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La Educación
Número: (116) III
Año: 1993

While there is consensus that the Latin American region is in the process of transition to democracy, old definitions of democracy still prevail. Democracy has traditionally been defined in terms of formal politics, emphasizing electoral activities and the rights of individuals and groups to freedom, equality before the law, and protection from arbitrary coercion from the state. In this discussion, the area of personal interaction in everyday life, particularly as it occurs in homes and schools, is not considered. And yet, for women, these are crucial terrains where authoritarian practices are maintained. A number of recent developments led by women in Latin America have brought about changes in the conception of motherhood and have placed women in more public spheres as they have successfully mobilized for the defense of human rights and the satisfaction of basic needs. These experiences are resulting in incipient changes within the household, with women gaining more control over personal and family decisions, thus increasing their autonomy and shaping a stronger and less submissive social identity. The article contends that the emergence of micro-democracies is an essential component of efforts to attain and sustain democracy in nation-states. It identifies various implications derived from an expanded definition of democracy for educational practices, particularly those involving the hidden curriculum, and proposes a number of theoretical propositions showing how micro- and macro-democracy necessarily converge.