Inclusion or emancipation? Exploring dilemmas in education for a grown-up democracy

Gert Biesta

Brunel University London, UK & ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, the Netherlands

At one level it is obvious that the imperative of social justice requires an ongoing concern for the inclusion of those who are excluded. On closer inspection, however, the idea of inclusions raises an important question: Is social justice about the inclusion of the excluded into the existing socio-political ‘order,’ or does the ‘fact of exclusion’ actually reveal the democratic deficit of the existing socio-political order so that the demand for social justice requires something ‘more’ than inclusion? In my presentation I will explore this predicament by means of the distinction between inclusion and emancipation, which I will connect to questions about citizenship, democracy and education. I will particularly ask whether we should understand democratic citizenship as a social or a political identity and whether we should understand democracy as an identifiable ‘order’ or as structurally ‘beyond’ order. The latter ‘an-archic’ conception of democracy will allow me to say in more detail where the educational challenges for a grown-up engagement with democracy lie and how this allows us to understand the connection between inclusion, social justice and education differently.

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