Critical Pedagogy

For interest: What is Critical Pedagogy?


One thought on “Critical Pedagogy

  1. Thanks for this, Graham. I’m really sorry I couldn’t make it to the forum this week. I fully intended to but I’m afraid life got in the way…

    I need to comment on the paper, anyway, as I feel guilty otherwise and I did take the trouble to read it! I want to thank you for suggesting it, as I have not heard of Peter McLaren or read any of his 45 books, but he clearly knows his Marx (especially pp257-8) and he and his co-writer have some useful things to say. I particularly agree with him when he says that the pedagogy of desire is part of capitalist ideology (p254), as I have long argued that (true?) freedom involves the negation of desire (I get this from Buddhism). This is what is wrong with a lot of current practice in teaching, namely the emphasis on providing what the student wants rather than encouraging them to be critical of their desiring self. I also liked the critique of Derrida on p255 but I would disagree that this critique can be extended to Baudrillard (e.g. Baudrillard’s concept of hyperreality implies recognition of symbolic power, which is a distinct form of power from the material). I also feel that what Ebert and Zavarzadeh say about the ‘pedagogy of affect’ on p256 is not quite right: what capitalism requires from its more educated workers (as distinct from the uneducated) are reflexive beings, who can innovate and even understand how capitalism works but who nevertheless accept and even embrace capitalism as the best possible (or least worst) system for our times. It’s not just ‘savviness’ but self-conscious savviness. In the end, therefore, the paper fails correctly to identify the ‘objective location’ (p260) of students in capitalist society, which is one of potential exploiters as well as exploited. I note that the project of critical pedagogy, as outlined here, is strangely and ironically lacking in self-awareness or self-criticism; for example, the paper is silent on the issue of symbolic power, including the symbolic power of Marxism itself (which historically has been considerable!).

    Feel free to send this to the rest of the forum.

    Kind regards


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