Trust as subject content: Advancing students’ reasoning on democracy through displacement
Keywords:social science education, trust, citizenship, democracy, displacement
Purpose: The article explores how the tension between embracing and scrutinising democracy can be productively overcome through social science teaching about democracy that focuses on trust as a subject content.
Design/methodology/approach: Empirical materials were collected through focus group interviews before and after an inquiry-based teaching segment on trust, and the materials were analysed qualitatively through three grounded themes.
Findings: It is argued that working with the displacement of subject content in inquiry-based teaching about democracy enhances the possibilities for students to deepen their knowledge about democracy, while enabling them to scrutinise the democratic system critically.
Research limitations/implications: The article reports from a small-scale study of four classes in two upper secondary schools in Sweden, and the study provides tentative observations and conclusions that should be investigated further in future research.
Practical implications: The article shows how trust as a subject content can contribute to problematising students’ understandings of democracy, and how the displacement of content can be important in formulating compelling questions and in designing inquiries on democracy.
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