Social Perspective on Child Education: Society, Democracy, and Political Literacy in Child Education

Social Perspective on Child Education: Society, Democracy, and Political Literacy in Child Education

Selda Şan (Ege University, Turkey) and Hülya Gölgesiz Gedikler (Ege University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1847-2.ch008


In order to shape societies' future and bring societies to contemporary levels, it is important to have well-educated children. Children affect the future and development level of the society. Moreover, many political events in society affect the child's future because educational programs are affected due to social events. Country managers/politicians include the characteristics that they want to bring to the child within their educational goals. Therefore, society, children, and politics are in a close relationship. Today, it's aimed to have politically literate citizens sensitive to the expectations of the society in the context of national and international dimensions. Developed societies expect children to be educated in this direction. In this chapter, society, children, and politics are mentioned in the context of child education. It also discusses how society, politics, and children affect each other and what political literacy means for children, society, and politics in citizenship education.
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In today's globalizing world, people with diverse characteristics happen to live together in many countries throughout the world due to discretionary individual displacement and, in particular, mass migration associated with a number of reasons. It is possible to establish a peaceful and safe common life in a society, which varies in terms of human characteristics, based on mutual tolerance and respect among individuals, who make up the society. Furthermore, an equal representation of social diversities and a sustained democratic system that makes it easier for people to live together safely is also of great importance. Education is one of the most important and effective ways of raising individuals equipped with these values in order for societies can survive thanks to democracy and tolerance.

Society is a totality of relations that is located in a geographical area, that adopts a common culture, and ensures the continuity of culture (Sağ, 2003). Socialization must be in place in order to ensure the continuity of the foregoing integrity. Socialization is the process of acquiring the societal and group values, rules, and culture, in which the individual lives (Çoştu, 2009) and exposed to as it begins from the birth and continues throughout one’s life (Canatan, 2008). In this way, the individual becomes a part of society (Atak, 2017). But children and young people need guidance throughout this process. All over the world, communities assume the responsibility for and the privilege of looking after children and young people and keeping them safe (Obe & Gruescu, 2011). In today's world, the civilization level of the societies is often measured by the opportunities provided to children (Ereş, 2009). In the context of such understanding of a contemporary society, children should become an individual, who can make one’s own decision in a confident manner (Aslan & Arslan Cansever, 2007). The main task of the schools/education system is then to educate children, who can think in a universal way in the setting of the information society, question the information that exists around them, solve problems, and adapt themselves to innovation (Parlar, 2012). It is mainly expected from school to raise children, who can keep up with the society. Due to the fact that child education is an important element to ensure the continuity of socialization, one of the missions of the school appears to be making them adapted to the society. In order to gain a place in the society, child must know all aspects of the culture of the society in which one lives (Elkin, 1990). In order for child to live in harmony with society, educational institutions should provide the child with basic skills (Erden, 1998). It should ensure that the child is aware of the political, economic, and cultural characteristics of one’s community and the world, and becomes an active citizen.

On the national level, citizens’ personalities can have an influence on the political culture (Markovik, 2010). Therefore, children should be educated so that they can critically examine and evaluate governments within the framework of democracy and tolerance in both national and universal dimensions. In this context, one of the most important features of a citizen as expected in this age is to be a politically literate individual as regards the democracy and citizenship education. Political literacy is to understand the concepts related to politics and use such concepts in life (Akhan, 2013). Political literacy is a combination of knowledge, skills, and values (Crick & Lister, 1978; Advisory Group on Citizenship, 1998; Crick, 2000; Akhan, 2013). Political literacy is to deal with political issues and governance through knowledge, skills, and values in each institution of society not only limited to the governance of the country but also the governance of family, school, etc. as well (Şan, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Citizenship Education: Citizenship education is the training of effective and active citizens. It is the training of citizens who question, evaluate and present creative solutions and know their responsibilities and rights. Citizenship education is the training of effective citizens by centralizing the components of social participation, social and moral responsibility.

Democracy: Democracy is the sovereignty of the people. It is the participation of the citizens in the administration in order to realize the sovereignty of the people.

Political Literacy: It is for individuals to take an active and effective role in each field of society related to the concept of management/ governance through knowledge, skills and values. Political literacy is to participate in management, to participate in written and oral ways in the face of political events in national and universal dimensions. It is to be able to read and interpret texts, visuals on political issues.

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