Deliberative models of democratic education encourage the discussion of controversial issues in the classroom (e.g., Hess, 2009); however, they tend to curtail conflicts for the sake of consensus. Agonism, on the other hand, can help support the deliberative model by attending to antagonism in productive ways (Ruitenberg, 2009). In this paper, I present how agonistic deliberation (the infusion of agonism into deliberation) can work as an account of the political that may help empower young people. The paper presents two classic democratic classroom practices—structured academic controversy (SAC) and debate—together as examples of how agonistic deliberation can help students engage politically. This paper suggests that while deliberation can help students learn about political participation, agonistic deliberation (with its focus on conflict) has the potential to help students harness social frustrations into political action.
Lo, J. C.
Empowering Young People through Conflict and Conciliation: Attending to the Political and Agonism in Democratic Education.
Democracy and Education,
(1), Article 2.
Available at: http://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol25/iss1/2