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ERIC Number: EJ1072482
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
"Celebrating the Other": Power and Resistance as Prelude to Benhabib's Deliberative Democracy
Brooks, Julia G.
Philosophical Studies in Education, v38 p71-82 2007
Each semester, Julia G. Brooks writes "silence=agreement" on the board during a discussion of socialization in her Introductory Sociology classes, and invites students to discuss their initial responses to this statement. Inevitably, there are students who agree with the statement outright, claiming "If people have something to say then they have the responsibility to say it." These students generally warrant their responses by referring to democracy and adamantly asserting "that for a democracy to be successful, individuals have to take responsibility for speaking their minds." Other students argue, however, that though some people might indeed have something to say, "There could be lots of reasons for why they don't speak up." These students generally offer reasons that revolve around the "shy student" or the individual that "might just be scared to speak up." When the author presses students to explain what they mean they offer that "some people just don't want to be laughed at," or "some people just don't know what they want to say." The aim of this essay is to consider Seyla Benhabib's espousal of "deliberative democracy" as a provocative frame for (1) articulating the fundamental conditions necessary for egalitarian opportunity and participation in the college classroom, and (2) challenging students to consider the deeper meanings and implications of their assumptions regarding identity, silence, and dialogue. As evidenced by students' comments, it seems that deliberation and democracy in American public education have somehow become debased to the level of "curious luxury" or "fanciful idealism." Thus, the author seeks to enliven a discussion about how we might better challenge students to consider and engage deliberation and democracy in the college classroom under the guise of preparing them for more democratic and dialogic considerations of their own imminent futures as citizens and possibly educators.
Descriptors: Democracy, Socialization, Sociology, Introductory Courses, Student Attitudes, Shyness, Classroom Communication, Student Participation, College Students, College Faculty, Self Concept, Power Structure, Dialogs (Language), Group Discussion
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://ovpes.org/?page_id=51
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A