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Learning democracy in a Swedish gamers’ association: Representative democracy as experiential knowledge in a liquid civil society

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Author(s): Tobias Harding

Journal: European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults
ISSN 2000-7426

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 135;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Phronesis | Sweden | civil society | democracy | learning

ABSTRACT
To explore the role of civil society organizations in learning democracy this articlecombines the concept of democracy as 'phronesis' with neo-institutional theory, as well as with Hannah Pitkin's concepts of representation. It presents a case study (based on qualitative research) of how democracy is learned in SVEROK, a Swedish youth organization focusing on activities such as computer and role-playing games, activities often associated with informal organization. In SVEROK they are organized in an organization sharing many features with established Swedish organizations, including hierarchic formal representative democracy. The norm in SVEROK is a pragmatic organizational knowledge focusing on substantive and formal representation. Organized education plays only a limited role. Learning is typically informal and experience-based. An organization similar to earlier national organizations is createdby self-organized and self-governing associations in government-supported cooperation. The case study supports Theda Skocpol's argument that organizationalstructure is vital to democratic learning.
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