Character education, the individual and the political

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Recent critics have suggested that character education (either in and of itself or certain instantiations of it) is overly individualised and, as a result, fails to engage adequately with the political. In this paper, I offer an account of character education which takes issue with such criticisms, and seeks to make clear connections between the moral and the political necessary for character formation and expression. Drawing on an Aristotelian understanding of the political, I argue that individuals are intimately connected with their social associations, which in contemporary plural, westernised democracies include the sort of engagement with the political advocated by critics of character education. Through a focus on civic virtue and deliberative engagement, it is argued that an Aristotelian inspired account of character addresses the precise concerns, including recognising and challenging social injustices and deliberative engagement with difference, which critics suggest are lacking from character education.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Early online date24 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sep 2019


  • Character education, citizenship education, Aristotle, civic virtue, deliberation