Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Educating Democratic Citizens in Latin America

Article By: Fernando Reimers, and Eleonora Villegas-Reimers

Title: Educating Democratic Citizens in Latin America

Author: Fernando Reimers, and Eleonora Villegas-Reimers

Website: http://gseacademic.harvard.edu/~reimers/

Publish: Developing Cultures: Essays on Cultural Change (isbn: 0415952816)

Full Document:

Open societies require shared values, skills, knowledge and dispositions that allow individuals to think for themselves, to value their own freedom and that of others, to exercise agency in pursuing their aspirations and in contributing to their societies, to acknowledge and value differences among members of groups and to be tolerant, and to find productive ways to reach agreements when those differences lead to conflict. Democracy also requires accepted norms to balance individual and collective rights, which are helped by widespread acceptance of the rule of law and of the legitimacy of governments in the belief that public institutions can treat individuals impartially and fairly. This is to say open societies require a normative and regulatory framework that guarantees individual rights and freedoms and balances them against collective rights, and also a set of values and skills that enact those freedoms and support the legal framework and the institutions of democracy)c Thus democracy exists as much in the civil liberties guaranteed by the laws as in the minds of individuals and in the social norms and practices that express those liberties in action.