The paper tackles the fundamental question of whether democracy has by now been turned into a meaningless liturgy of a past religion and proposes a Deweyan answer which points to the need to fully realize modernity in order to bring into existence a genuine democracy. By deploying an archaeological reading of The Public and Its Problems and, in particular, of the key notion of the ‘official,’ it is shown how giving birth to an authentically democratic public demands coming to terms with a re-signification of the idea of transubstantiation, fully valorising education as communication and promoting a ‘secularized’ community. This Deweyan perspective can help us avoid the modern dichotomies that risk haunting even some of the most advanced contemporary educational proposals, which currently struggle against the rationalist outcomes of modernity by invoking ‘other communities.’

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