Dewey and Citizenship Education: Schooling as Democratic Practice

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This chapter provides a reconstruction of Dewey’s approach to citizenship education based on his books and articles written between 1885 and 1945. It is argued that Dewey’s views regarding citizenship education coincide with his views on democracy and on teaching and learning and are closely related to his general philosophy. In the chapter, extensive attention is given to the development of Dewey’s thinking on citizenship education: first through highlighting core elements of the book Democracy and Education and then through discussing relevant aspects of both his earlier work and later work. For Dewey, education and democracy are organically connected: Democracy is a condition for education and education is a condition for democracy. In schools, citizenship education cannot be distinguished as a separate subject or domain: All education contributes to democratic citizenship, provided it is inclusive and equally accessible to everyone. In addition, the chapter argues that, for Dewey, democratic education must fulfill two elementary functions: familiarizing students with their social roles and teaching them to think. Through the decades, Dewey’s focus increasingly shifts towards the importance of learning to think critically, including through investigating and understanding social structures and dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Citizenship and Education
EditorsAndrew Peterson, Garth Stahl, Hannah Soong
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67828-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67827-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • dewey
  • citizenship
  • citizenship education
  • critical thinking
  • philosophy of education

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