Working Group on Hermeneutic Didactics of Civic Education

Cur­rent Events

The next con­gress of the working group takes place on  05. April — 06. April 2019. The Call for Papers can be down­loa­ded here.

The GPJE working group on her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion was foun­ded in Novem­ber 2005. It ori­gi­na­ted in a loose coope­ra­tion bet­ween the GPJE mem­bers Karl-Heinz Breier, Carl Deich­mann, Ingo Juch­ler, Hans-Wer­ner Kuhn and Tho­mas Goll. Its first insti­tu­tio­nal struc­tures were estab­lished at the Fried­rich-Schil­ler-Uni­ver­sity, Jena. These were the “Jena Dia­lo­gues on Civic Edu­ca­tion” and the “Sym­po­si­ums on Didac­tics of Civic Edu­ca­tion” (2004–2012), both estab­lished by Carl Deich­mann, to which col­leagues con­tri­bu­ted pre­sen­ta­ti­ons on her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion each semes­ter. During the sum­mer term 2011, a lec­ture series on this topic was held at the Fried­rich-Schil­ler-Uni­ver­sity, Jena as well.

Her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion as rese­arch pro­gram

Her­me­neu­tics is con­si­de­red to be the huma­nities’ cen­tral metho­do­logy. Pri­ma­rily because of the impor­t­ance of texts, pic­tures, movies and com­mu­ni­ca­tive acts, it is con­si­de­red to be an essen­tial metho­do­logy for the didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion as well. The cir­cu­lar struc­ture of under­stan­ding is a sub­stan­tial chal­lenge not only for inter­pre­ting poli­ti­cal phe­no­mena but also for lear­ning pro­ces­ses in civic edu­ca­tion. The signi­fi­cance of prior know­ledge for the pro­cess of under­stan­ding, or rather for lear­ning pro­ces­ses in gene­ral, is high­lighted by cogni­tive psy­cho­lo­gi­cal rese­arch. Accord­ing to this rese­arch, know­ledge-pro­du­cing thin­king is only pos­si­ble if there is already back­ground know­ledge, which then ser­ves as raw mate­rial for con­tent-broa­de­ning thin­king pro­ces­ses.

In other words and vali­da­ted many times over: Prior know­ledge is the pre­dic­tor for the con­struc­tion of new know­ledge. Firstly, the rese­arch inte­rest of her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion con­sists of the exami­na­tion of both social and poli­ti­cal inter­pre­ta­ti­ons (self-inter­pre­ta­ti­ons) as well as the ana­ly­sis of said inter­pre­ta­ti­ons’ func­tions for rai­sing young peop­les’ poli­ti­cal awa­reness. The her­me­neu­tic cha­rac­ter of the didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion fur­ther beco­mes appa­rent in the fact that rese­arch ana­ly­sis cen­ters on the rela­ti­ons bet­ween the eli­tes’ inter­pre­ta­ti­ons and their signi­fi­cance for the individual’s gai­ning of poli­ti­cal awa­reness, drawing fur­ther con­clu­si­ons about the insights that stu­dents are sup­po­sed to gain.

Secondly, rese­arch inte­rest also focu­ses on the exami­na­tion and deve­lop­ment of civic-edu­ca­tio­nal didac­ti­cal and metho­di­cal stra­te­gies, wher­eby young people can under­stand the poli­ti­cal rea­lity in its various dimen­si­ons and deve­lop stra­te­gies of action to actively par­ti­ci­pate as citizens.On the one hand, the didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion con­tri­bu­tes to poli­ti­cal cul­ture rese­arch by exami­ning the signi­fi­cance of lan­guage, sym­bols (sym­bo­lic poli­tics), indi­vi­du­als (and their inter­pre­ta­ti­ons) and insti­tu­ti­ons for the young people’s gai­ning of awa­reness. On the other hand, it also con­tri­bu­tes to the fur­ther deve­lop­ment of demo­cra­tic poli­ti­cal cul­ture by drawing (civic-edu­ca­tio­nal didac­ti­cal) con­clu­si­ons for prac­ti­cal civic edu­ca­tion.

