Many approaches to political education take it to involve the construction of particular sections of the curriculum in which political matters are addressed - named perhaps “civics” or “citizenship education”. While these approaches have often been beneficial, they are all also problematic and controversial in some degree. Moreover, it is sometimes said that political education operates across a wide range of what happens in educational institutions - for example, in the ways of behaving that are promoted inside and outside the classroom, in the general ethos of the school or college, and through its marking of significant dates or events. The approach adopted in this paper takes a more radical line, however, in that it resists the restriction of the political that these approaches assume. This is not to argue for the mobilization of schools and other educational institutions as instruments of politics. It is rather to try to show that matters of political significance are pervasive in the curriculum. The substance of the curriculum is an expression of what the culture takes to be important and of the values that the culture wishes to pass on. The fostering of those values must have some effect on the kind of society that is then promoted, and indeed this must be inherent in the aims of education.
The recent introduction by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development of the notion of ‘global competence’ appears to install cosmopolitan understanding at the heart of education across the globe. Yet how far does the OECD notion, and the broader models of global education it means to stand for, consolidate a picture that fails to do justice to the complex nature of human interpersonal and intercultural ethics? In this paper, I draw out limitations in the OECD notion of global competence and its recommendations for educational practice. Through an exploration of Jacques Derrida's thinking on the theme of hospitality, I try to give substance to the critical destabilisation of the philosophical assumptions on which the OECD picture depends. Existing attempts to utilise Derrida's philosophy in relation to questions of politics and education can rely on sensational language to do too much of the argumentative work. I approach Derrida's thinking on hospitality via certain narratives, including scenes from Nobel Prize-winning novelist J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians. I then consider Derrida's painstaking consideration of the nature of our lives in language to further develop the idea that hospitality involves a displacement of the self. These lines of thought, I conclude, suggest alternative possibilities for political education to those currently recognised in predominant discourses. They reveal how practices of writing, reading, and study in the humanities can provide a richer and more robust means of developing the receptivity of thinking called for by cosmo-global education.
‘Is not hospitality an interruption of the self?’ (Derrida, 1991, p. 51)
The relationship between history education and political education in Asian societies is an underexplored topic. Politics have deeply shaped the development of history education in Hong Kong, as in many other societies around the world. Hong Kong history education reforms have been criticized for providing a new form of national political education. This study examines how politic education can be found in the Hong Kong history curriculum as ‘latent content’. To do so, it provides a qualitative content analysis of all textual data used in ‘Chinese history’ and ‘history’ textbooks in secondary schools in Hong Kong which discuss or portray political content, focusing particularly on the themes of identity shaping and assimilation. Before focusing on the Hong Kong situation, this paper first explores how history education is a political topic in general. Then Hong Kong's complicated political legacy is described in relation to one of the unique features of history education there: the concurrence of two subjects, ‘history’ and ‘Chinese history’. Current debates about the reform of history education in Hong Kong and the limitations of current history education in Hong Kong are examined in the next part, using data from textbooks. Our analysis shows that 1) national identity is prioritized over local identity in the textbooks, and 2) the textbooks mainly reflect a Mainland-based majority perspective and justify assimilation in history, resulting in a lack of recognition of the many different minority groups of Mainland China, of which Hong Kong people may see themselves as part. Based on the analysis, we argue that history education in Hong Kong provides a narrow political education that can impede some crucial education goals in Hong Kong.
Democracy is in crisis around the globe, especially in the United States due to the results of the presidential election in 2016; it is now a bitterly divided society. In this context, this article reviews the democratic conception in education presented by John Dewey as his Democracy and Education celebrated its centenary also in 2016. A few key concepts of Dewey's ideas and structural features of democratic schooling were combined to develop a conceptual framework to analyze democratic schooling. Then, two U.S. democratic schools were comparatively analyzed using the conceptual framework, including participation in a small diverse community. This study concluded that democratic schooling has enormous potential to educate citizens who can become the effective agents of change desperately needed in the larger society, although the number of schools which systematically implement it is limited due to various obstacles. Lessons for Japan include the idea that giving students the authority to decide what to learn and how to learn it can lead them to take responsibility for their own education. There is anecdotal evidence that many graduates of the first democratic school examined here work in service and social justice professions, so further research is needed to pursue this theme along with others.
This paper examines the “subjectification” function of political education in democracy, considering the present situation of political education in Japan. In particular, from the point of view of political science, it focuses on the relationship between democratic theories and political education and considers whether the possibility of the self-transformation of human beings is included in such theories.
In Japan, the political education provided at school is aimed at conferring information and knowledge of the existing political system as a sovereign citizen, and at fostering attitudes toward and motivation for participating in politics. Political education in Japanese high schools tends to be biased towards the functions of “qualification” and “socialization” in order to maintain political neutrality, as stipulated by the Basic Education Act of Japan. More fundamentally, what kind of political system people understand democracy and how people understand a citizen in the political system seem to contribute to the tendency as well. In order to consider the future direction of political education in Japan, we need discussion from a wider perspective through the theoretical reexamination of democracy.
In the aggregative democracy model, a citizen's preferences are treated as given. It is not concerned with how the citizen's preferences were formed or how their values and preferences were changed as a result of interactions with others through participation in the political process. The deliberative democracy model, in contrast, takes the view that human beings can be transformed, and therefore there is an opportunity for political education. However, it has been pointed out that the deliberative democracy model restricts citizens from participating in deliberation because the model requires rational deliberation. Iris Young calls this internal exclusion and suggests communicative democracy as a democratic model to overcome it. Young's communicative democracy advocates the importance of political education that opens up the possibility of self-transformation through interactions with others with different views.
