a “high” level of education is a sufficient condition for democracy, the available evidence does suggest that it comes close to being a necessary condition in the modern world” (Lipset, 1959: 79–80). Ultimately, Lipset’s hypothesis considers education as an instrument for creating democratic individuals and society.

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