education and the public sphere
no. 14_september 2022
Democracy and education depend on a well-functioning public sphere and adequately informed, educated, participating citizens. There is consensus that the relationship between education and the public sphere can be seen as a fundamental question of educational reflection, which is constantly changing. It is still an open question which effects the digitalization or the pluralistic structure of societies have on education and the public sphere. The 14th edition of On Education takes up these debates with contributions which explore understandings of ‘the public sphere’, and further the understanding of the relationship between the public sphere and education in different historical, cultural, and pedagogical contexts.
This contribution discusses four challenges to political autonomy education in contemporary public spheres from the perspective of a discourse theory of education. These challenges arise from political, cultural, economic, and technological developments that presently affect the formation of public spheres. These developments are, respectively, the hollowing out of the efficacy and legitimacy of national political deliberation, the so-called singularization of culture, the monopolistic tendencies of the platform economy, and the technologically induced discursive fragmentation. This contribution suggests educational responses to the challenges that are posed by these developments. These responses include, inter alia, transnational democratic conscientization, the humanistic exploration of commonality across cultural difference, role games facilitating socioeconomic education, and the cultivation of digital habits that diversify political experience online.
Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter a school previously reserved for white students in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was confronted by a white mob, spitting on her and shouting racist insults. The photographs taken that day went around the world. They inspired three different ways to think about the relationship between democracy, the public sphere, and education: Hannah Arendt, Ralph Ellison and Danielle Allen interpret the photos in very different ways – and their interpretations reveal much about their understanding of the public sphere. In this contribution, I will explore these three interpretations – and at least hint at their implications for the relationship between the public sphere and education.
This article aims to grasp the social mode of Arendt’s pedagogically relevant metaphor of an ‘assembly around a table’ as a specific way of thematizing the ambiguity of the public sphere from two different perspectives. From one perspective, I want to examine how ‘assembly’ can be grasped as a mode of being together. To do this, I will sketch ‘assembly’ with Juliane Rebentisch as a ‘plurality event’. Here I encounter the problem that alteritarian, mutually elusive, and unfathomable approaches to self and world have to be permanently translated into each other. This in turn gives rise to the question of how to maintain plurality. From a second perspective, I will try to grasp this ‘maintenance of plurality’ performatively with Butler. Bodies assemble and claim their presence in a public space of appearance. But it is precisely through the indexicality resting in these bodily acts that a reference is made from a particular position to a universal – to making precarity, homosexuality, transgender, racism, etc. disappear.
For the use as an analytical concept, ‘populism’ means strategic simplification in discourse and decision-making. In this article, populism is treated as a threat to democracy. Autocratic political systems are using populist rhetoric and/or propaganda for their aim of repression as is shown with a look at the Ukrainian war. Finally, the article is concerned with the future need for qualitative education in democratic societies. This cannot be done with populist concepts in education itself.
Democratization has brought about a tremendous impact on the rigid social structure in post-colonial India. Modern education has been a key factor in transforming society, especially the deep-seated traditions of social inequality and harsh realities of discriminatory practices. Given the deepening and widening of inequality in the post-reform era, this paper seeks to explore the significance of rethinking the critical realm of education in transforming India’s public sphere as a vital tool for the democratization of society and a proposal for an inclusive knowledge system.
This article peruses the discourse concerning the European public sphere initiated by Habermas in the early 1960s and assessments of the arguments by a variety of commentators who have drawn attention to the globalisation of the public and its multiplicity. In this context I suggest that the notion of the public must be understood in relation to the concept of ‘viral modernity’ including viral and open media on the one hand, and technologies of post-truth on the other which systematically distort the messaging of the ‘public’ marring its future possibilities.
Globalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the 21st century have contributed to transforming education and the public sphere defined by the nation state into a transnational dimension of the public sphere that transcends national boundaries. The public sphere of education does not refer to a fixed and pre-determined sphere, but rather to what is generated through the interactive and dialogical relationships among students, teachers, parents, and citizens. It is important to revitalize schools as democratic communities based on the idea of democracy as a way of life as opposed to school policies dominated by the neoliberalism of competition and choice and education standardization. In this essay, I offer seven perspectives on reclaiming teaching and learning and reimagining school education and the public sphere in local, national, and global dimensions.
Don't miss the next edition of on_education. The journal is free and subscribing allows you to receive updates whenever new issues are online. We will not use your information for any other purposes. If you are not able to subscribe, please contact email@example.com