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ERIC Number: ED407441
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jan
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Critique of the Rational Individual of Liberal Democracy.
St. Pierre, Elizabeth Adams
The gap between the theory of democracy and its practice is nowhere more evident than in the classroom, where the teachers charged with transmitting democratic values to the next generation of citizens can only repeat democracy's failures. Some people would like to separate liberalism from the concept of democracy, since they believe that the promise of democracy has been damaged by its attachment to liberalism. A different kind of democracy might be better suited to the postmodern age. Advanced ideas of democracy would require giving up the dream of a harmonious collective will and would require examination of the liberal logic of self-interest as well as liberalism's emphasis on competition. Advanced ideas of democracy would also demand an examination of the power relations of public life and attention to issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other social conditions. Rethinking the nature of the rational individual of liberalism is a necessity before advanced ideas of democracy can be considered. The individual of liberalism is a stable, unified, and coherent self who moves toward a more enlightened state through the right use of reason. Rationality is a concept that maintains the primacy of this autonomous and responsible self and is the key to its functioning. The logic of the rational liberal individual is a binary logic that establishes dualisms that contribute to privilege for some. Critics of liberalism find the individual to be a site of conflicting discourses, not born into an essential nature, but a creature of multiple and intersecting identities. If a different rationality is applied and a different, less stable subject identified, new ideas of democracy may be developed that promote new approaches to formerly subordinated groups. (Contains 14 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A