Education is thought to provide a certain outcome—a
promise. I argue that a promise that
education will counteract cultural and social disintegration involves a risk of engendering
narrow social and cultural incorporation. On what reasonable basis could education contribute
to civic life, when contemporary Western society is represented by a diversity of lifestyles
and beliefs, with roots in different traditions? Habermas’s communicative theory and theory
of procedural democracy contain a normative core of presuppositions that function as
enabling conditions for practical discourse to take place under such conditions. However,
Habermas’s perspective conceptualizes these presuppositions as features of a political
culture whose ‘accommodating quality’ citizens need to be able to expect sociologically.
Within a political and moral theory, Habermas only counts on these preconditions
implicitly, but he does hope for such accommodating qualities to be fulfilled in a process of
socialization and in political forms of life.
2006. Vol. 38, no 5, 545-568 p.