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Education Theory Reading Network

A platform for discussion centered around issues in education theory - all welcome

Event details

You are invited to the first Theory group meeting this academic year, to group members and anyone else interested in reading and discussing ideas in education. The topic for this meeting follows on from last year’s discussion about social epistemology, pragmatic perspectives and Brandom’s inferentialism. It is about Wahlstrom’s idea of schools promoting civic literacy.

The paper to be discussed is:

Democracy and curriculum —the task still before us

Ninni Wahlström: Linnaeus University, Sweden

European Educational Research Journal 2020, Vol. 19(4) 351–363



This article explores how John Dewey’s concept of democracy can contribute to our understanding of what is required from education amid growing nationalism and populism, even in what are usually perceived as established democracies. The purpose of the study is to explore how standards based curricula for citizenship education can be problematised in relation to the broad concept of democracy. The meaning of citizenship education in curricula is examined through two cases from western countries (Sweden and the USA) with standards-based curricula. These social studies curricula deal with democracy as something ‘to teach about’, rather than focusing on helping students learn to understand and recreate democracy for their own generation. However, the concept of democracy, as a moral and ethical ideal, becomes difficult to express in a curriculum logic of standards and knowledge outcomes emphasising measurability. Now, when democracy is challenged, also seems to be the right time to confront the logic of a standards-based curriculum and the selective traditions of subjects within the social studies, as well as to ask the questions ‘why?’ and ‘what for?’ in relation to basic social values and students’ competences.


Please contact the event organiser for a copy of the paper and the meeting link.