The rese­arch inte­rest (epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal star­ting point, method and aim) of a her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion draws spe­cial atten­tion to cer­tain rese­arch topics and their signi­fi­cance for civic edu­ca­tion:

  • The signi­fi­cance of poli­ti­cal lan­guage (the lan­guage of poli­ti­ci­ans, of citi­zens in ever­y­day life, of tea­chers and stu­dents in the class­room) for the crea­tion of poli­ti­cal awa­reness;
  • the veri­fi­ca­tion of civic edu­ca­tio­nal methods in the light of whe­ther or not they con­tri­bute to a deeper under­stan­ding of poli­ti­cal pro­ces­ses and insti­tu­ti­ons;
  • the pro­mo­tion of deve­lo­ping the stu­dents’ inter­pre­ta­tive and orga­ni­za­tio­nal poli­ti­cal know­ledge by means of ana­ly­ti­cal and nor­ma­tive cate­go­ries;
  • the exami­na­tion and pro­mo­tion of inter­di­sci­pli­nary lear­ning in the light of the deve­lop­ment of inter­pre­ta­tive poli­ti­cal know­ledge and deeper poli­ti­cal under­stan­ding;
  • the com­pa­ri­son of civic edu­ca­tio­nal didac­ti­cal con­cep­ti­ons and media for civic edu­ca­tion in European con­texts;
  • the enhan­ced rea­ding of clas­si­cal texts in order to pro­mote inter­pre­ta­tive poli­ti­cal know­ledge by under­stan­ding poli­ti­cal phe­no­mena in their social and his­to­ri­cal con­texts;
  • dealing with clas­sics of pedagogy and civic edu­ca­tion;
  • the enhan­ced exami­na­tion of the signi­fi­cance of civic edu­ca­tion (“Erzie­hung” and “Bil­dung”) for dif­fe­rent poli­ti­cal sys­tems.


In a first publi­ca­tion, the results of the rese­arch on the her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion and prac­ti­cal tea­ching advices have been com­pi­led:

  • Deich­mann, Carl / Juch­ler, Ingo 2010: Poli­tik ver­ste­hen ler­nen. Zugänge im Poli­tik­un­ter­richt, Schwalbach/Ts.

The fol­lo­wing publi­ca­ti­ons fur­ther con­tain con­tri­bu­ti­ons belon­ging to the field of her­me­neu­tic didac­tics of civic edu­ca­tion, which partly over­lap with topics from the lec­ture series:

  • Deich­mann, Carl / Tisch­ner, Chris­tian K. (Eds.) 2013: Hand­buch Dimen­sio­nen und Ansätze in der poli­ti­schen Bil­dung, Schwalbach/Ts.
  • Deich­mann, Carl / Tisch­ner, Chris­tian K. (Eds.) 2014: Hand­buch Fächer­über­grei­fen­der Unter­richt in der poli­ti­schen Bil­dung, Schwalbach/Ts

A publi­ca­tion of the annual con­fe­rence in Pots­dam is in pre­pa­ra­tion.


Prof. em. Dr. Carl Deich­mann
Fried­rich-Schil­ler-Uni­ver­si­tät Jena
Jen­To­wer, 8. Etage, R08S06
Phone: (+49)3641 945498


Prof. Dr. Ingo Juch­ler
Uni­ver­si­tät Pots­dam
Lehr­stuhl für Poli­ti­sche Bil­dung
August-Bebel-Straße 89
D-14482 Pots­dam
Phone: (+49)331 977 3702

Prof. Dr. Tho­mas Goll
Tech­ni­sche Uni­ver­si­tät Dort­mund
Fakul­tät 12 – Erzie­hungs­wis­sen­schaft und Sozio­lo­gie
August-Schmidt-Str. 6
D-44227 Dort­mund
Phone: (+49)231 755 6580