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Cynthia Gordon Harvard Graduate School of Education Ed.D. Expected May 2013 University of California, Berkeley American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Cynthia Gordon Harvard Graduate School of Education Ed.D. Expected May 2013 University of California, Berkeley American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cynthia Gordon Harvard Graduate School of Education Ed.D. Expected May 2013 University of California, Berkeley American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program CRITICAL DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP: WHAT COMPETENCIES DO STUDENTS NEED TO ENGAGE FOR JUSTICE IN A DIVERSE AND INEQUITALBE DEMOCRACY?


3  Purpose  Conceptual framework  Proposed competencies  Group activity  Share-out & Wrap-Up INTERACTIVE PRESENTATION OUTLINE

4  US Higher education institutions aim to graduate students who are committed to civic-engagement for the public good (AACU, 2008; Furco & Goss, 2001; Musil, 2011).AACU, 2008Furco & Goss, 2001Musil, 2011  What kind of citizenship (meaning civically-engaged people and not documentation of affiliation with a nation) prepares students to engage for justice in a diverse and inequitable democracy? PURPOSE

5 What assumptions am I making and what theories provide background for answering this question? …Engaging for justice in a diverse and inequitable democracy… Democracy Justice Inequitable US context Critical Theory CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

6  Political theorists multiple forms of democracy:  participatory, pluralistic, deliberative, economic, representative, liberal, etc …  Lessons from critical theory:  Giroux: “Democracy cannot function without educated citizens capable of being autonomous, making knowledgeable judgments, and bringing what they learn to bear on understanding and shaping civic culture.”  Freire: “…creating the conditions for people to govern rather than merely be governed.”  I will use the following definition: (Colby, Beaumont, Ehrlich, & Corngold)  : “…democracy is fundamentally a practice of shared responsibility for a common future. It is the always unfinished task of making social choices and working toward public goals that shape our lives and the lives of others.”  Consider questions of a greater or common good  Democracy cannot be healthy without wide spread participation  Democracy cannot be healthy when run by expert elites alone CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: DEMOCRACY

7  Moral, political, philosophical theorists multiple forms of justice:  Distributive Justice (Rawls, Kohlberg, 1989, others…)  Fairness, impartiality  Resources (wealth, income, social position, etc…) fairly distributed  Capabilities Approach (Sen, Nussbaum)  Human Capability: “the freedoms … to choose the lives that they have reason to value” (Sen, 1992, p. 81)  Functionings: healthy, being safe, being happy, having self-respect, etc…  Capabilities: freedom to achieve these functionings “…the real opportunities (freedoms) that one has to achieve those functionings” (Walker, 2010)  Capabilities: set of 10 ( Nussbaum ) vs. left to public reasoning (Sen) CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: JUSTICE

8  Process Justice (Young, 1990)  Principles of justice should be applied not only to the distribution of goods and resources in a society, but also to evaluate the fairness and impacts of decision-making, division of labor, and culture (Young, 1990).  “…where social group differences exist and some groups are privileged while others are oppressed, social justice requires explicitly acknowledging and attending to those group differences.” (Young, 1990, p. 3)  Need inclusive and “collective problem-solving by all those significantly involved in or affected by a decision, and under conditions of dialogue which allow diverse perspectives and opinions to be voiced” (Young, 1990 cited in Walker, 2010). CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: JUSTICE & CRITICAL THEORY

9 “Critical theory rejects as illusory the effort to construct a universal normative system insulated from a particular society. … [it] must begin from historically specific circumstances … Without social theory, normative reflection is abstract, empty, and unable to guide criticism with a practical interest in emancipation” (Young, p. 5).  US socio-political context: a diverse, but inequitable democracy  Inequities across social group demographics  Focus race/ethnicity  Distributive justice  Wealth (net mean worth and financial assets) (Bobo, Kluegel, & Smith, 1996; Oliver & Shapiro, 2006)Bobo, Kluegel, & Smith, 1996Oliver & Shapiro, 2006  More reliable predictor of economic stability CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: CONTEXT MATTERS

10  US socio-political context: a diverse, but inequitable democracy  Capabilities approach to justice  Health (Bloom & Cohen, 2011)Bloom & Cohen, 2011  Education (Diamond, 2008; Ferguson & Mehta, 2004; Gandara & Maxwell-Jolly, 2000; Kozol, 2005; Orfield & Lee, 2005a)Diamond, 2008Ferguson & Mehta, 2004Gandara & Maxwell-Jolly, 2000Kozol, 2005Orfield & Lee, 2005a CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: CONTEXT MATTERS

