A1 Journal article (refereed)
A phenomenological research of democracy education in a Finnish primary-school (2023)

Männistö, P. M., & Moate, J. (2023). A phenomenological research of democracy education in a Finnish primary-school. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2023.2196525

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Männistö, Perttu Matias; Moate, Josephine

Journal or series: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

ISSN: 0031-3831

eISSN: 1470-1170

Publication year: 2023

Publication date: 05/04/2023

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2023.2196525

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/86375


This phenomenological research examines democracy education and the conditions contributing to young students’ democratic agency. The dataset includes interview and observation data from a school and educational decision-makers. The findings from the iterative analysis highlight the contradictions between democracy education as an ideal and opportunities for democratic agency. One significant contradiction was the expectation that young pupils should be competent democratic agents before being offered opportunities to act democratically. Young students deemed to possess the greatest competencies were offered opportunities to learn about democracy in action, whereas most students were expected to focus on their individual labour. Within these conditions, teachers remained in charge of sharing important information, deciding the contents of education and the organisation of the public, socio-political life in school. This study highlights the need to go beyond espoused ideals of democracy education and to re-consider the conditions for developing democratic agency in Finnish primary-school education.

Keywords: democracy; phenomenology; participation; human agency; action

Free keywords: democracy education; participation; agency and action; phenomenology

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2023

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-05-09 at 10:20