Demokratins Stöttepelare : En studie av lärarstuderandes demokratiuppfattningar

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to analyse and describe the way prospective teachers of social science understand democracy and its conditions, and, on the basis of these descriptions, to discuss the actual and possible forms and contents of teaching democracy both in upper secondary school and in teacher training.The assumption is that students’ conceptions of democracy are influenced by the society they live in and the education they receive. To contextualize students’ conceptions of democracy the theories of Habermas and Dewey as well as some central concepts of contemporary democratic theory are drawn upon. The study primarily focuses on the content of education in democracy. The teachers’ conceptions of their own subject influence the content of their teaching and thus what their students learn. If teachers are aware of various ways of conceiving democracy, and the critical differences between them, their teaching practices may enable students to experience different aspects of democracy and, as a consequence, reach a fuller understanding of it.The empirical data consists of interviews with eight students of political science and eight teacher-students of social sciences. These interviews were carried out before and after they had studied theories of democracy. The study also includes interviews with eight teacher-students who had already finished their theoretical studies in social science and were at the end of their teacher training. In total, 40 interviews were carried out. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. A phenomenographic analysis of the students’ conceptions of democracy was performed, along with a thematic content analysis of their ideas of the conditions of democracy.Three main categories of conceptions of democracy were constituted. In the first democracy was viewed as a possibility to influence political decisions through institutionalized forms. In the second category democracy was seen as a feeling of participation in processes of political decision. In the third category democracy was understood as the possibility to take part in all decisions that concern one’s life. The thematic content analysis showed that the students’ reasoning about the conditions of democracy concerned three main themes: the values of democracy, the individual conditions and societal conditions. Several teacher-students regarded it as their duty to maintain the prevalent forms of democracy in Sweden. Students of political science on the other hand, focused more on developing these forms.Finally, the possible didactic consequences of these different views for the education in democracy in upper secondary schools and in teacher training are discussed.