Democratic Participation and the Body Politic
Article first published online: 11 JUL 2005
Volume 55, Issue 4, pages 371–384, November 2005
How to Cite
Standish, P. (2005), Democratic Participation and the Body Politic. Educational Theory, 55: 371–384. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-4469.2004.00218.x-i1
- Issue published online: 11 JUL 2005
- Article first published online: 11 JUL 2005
Drawing partial contrasts with Deweyan and poststructuralist approaches, this essay develops an account of democratic participation based upon the work of Stanley Cavell. In particular it explores Cavell's reading of the celebrated treatment of the theme of the “body politic” in Shakespeare's Coriolanus. The discussion examines what it is that conditions the emergence of participative democracy, with particular reference to questions concerning the body and the voice. Tensions between perfectionism and perfectability are considered, and an attempt is made to delineate the kind of economy of exchange that is necessary for democracy. The implications of this account for education are discussed in terms of the kinds of qualities that need to be developed in people, and the nature of the curriculum and teaching methods that might contribute to this is explored.