Interruptive Democracy in Education
Globally, there are increasing arguments both for the democratisation of education and for the use of education to promote a democratic society. Clearly, these processes are linked. Democratic schools would better prepare for active citizenship and for a strong civil society which are seen to be the foundation of a democratic state. This chapter does not go into all the overall arguments for school-based democracy, which have been rehearsed before (e.g. Harber & Davies, 1997/2002; Limage, 2001). Instead it attempts to probe deeper into what form of democracy in schools or colleges is needed in an age of globalisation. The arguments arise from my work on conflict and education (Davies, 2004) which examines the role of educational institutions in either conflict prevention or conflict exacerbation. It uses complexity theory to unpack roots of conflict as well as derive new possibilities for the ‘complex adaptive school’. The book argues that while there are inspiring examples of schools that engage in peace education or that work across various ethnic or religious divides, on balance the forms, structures, ideologies and purposes of formal education act to make national and international conflict more likely. From this comes the apparently paradoxical conclusion that schools need to foster more conflict within themselves — but positive conflict, which I term ‘interruptive democracy’.
KeywordsEmotional Intelligence Deliberative Democracy Citizenship Education Critical Pedagogy Civic Education
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