International workshop in philosophy of education on 15-16 June 2023, Helsinki, Finland

Workshop theme

In recent years, democracy as a value system and a form of government has faced rigorous challenges. The increasing success of populist politics, decreasing popular interest in elections and party politics, the new rise of authoritarian forms of leadership and militarism, various human rights breaches, and the growing flow of mis- and disinformation among other phenomena have created serious doubts concerning the future of democracy. Similarly, the possibility of education to contribute to the creation of democratic citizens has been placed into question; especially the ‘traditional’ approaches to democratic education, deriving from liberal and deliberative theories, have been criticised for their non-correspondence with political and educational realities, and for their potentially Eurocentric and imperialist nature. While many of the prevailing approaches to democratic education seem theoretically problematic and unequipped to meet the current challenges of contemporary democracies, novel theoretical openings in the field have been scarce.

Against this background, this international workshop in philosophy of education focuses on the question, how should the nature and role of democratic education be understood in the context of the current political, cultural, and theoretical landscape? Is the idea that education plays a key role in creating democratic citizens implausible and outdated? If not, how should the theories and practices of democratic education be reformed to meet the many challenges of contemporary democracies?

The conference invites presentations from different theoretical perspectives and welcomes both philosophical contributions and presentations that merge empirical and philosophical considerations on the topic of democratic education. The possible themes of presentations can involve (but are not limited to)

  • Theoretical controversies in the theory of democratic education
  • Democratic education and educational institutions
  • Democratic education and populism
  • Democratic education and marginalised groups
  • Democratic education and human rights
  • The role of epistemic issues (truth and knowledge) in democratic education
  • New, emerging strands of thought in democratic education

Keynote speakers

Professor Johannes Drerup

TU Dortmund, Germany/VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Prof. Drerup is professor of philosophy of education and educational theory at TU Dortmund as well as guest professor at VU Amsterdam. His research interests include the theory and practice of democratic education, philosophy of education and educational theory, philosophy of childhood, and political and moral philosophy. He is coeditor of the books “Liberal Democratic Education: A Paradigm in Crisis” (2022), “Toleration and the Challenges to Liberalism” (2020) as well as the “Cambridge Handbook of Democratic Education” (forthcoming in 2023).

Professor Katariina Holma

Faculty of Education, University of Oulu

Prof. Holma is a professor of philosophy and theory of education at the University of Oulu. Her work focuses on theories and philosophies of citizenship education and democracy, and the philosophy of science in educational research. She is the editor of the books “Learning, Philosophy, and African Citizenship” (Palgrave 2022) and “Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism” (Routledge 2020).

Associate Professor Christopher Martin

University of British Columbia, Okanagan School of Education

Christopher Martin is an Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Okanagan School of Education at The University of British Columbia. His areas of research interest include the aims of education and education for deliberative democracy. His recent work has begun to focus on the ethics of educational institutions in civil society. He is the author of “The Right to Higher Education: A Political Theory” (2022) and “Education in a Postmetaphysical World: Rethinking educational policy and practice through Jürgen Habermas’ Discourse Morality” (2014).

Submissions and presentations

Proposals for paper presentations should contain author information, abstract of max 500 words and up to 5 keywords. Presentation proposals are submitted via email to by 28 February 2023 with "DEMOPOL workshop" in the email title. Acceptance announcements will be sent in March 2023. Presentations will include a 20-minute presentation followed by 10-minute discussion.

Time and venue

The workshop is organized by the DEMOPOL-project (KONE foundation 2021-2024) as part of the 2023 Summer Days of the Research Network of History and Philosophy of Education in Finland. The workshop will take place at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland, on 15-16 June 2023.

Conference fee

There is no conference fee.

Further Information

Website for the 2023 Summer Days of the Research Network of History and Philosophy of Education:

Conference email: