Which is more important politics or culture

Cultural education

Joachim Detjen

To person

Prof. Dr. Joachim Detjen, born in 1948; since 1997 holder of the Chair for Political Science III: Political Education (Didactics of Social Studies) at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt.

Should artistic means help to find access to politics? If political education is strictly defined, and there are good reasons for this, the question must be answered in the negative. Otherwise their contours threaten to blur, believes the political scientist Joachim Detjen.

Political education enables people to participate in political life, for example as voters. (& copy tommyS © Siepmann-gbr.de / pixelio.de)

With the answer to the question of how cultural and political education relate to one another, one could make it easy for oneself: One would only need to point out that everything belongs to culture that is produced by man and is therefore not nature. Politics is undoubtedly one of human products and articulations, as it is one of the most important inventions of mankind. Its purpose is to regulate the conflict-ridden coexistence of people with the help of sophisticated institutions. If one understands politics as part of culture, one could draw the conclusion that political education is nothing more than a variant of cultural education. However, this conclusion cannot be reached if one examines more closely what civic and cultural education is concerned with.

Political education in the strict sense has nothing in common with cultural education

Political education serves to understand politics as well as to promote political judgment and political action skills. It is operated in order to make people politically mature and thus to Citizens close. Citizenship is certainly in the interests of the people, but it is even more in the interests of the democratic constitutional state. That is to say that the existence of political education is ultimately due to a genuine state concern.

An important part of political maturity is Knowledge. It is not about simple factual knowledge, but about well-founded explanatory knowledge that allows an understanding of political phenomena. This knowledge includes the mechanisms of the parliamentary system of government, the separation of powers and the market economy, the principles of the rule of law and the norms and structures of international politics. It is therefore a matter of relevant knowledge about central elements of macro-political relationships.

Then this is Sense of responsibility a component of political maturity. This consists at least in paying a minimum of attention to politics, while paying attention to the welfare of the local social environment as well as the state community. A sense of responsibility is also shown in the fact that one judges and acts rationally and not affectively or emotionally in political matters.

After all, the will to educate political participation and political engagement a component of political maturity. But maturity does not only exist when a maximum of participation and commitment is practiced. Political maturity is given when the individual knows, despite his passivity, how he can possibly become politically active. And if he is able to assess what efforts will be made and what chances of success his engagement has.

Political maturity requires not only attitudes, but also skills. The most important skill is that political judgment. Their promotion is therefore a core task of political education. The main reason for the importance of this ability lies in the legitimizing principle of democracy, the sovereignty of the people. First, it means that all state authority comes from the people. Second, it means that the holders of political offices are elected to be legitimized by the electorate. In view of this state of affairs, popular sovereignty is constitutionally justifiable if the citizens are able to judge politics independently and with a minimum of rationality. Without the rationality of the citizens, popular sovereignty would stand on feet of clay. Citizens are asked in elections to give their opinion on the competence of parties and people to solve difficult problems.