The dimensions of, and connections between, multicultural social justice education and education for democracy: What are the roles and perspectives of future educators?


  • Paul R. Carr Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Gary Pluim Instructor Faculty of Education Lakehead University (Orillia)
  • Gina Thésée Professor Faculté d'éducation Université du Québec à Montréal


multicultural social justice education, multiculturalism, education for democracy, hegemony, teacher education


In this article we explore connections between multicultural social justice education, democracy, and education for democracy. Just as critical multicultural (social justice) education does not simply involve examining the equal contributions of culture(s) to a society, thick education for democracy does not seek to merely educate learners about processes of equal representation of citizens. These projects must introduce the realities of the power imbalances in society that directly connect to the elements of cultures, identities, experiences and realities constructed by its members. Interrogating future educators’ perspectives, we found that while the majority of respondents viewed democracy in its’ hegemonic context of formal politics, voting, and elections, some also perceived these projects in alternative ways that emphasize equity and social justice. These findings underpin the need to include critical pedagogies that focus on reflexivity, transmediation, autobiography, and power and positionality. A broad, multi-pronged framework for conceptualizing a critical, engaged, transformative education for democracy is proposed, in which multicultural social justice education is inextricably interwoven.

Author Biographies

Paul R. Carr, Université du Québec en Outaouais

PAUL R. CARR is a Full Professor in the Department of Education at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada and is also the Chair-holder of the UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Global Citizenship and transformative Education. His research is broadly concerned with political sociology, with specific threads related to democracy, media literacy, peace studies, intercultural relations, and transformative change in education.

Gary Pluim, Instructor Faculty of Education Lakehead University (Orillia)

Gary W. J. Pluim is a educator and researcher in the areas of global citizenship, education for democracy, social justice, and experiential education. His work is published in journals such as Intercultural Education, Curriculum Inquiry, and the Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education. He is currently a lecturer in the Faculty of Education and the department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University (Orillia, Ontario). He has worked with the Democracy, Political Literacy and the Transformative Education research team since 2013.

Gina Thésée, Professor Faculté d'éducation Université du Québec à Montréal

GINA THÉSÉE is Full Professor in the Department of Education and Pedagogy at University of Quebec à Montreal (UQAM) in Montreal, Canada. Her research focuses on interculturalism, epistemology, social justice, and science education, and she has published widely in these areas. She is a Co-Investigator of the Democracy, political literacy and quest for transformative education, and the Co-Chair of the recently-awarded UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Global Citizenship and Transformative Education.