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The imperative of critical pedagogy in times of cultural austerity: a case study of the capacity to reimagine education as a tool for emancipation
journal contributionposted on 2018-12-01, 00:00 authored by Piper RoddPiper Rodd, Kellie Sanders
Schools must be more than merely sites of sociocultural reproduction, skilling students to assume roles as economic functionaries, positions which serve to engrain social class inequality. Freire (1970) posits that the role of education is humanisation and liberation, imbuing in students a capacity to read the world and their own place in it critically and consciously. Schools, however, are too often are complicit in the re-creation of the hierarchical status quo. As Freire (1970, p.49) points out, “The more completely the majority adapt to the purposes which the dominant minority prescribe for them … the more easily the minority can continue to prescribe.” In this article, we draw on Freire’s concept of critical pedagogy to contextualise and analyse empirical data gained through a study concerned with school principals’ roles in engendering social capital in an outer-suburban, socio-economically disadvantaged community in one Australian city. We also borrow from Giroux (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017), who positions radical critical pedagogy as of necessity in the contemporary western world, arguing that schools must play a central role in instilling a critical consciousness during times of neoliberal socio-economic inequality, cultural austerity and political authoritarianism.