My major ongoing theoretical inquiry is about the connection between the type of knowledge taught in education systems like New Zealand’s and the viability of democracy in the 21st century. It has long been assumed that educated people will be committed to democratic principles such as equality and justice and to the institutions which safeguard these principles. However, the emergence of populism and authoritarian governments around the world suggest that we can no longer assume the strength of democracy nor its inevitability as the political system for the future.

What then does this new world hold for New Zealand? What can our education do to ensure that democracy remains strong in this country? My research examines the type of knowledge taught at school and how it is taught. I ask how this knowledge and the type of thinking it develops produces young people who have the ability and the desire to be democratic citizens.

The publications for this Project are:

Rata, E. The Politics of Knowledge in Education. Published in The Educationalist, January 2020 (Originally delivered as a Public Lecture, May 2014, Bhopal, India.)  

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Rata, E. (2017) Connecting Knowledge to Democracy In Knowledge, curriculum and equity:Social realist perspectives. In Barrett, B., Hoadley, U. & J. Morgan, (Eds.), Routledge. (pp. 19-32); London: Routledge.

Rata, E. (2018), ‘A Durkheimian Approach to Knowledge and Democracy’ In. Guile, D.,Lambert D. & M. Reiss (Eds.), Sociology, Curriculum Studies and Professional Knowledge: New Perspectives on the work of Michael Young (pp. 73-83). London & New York: Routledge. Chapter 5.

Rata, E. (2014). Knowledge and democracy: The strife of the dialectic. In Barrett, B. & Rata, E. (Eds.), Knowledge and the future of the curriculum: International studies in social realism. (pp. 79-91). Basingstoke UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Rata, E. (2012) The Politics of Knowledge in Education. London: Routledge.