The public debate on democracy is often constrained within an alienating and disenfranchising narrative of opinion polls, campaign platforms, personalities and formal structures that generate legislation, all of which surreptitiously seems to trickle down to the classroom. Paul R. Carr asserts that democracy must be cultivated in a vigorous, conscientious, meaningful and critical way in and through education in order for it to have salience in society, especially within a neoliberal conjuncture that promotes limited space for epistemological interrogation of how we understand and are engaged in maintaining and/or transforming our societies. Building on the critical pedagogical work of Paulo Freire, Joe L. Kincheloe, and others, this book develops a framework for understanding how a thicker democratic education can be conceptualized and implemented in schools. The book aims to move the focus on democracy away from voting, and place it more properly on the importance of social justice and political literacy as a way of understanding what democracy is and, importantly, how to make it more relevant for all of society. The book concludes that another democracy is possible, as well as being desirable, and that education is the fundamental intersection in which it must be developed.
Paul R. Carr is Associate Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University (Orillia). His research is broadly concerned with social justice, with specific threads related to democracy, critical pedagogy, media literacy and peace studies. He has four co-edited books, examining Whiteness, democratic education, youth culture and intercultural relations, respectively. His book with Darren Lund, The Great White North? Exploring Whiteness, Privilege and Identity in Education, won two awards (Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and the Canadian Association for Foundations of Education).