Wednesday, 22 January 2020


ESRI Seminar Series 2019/20 - Education and democracy in a time of political crisis

Brooks Building, Room G.78 (Lecture Theatre 1)

Edda Sant and Jane McDonnell Manchester Metropolitan University

This seminar will address the questions posed in the series by focusing on the relationship between democracy and education in a time of political crisis. Taking the form of a conversation, our seminar starts from the question of whether liberal democracy is doomed and proceeds to consider the implications of this for educational theory, practice and research. A key concern in our dialogue is the concept of ‘democratic education’: its various conceptualisations, the question of its continued viability and its potential future(s).

Our conversation is punctuated by reflections on our respective engagements with philosophical perspectives from radical democracy. With reference to the writing of Ernesto Laclau and Jacques Rancière, we consider what causes for hope and optimism might be found in relation to the work of educationalists when addressing what the next generation needs from us in order to go on, politically.

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Jane McDonnell is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests include the relationship between democracy and education, the role of the arts in democratic learning and educational policy in the areas of democracy, citizenship and values. Theoretically, her work is informed by the writing of Chantal Mouffe and Jaqcues Rancière. She has recently published on the applicability of Rancière’s work to critical debates in arts education, and has written on the contribution of both Rancière and Mouffe to understanding the role of art and aesthetics in young people’s political activism. She is currently working on research into values education with teachers of Religious Education and Citizenship in secondary schools.

Edda Sant is a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses primarily on issues related to political, citizenship and democratic education, history and social studies education. She has published in numerous journals including Review of Educational Research, the British Educational Research Journal and the Cambridge Journal of Education. Her most recent work includes the co-editorship of the The Palgrave Handbook of Global Citizenship and Education (2018, Palgrave) and the co-authorship of the book Global Citizenship Education: A Critical Introduction to Key Concepts and Debates (2018, Bloomsbury). She is presently working in a book contracted with Palgrave MacMillan with the title of “Political Education in Times of Populism” where she explores the educational implications of the populist challenge through the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. In 2016, she was co-awarded the Children’s Identity and Citizenship European Association Best Publication Award (2015).