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The struggle between conflicting beliefs: on the promise of education

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Education is thought to provide a certain outcome—a promise . I argue that a promise that education will counteract cultural and social disintegration involves a risk of engendering narrow social and cultural incorporation. On what reasonable basis could education contribute to civic life, when contemporary Western society is represented by a diversity of lifestyles and beliefs, with roots in different traditions? Habermas's communicative theory and theory of procedural democracy contain a normative core of presuppositions that function as enabling conditions for practical discourse to take place under such conditions. However, Habermas's perspective conceptualizes these presuppositions as features of a political culture whose ‘accommodating quality' citizens need to be able to expect sociologically. Within a political and moral theory, Habermas only counts on these preconditions implicitly, but he does hope for such accommodating qualities to be fulfilled in a process of socialization and in political forms of life.
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Keywords: Habermas; citizenship; citizenship education; multiculturalism; political education; political socialization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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