Political Domain: Democracy
al Domain: Democ
The United States is a democracy where citizens are diverse yet equal and have the Constitutional right to participate directly or through elected representatives in deliberative government bodies established to formulate and implement policies, laws, and initiatives for the mutual benefit of individuals and their communities. This convoluted political ideal and its derivatives are communicated across the country and throughout the world as if they were accurate descriptions of matter-of-fact reality. But close scrutiny of American political arenas may uncover realities that are decidedly undemocratic. One of the most enduring educational missions of public high schools is to ensure that democracy gets realized as a matter of fact. But whether this occurs depends on how political crosscurrents are negotiated within classrooms and corridors.
This chapter describes political crosscurrents and how democratic education was pitted against the politics of domination in the three public high schools. As is shown, the tension between pedagogical ideals and everyday reality had profound consequences for how high school seniors came of age in the American political domain. The discussion begins with how the political self strives for recognition in the midst of competing ideologies.
The political self, like other identity facets, has psychological and cultural aspects. The most significant psychological aspect is the desire for recognition that Fukuyama (1992) explicated in terms of the Platonic concept