Politics of critical pedagogy and new social movements

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (3):310-325 (2010)
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The proponents of critical pedagogy criticize the earlier Neo‐Marxist theories of education, arguing that they provide only a ‘language of critique’. By introducing the possibility of human agency and resistance, critical pedagogists attempt to develop not only a pedagogy of critique, but also to build a pedagogy of hope. Fundamentally, the aim of critical pedagogy is twofold: 1) to correct the pessimistic conclusions of Neo‐Marxist theories, and 2) to transform a ‘language of critique’ into a ‘language of possibility’ . Then, what political projects do critical pedagogies present to us? What alternative visions of schooling do critical pedagogies offer against the mainstream pedagogy? The purpose of this paper is to identify main projects of critical pedagogy, and to explore overarching politics that underlie the field of critical pedagogy. Although there are diverse theories and approaches in critical pedagogy, three overarching projects can be identified, which I call: 1) the project of experience, 2) the project of anti‐system, and 3) the project of inclusion. Based on an examination of the general trends and characteristics of these three projects of critical pedagogy, I argue that three prominent politics that underlie the field of critical pedagogy are culturalist politics, self/identity politics, and grassroots politics. In trying to better understand why and how critical pedagogy has developed the political stances as it has, the last part of the paper links these three politics to the historical developments of the New Left and the New Social Movements



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