Rethinking Education and Emancipation: Being, Teaching, and Power

Summer, 2010

Source: Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 80, Iss. 2; pg. 203-222. Summer, 2010. 

(Reviewed by the Portal Team) 

The purpose of this article is to specify the grounding concepts and principles that should inform a contemporary emancipatory education.
Hence, the article describes two central principles for a renewed emancipatory pedagogy across educational contexts:
the recognition of an essential equality between students and teachers and a liberatory agency that uncovers and builds on students' effectivity as beings against domination.

While critical educational theory traditionally conceives of the human as a condition to be developed through the process of conscientization, the author argues for the recognition of the human as the already existing fact of a body in struggle.
The author proposes an understanding of the human as the ontological kernel of the selves of students and teachers, as it asserts itself before contests over knowledge and identification.
Building from recent work in cultural studies and philosophy that confronts the question of being as a political problem, the author develops an original understanding of emancipation as the discovery and affirmation of the persistent integrity and survival of beings in struggle.

Finally, this article has important implications for educational researchers and practitioners concerned with social justice, transformation, and the struggle against oppression, since it proposes a reconceptualization of the problematic of power upon which such efforts are built.

Updated: Nov. 23, 2010