Higher education for citizens of caring democracies

J.C. Tronto


Educational development has gained legitimacy as a field of inquiry.  Larger structural questions about the place of universities within democracies, however, should be a basic concern of educational developers.  This paper poses the question, “which side are you on?” It argues that developers can either acquiesce to the conditions of universities in a neoliberal setting or can resist by thinking about universities as a critical tool in the development of caring democracies.


Educational development; neoliberalism; caring democracy; ethic of care; GI Bill of Rights

Full Text:



Carbone, J. & Cahn, N. 2014. Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family, New York: Oxford University Press.

CBS News. 2008. How the GI Bill of Rights Changed America [Online]. CBS News. Available: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-the-gi-bill-changed-america/ [Accessed 8 November 2016 2016].

Chakrabortty, A. & Weale, S. 2016. Universities accused of 'importing Sports Direct model' for lecturers' pay [Online]. London: The Guardian. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/16/universities-accused-of-importing-sports-direct-model-for-lecturers-pay [Accessed Nov 16 2016 2016].

Clegg, S. 2009a. Forms of knowing and academic development practice. Studies in Higher Education 34(4):403-416.

Clegg, S. 2009b. Histories and institutional change: understanding academic development practices in the global ‘north’ and ‘south’. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 19(1):53-65.

Davids, N. 2014. Gratitude as an enactment of democratic citizenship education. South African Journal of Higher Education, 28(5):1513-1524.

Engster, D. 2007. The Heart of Justice: Care Ethics and Political Theory, New York: Oxford.

Fisher, B. & Tronto, J. C. 1990. Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring In: Abel, E. K. & Nelson, M. (eds.) Circles of Care. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Foa, R. S. & Mounk, Y. 2017. The Signs of Deconsolidation. Journal of Democracy, 28(1), pp 5-15.

Friedman, M. 1962. Capitalism and Freedom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Goldstein, A. 2012. Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action During the American Century, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

HAGE, G. 2003. Against Paranoid Nationalism, Annandale, NSW, Pluto Press Australia.

Hirschman, A. O. 1968. Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change, and Leadership. Daedalus, 97(3):925-937.

Isenberg, N. 2016. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, New York: Penguin.

Leibowitz, B. 2016. The Professional Development of Academics as Teachers: Reconsiderations. In: Case, J. M. & Huisman, J. (eds.) Researching Higher Education: International Perspectives on Theory, Policy and Practice. New York: Routledge.

Leonhardt, D. 2016. Schools That Work. New York Times, November 4, 2016.

Lewis, K. G. 1996. Faculty development in the United States: A brief history. The International Journal for Academic Development, 1(2):26-33.

Little, D. & Green, D. A. 2012. Betwixt and between: academic developers in the margins. International Journal for Academic Development, 17(3):203-215.

Mahlomaholo, S. M. G. 2014. Higher education and democracy: Analysing communicative action in the creation of sustainable learning environments. South African Journal of Higher Education, 28(3):678-696.

Marable, M. 2000. How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society, London: Pluto Press.

Mettler, S. 2005. Citizens to Soldiers: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation, New York: Oxford University Press.

Minsky, C. 2016. Shanghai Ranking: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 results announced [Online]. London: Times Higher Education. Available: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/news/shanghai-ranking-academic-ranking-world-universities-2016-results-announced [Accessed November 16 2016].

Narayan, U. 1995. Colonialism and its others: considerations on rights and care discourses. Hypatia, 10(2):133-40.

Nkoane, M. M., Francis, D. & Mahlomaholo, S. M. G. 2014. Higher education for democratic citizenry through the creation of sustainable learning environments-leading article: Part 1: exploration of the critical relationship between higher education and the development of democracy in South Africa. South African Journal of Higher Education, 28(3), pp 673-677.

Ornstein, A. C. 2007. Class counts : education, inequality, and the shrinking middle class, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Group, Inc.

Reece, F. 1931. Which Side Are You On?

Ruddick, S. 1995. Maternal Thinking: Toward a Poltiics of Peace, Rev., Boston: Beacon.

Rugaber, C. 2017. Pay Gap Between College Grads and Everyone Else at a Record. New York Times, January 13, p.A1.

Spaull, N. 2013. Poverty & privilege: Primary school inequality in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(5):436-447.

Stephens, N. M., Fryberg, S. A., Markus, H. R., Johnson, C. S. & Covarrubias, R. 2012. Unseen disadvantage: How American universities' focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6):1178-1197.

Swartz, L., Rohleder, P., Bozalek, V., Carolissen, R., Leibowitz, B. & Nicholls, L. 2009. 'Your Mind is the Battlefield': South African Trainee Health Workers Engage with the Past. Social Work Education, 28(5):488-501.

Tronto, J. C. 2010. Creating Caring Institutions: Politics, Plurality, and Purpose. Ethics and Social Welfare, 4(2):158-171.

Tronto, J. C. 2013. Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality and Justice, New York: NYU Press.

Tronto, J. C. 2015. Who Cares? How to Reshape a Democratic Politics, Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20853/32-6-2710


  • There are currently no refbacks.

eISSN: 1753-5913

Copyright © 2016 South African Journal of Higher Education

Hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2016.

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.