Releasing the Social Imagination: Art, the Aesthetic Experience, and Citizenship in Education


This paper is about releasing the social imagination through art in education. This research examines possibilities to use the aesthetic experience as a means to awaken students’ consciousness for advancing democratic values, including multiple perspectives, freedom, and responsibility. Drawing from Maxine Greene’s (1995, 2001) philosophy of social imagination and aesthetic education, this inquiry aims to enrich discourse in the field of curriculum studies, creativity, and citizenship education. Six educators initiated a social imagination project separately. They designed, implemented, and assessed a semester-long project founded in Greene’s philosophy of social imagination. The participants challenged habitual ways of thinking about self/other, culture, and community through active engagement between art and the subject. The aesthetic encounters with art (a) fostered the participants’ wide-awakeness about the society and (b) engaged participants to imagining “things as if they could be otherwise” (Greene, 1995:p. 16). An emphasis on the aesthetic experience through art contributes to advancing democratic values in a pluralistic society.

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Moon, S. , Rose, S. , Black, A. , Black, J. , Hwang, Y. , Lynn, L. and Memoli, J. (2013) Releasing the Social Imagination: Art, the Aesthetic Experience, and Citizenship in Education. Creative Education, 4, 223-233. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.43033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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