Liberalism versus Democracy? Schooling Private Citizens in the Public Square

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Liberalism versus Democracy? Schooling Private Citizens in the Public Square

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Title: Liberalism versus Democracy? Schooling Private Citizens in the Public Square
Author: Levinson, Meira L.
Citation: Levinson, Meira. 1997. Liberalism versus Democracy? Schooling Private Citizens in the Public Square. British Journal of Political Science 27, no. 3: 333-360.
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Abstract: This article examines the conflict in political liberalism between the demands placed on education by liberalism and those placed on education by democracy. In so far as the principles of political liberalism entail both that the state not interfere with individuals' private commitments and that it ensure the maintenance of liberal democratic institutions, I suggest that it is rent by an internal tension that poses particular dilemmas for education. This tension is explored through three competing models of the school as a politically liberal institution, expressed in terms of a schematic analysis of three countries' approach to education: England, the United States and France. I argue that while all three countries capture important aspects of the politically liberal educational project, and while the American approach especially successfully and self-consciously addresses the balance between liberalism and democracy in constructing the school as a public square, no model in theory or in practice is able to meet the diverse and competing demands of political liberalism. In so far as any political system is viable only if it is able to maintain itself across generations, however, I conclude that political liberalism fails as a theory in at least one important respect, and that the problem of education thus deserves much deeper attention from liberal political theorists than it has yet enjoyed.
Published Version: doi:10.1017/S0007123497000173
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:8347639
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