Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity  book cover
1st Edition

Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity

ISBN 9781315678603
Published July 1, 2016 by Routledge
270 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity addresses the intersections between democratic education and economic inequality in American society. Drawing upon well-established theoretical constructs in the literature on democratic citizenship as well as recent events, this volume outlines the ways in which students can not only be educated about democracy, but become actively engaged in the social issues of their time.

The collection begins with an examination of how the confluence of capitalism and education have problematized the current model of democratic education, before transitioning into discussions of how teachers can confront economic disparity both economically and civically in the classroom. The authors then introduce a variety of ways in which teachers can engage and empower students’ civic action at all grade levels. As a final component, the volume explores new avenues for civic action, including the use of social media for democratic engagement in schools and opportunities for critical reflection and cross-cultural dialogue. This book is a valuable resource for both scholars interested in the research on democratic education and practicing teachers wishing to turn their students into critical, active citizens.

Table of Contents



Cory Wright-Maley and Trent Davis

Section I: Setting the Context

1. Democratic Education under Siege in a Neoliberal Society

Henry A. Giroux

2. The Economic Citizen: Civic Education and its Discontents

Joseph R. Nichols, Jr.

3. Emancipatory and Pluralist Perspectives on Democracy and Economic Inequality in Social Studies and Citizenship Education

Mark Edward Johnson

Section II: Confronting Economic Disparity

4. Teaching about Economic Inequality: Lessons from California

John Rogers & Joel Westheimer

5. Teaching about Economics and Moneyed Interests in 21st Century Democracy

Tamara L. Sober

6. Helping Students Address the Elephant in Democracy’s Room: An Interactive Approach to Teaching about Campaign Finance

Wayne Journell, Brett L. M. Levy, and James M. M. Hartwick

Section III: Building Spaces to Nurture Student Action

7. Toward Gender Equity: Imagining New Spaces for Empowerment through Feminist Pedagogy in Democratic Classrooms

Kathryn E. Engebretson and Alexandria Hollett

8. Literacy Instruction as a Tool for Vibrant Civic Voice

Jennifer E. Dolan and Douglas Kaufman

9. Empowering Praxis in Our Youngest Citizens: An Instructional Framework for Helping Elementary School Students Explore and Respond to Contemporary Social Issues

Ryan Colwell

10. Participatory Citizenship: A Commitment to Action Civics

Karon LeCompte and Brooke Blevins

11. Fostering Youth Voice: Philosophy, Strategies, and Outcomes of the Democracy in Action Program

Emma Kornfeld, Jill Bass, and Brett L. M. Levy

Section IV: New Fronts in the Fight for Democracy

12. Interrogating Democracy: Lessons from Ferguson, Missouri

Lauren Arend and Alexander Cuenca

13. Narrative Possibilities of the Radical Humanities: Shaping Participatory and Justice-Oriented Citizens for Democracy

Tara Hyland-Russell and Corinne Syrnyk

14. Mediating Democracy: Social Media as Curriculum

Daniel G. Krutka and Jeffrey P. Carpenter


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Cory Wright-Maley is Assistant Professor of Education at St. Mary’s University, where he teaches elementary curriculum, instruction, and assessment, specializing in social studies education.

Trent Davis is Associate Professor of Education at St. Mary’s University, where he teaches the philosophical and historical foundations of education.


“To be concerned with democratic education today is to be focused directly on economic inequality. This book is groundbreaking because it brings the two into a single frame.” –Walter Parker, Professor of Social Studies and, by courtesy, Political Science, University of Washington, Seattle

“This book boldly tackles crucial problems in U.S. education and society, especially considering the current state of inequality. It explains how and why we need to utilize new approaches to democracy education, for marginalized students in particular, with the intent of strengthening democracy for all. The chapters offer compelling explications of research, practice, and ideology. With its focus on economics, the book makes a critical contribution to scholarship on democratic education." –Judith L. Pace, Professor of Teacher Education, University of San Francisco