Poststructural Democratic Education? Assessing the Potentialities of a Non-Individualistic, Non-Instrumental, “Action”-Oriented Democratic Education

Selina Komers, Kevin Kester


This research is a philosophical study into the potentialities of realising a poststructural democratic education through considering the reflections of educators involved in various “democratic” educational programmes. Utilising the conceptual tools of Biesta (2006), as inspired by Arendt (1998), this study explores what it would entail to create a non-individual, non-instrumental, “action”-oriented democratic education. It seeks to do this motivated by a lacuna of research into the question of translating a poststructural educational theory into practice. The findings reveal that the educational programmes that the educators are involved with resemble poststructural ideas in their pedagogy, and most notably in their educational structures, but the guiding philosophy and overall aims of the programmes appear to endorse more moderate visions of democratic education. In taking this idea further, this study suggests that the enactment of poststructural democratic education demands a social context that too is democratic in the poststructural way envisioned. In this way, it can be said that this research exposes the limitations and challenges of the realisation of such a philosophy where the surrounding climate is not in harmony with its ideals, as it would remain disconnected from the very society it seeks to democratically interact with.


poststructural; postmodern; democratic education; philosophy of education; Biesta; Arendt; philosophy in practice; pedagogy; structure

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Copyright (c) 2018 Selina Komers

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