This is what isonomy looks like!

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Democracy was always flawed. Even the Ancient Greeks knew that. Well, not all the Greeks, certainly the Ionians. They had a different idea: isonomia (no rule). Isonomy ran counter to democracy because it was not about investing power in particular groups or hierarchies. Instead, it offered a way of reconciling freedom and equality. Isonomy is worthy of consideration precisely because today's liberal democratic society's struggle to get this balance right. This chapter draws on philosopher Kojin Karatani's work to present isonomy as an original alternative to democracy. The second part of the chapter considers isonomy's practical implications, including in education. Make no mistake, isonomy is not arriving any time soon at a school near you. But the idea offers a way of thinking about why democracy is such a difficult, and often empty, promise to make—be it to society or schools. Rather than offering yet another critique of democracy's shortcomings, this chapter suggests that isonomy offers alternative ideas to vivify schooling's social connections and collaborations. These ideas point beyond the competitive, instrumental, and transactional nature of education under today's democratic conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Perspectives on Education for Democracy
Subtitle of host publicationCreative Responses to Local and Global Challenges
EditorsStewart Riddle, Amanda Heffernan, David Bright
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003145806
ISBN (Print)9780367703431, 9780367703448
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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