University of Oulu

Huhtala, HM. (2022). Mimetic Challenges of Learning to Be a Democratic Citizen. In: Holma, K., Kontinen, T. (eds) Learning, Philosophy, and African Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Mimetic challenges of learning to be a democratic citizen

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Author: Huhtala, Hanna-Maija1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-07-05


The concept of mimesis can be utilized in educational theorizations of democratic citizenship and in fleshing out learning paths related to citizenship. It offers the possibility to examine citizenship from the viewpoint of an informal way of learning that is, at times, unconscious, and even accidental, and which can lead to unwanted outcomes. Such characteristics of learning are inescapable for human beings and, thus, hold crucial importance for education for democratic citizenship. Drawing on the theory of mimesis, the chapter argues for the importance of acknowledging the mimetic power of emotions. It employs particularly Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s account of mimesis in which mimesis is both a possibility and a threat. However, according to them, the modern individual has a strong tendency toward unfavourable mimesis due to an unbalanced human-nature relationship. The overall purpose is to examine how the notion of mimesis can contribute to education for democracy.

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ISBN: 978-3-030-94882-5
ISBN Print: 978-3-030-94881-8
Pages: 59 - 76
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-94882-5_4
Host publication: Learning, Philosophy, and African Citizenship
Host publication editor: Holma, Katariina
Kontinen, Tiina
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.