Civic education conducive to a more democratic America

Oct 23, 2008

Successful democracies depend on an informed, thoughtful, and engaged electorate. However, social scientific research shows the American electorate to be poorly informed and often disengaged. In an article in the 2008 Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Eamonn Callan contends that civic education in America nonetheless has an important role to play in mitigating these civic vices.

There exists a "democratic elitist" theory that says we should not worry about the ignorance and disengagement of ordinary citizens. However, the problem with that theory is that it assumes rashly that unaccountable elites will rule in the interests of the rest of society.

Callan worries both about the unwarranted trust in the capacity of elites to protect democracy and the abandonment of hope in the capacity of citizens. Instead, he argues for "rational social hope" in which teachers can educate in ways that promote civic virtue.

Teachers, journalists, political activists, and the like must commit to helping to create a citizenry whose self-government is adequately grounded in relevant information, understanding, and civic virtue.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Brazil turns to Brunel as it seeks to reverse footballing failures

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

When rulers can't understand the ruled

Sep 15, 2014

Johns Hopkins University political scientists wanted to know if America's unelected officials have enough in common with the people they govern to understand them.

Social media power youth political participation

Jun 26, 2012

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), under the direction of co-principal investigators University of Chicago political scientist Cathy Cohen, and Joseph Kahne, professor of education at ...

New study finds elite viewpoints dominate online content

Jun 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Anyone with Internet access can generate online content and influence public opinion, according to popular belief. But a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that ...

Facebook mines Census data to track its diversifying users

Dec 17, 2009

In its earliest days, Facebook was primarily a white and Asian phenomenon. No more. In the first-ever study of the race and ethnicity of its U.S. users, Facebook said Wednesday that blacks and Latinos have joined the social ...

Scientists to Advance Biology-Liquid Crystal Research

Oct 11, 2005

Scientists at Kent State University are poised to take biological research to a new level, thanks to a grant of $860,000 from the W. M. Keck Foundation. This is the third endorsement by the Keck Foundation received by Kent ...

Recommended for you

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

Dec 17, 2014

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.