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Author Sehr, David Thomas
Title Education for public democracy: A theoretical and ethnographic investigation
Descript 326 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 54-01, Section: A, page: 0325
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of New York, 1993
This study explores the ideological roots of two major strains of democracy in the U.S., and using a set of analytical categories developed from one of these ideological traditions, analyzes key aspects of two urban alternative public high schools that aspire to public democratic education
The first ideological tradition is a hegemonic one that sees democracy as a privately-oriented, individualistic system with little room for most people to participate in self-rule. This tradition is rooted in the political thought of Hobbes and Locke, the authors of the Federalist Papers, Adam Smith and the Utilitarian Liberals, and twentieth century American pluralist theorists and free market economists
The second ideological tradition provides a counter-hegemonic vision of democracy, grounded in the work of Rousseau, Jefferson, Dewey, Mills and several important feminist theorists such as Carol Gould, Nancy Fraser, Carole Pateman and Carol Gilligan. This ideological tradition of public democracy sees people's participation in public life as the essential ingredient in democratic government
Drawing on the public democratic theoretical tradition, an outline is developed of the essential values, attributes and capacities a public democratic citizen should possess. Based on these essential citizenship characteristics, a set of analytical categories is constructed for studying the curricula of schools that aspire to teach public democratic citizenship. These analytical categories are employed in sample analyses of various aspects of the curriculum of two "democratic" alternative urban public high schools. Field research in the study schools involved class observations, informal teacher and student interviews, and in one school, a series of student focus group discussions
This study explores two competing visions of democracy which frame a discussion of the problems and possibilities of democratic citizenship in the U.S.; it demonstrates a method for analyzing school curriculum and practice, to see to what degree "democratic schools" promote young people's development as public democratic citizens; and it encourages debate and further research into the kinds of curriculum and organizational features educators should and should not employ to promote public democratic citizenship
School code: 0046
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 54-01A
Subject Education, Sociology of
Education, Social Sciences
Sociology, General
Education, Philosophy of
Alt Author City University of New York
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