Studies in Philosophy and Education 32 (2):123-140 (2013)

Serious re-examination of participatory traditions of democracy is long overdue. Iconically central to such traditions of democratic education is the practice of whole School Meetings. More usually associated with radical work within the private sector, School Meetings are here explored in detail through two examples from publicly funded education, Epping House School, a mixed residential primary/elementary school for students with severe emotional, social and behavioural difficulties and secondary/high schools within the Just Community School movement in the USA. In addition to providing richly textured accounts of the multiple realities and challenges of pioneering overtly democratic practices such as School Meetings within the publicly funded sector of education substantial attention is paid to analytic engagement with the kind of organisational structures, practices and cultures that seem to play an important role in their successful operation and development. The different phenomenological and theoretical strands weaving their way through the texture of Meeting practices also raise a number of key issues within the fields of social and political philosophy, in particular, whether School Meetings are best understood as predominantly political or communal phenomena. In gesturing towards the philosophical groundwork of a satisfactory answer I argue for the importance of the undeservedly neglected notion of democratic fellowship within the lexicon of democratic polity and aspiration.
Keywords Democracy  Fellowship  Radical  Participation  School Meetings
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-010-9208-5
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Persons in Relation.John Macmurray - 1961 - Humanities Press.
The Self as Agent.John MacMurray - 1957 - London: Faber.
Conditions of Freedom.John Macmurray - 1977 - Humanities Press.

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