Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
This paper appealed to me, offering as it does a lucid and worthwhile comparison between the educational philosophies of Paulo Friere and Bernard Crick as it asks whether political education should be a separate subject, asks about its role in promoting conformity, and considers the dangers of indoctrination and the means of promoting political agency.

I liked the statement of Friere's position: "Contemporary society is seen to be characterized by oppression, whereby the oppressed are prevented from being subjects of history, and become mere objects, determined by other people's intentions and without real agency... that human beings must move towards increasing humanization." With this I certainly agree, though I am less inclined than the author to associate Friere with Rousseau's 'general will' - to be free of oppression is to assert one's own will in one's own way, not to be subsumed under a common will (this, too, is the key difference between my view of online organization, such as communities of practice, and that of various other writers). In this, then, I have more affinity with Crick. But I nonetheless see politics - and education, as they are indeed inseparable - as more than "reconciling different interest groups." It is to me essential that people realize themselves as agents who can act to determine their own destiny and to change the world.

This paper and others are featured in the first online edition of Educate~ is The Journal of Doctoral Research in Education. A brand new (and virtually empty) blog for Educate~ is also available, and I'm hoping the RSS feed will advise of new issues and papers.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 17, 2021 8:43 p.m.