23 SES 02 C JS, Education Reforms, Democracy and Resistance
Joint Paper Session NW 13 and NW 23
Much has been published in recent decades on Dewey’s intellectual legacy, in the field of education and in other areas. Beyond the understandable interest held by Dewey’s work itself, the sheer intensity of this publishing comeback is nevertheless surprising. The case of Democracy and Education (MW 9: 3-370) and this past year’s (excessive?) celebration of its centennial publication is especially relevant if we take Dewey’s work as a whole. When the book was published in 1906, it immediately hit a chord internationally, and it was strangely able to be used in support of different pedagogical and political views of education in different latitudes and historical contexts. In the midst of waves of social and education reforms in the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, Dewey’s works seemed to fit in very well with the spirit behind the new proposals for reforms. Dewey himself directly collaborated on spreading his ideas by traveling the world and giving courses in various countries, accepting invitations to give lectures and meeting with various governments in different places around the world. Dewey once said that his character was variable and sensible to circumstances, comparing himself with a chameleon. But what sort of figure did he eventually become when he visited all these countries? Take for example his quite unique journey to China (Del Castillo, 2011a), was he an educational expert, a counselor, a mediator or an interpreter? (Del Castillo & Thoilliez, 2016). One hundred years after Democracy and Education was originally published, here we are again, living in the middle of a new and bigger wave of educational reforms all over the world. Anyone following public education discussions would likely agree that we are now living in a kind of collective educational anxiety, caused among other forces by the international assessment programs and their heavily publicized league-tables of students’ performance. I am particularly thinking of the PISA initiative run by the international organization OECD. Since 2000 international league-tables from PISA are generating globalized and massive movements of educational system reforms that have become greater than any other previous pedagogical idea in the history of education. Should we not be a bit more suspicious of it? How are international organizations such as OECD taking over educational politics? What does this mean for the present and the future of our democracies? Dewey held that problems with democracy and “eclipsing of the public sphere” could be counteracted by proposing new forms of democratic action that were more active and committed to participation in local communities, capable of sustaining and revitalizing the promise of democracy. Following Bernstein’s understanding (2010, p. 87), despite the fact that the problems pointed out by Dewey still exist today, a few facts remain clear. One, his analysis of the institutions (the existing ones as well as the new ones in the future) was insufficient and lacked specificity; second, even though his radical democracy involved fundamental changes in economic underpinnings, it did not provide the details on his proposed alternative inclusive plan; and third, he was wrong in his assessment of how resistant some forces could be to the attempts at political and education reforms such as the ones advocated by Dewey.
Aboulafia, M., Bookman, M., & Kemp, C. (Eds.) (2002). Habermas and Pragmatism. New York: Routledge. Arendt, H. (1987). Collective Responsibility. In, Responsabiliyy and Judgment (edited by J. Kohn, 2003) (pp. 147-158). New York: Schocken Books. Bernstein, R. J. (2010). The Pragmatic Turn. Malden: Polity Press. Bernstein, R. J. (Ed.) (1985). Habermas and Modernity. Oxford: Polity Press. Colapietro, V. (2004). Engaged Pluralism: Between Alterity and Sociality. In, S. G. Davaney & W. R. Frisina (Eds.) The Pragmatic Century. Conversations with Richard J. Bernstein (pp. 39-68). New York: SUNY Press. Del Castillo, R. (2011a). Travelling Minds: Russell and Dewey in China. Lecture for the American Philosophies Forum (The 2011 Conference: Cosmopolitianism and Place). Organized by Emory University (USA) and University Carlos III of Madrid (SPAIN) at Círculo de Bellas Artes (Madrid, SPAIN), June 2011. Del Castillo, R. (2011b). A Pragmatic Party: On Richard Bernstein’s The Pragmatic Turn. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 3(2), 223-228. Del Castillo, R., & Thoilliez, B. (2016). Consequences of Democracy and Education. Dewey and the Chinese world. Paper accepted to be presented at International Conference John Dewey's ‘Democracy and Education’ 100 Years On: Past, Present, and Future Relevance. Dewey, J. (1978). The Middle Works of John Dewey, 1899-1924, 15 vols. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. [Ed. by J. A. Boydston]. Dewey, J. (1985). The Later Works of John Dewey, 1925-1953, 17 vols. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. [Ed. by J. A. Boydston]. Habermas, J. (2008). …And to define America, her athletic democracy. New Literary History, 39(1), 3-12. Habermas, J. (1997). El giro pragmático de Rorty. Isegoría, 17, 5-36. Habermas, J. (1987). Teoría de la acción comunicativa. Madrid: Taurus. Koopman, C. (2014). Dewey as a Radical Democrat and a Liberal Democrat: Considerations on Bernstein on Dewey. In, J. M. Green (Ed.) Richard J. Bernstein and the Pragmatist Turn in Contemporary Philosophy. Rekindling Pragmatism’s Fire (pp. 112-127). Palgrave MacMillan. Koopman, C. (2009). Pragmatism as Transition. Historicity and Hope in James, Dewey, and Rorty. New York: Columbia University Press. Meyer, H. & Benavot, A. (Eds.) (2013). PISA, power and policy: The emergence of global education governance. Oxford: Symposium Books. Standish, P. (2010). Calling to Account. In, M. Depaepe & P. Smeyers (Eds.) The Ethics and Aesthetics of Statistics (pp. 205-214). New York: Springer. Trilla, J. (2005). Hacer Pedagogía hoy. En J. Ruiz Berrio y G. Vázquez Gómez (Eds.) Pedagogía y Educación ante el Siglo XXI (pp. 287-309). Madrid: UCM.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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