Education, Virtue and Democracy in the Work of Emile Durkheim

Journal of Moral Education 24 (1):37-52 (1995)
Abstract
Abstract A condition for a flourishing liberal society, I believe, is a public education similar to that recommended by Durkheim. Its heterogeneous character, embracing critical thought and shared traditions, autonomy and community, human diversity and social unity, provides a powerful support for and challenge to liberal, democratic institutions. Durkheim mingled standard liberal and communitarian values??values supporting individual rights and critical thought, on one hand, and values supporting the common good and tradition on the other. On my reading, Durkheim forged a middle way between liberalism and communitarianism, thereby rescuing us from the forced option that is often erected??defend ?the individual? or protect ?the community?. He championed various authoritative perspectives from society's shared understanding as a means to cultivate, in students, dispositions for social criticism. Tradition and critical thought go hand in hand, in Durkheim's view, because social critics, faced with changing circumstances, draw deeply from their social inheritance as they forge new paths and criticise some old ones
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