(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Education: Criticality vs. Conformity

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)

Compare Althusser, who believes that education, as an ideological state apparatus, allows no sideways escape from some sort of indoctrination, simply ejecting dysfunctional students. (Althusser pities the fool who thinks you can fight the power.)

But still, one would like to hope. It seems that education always serve to produce social conformity at some level; that’s just how social institutions and groups work. But at the same time, there’s a recognition that the same tools are there within education–not just as an institution but as a practice–to cultivate criticality. Institutions tend to subordinate practice, which is why I think Althusser would disagree.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 16, 2016 by and tagged , , .
%d bloggers like this: