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Beyond the choice between neutrality and indoctrination: epistemological and ethical foundations of the democratic school

Grant number: 19/11802-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Fundamentals of Education
Principal researcher:Newton Duarte
Grantee:Newton Duarte
Host: Samir Gandesha
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil
Research place: Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada  

Abstract

The democratization of access to knowledge in its richest expressions by school education is considered in this research as the most distinctive aspect of a democratic school. Adopting this premise, the general objective of the studies to be carried out, the elaboration of theoretical contributions for the current debates about the democratic school, seeking to overcome the option between neutrality and indoctrination, through the analysis of epistemological and ethical foundations of school education. In relation to the epistemological foundations of school education, the focus of the analysis will be the question of the dialectic between objectivity and subjectivity in everyday life and in the spheres of science, arts and philosophy. Within this question, the specific problem to be investigated is the possible role of teaching and learning of school knowledge in the process of overcoming the reified forms of relationship between the individuals and the sociocultural reality that they participate. As regards specifically to debates on neutrality in school education, it is hoped that this line of studies will contribute to the understanding of the educational role that school can play in overcoming what Kosik (1976) called "world of the pseudoconcrete". In other words, it is about the overcoming of the pragmatism that prevails in everyday life. It is important, however, not identify the overcoming of pragmatism with the adoption of a purely speculative attitude or with the denial of the importance of practice. Rather, it is a question of constructing forms of relationship with practice that are not limited to everyday utilitarianism and are not confined to the horizons of a reified present. Gandesha and Hartle (2017) connect reification with the absence of the prospect of possible futures in which the organization of society and life could be distinct from the modus operandi of today's society and of the modus vivendi of the people in this society.As regards to the ethical foundations of school education, the focus of studies will be the conception of freedom as one of the basic principles of a democratic education. Would the adoption of this principle not imply also the adoption of the principle of neutrality? The search for a well-founded answer to this question requires the deepening of the analysis about the very concept of freedom and its implications for education. This type of study is also necessary to overcome the hasty identification between the taking of positions by teachers and what has been called indoctrination.

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