Populism, Civic Education and Constitutional Theory

Whereas populism and democratic decay have received significant attention in constitutional scholarship in recent years, solutions on how to manage harmful political populism are underdeveloped. This paper proposes civic education as a solution to harmful populism. The paper makes two main claims: that constitutional civic education provides a powerful tool to counter harmful populism; and that there is a significant overlap between the ends of constitutional civic education and constitutional theory. With regard to the former claim, studies show that levels of constitutional and political knowledge foster greater faith in democracy and trust in constitutional values and institutions. With regard to the latter, it argues that civic education and constitutional theory both share similar aims including supporting a robust public sphere and avoidance of the domination of citizens; a relationship which warrants further attention in constitutional scholarship.