Although there is ample interrogation of advertising/commercial/media culture in critical pedagogy, there is little attention paid to the fine arts and to aesthetic experience. This lacuna is all the more perplexing given Paulo Freire’s use of artist Francisco Brenand’s illustrations for his culture circles. In this essay I will return to Freire’s original description of the relationship between fine art images and conscientizacao in order to map out the future of the image in critical pedagogy. This return to the origin of the use of images in literacy programs will highlight the interdependent nature of word and image but also will demonstrate some of the long standing misconceptions of the way fine art images function in relation to education and politics. In conclusion I will suggest that if images have a future in critical pedagogy, then this future must ultimately move beyond Freire. As an alternative genealogical anchoring point for the development of the aesthetics of critical literacy, I suggest a turn to the work of Jacques Rancière. Through his conceptualization of the “pensive image” as well as the “emancipated spectator” we can begin to understand how the fine art image can work to realize Freire’s democratic ideals without relying on Freire’s problematic formulation of the image-pedagogy relationship. In conclusion, I suggest that the philosophical model necessary to support critical literacy is not Freire’s culture circle so much as Kant’s aesthetic community now revitalized via Rancière’s own aesthetics of dissensus.
Keywords Paulo Freire  Jacques Ranciere  Aesthetic philosophy  Critical pedagogy  Critical literacy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11217-010-9206-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,750
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Philosopher and His Poor.Jacques Rancière - 2004 - Duke University Press.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Against Educational Humanism: Rethinking Spectatorship in Dewey and Freire.Charles Bingham - 2016 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 35 (2):181-193.
Initiating 'The Methodology of Jacques Rancière': How Does It All Start?Duncan P. Mercieca - 2012 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 31 (4):407-417.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Critical Pedagogy and Faith.Jacob W. Neumann - 2011 - Educational Theory 61 (5):601-619.
Flashforward: The Future is Now.Patricia Pisters - 2011 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 5 (Suppl):98-115.
For Giving.Stephen David Ross - 2009 - International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series:469-504.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed.Paulo Freire - 2008 - In David J. Flinders & Stephen J. Thornton (eds.), The Curriculum Studies Reader. Routledge.


Added to PP index

Total views
61 ( #170,225 of 2,438,704 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #283,612 of 2,438,704 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes