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ERIC Number: EJ1072389
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
How Toqueville's Theory of the "Tyranny of the Majority" Can Benefit Social Justice Pedagogies
Burch, Kerry
Philosophical Studies in Education, v37 p45-54 2006
Alexis de Tocqueville's concept of the "tyranny of the majority" can benefit social justice pedagogies owing to its capacity to illuminate the silent, invisible character of hegemonic power. As many critical pedagogues have pointed out, this silent and invisible power seeps not only into the public spaces of education, but also into the private spaces of students' identities--as well as our own--shaping both what is discussed and what tends to go un-discussed within American classrooms. This essay explores the pedagogical potential of Tocqueville's concept of the tyranny of the majority--that is, how it can be theorized in ways that enable us to critically understand the "anti-democratic" silences and civic self-conceptions of majority privilege. First, a brief historical context is provided for understanding Tocqueville's concept of the tyranny of the majority. The author also suggests that pedagogically conceived, the concept can be situated to sharpen the question of what it means to educate both democratic and fascist personalities as disparate models of civic identity. In the second section, drawing upon her experiences teaching controversial issues and upon the work of other contributors to the literature addressing problematic aspects of silence in the classroom, she explores how the "tyranny of the majority" can be deployed as a pedagogical motif to carry out the tasks of a democratic political education.
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A