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Document Type

Introductory Essay

Theme

A LOOK BACK AT JOHN DEWEY ON EDUCATION AND DEMOCRACY

Abstract

In a special issue focusing on the relationship of democracy and schooling, an essay on the influence of John Dewey seems necessary. This is because in American and international educational psyches, Dewey’s name is associated in a progressive tradition with this relationship. In effect, a historical and contemporaneous trope, a symbolically discursive unity, has been established of Dewey and democracy and schools. The controversy of this essay concerns what it might mean if a missing link were identified in Dewey’s writings, in which he rarely, almost never, made the tropic connection himself. That is, when he wrote about democracy, he did not write about schools. Questions arise: Is there evidence of a missing link in writings about Dewey and how might it be manifest? Is there evidence in Dewey’s own writings, and what might be reasons for what is missing? How might it matter today if there is a missing link between democracy and schools?

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