Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kenneth Howe

Second Advisor

Michele Moses

Third Advisor

Ruben Donato

Fourth Advisor

Ben Kirshner

Fifth Advisor

Claudia Mills


Political divides in our democracy are ever-widening. Deliberative democratic civics education provides a new way for civics education to prepare students for a democracy that addresses the diversity in moral perspectives that have created the divides in a more constructive way. Civics education traditionally has been tied to aggregative theories of democracy. My dissertation defends grounding civics education in deliberative democracy. This type of civics education requires bringing moral controversy to the center of the civics classroom, and I defend that practice against its critics. I also examine controversies in deliberative democratic political theory from the perspective of civics education, and outline what a deliberative democratic civics education would look like in the classroom. Grounding civics education in deliberative democracy provides students not only with the means to participate in democracy as citizens, but to influence the shape of that democracy going forward.