11  US socio-political context: a diverse, but inequitable democracy  Process approach to justice  Decision making  112 th congress CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: CONTEXT MATTERS Percent of US PopulationPercent of Congress African American 13.1% 8.1 % Latino/Hispanic 16.7%5.7% Asian Pacific Islander 5.2%3% American Indian 1.2%0.2% White 63.4% 83%

12  Postsecondary student learning outcomes for civic-engagement can include knowledge, skills, dispositions, attitudes, commitments, motivations, and actions that prepare students for engagement in a diverse democracy (Brammer et al., 2012; Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002; Stokamer, 2011).Brammer et al., 2012 Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002Stokamer, 2011  A recent literature review conducted by the Center for an Engaged Democracy (Brammer et al., 2012), researchers found more than 50 (!) areas of civic knowledge, skills, practice, and inclinations currently being measured by various civic postsecondary programs and national organizations.Brammer et al., 2012  Colleges and universities faced with challenge: determining which of these many learning outcomes are most appropriate given their context and missions.  Choosing learning outcomes vary depending on context:  Focus: establishing learning outcomes well-suited to prepare students to engage for justice in a diverse and unequal democracy. ENGAGING FOR JUSTICE IN A DIVERSE AND UNEQUAL DEMOCRACY

13  Democracy:  shared responsibility  working toward public goals for the common good  cannot function without wide spread participation  conditions for people to govern rather than be governed  Participation  A functioning democracy relies on citizens participating (Dewey, 1916).Dewey, 1916  Participation can and should be broadly constructed (Haste, 2009; Haste & Hogan, 2006; Mira, 2010)Haste, 2009 Haste & Hogan, 2006Mira, 2010  Involvement or actions in collective community-based efforts; in local, state, and national issues; and for the general betterment of one’s communities (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).Westheimer & Kahne, 2004 ENGAGING IN A DEMOCRACY

14  Openness to multiple perspectives  Tendency of an individual to think from the perspective of another individual (Gurin, Nagda, & Zuniga, 2011)Gurin, Nagda, & Zuniga, 2011  Controversy with Civility (Komives & Wagner, 2009)Komives & Wagner, 2009  In a diverse group inevitably differing viewpoints exist  To work towards positive social change, people need to engage civilly with conflict to develop new and creative solutions to social problems DIVERSITY

15  Justice-oriented (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004)Westheimer & Kahne, 2004  Analyzing the structural causes of inequality and collectively acting on what is discovered  “If participatory citizens are organizing the food drive and personally responsible citizens are donating food, justice oriented citizens are asking why people are hungry and acting on what they discover” (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).Westheimer & Kahne, 2004  Dialogue (Isaacs, 1999)  "...aims to engage a collective present-tense truth telling, where no one person's position or thought dominates, but where larger questions and new frontiers are laid bare for exploration.”  voicing, listening, respecting and suspending JUSTICE

16  Understanding the root causes of inequality  Active thinking: a tendency and motivation for individuals to think deeply and analyze the causes for individual actions/behaviors (Gurin et al., 2011).Gurin et al., 2011  Active thinking is (arguably) domain specific—the complexity of causal attribution for an event/behavior is dependent on variables such as interest, experience, and knowledge (Fletcher, Danilovics, Fernandez, Peterson, & Reeder, 1986)Fletcher, Danilovics, Fernandez, Peterson, & Reeder, 1986  To positively impact racial justice, need active thinking about the causes and impacts of racial/ethnic inequality   Structural thinking about racial inequality  Analysis of causes of racial inequality from a structural level  For example…  Racial inequality in test scores ADDRESSING INEQUALITY

17  To realize the ideal of a democratic nation in which race and ethnicity cannot be used to predict life outcomes, we need citizens actively fighting for racial justice (Warren, 2010).Warren, 2010  Engage in a democracy  Through participation  That is diverse  Through openness to multiple perspectives and controversy with civility  And work towards justice  With a justice-orientation and the skills to dialogue  And righting inequality  with active and structural thinking  Critical Democratic Citizenship  Now, what do you think? SUMMARY

18  What knowledge, competencies, skills, or dispositions are necessary for citizens to engage for justice in a diverse and unequal democracy? YOUR TURN

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