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About the SeriesThe SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.Key Concepts in Education provides students with over 100 essential themes, topics and expressions that Education students are likely to encounter, both during their courses and beyond in professional practice. Co-authored to draw on experiences of working within academia, local authorities and the classroom, the entries provide:a definition of the concepta description of the historical and practical contextan explanation of how the concept is appliedan evaluation of the concepthelpful references and suggested further readingThis book will be essential reading for students of Education, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers. About the AuthorsFred Inglis is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sheffield. Lesley Aers is a senior member of a local authority school improvement service and an Ofsted inspector. Both authors are former schoolteachers.  


Democracy is the single most dominant and longest-lived political system in history. It started out from the tiny city-state of Athens two and a half thousand years ago and has long since established itself as the set of ideal principles for the ordering of the just society. Its world authority is now greater than that of any one religion, and its moral status such that even the worst despot tries to justify tyranny by some appeal to its name.

In part this longevity is due to the manifold nature of the concept. There have been innumerable versions of the democratic state, many of them notably undemocratic: Athenian and Roman representation, for instance, excluded slaves and women – indeed women were counted out of serious contribution ...

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