An experiment in radical pedagogy: Enactment of deep democracy in a philosopher's cafe

Peer reviewed: 
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Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Cohen, A., Bai, H. & Green L. (2008). An experiment in radical pedagogy: Enactment of deep democracy in a philosopher's cafe. Radical Pedagogy, 9(2).

Date created: 
2008
Keywords: 
education
Deep democracy
philosophy
intersubjectivity
Inner work
Group dynamics
Abstract: 

This paper introduces the idea of, and narrates an experiment in, the form of a Philosopher’s Café and the practices of Deep Democracy as radical pedagogical methodology. Philosopher’s Café’s are public forums where the practice of open dialogue is practiced, and enacts Deep Democracy. Deep democracy challenges the classical understanding of democracy as majority rule based on one vote to each citizen, which is based in the ontology of individualism and its privileging of expressions of self-interest. Interbeingness describes the interconnectedness of individuals and thereby contests the classical categorical separation of self and other. Our paper describes the process of Deep Democracy development in a Philosopher’s Café that was part of a major international conference about Existential Psychotherapies. The theses tested in this small experiment were the value and possibility of intermingling process and content, the importance of personal inner work, and the effect of process facilitation using the format of a Philosopher’s Café and the practices of Deep Democracy . This experiment supports the classroom potential for personal growth, community development, and subject matter assimilation. The inherent implications for classroom practice are outlined.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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