Legitimising critical pedagogy in the face of timorous, mechanistic pedagogy

Isaacs, Tracey Illona ; Waghid, Y. (2015)

CITATION: Isaacs, T. I. & Waghid, Y. 2015. Legitimising critical pedagogy in the face of timorous, mechanistic pedagogy. South African Journal of Higher Education, 29(3):158–178, doi:10.20853/29-4-505.

The original publication is available at http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/sajhe


The literature on critical pedagogy is awash, on the one hand, with notions of emancipatory pedagogy that liberate students and teachers from the snares of capitalist ideological hegemony. On the other hand, claims abound about the declining fortunes of critical pedagogy, as it has struggled to find credibility, coherence and legibility. This article delves into critical pedagogy and its implications for education in a state of advanced capitalism, as well as its attendant functionalist thinking. Practically, this means that, via theoretical analysis, critical pedagogy is scrutinised in relation to student/teacher agency and resistance; whether critical pedagogy stands in defence of ‘strong democracy’; the historical relevance of the theoretical genesis of critical pedagogy; whether critical pedagogy is effective as ideology critique; whether critical pedagogy is muscular enough as a counter-hegemonic practice; how critical pedagogy parades itself in practical situations; and whether critical pedagogy is able to conscientise students to asymmetrical power relations.

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