Democratic Education in an Armed Society: Learning to Live with Guns examines the points of intersection between school gun violence and democratic education. Samantha Deane explores the connection between how we teach children to think of themselves as democratic actors and the unceasing plague of gun violence. Juxtaposing two images of political agency, Deane connects an essentialized view of humans as masters of themselves, objects, and history with discourses that aim to train individuals to be autonomous and rational users of objects like guns. This liberal view gives us no way to think about how objects, narratives, and norms contour the selves we claim to be. Deane suggests that we must learn to attend to the ways in which our ability to act in the world is shared and distributed. In a society shot through with guns and enamored with individualism, the future of associational life depends on whether we learn to do democracy with the objects we hold dear.
Samantha Deane is director of the Formative Leadership Education Project and an instructor of Formative Education at Boston College.
Chapter One: Education for Democracy: Eamonn Callan’s Liberal Democratic Education
Chapter Two: Sharing Agency: What Guns and Social Gender Norms Make Possible
Chapter Three: Democratic Education: The Grand Agency of Humans
About the Author
In this powerful and engaging book, Samantha Deane asks us to imagine how we can live better with others in a world where guns will likely always exist. Rather than simplistic appeals to gun elimination or even control, she draws from feminist theories, new materialism, and pragmatist democracy to offer a compelling vision of democratic education that can help us move beyond polarizing debates about gun violence and instead learn to work together to create safe, peaceful communities marked by human flourishing, even with guns at our side.
By elegantly bridging the tradition of pragmatism with insights from new materialism, Samantha Deane’s Democratic Education in an Armed Society: Recalibrating to Learn with Guns offers a welcome way of reframing our discussions around rampage gun violence. She invites us to consider how a democratic education that attends to the associations we have with one another, nonhuman animals, objects, and our cultural world might call upon us to learn and to live differently. This is crucial reading for educators, scholars, policymakers, and anyone concerned with the relationship between gun violence and our democratic institutions.