ERIC Number: EJ857193
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Reference Count: 5
Do We Have to Choose between Equality and Liberty? An Answer to "Tocqueville on Democracy and Inclusive Education: A More Ardent and Enduring Love of Equality than of Liberty"
European Journal of Special Needs Education, v24 n3 p249-252 Aug 2009
This article presents the author's response to Connolley and Hausstatter's article "Tocqueville on Democracy and Inclusive Education: A More Ardent and Enduring Love of Equality than of Liberty." The perspectives of diversity treated in their article are both diversity among "people's abilities," and diversity of "opinions." According to Connolley and Hausstatter, the latter seems to be threatened by a reductive notion of this concept. In the author's opinion, Connolley and Hausstatter seem to mix an adequate critique of democracy and the questions of segregation in schools in a way that is highly troublesome. The introduction also indicates that there is such a thing as "normal classroom settings" and that pupils with "learning difficulties" are foreign to this normality, when of course such an understanding of normality will have to be founded in metaphysical assumptions. However, the author agrees with Connolley and Hausstatter that the concepts from the French Revolution might still prove to be important sources of inspiration when forming, reforming, and transforming the institutions of society. The author also agrees that Tocqueville's critique of democracy deserves renewed attention, along with Nietzsche and some of the more contemporary post-structural perspectives on democracy. From the perspectives taken from the work of Jacques Derrida concerning democracy and sovereignty, politics, and ethics, the author concludes that people are in need of "liberty," "equality," and "fraternity," equally, when forming and transforming the educational institutions of society, because neither the concepts nor the institutions can be viewed as essential stable entities. They are to be created and recreated once every day, at least. The author agrees with Connolley and Hausstatter that it might be "crucial to keep a focus on the advancement of intellectual faculties," but more as this possible-impossible virtue of thinking the irreconcilable laws of democracy. This virtue will have to include the ability to act out of an understanding of infinite individual responsibility based in a deep respect for human diversity. In order to preserve democracy it is in the author's opinion crucial to deconstruct and reconstruct it on a daily basis. However, the author is not sure if this has anything at all to do with "where" people place and teach pupils categorised as having learning difficulties.
Descriptors: Mainstreaming, Special Needs Students, Equal Education, Civil Rights, Social Values, Democracy, Democratic Values, Inclusive Schools, Intellectual Development, Power Structure
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A