22 SES 02 D, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
A democratic society is characterized to make participation possible for all its members (Dewey, 1916). A powerful democracy depends mostly on the development of the understanding of democratic citizenship which is attached to a citizen who does not readily accept the common practices but questions them, shows an active participation in social and political arenas, and becomes aware of his or her rights as well as responsibilities (Gözübüyük-Tamer, 2011). All of these characteristics can be considered as indicative of support for democracy. Specifically, support for democracy is highly associated with the variables such as race, education, income, gender, age, size of community, religious denomination, and party identification (Meyer, Tope, & Sowash, 2004). In particular, it is strongly correlated with economic development and modernization since these enable the masses to be educated, which in turn, functions as a catalyst for the society to be more democratic (Andersen, 2012). This originates from the fact that economic prosperity primarily leads to higher levels of self-expression values that are connected to support for democracy (Inglehart, 2003). Accordingly, the more an individual attains education, the more he or she becomes supportive of democracy and participates in democratic practices such as financial contributions, dissent, protests, and votes (Gömleksiz & Kan, 2008; Shafiq, 2010). Similarly, media serves as a tool for establishing interpersonal communication among people about public and political affairs (Jeffres, Lee, Neuendorf, & Atkin, 2007). That means the media holds an important stake in constructing reality or agenda setting which forms the dominant ideology in the society (Yazgan & Kincal, 2009). Consequently, this functions as the spirit of democracy because communication has a substantial role in binding people together. Of the media, regular newspaper reading is especially highlighted in terms of affecting people to be more participative in public and political issues; thereby reading newspapers regularly also deserves too much attention with respect to support for democracy. For instance, as an individual follows newspapers and gains more awareness, it is more likely that he or she becomes involved in such practices of support for democracy as voting, volunteer work, attending organizational meetings, working on projects, participating in clubs, and voluntary organizations (Jeffres et al., 2007; Meyer et al., 2004). Last but not least, gender and type of faculty are also speculated to predict one’s support for democracy (Gömleksiz & Kan, 2008). The literature, however, seems to be limited for investigation of support for democracy especially among university students in Turkey since most of the studies do not only focus on the perceptions or attitudes about democracy but they also target different groups such as teacher candidates, teachers, and school administrators (e. g., Ağıroğlu-Bakır, 2007; Gömleksiz & Çetintaş, 2011; Sönmez-Ektem & Sünbül, 2011). Accordingly, this study is expected to have a significant contribution to the relevant literature and current practices related to democracy by seeking an answer to the following research question:
How well individuals’ support for democracy at a university setting can be predicted by (1) attending a student club, (2) reading newspaper, (3) type of faculty, (4) level of mother education, (5) level of father education, and (6) gender?
The findings of this study are expected to provide insights to the engagement of students in activities supporting democracy at a public university and to the democratization of higher education in Turkish context. In fact, being a candidate country for European Union, democratic citizenship and democratic practices have gained much importance in Turkey. Correspondingly, this study, by proposing various suggestions for practice and policy, may also provide insights for the European context which encourages raising individuals participative, collaborative, and critical as requirements of Copenhagen Criteria.
Ağıroğlu-Bakır, A. (2007). Sergiledikleri demokratik tutum ve davranışlar açısından ilköğretim okulu yöneticilerinin değerlendirilmesi (Unpublished master’s thesis). İnönü Üniversitesi, Malatya. Andersen, R. (2012). Support for democracy in cross-national perspective: The detrimental effect of economic inequality. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 30, 389-402. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan. Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2006). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies. Gömleksiz, M. N., & Çetintaş, S. (2011). Öğretmen adaylarının demoratik tutumları (Fırat, Dicle, 7 Aralık, Cumhuriyet ve Erzincan Üniversiteleri Örneği) [Democratic attitudes of prospective teachers (Case of Fırat, Dicle, 7 Aralık, Cumhuriyet and Erzincan Universities)]. Dicle Üniversitesi Ziya Gökalp Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 17, 1-14. Gömleksiz, M. N., & Kan, A. Ü. (2008). Eğitim fakültesi ve tezsiz yüksek lisans programlarına kayıtlı öğretmen adaylarının demokratik tutumlarının değerlendirilmesi (Fırat Üniversitesi örneği) [An evaluation of democratic attitudes of prospective teachers in the faculty of education and non-thesis master’s programs]. Millî Eğitim Dergisi, 178, 44–64. Gözübüyük-Tamer, M. (2011). Okulların demokratik ve katılımcı öğrenim ortamlarına dönüştürülmesi (Demokratik okul yönetimi), Millî Eğitim Dergisi, 192, 7-24. Inglehart, R. (2003). How solid is mass support for democracy: And how can we measure it? PS: Political Science and Politics, 36(1), 51-57. Jeffres, L. W., Lee, J., Neuendorf, K., & Atkin, D. (2007). Newspaper reading supports community involvement. Newspaper Research Journal, 28(1), 6-23. Meyer, K., Tope, D., & Sowash, C. (2004, August). Globalization, civic engagement and support for democracy. Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meetings, San Francisco, CA. Shafiq, M. N. (2010). Do education and income affect support for democracy in Muslim countries? Evidence from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Economics of Education Review, 29(3), 461-469. Sönmez-Ektem, I., & Sünbül, A. M. (2011). Öğretmene adayalarının tutumları üzerine bir araştırma [A study into the democratic attitudes of the prospective teachers]. Selçuk Üniverstesi Ahmet Keleşoğlu Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 31, 159-168. Yazgan, A. D., & Kincal., R. Y. (2009). Investigating the relationship between media literacy levels, perceptions of democray and authoritarian personality traits of college students. The International Journal of Leraning, 16(4), 381-400.
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