DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY AND EDUCATION - in context, in theory and in empirical research

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: This master's thesis problematizes the deliberative citizenship education model from three different perspectives. It contains three substudies, which all investigate how deliberativedemocracy has been modelled on deliberative criteria for discussions. Firstly, the impact ofdeliberative democracy as a discourse for the democratic mission in Swedish educational policyis analyzed through a critical discourse analysis. Deliberative discussions were promoted as awork form by the National Agency of Education governing through a participatory managementby objectives around year 2000. This work form was intended by NAE to fill a function inschools of participatory instruction planning while fostering students' communicativecompetences. NAE gradually replaced participatory management with juridical management and changed the context for the democratic mission and deliberative democracy. As I will show,this leads to two discourses of equal treatment and equivalent assessment making control and measurement into issues for the democratic mission. However, the deliberative democratic fostering aspects of communicative competences across subjects impacts the democratic mission in policy from NAE still today.Secondly, the philosophical origins of the deliberative citizenship education model areinvestigated in the roots of the three deliberative criteria of 1) rational argumentation, 2) morallistening and 3) consensus in Habermas's theory of communicative rationality. The exclusionaryeffects of the rational and moral requirements of the deliberative citizenship education modelare highlighted. This is done through contrasting the deliberative model with agonisticpluralism in philosophy and citizenship education.Lastly a systematic literature review discusses the research on the empirical effects ofdeliberative discussion in mini-publics and teaching. By surveying participants before and after the discussions research has found an effect particularly in preference change and conversation skills. This finding has prompted further normative research (such as whether discussions can decrease self-interest) with mixed results.

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