Civic Republicanism and Education: Democracy and Social Justice in School

Itay Snir, Yuval Eylon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The republican political tradition, which originated in Ancient Rome and picked up by several early-modern thinkers, has been revived in the last couple of decades following the seminal works of historian Quentin Skinner and political theorist Philip Pettit. Although educational questions do not normally occupy the center stage in republican theory, various theorists working within this framework have already highlighted the significance of education for any functioning republic. Looking at educational questions through the lens of freedom as non-domination has already yielded important insights to discussions of political education. However, consideration of the existing republican educational discourse in light of the wide range of issues discussed in Pettit’s recent works reveals that it suffers from two major lacunae. First, it does not take into consideration the distinction (and deep connection) between democracy and social justice that has become central to Pettit’s republicanism. Thus, the current discussion focuses almost exclusively on education for democratic citizenship and hardly touches upon social justice. Second, the current literature thinks mainly in terms of educating future citizens, rather than conceiving of students also as political agents in the present, and of school itself as a site of non-domination. This paper aims at filling these voids, and it will therefore be oriented along two intersecting axes: the one between democracy and justice, and the other between future citizenship in the state and present citizenship at school. The resulting four categories will organize the discussion: future citizens and democracy; future citizens and social justice; present citizens and democracy; present citizens and social justice. This will not only enable us to draw a clearer line between the civic republican and liberal educational theories, but also make civic republican education a viable alternative to current educational approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-600
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Civic republicanism
  • Democracy
  • Education
  • Privatization
  • Social justice


Dive into the research topics of 'Civic Republicanism and Education: Democracy and Social Justice in School'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this