The Dialectic Polarization of Consensus Formation: An Analysis of Civic Studies Media Discourse in Israel

Elie Friedman, Michal Neubauer-Shani


In democracies, civic education aims at fostering a common civic identity that prepares citizens to embrace disagreements about basic values and settle conflicts in legitimate ways, an acute need following social, political, and media polarization. Using the Israeli media debate about civic education as a case study, this study illustrates how, in a deeply polarized society, the debate regarding civic education has become yet another tool for aggravating polarization and “othering” of the opposing side of the debate while bringing this polarization into the classroom. Using dialectic discourse analysis, this study strives to disclose the central discursive resources used by both liberal and conservative “camps” to appropriate central societal values toward their position on civic studies. It illustrates how each camp attempts to present itself as aligning with “neutral” political education by appropriating “nonideological” societal values to advance its approach toward civics.


civics, civic education, political education, polarization, discourse analysis

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