ERIC Number: ED424630
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Conceptions of Democracy: Elements for a Theory of School Political Culture.
Dixon, Douglas A.
The purpose of education in the United States has been linked to democracy throughout its history. An analysis of the tradition of linking education to democratic purpose and practice is presented here. The research was derived, in part, from an earlier study that postulated three conceptions of democracy: liberal, participatory, and community. These three concepts were compared across various elements: beliefs about the nature of individuals and of the masses, government, participation, information access and dissemination, the nature of problems and knowledge, expanse of governance, and value priorities. The text explores linkages among several elements of democracy and their import for developing two typologies of democratic school political culture: community and liberal. The first section elaborates elements for a theory of "community" democratic school culture, whereas the next section focuses on the elements for a "liberal" democratic school culture. A specific case of democratic education is reviewed in light of the elements of democracy. The paper concludes with some thoughts on the complex nature of implementing democracy in schools and the need to begin investigating the concept with greater clarity. Two tables detail the elements of liberal democracy and of community democracy. (Contains 62 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Diego, CA, April 13-17, 1998).