Locating political education in a global time of pathos and apathy, this article explores some complexities that derive from various notions of human distance and affect potentialities of democracy as a way of life. It begins with a diagnosis of current, global realities and discusses the philosophical act of diagnosis as such. The operations of (a)pathetics thus singled out are then critically connected to Friedrich Nietzsche's ‘pathos of distance’, Michel Foucault's visit to Japan and William James' essay on ‘what makes life significant’ in which he critiques an accomplished ‘democratic’ utopia of his times. The conclusion indicates how the registered complexities present political education with further challenges of (non)translatability.
To address the modern political task of listening to the voices of excluded others, this paper will propose “the politics of voice” based on the thought of the American philosopher Stanley Cavell. It begins with a critique of Kelz's comparison, in political terms, between Cavell and Judith Butler. Butler's politics constantly challenges the norm by confronting its finitude and opening it to infinite possibilities so that the opinions that are currently invisible can be recognized. No matter how much existing knowledge is thus renewed, however, the actual understanding of others with this new knowledge will remain narcissistic unless one gets out of the objectifying construction of “Othering” in which “I know you.” In contrast, Cavell teaches us another sphere of politics, where acknowledging others is indivisible from self-acknowledgment in that our “voices”—particular ways of inhabiting our everyday lives constituted by general knowledge—are simultaneously discovered in the form of finding out that they are absolutely different by accepting human epistemic finitude. After demonstrating the complementarity of Cavell's and Butler's politics through the example of slavery, I shall explore the prospects for political education from their respective ways of engaging with language.
This paper discusses the significance of passions in political education through the consideration of Chantal Mouffe's agonistic democracy. Mouffe points out the role of the passions that facilitate organizing political identities, and presents the risks of eliminating passions. The liberal interpretation of democracy intends to eliminate passions that prevent people achieving a rational consensus. On the other hand, the emphasis on rationality makes it easy for right-wing populism to mobilize people's passions. In other words, the elimination of passions creates a situation in which dialogue with other political identities is difficult: this is the contradiction of the liberal interpretation of democracy. To avoid this, Mouffe suggests channels that express collective passions as democratic designs to disarm antagonistic passions. Mouffe's democratic theory indicates the risk of a too optimistic understanding of the passions in political education which takes deliberative approaches. Also, this result suggests the necessity of reconsidering the position of passions in the political education. From the perspective of Mouffe's agonistic democracy, the role of political education should be regarded as not elimination of passions but sublimation of antagonistic passions. To achieve this sublimation, we should facilitate participation in democratic practices. However, sublimation of antagonistic passions through democratic institutions is not always successful. If antagonistic passions are expressed in destructive forms, what should we do? This paper touches only briefly on this point. Further studies are needed in order to contribute to this issue.
Young people now more than ever live in a diverse, complicated world. In spite of the qualitative proliferation of differences, however, the current social situation in late-stage capitalism is articulated as superficial multiculturalism. Critically examining how bodies materially experience cultural boundaries is then important for enhancing the discussion on “multicultural co-existence” in Japan. This article explores how Japanese youth experience their senses of self in relation to ethnicity/nationality through looking into drama/theatre classes at a high school.
Regarding school as an important site for youth self-formation, this research is situated within the critical educational research body exploring the interplay between schooling and youth affect. Applying Deleuze and Guattari's concepts such as “territorialization” and “the education assemblage,” I examine the ways in which young people experience ethnicity/nationality as a singular event.
The analysis is based on seventeen months of ethnographic research with high school students in Tokyo. I specifically look at their practices of mimesis, mimicking “the other” in acting or performance in drama class. Utilizing the tools of feminist poststructural ethnography, I analyze the narratives that emerged from observation in drama classes and in-depth interviews along with journal writing and assignments.
As seen through repeated patterns, the analysis reveals how the identity categories of ethnicity/nationality rigidly function to territorialize youth, blocking possibilities for them to become otherwise. I then address some views that might have produced these experiences: humanistic views of people, formalistic educational aims and discursive practice around ethnicity/nationality.
In conclusion, I refer to points toward oppositional educational practices at school. These points include critical reflection on cultural differences being embedded in educational practices and active engagement with precarious relations. Finally, reframing learning by centring youths' bodies, I call for more educational research with a Deleuzian approach. By shedding light on the complexities of the affective experiences of youth, this study will hopefully contribute to promoting the discussion of democracy at schools in Japan.
Keeping in mind the theoretical issues of English language education reforms corresponding to globalization, this paper investigates the thought and action of Yoshisaburo Okakura's later years, who lead the systematisation of English education. First, I examine and consider how Okakura accepted Basic English which was the simplification of the English language system that was devised by Charles Ogden at the beginning of 1930s. Second, a twisted relationship of “English as a foreign language” and “English as an international language” is examined historically and critically.
This paper focuses on how Taneichi Kitazawa, a leading progressive education practitioner, received the concept of democracy, and reconsiders the meaning of democracy in Japanese progressive education, conventionally considered within the framework of early modern Japanese political ideology. Kitazawa, having gleaned the idea of “common interests” from John Dewey's concept of democracy, focused on the social quality of interest and advocated a classroom management theory. Seeing shared interests as the basic principle of group formation, his theory of classroom management indicates the significance of the classroom as a locus of “social life” and of “cooperative group projects.”