• Radical Discussions: Agonistic Democratic Education

    Author(s):
    David Backer (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Education and Pedagogy, Philosophy
    Subject(s):
    Democratic theory
    Item Type:
    Essay
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/t8j0-g613
    Abstract:
    Claudia Ruitenberg’s recent work on democratic education has spurred an important debate.1 On the one hand, philosophers of educa-tion such as Amy Guttman and Dennis Thompson, and more recently Tomas Englund, draw from John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas to claim that democratic education should be rooted in deliberative competence, consensus practices, and reasonability. Call them the deliberators. Draw-ing from critiques of this deliberative tradition made by Chantal Mouffe, Ruitenberg calls for a democratic education of adversaries, a pluralistic agonism in education rather than a deliberative reasonability that, ac-cording to Mouffe, represses the confrontational forces constitutive of democracy. This educational agonism prioritizes passion, affect, and imagination - all oriented towards disagreement rather than consensus. Others, such as Gert Biesta, have developed this agonist position further. Call them the agonists. While Ruitenberg gestures towards the praxis of agonistic democratic education using examples of social movements and current events, neither she nor others working in her paradigm have extended her thinking to educational discussion. This essay will bring the tradition of democratic discussion to bear on the debate between the deliberators and agonists, and recommend discussion techniques consistent with the agonist position.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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