Simon Marginson: Engaging democratic education in the neo-liberal age (PDF)

Simon Marginson: Engaging democratic education in the neo-liberal age (PDF)
Educational Theory, 56 (2), pp. 205-219 (2006)

For the democratic tradition to return to a vanguard position in education requires a thorough exploration of the problems of democratization in education and an inventory of possible new forms. In this essay, Simon Marginson reviews five books concerned with democracy and education: Michael Apple’s Educating the ‘‘Right’’ Way, Denis Carlson’s Leaving Safe Harbors, A. Belden Fields and Walter Feinberg’s Education and Democratic Theory, Trevor Gale and Kathleen Densmore’s Engaging Teachers, and Klas Roth’s Democracy, Education and Citizenship. While these authors imagine democracy in somewhat different ways, they have a common interest in the role of public schooling in the formation of democratic agents and practices. The books do not offer a definitive account of the problems of democratization, nor do they embody a major breakthrough in democratic educational thinking, but they all provide helpful explorations of these issues. Marginson concludes with some thoughts on commodification and neoliberal economism in education, a contemporary focus of discussion in democratic educational circles.

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