chapter  5
26 Pages

Authority and Empowerment in Critical Pedagogy

Corresponding with this view of power, dualisms such as disempowerment (or powerlessness) and empowerment, silence and voice are frequently invoked within critical pedagogy discourse. The world is divided into dominant and subordinate (classes, cultures, discourses). For example, Giroux (1988a) states: "how teachers and students read the world is inextricably linked to forms of pedagogy that can function either to silence and marginalize students or to legitimate their voices in an effort to empower them as critical and active citizens" (p. 165) [emphasis added]. McLaren (1989) draws on Foucault to claim that "we can consider dominant [educational] discourses (those produced by the dominant culture) as 'regimes of truth,' as general economies of power jknowledge, or as multiple forms of constraint. ... A critical discourse ... is self-critical and deconstructs dominant discourses the moment they are ready to achieve hegemony" (p. 181). Analytically, these claims leave few shades of grey.