ERIC Number: ED374056
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul-8
Reference Count: N/A
Civic Education in Former Communist Countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Patrick, John J.
This paper discusses the efforts of educators in the former communist nations of central and eastern Europe, particularly those of Estonia and Poland. In spite of diverse histories and cultures, each of these nations has shared a legacy of totalitarian communism imposed by the former Soviet Union. This inheritance has afflicted all former communist countries of this region with handicaps that fundamentally obstruct their march toward authentic constitutional democracy. This paper discusses three common problems in the way of reconstructed civic education for liberal constitutional democracy: (1) conceptual confusion or different meanings, often subtle shades of difference, attached to key words by civic educators from the West and their counterparts from former communist countries; (2) constitutional cynicism or an undervaluing or skepticism about constitutions as effective instruments for the rule of law and protection of human rights; and (3) democratic ethnocentrism or a blend of fervor for democracy and ethnicity, that can be linked both to conceptual confusion and the residue of Soviet and Russian imperialism. This third problem is a tendency to view democracy simply or primarily as the will of the country's ethnic majority, irrespective of the wishes of particular individuals or groups who do not or cannot identify with this monolithic and permanent majority faction. A deep commitment to constitutionalism as protection against any form of tyranny and guarantor of human rights can contribute much to the resolution of this third problem. (DK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Estonia; Europe (East Central); Europe (East); Poland