Research Orientations



This section of the website is intended to provide a range of resources that explain, interpret, outline, articulate and define education for democracy, which is one of the main interests in our research project. However, we should start by underscoring, as is the case with the word/term/concept/idea of democracy, that there is no one way to engage with the subject. There are myriad ways of conceptualizing democracy, and, concomitantly, education, individually and together. Diverse theoretical, ideological, conceptual, pedagogical and other perspectives all shape how one considers education for democracy, which we have favoured over, but which connects with, a number of divergent and overlapping formulations related to the subject. Some people, educators, scholars, policymakers, civil society groups and special interest groups focus on education and democracy, education about democracy, education with democracy, democratic education, etc.. Another branch of interested parties examine rather citizenship education and all of its off-shoots. A central interest is on mixing the two concepts, interlocking them, making them inextricably linked, and seeking to engage with a thicker, more critical, and social-justice based form of education for democracy, one that would produce critical engagement, political literacy, global citizenship and the prospect for transformational change. Elsewhere on this website, we highlight the underlying tenets of our theoretical and conceptual framework as well as the disciplinary and thematic linkages. Below are a range of sources that seek to address, define, highlight and/or frame education for democracy (some of the different titles are presented merely as a guide, and it should be noted that there are many overlapping features to the framing of education for democracy). There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of compelling, comprehensive and insightful articles, books, studies and the like within this field, and we have avoided the temptation to start that list here. Elsewhere on the website you will find resources, references, lists of journals, etc. that should be helpful in continuing the research and building the field.

The resources below are meant to serve as a collage of how the field and the terminology are represented, and they are not meant to define our specific research project, per se. 

Education for Democracy

Council of Europe


Shanker Institute

John J. Patrick

Nel Noddings

Peace Pledge Union

Democratic Education



International Democratic Education Network

Centro de investigacion avanzada en educacion

Education and Democracy

John Dewey

SF Freedom School

Encyclopedia of the Social & Cultural Foundations of Education

Interview with Noam Chomsky

Organization of American States

Institute for Educational Inquiry

Edward Glaeser, Giacomo Ponzetto, Andrei Shleifer

American Association of School Superintendents

Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, James A. Robinson, Pierre Yared

Citizenship Education

Citizenship Foundation



Democratic Life

National Foundation for Educational Research

Peace, freedom and social justice education

Amnesty international

Women's international league for peace and freedom

Vision of humanity

Primary education for all

United Nations-Millenium development goals

Peace, freedom and social justice education

Amnesty international

Women's international league for peace and freedom

Vision of humanity

What is Democracy?


Adjacent is a sampling of how democracy is defined. Many of the formal, codified definitions relate to the normative, hegemonic understanding of democracy involving elections, majority rule, representative government, rule of law, free speech and the supremacy of voting. There are many types of democracy—direct, participatory, representative, parliamentary, social, socialist, radical, pluralistic, monarchy-ruled, constitutional, evolutionary, etc.—, and our project is particularly interested in interpretations that explore the meaning, application, functioning and impact of power and inequitable power relations, bone fide participation outside of elections, and, significantly, in conjunction with, through and in relation to education. Democracy is necessarily complex, messy and nuanced, and the continuous problematization of its meaning is an important process to undertake inside and outside of the formal educational and socio-political process. Seeking a true sense of democracy through a counter-hegemonic democracy that aims to inculcate meaningful engagement and participation is also an important part of the way that this research project defines democracy.


How do we measure democracy? Similarly, how should we measure democracy? With almost everyone clamouring to be “democratic” or, at the very least, seeking to impose its democratic credentials, influence and power, it is important to (re)consider what we really mean by democracy.


The section on this website asking What is democracy? is a good place to contextualize the formal (and informal) interpretations of democracy. Linked below, we have assembled a number of ways of measuring democracy, all of them using different criteria, factors, weighting, data-gathering techniques, and presentation methods based on diverse philosophical, socio-political, economic and epistemological considerations. We have assembled this diverse grouping of measures to underscore the fluid complexity and messiness of democracy: can we have democracy with unacceptable levels of poverty, militarization, corruption, social inequities and a lack of prospects for change, not to mention limited educational development? Here, like elsewhere, a vigorous, sustained and critical debate on what we really mean by democracy is, in our view, essential to the ultimate process of engaging in, and building, democracy. 

DPLTE Models from the Research


DPLTE Proposals for Education for Democracy


This is the second last chapter in the following book: Carr, Paul R. (2011). Does your vote count? Critical pedagogy and democracy. New York: Peter Lang.


It is included here in order to stimulate discussion on what a critical pedagogy of democracy might look like, some of the concerns, problems and pitfalls related to re-thinking democracy, and also as a humble effort at proposing reforms, knowing that such proposals, in isolation and without context and the required resources, can be problematic.

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