Democracy, Culture and Education in Ecuador : Philosophical Education as a Means to Promote a Culture of Democracy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education and Human Services


Educational Foundations

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Mark L. Weinstein

Committee Member

Maughn Gregory

Committee Member

Megan Laverty


In this dissertation, I criticize the Ecuadorean educational system on the grounds that it reinforces an authoritarian culture that constitutes a formidable obstacle for the development o f a more authentic democracy in Ecuador. In order to begin to correct the diagnosed problem, I propose a policy of educational reform that takes the teaching of philosophy as the paradigm of what political education should be.

In chapter one I describe the current political system in Ecuador, and I argue that although it has been officially called democratic since its foundation, in actuality it Is democratic mostly in appearance, as many o f its internal features make it a subtype of authoritarian regime.

In chapter two I study the main theories proposed to explain the speciousness o f Ecuador’s democracy, and I advance the concept o f political culture as a more useful explanatory tool. Accordingly, I describe Ecuador’s dominant political culture, which I find authoritarian, and I identify three main components: dogmatism, paternalism, and personalism.

In chapter three I elaborate and defend a model of democracy that is constitutional, participatory, and deliberative, and that I believe would be more responsive to the needs of citizens in Ecuador than the current model, which is illiberal, elitist, and aggregative.

In chapter four I inquire how the political prescription recommended in the previous chapter can be achieved by educational means, and I conclude that Ecuador should reform its schooling system so that schools become reproductive agents o f a culture o f democracy, and places where students develop civic virtues.

In chapter five I examine the schooling system in Ecuador, and I find it partially responsible for shaping and perpetuating the authoritarian political culture described earlier, because o f the de facto exclusion o f marginal groups of people that it produces, and because of the authoritarian practices it harbors.

In chapter six I reject the policy o f nationalist enculturation, which is the current dominant form o f political education in Ecuador. Instead, I propose a political education inspired in the teaching o f philosophy, which, I argue, can help develop the dispositions required for the exercise of critical and enlightened citizenship.


Print version available at Sprague Library.

Full text available at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

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