Democracy has been a very constant topic in educational research, especially from the 1980s. The hegemonic conceptions of democracy, coming from political theory and sociology, have been introducing democracy as a government procedure in which participation seems to work as an administration technique, as a means of legitimating granted integration. However, both sociology and political science offer us different democratic, non-hegemonic theories in which participation is an element which fosters emancipation and, therefore, social change. This article provides a discussion about two of these perspectives: Boaventura dos Santos' participative democracy and Ernesto Laclau and Chantall Mouffe's radical and plural democracy. It is, thus, an attempt to contribute to the improvement of theoretical perspectives which can be used in studies about democracy in education.
Participative democracy; Radical and plural democracy; Education; Emancipation; Social change