Reconsidering emancipatory education: Staging a conversation between Paulo Freire and Jacques Rancière

Educational Theory 62 (2):163-184 (2012)
Abstract
In this essay Sarah Galloway considers emancipation as a purpose for education through examining the theories of Paulo Freire and Jacques Rancière. Both theorists are concerned with the prospect of distinguishing between education that might socialize people into what is taken to be an inherently oppressive society and education with emancipation as its purpose. Galloway reconstructs the theories in parallel, examining the assumptions made, the processes of oppression described, and the movements to emancipation depicted. In so doing, she argues that that the two theorists hold a common model for theorizing oppression and emancipation as educational processes, distinguished by the differing assumptions they each make about humanity, but that their theories ultimately have opposing implications for educational practices. Galloway further maintains that Freire and Rancière raise similar educational problems and concerns, both theorizing that the character of the relations among teachers, students, and educational materials is crucial to an emancipatory education. Galloway's approach allows discussion of some of the criticisms that have been raised historically about Freire's theory and how these might be addressed to some degree by Rancière's work. Taking the two theories together, she argues that the possibility for an emancipatory education cannot be ignored if education is to be considered as more than merely a process of passing down the skills and knowledge necessary in order to socialize people into current society
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