Democracy in schools as the foundation of an education for Social Justice ​


Project information:

  • Call: Call for proposals 2017 of R+D Projects corresponding to the  Cientific Research and Technical Excelence Promotion National Programme
  • Funding: R+D Projects. Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiviness
  • Participating entities: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Metropolitan Manchester University, Universidade do Porto, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Consejo Interinstitucional de Investigación Educativa de la Secretaría de Educación de Jalisco
  • Reference: EDU2017-82688-P
  • PI: F. Javier Murillo
  • Number of participanting researchers: 50
  • Date: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2021

All search for Social Justice must be, a the same time, an effort of democratization (Fraser, 2008). Building an Education for Social Justice requires, therefore, to jointly address democracy in schools and the teaching of democracy. In this way, this proposal is based on the sustained work of research, development, transfer and training of the Social Justice Research Group Educational Change for Social Justice (GICE) of the Autonomous University of Madrid, which in this case, gives a step forward by focusing on democracy in schools. It receives strong support from the Institute of Human Rights, Democracy and Peace Culture (DEMOSPAZ) of the Autonomous University of Madrid, and from the School Network “Hermanadas por la Justicia Social”. This international investigation is planned with six research groups from European and Latin American countries.  

This workstream is harmonised and gathers the last worldwide advances requesting a democratisation in the school and society. The objectives of this research are three: 

    • Understand the conceptions of educational agents about democracy and its exercise in the context of the school. 
    • Understand the meanings and political meanings that underlie the school’s democratic culture.
    • Deepen the knowledge and development of democracy for an education in and from the Social Justice from a process of action-research with a network of schools committed to social Justice. 
To achieve this, the development of three complementary studies is proposed: 

    1. Phenomenographic Study. In order to know the conceptions, we have opted for a study of phenomenological focus in which the participants will be 270 teachers, 60 managers and 270 students from 6 countries and of different educational level, context and ownership of the center.
    2. Ethnographic study complemented with Social Networks Analysis. At least 9 schools in 6 countries will be studied, in which the management team, professors, students, administration and service personnel and families participate, and that allow understanding the political meanings and meanings of the school community in relation to democracy. These studies will be reinforced with the Analysis of Social Networks in each of the centers as a complementary research strategy that makes it possible to know the construction of power from interpersonal relationships.
    3. Research-action with a network of 7 already formed centers that is characterized by working for Education for Social Justice. It seeks to transform and generate knowledge about education in and from democracy through a Project Based Learning approach.
The research has been designed to optimize its impact and internationalization, in this way, in addition to collaborating with Institute DEMOSPAZ and with the School Network ” Hermanadas por la Justicia Social”, having the participation of 6 teams from as many other countries and with the support of RILME, a complete dissemination plan aimed at administrators, researchers, teacher educators, teachers and society in general. Includes the publication of 24 articles in national and international impact journals, a book for teachers, dissemination articles, reports for administrations, design of a website and use of social networks, organization of an international outreach event, actions for dissemination international and preparation of a European project.