What is the need for politics

Political education


The need for political education (pB) is undisputed today. PB in a broad sense is a collective term that encompasses all processes that have a politically formative effect on every person as a member of a social and political order through different groups, organizations, institutions and media. PB in a narrower sense is the collective term for all consciously planned and organized, continuous and targeted measures by educational institutions in order to equip young people and adults with the prerequisites necessary to participate in political and social life. PB in the latter sense takes place both in school, in the teaching of certain subjects, as a teaching principle or in educational processes of extracurricular institutions. As important as the extracurricular PD may be, the core of the theoretical discussion about the fundamentals, goals, concepts and justifications of the PD is essentially limited to the PD in school and the corresponding subjects. PB in school is therefore also the focus of further explanations. Due to this limitation, however, the content of the term has not yet been determined. If one tries to recognize a common conceptual core in the multitude of different positions, it proves to be helpful to first ask about the social conditions that have led to the development of an independent PD in school and about the functions of this PD for the → political system. The development conditions pB in the school are to be seen in a close connection with the social development and modernization process. The development of complex political and economic structures in the course of industrialization, urbanization, increasing political mobilization and the expansion of individual and collective opportunities for political participation also resulted in the differentiation and institutionalization of a specific PD. "The more the citizens were affected by political decisions and were dependent on political decisions for their existence, the more political processes demand new knowledge, changes in attitudes and behavior from the citizens and the more the stability of the political structures depends on the legitimation of the political order becomes dependent by the citizens, the more likely the institutionalization of political education, the imparting of specific knowledge and normative orientations in the general education system "(Behrmann 1972: 127 f.). A central function pB arises from this development context, the systematic transfer of knowledge about the existing or desired political system. In this function pB of imparting political knowledge and establishing political legitimation lies the empirical core and at the same time a common element that pB always contains despite its conceptual diversity. However, imparting knowledge about the political system cannot be impartial, but is always connected to certain political goals. If the empirical core pB can be traced back to the social modernization process, the normative core can be derived from the democratization process of the → society. The normative dimension pB results from the concept of the citizen and the concept of education. The course of democratization, the expansion of political → participation first to a large part of the citizens, and finally to all citizens, intends a citizen concept that is primarily characterized by autonomy, i. H. through the ability to take responsibility independently, independently and competently. If autonomy is the hallmark of the concept of citizenship, then maturity is the basis of the concept of education. One can only speak of maturity when a person has come to think for himself. According to all historical experiences, autonomy and maturity are only possible in democratic systems. Thus, under pB one can understand the systematic transfer of knowledge about the democratic political system with the aim of educating autonomous and responsible citizens.

Within this general description of the development context, the functions and the goals pB, very different positions and conceptions pB are possible and legitimate. PB and the democratic system are closely related, and in a pluralistic democracy (→ pluralism) that allows for different interests, on the one hand different drafts for the PB emerge, on the other hand they are the subject of scientific and political conflicts and controversies. In the development of the pB, in addition to the internal scientific discussion, the tension is always visible, which is expressed in the partly complementary, but to a large extent also controversial, relationships between educational policy programs of the state and theoretical-didactic drafts of the pB. Every presentation of the development of the pB in the FRG after 1945 and in the unified Germany after 1989 must therefore always be seen against the background of how the demand was justified to put the school pB in the service of changing goals and tasks of politics, whichever way the state acted and whether the theory and didactics of the PB took up, accepted, continued or defended and overcome state claims. The importance of pB for → democracy tended to increase after the fall of the wall and after the unification of Ds. Currently, it is primarily processes of globalization through which democracy is drawn into a fundamental reflection of its social, factual, temporal and spatial conditions and preconditions and which raise questions about the tasks and functions pB.

Against this background, it is helpful to take a critical look back at the different conceptions of the PD and to briefly trace the most important lines of conflict in the political and scientific discussion. A chronological breakdown of phases of the pB in the FRG, based on central categories, gives the following picture.

2. Concepts and controversies

2.1 Education for democracy (re-education)

The development of the pB after 1945 was primarily determined by the re-education policy of the Allies. Above all, the American re-education policy influenced the discussion about the pB in D. For the Americans, education was the only and best tool "to achieve democracy in the present gender in Germany". Democracy was not only understood as a form of government, but above all a form of life that had to be taught in detail.

2.2 Partnership education and the renewal of civic education

After the establishment of the FRG, the PB was mainly shaped by two concepts. From the 1951 published by Friedrich Oetinger (pseudonym for T. Wilhelm) "Turning Point in Political Education", in which the author claimed to develop "a new theory of political education". PB should no longer be education about the state or a certain form of government, but education about the factors that determine the functioning of democracy. The essence of the political lies in the task of politics to keep peace. Political education is accordingly education for a human attitude that comes as close as possible to the peace-making and peace-keeping function of politics. Understanding, solidarity, people as partners, human cooperation are essential elements of political education. The second concept was drawn up in discussion with Oetinger T. Litt, who had already had a strong influence on civics in the Weimar Republic. Litt accused the partnership education of liquefying the concept of the political into the social, indeed generally human. They ignore the state, which alone can guarantee peace, as well as the phenomenon of political struggle.

2.3 Fundamental insights as a goal of civic education

At the end of the 50s there was a reorientation of the pB, which is referred to as the "didactic turnaround". The focus was on the question of how the pB could help citizens to think, judge and act based on basic democratic convictions. Problems of didactic development and the imparting of basic political insights thus moved more into focus. This "didactic turn" in political education found its most direct expression in the book by K. G. Fischer, K. Herrmann, H. Mahrenholz "The Political Teaching" (1960). The aim of political education should then be "to awaken elementary political insights and to make them understandable in such a way that they can serve as a measure of future political opinion and will-formation and as a basis for politically sensible action by the citizen". The "didactic turn" finally led to the "Hessian Concept" pB, for which W. Hilligen, R. Engelhardt and K. G. Fischer stand primarily.

Source: Andersen, Uwe / Wichard Woyke (ed.): Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. 7th, updated Aufl. Heidelberg: Springer VS 2013. Author of the article: Peter Massing