What does it (such a mass) express objectively?
A mass, a mob, a crowd, a people, a class, a race, a religion, an army, a species?
Are they oppressors or oppressed?
Are they free, are they enslaved?
If I ask such questions it is that I have been rereading Freire today, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed."
If I am rereading Freire, it is because I accidently got drawn into a Twitter chat last night.
It was a Twitter chat for Hybrid Pedagogy's Critical Pedagogy course #moocmooc.
There was one tweet which caught my attention:
Does Freire fit in a Twitter chat? How does this #moocmooc chat succeed and fail at being a space of Critical Pedagogy?
— Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) January 21, 2015
There is something about some of the language in "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" which is raising questions for me.
I suspect that it is a result of my experiences during Dave Cormier's Rhizomatic Learning Course.
I suspect that it is related to deconstructions of identity, of authorship, of community, of knowledge.
I suspect it is related to learning in chaotically, distributed networks.
Pedagogy of freedom
As a language teacher, I have spent a number of years deconstructing classroom approaches to teaching English. Freire's writing, I came across a few years ago and inspired an earlier post entitled 'Noman's land.'
I bought into (irony) Freire's pedagogical approach of teacher and student working together to analyse the failure of the system to enable students to develop their voices.
I bought (irony) into his analysis of traditional education's 'banking concept' (amongst other aspects) as being a means of maintaining an elite (oppressors) in power over the 'oppressed'.
On the other hand, there are some of his language that I am beginning to struggle with:
Pedagogy of the oppressed
A quotation from Freire;
"the more the oppressors control the oppressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate 'things'. This tendency of the oppressor consciousness to 'in-animate' everything and everyone it encounters, in its eagerness to possess, unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism."
I am far from sure that considering people as 'things', as 'objects' is specific to oppressors.
This is a question that I have already blogged about in 'Internet of things.'
Objects of oppression
Is language a means of freedom and/or a means of oppression?
I say 'I', is 'I' not object?
I say 'I', am 'I' colonised?
I see myself in a mirror, is 'I' not become object?
I dream of myself flying. js 'I' not become object.
In writing this, am I not objectifying myself?
In following people on Twitter am I not objectifying them?
In participating on Twitter am I not objectifying discourse?
"For the oppressors, 'human beings' refers only to themselves; other people are things."
I see a crowd of people from afar alive or dead, how can I not see them as objects?
'I' return to Freire...
Ownership and oppression
"The earth, property, production, the creation of people, people themselves, time - everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal."
Here again, I am far from convinced that the idea that "the earth, property, production, the creation of people..." being reduced to objects is necessarily specific to a relationship of oppression.
"In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everyting into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal."
I am far from convinced that a 'materialistic concept of existence' is specific to oppression.
Would a Massai's 'ownership' of cattle be considered as an indication of oppression?
Would a house communally built of dried earth, an object of possession, be a 'reduction'?
Objects and bodies
"the objects which surround me are simply accessible to my consciousness, not located within it. I am aware of them, but they are not inside me."
I am not at all sure that objects which are 'accessible to my consciousness' or even those which are not 'accessible to my consciousness' , of which I am not aware, do not become part of my 'body' and thereby 'inside me'.
This refers me back to my reflection on embodiment of 'classroom ritual' of Nexus Analysis, mentioned in a previous post:
Indeed, for me the analysis and deconstruction of material and emotional space is a major part of becoming critical, of becoming free. This is a subject on which I have already written in a post entitled 'The Doll's house'.
Two is company three is a crowd.
I return my attention to critical pedagogy and the relationship between teacher and student.
If we are really to work 'with' a learner as a learner/teacher in a new 'authentic' relationship, must such relationships be located in a local community?
I am asking myself the question of the pertinence of binary labels, of dichotomies between 'oppressors' and the 'oppressed' in a world understood as more and more complex and experienced increasingly from a personal and (perhaps potenially alienating) from a global perspective.
To what extent are the social, cultural, and economic 'systems' usefully viewed in simplistic terms of 'exploiters' and 'exploited'?
In a world in which learning may increasingly be experienced in distributed networks, with individuals from distant communities, to what extent will a physical teacher student relationship be able to work towards any significant form of freedom?
Is Twitter a space of liberation, or a space of virtual liberation and distant enslavement?
Freire is dead, we must resurrect him.
While rereading Freire, how can we draw from his ideas and adapt his teaching to our new circumstances?
I am struggling with fleeting thoughts, with fleeting impressions, which fell by accident, the day after an unplanned Twitter chat with a few friends last night...
I shall close with a few words of Freire's
"Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other."