Critical Pedagogy and Democratic Education: Possibilities for Cross-Pollination

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Reviewing the literature on critical pedagogy (CP) and democratic education (DE) reveals that very little has been written comparing the two (Knight and Pearl in Urban Rev 32(2):197-226, 2000). After reading the Urban Review article by Knight and Pearl (2000)-the only publication explicitly comparing the two approaches to education-I was intrigued to further compare, contrast, and consider the possibilities of connecting democratic education and critical pedagogy. My review of current literature suggests that the authors may offer some misleading claims about the theory, operation, and potential of CP. This manuscript, therefore, attempts to (a) present counterevidence to the claims of Knight and Pearl (2000) and (b) explore possibilities for cross-pollination between CP and DE. To do this, this manuscript presents various aspects of Knight and Pearl's conception of DE; lays out the tenets of CP by drawing on the most recent work of its theorists and practitioners; and, lastly, demonstrates not only that the two approaches are more similar than different, but also that possibilities for cross-pollination exist in working towards the formation of democratic and social justice-oriented citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-242
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship education
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Democracy
  • Democratic education
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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