Strengthening Democracy Through Participation and Critical Adult Education

The Case of the Participatory Budget


  • Marlon Sanches Concordia University


Neoliberalism, Critical Pedagogy, Citizenship Education, Participatory Democracy, Participatory Budget


Reducing education to pure technique is to anesthetize curiosity (Freire, 1997). Neoliberal policies privilege private interests and promote a model of education based on competition and consumerism (Harvey, 2005). This model of education perpetuates and increases inequalities. It also affects education whose priority is not to deliver learners with an immediate financial return. I claim that critical citizenship education and adult education principles have the potential to oppose the neoliberal forces in education. Additionally, promoting a “thick” vision of democracy (Carr, 2008) underpinned in citizens’ participation is a strong tool to counter neoliberal policies. In this study, I will look into the Brazilian participatory budget initiative as a tool to promote democracy and citizenship. Finally, I will propose a theoretical framework that incorporates strong adult education principles to strengthen democracy in times of neoliberalism.




How to Cite

Sanches, M. (2021). Strengthening Democracy Through Participation and Critical Adult Education: The Case of the Participatory Budget. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 33(1). Retrieved from