What is Democracy...

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Understanding and reflecting democracy by looking on the different major democracy concepts with their different priorities and assumptions.

Time 90 minutes

Materialprint-outs of the attached materials for group work

Group Size -30 people

Created By Die Demokrative

Keywords democracy, rule of law, civic education

From:

url=http://dare-network.eu

Related:


Survival toolkit for EDC in post-factual societies
STEPS-cover.jpg

R. Martinez, G. Pirker (Ed.)

DARE - Democracy and Human Rights Educaion in Europe Read more

Goal

Looking at democracy from different perspectives to shape a deeper understanding

Steps

Step 1: Trainer introduces the topic with a first general brainstorming of keywords connected to Democracy. Participants are invited to use these words to start getting into the field mindset.


Step 2: After this warm up, participants are divided in three groups and each of the groups is given a different Democracy as... definition paper from the handouts. In each group, they need to read the definition and find a common internal understanding. Once they have it clear, each group finds a way to prepare a presentation to the other ones on their definition of Democracy with the key elements that shape it.The three groups will present their definitions to the other two and once definitions are shared, debriefing can get perspectives on the common and divergent elements of each definition towards a more general view on Democracy. When time is favorable and the group is interested, they can propose different specific definitions based on one or more of the approaches and the group can identify the keywords more relevant for all of them.

Handout 1: DEMOCRACY AS A FORM OF GOVERNING

From a political science’s perspective, democratic rule is based on political equality and political participation rights of the adult po-pulation (popular sovereignty) and focuses on the state, its func-tions and tasks. The unhindered participation of political parties of different orientations in political negotiation processes and their participation in elections are prerequisites for democratic states. Democratic core goals are freedom, equality, justice, security and welfare, which include the recognition of human and civil rights, popular sovereignty with elections, parliamentarism, parliamentary power control and the separation of powers. In order for citizens to be able to exercise their political rights and duties, the state must guarantee them a basic social security.


Tasks:

  • Discuss this definition and find out, if you agree with this definition, but please stick to the definition named in the headline and do not bend the definition to other dimensions of democracy.
  • Prepare a poster, where you illustrate your dimension of democracy with concrete examples. Please be creative
  • Present your poster later on in the plenary

Handout 2: DEMOCRACY AS A FORM OF LIVING

From the perspective of political cultural research democracy is focused on everyday life, on the culture of social coexistence. In recent years, pedagogical psychology, philosophy and civic education have taken up this approach by asking about the individual and socio-moral foundations of political understanding of democracy: how can democracy be made tangible and how can such experiences be enabled? It is about the micro-level of democratic culture, for example in the family or at school. It is seen as the basis of democratic political engagement and democratic societies. Whoever grows up in an environment characterized by tolerance and fairness, sees the diversity of lifestyles as an opportunity and is educated to solidarity and self-organization, has good prerequisites to act democratically within society and to contribute democratically to the political system.

Tasks:

  • Discuss this definition and find out, if you agree with this definition, but please stick to the definition named in the headline and do not bend the definition to other dimensions of democracy.
  • Prepare a poster, where you illustrate your dimension of democracy with concrete examples. Please be creative
  • Present your poster later on in the plenary

Handout 3: DEMOCRACY AS A FORM OF SOCIETY

Sociologically understood, democracy also has a societal dimension. The emergence of “young” European democracies and in-creasing globalization beyond the borders of existing states have shown that democracy can not simply be seen as limited to state-hood. Only a social anchorage and transmission of democratic principles make the functioning of political democratic systems possible. This requires a strong civil society in which pluralism and social difference have room and conflicts are settled peacefully. Even economic competition, carried out under fair conditions, should be possible in such a democratic civil society. A free and diverse public, supported by a broad civic engagement, is another prerequisite of democratic societies.

Tasks:

  • Discuss this definition and find out, if you agree with this definition, but please stick to the definition named in the headline and do not bend the definition to other dimensions of democracy.
  • Prepare a poster, where you illustrate your dimension of democracy with concrete examples. Please be creative
  • Present your poster later on in the plenary




Step 3: Participants are divided in same or new smaller groups and the second handout on Civic Education is shared.After reading the four definitions, individually they have to connect each one of them with a broad ideological perspective. In groups they put in contrast their answers and reasons behind them. Once in plenary the trainer can connect the discussion from Democracy to Citizenship and the role of the citizen

Handout: Goals of civic education

1. The ultimate goal is to achieve a diverse competition for stability and efficiency. Civic education should sharpen judgment and create a critical loyalty to all social actors and institutions. Political participation, integration and defense of democratic achievements are important goals here.

2. The ultimate goal is the preservation of the rule of law and parliamentary responsibilities. Knowledge of social order and awareness of values, especially human and fundamental rights, as well as the practice of social virtues are important goals.

3. The ultimate goal is the maintenance of order and hierarchy by state authority and recognized tradition. Understanding of political contexts and the need for order should be aroused - institutional knowledge, legal principles - and citizens should develop a sense of community for their environment (community, district, state, state as a whole)..

4. The ultimate goal is the elimination of domination in all areas of society. The priorities of civic education are on criticism of power and ideology. Disadvantaged citizens should become aware that they must act collectively in order to emancipate themselves.

Which explanation fits to a:

  • Conservative Approach:_______
  • Liberal Approach:_______
  • Social-democratic / Centre-Left Approach:______
  • Left-democratic socialist Approach: _____

Reflection

  • Which are your priorities?
  • Where do you see dilemmas or contradictions?
  • How do your priorities relate to the political mainstream in your society?
  • What else concepts do you know or do you like?

Reference

  • Die Demokrative in the frame of the project STEPS -Survival Toolkit for EDC in Post-factual Societies

Experiences

Support the group in the process, aware that each one of them has a piece of the final puzzle and will talk about the same topic with different perspectives. Some might have a preferred perspective, especially in those cases it will be useful for the group to view the good elements of the other approaches.