Jason Brennan

“Civic Virtue for Realists”
Instead of asking what good we want political participation to do for us, we should ask what it realistically can do. And the upsetting answer is not much. We’re bad at politics and politics is bad for us. Ample empirical evidence shows that most citizens are systematically ignorant or misinformed about politics, while education and deliberation do little to solve the problem. Most citizens would do us a bigger favor by staying home than by voting or participating. But this doesn’t mean civic virtue is impossible—instead, we should be open to more liberal forms of civic virtue, where civic virtue can be expressed and exercised outside of politics.

Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University (Washington, US). He specializes in politics, philosophy, and economics.

He is the author of, for example, Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2016), Compulsory Voting: For and Against, with Lisa Hill (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Ethics of Voting (Princeton University Press, 2011), and, with David Schmidtz, A Brief History of Liberty (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).


Tatjana Zimenkova

“Re-politisizing civic education for the sake of diversity? A critical approach on participatory mainstream in civic education”

The talk on „Re-politicizing civic education for the sake of diversity? A critical approach on participatory mainstream in civic education“ poses a crucial question, of how critical approach within the citizenship education relates to the narratives of diversity and (political) participation. While discussing the self-understanding of minority learners (understood broadly as learners not belonging to powerful groups within the society) with respect to educational settings, participation and citizenship education, the presentation addresses the possible self-understandings of citizenship education as such. The presentation seeks to demonstrate, how the homogenizing narratives of diversity within citizenship education might contribute to the exclusion/non-participation of the learners.  The presentation reconstructs with help of empirical data the curricular approaches to heterogeneities and diversities in citizenship education and puts them into the context of education towards active participation. While discussing the framings which minority learners provide to the citizenship education, Tatjana Zimenkova asks, how civic education might support learners in order to avoid exclusion and promote participation.

The presentation concludes with the discourse of power and (dis)empowerment as central aspects of citizenship education and suggests some solutions of addressing power, heterogeneity and diversity for the sake of minority learners’ participation. These solutions should be critically approached during the following discussion.

She is Professor for Diversity in Teacher’s Training and Education Research at the Centre for Teacher Training and Researcher in democracy and political participation at the Institute for Philosophy and Political Science at TU Dortmund University, Germany. Her research interests are theories of democracy and participation, sexual citizenship and LGBT activism, citizenship education and minority learners.

She is co-editor of Education for Civic and Political Participation: A Critical Approach, Routledge Research in Education. (New York: Routledge, 2012) and author of, for example, “Educating Supermen and Superwomen: Global Citizenship Education” (in Z. Millei & R. Imre, 2015, Childhood and Nation. Interdisciplinary Engagements, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 229-252).