International Association of Educators   |  ISSN: 2834-7919   |  e-ISSN: 1554-5210

Volume 2 Issue 3 (October 2006)

Original Articles

Interfering with Capitalism's Spell: Peter McLaren's Revolutionary Liminality

Samuel Day Fassbinder

pp. 9 - 20


McLaren’s recent (post-2000) writings promote a form of agency called “revolutionary critical pedagogy,” and a type of agent, the “committed intellectual” (McLaren 2005b, p. 253-281). But one can find an earlier agent-type in McLaren’s (1986) Schooling as a Ritual Performance, the “liminal servant,” that explains how “critical pedagogy is secured by the most fecund of revolutionary talismans, critique” (2005a: 9). Borrowing from Theodor Adorno (1968), I suggest that McLaren’s recent writing uses aspects of the “liminal servant” for the purpose of interfering with the “spell” of capitalist social relations through “revolutionary critical pedagogy.” The beginning prologue examines “revolutionary liminality” in McLaren’s writing; the second part explains how his written discursive strategies (naming the culprit, suggesting icons, theorizing to unite the disaffected) work to act out “revolutionary liminality.”

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Imagining the Impossible: Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy Against the 21st Century American Imperium

Scatamburlo-D’Annibale Valerie

pp. 21 - 46


This article examines some of the major Marxist-humanist themes that animate the revolutionary critical pedagogy delineated by Peter McLaren in recent years. Among these themes are radical universalism, an interrogation of the capitalization and commodification of human labor, and the interrelatedness of American imperialism and neoliberal globalized capitalism. It argues that McLaren’s scholarship provides progressive educationalists with an alternative to those “post-alized” and liberal humanist versions of critical pedagogy that have virtually abandoned all forms of class analysis. It contends that revolutionary critical pedagogy offers a much-needed narrative capable of challenging the most recent manifestations of empire, wars of aggression, and exploitative capitalist relations.

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Critical Pedagogy as Collective Social Expertise in Higher Education

Juha Suoranta & Olli-Pekka Moisio

pp. 47 - 64


In this article, dedicated to the revolutionary educational work of Peter McLaren, we will deal with the question of practical teaching methods in higher education from the point of view of critical pedagogy. We argue that nowadays teaching and learning in educational and social sciences are too often meaningless from the point of view of critical collective learning. Thus the central task in critical pedagogy, and in reform of higher education, is to understand the oppressive aspects of present college life and overall society in order to generate pedagogical, individual and societal transformation while developing pedagogical strategies and study methods that work toward the elimination of various forms of subordination based on class, gender, race and sexual orientation, and strengthen students’ possibilities for genuine collective learning while empowering them to fight against inequalities in the world. Our reflections stem from our academic life and teaching experiences both in Finland and the U.S. We suggest that in order to teach critically, educators need to use more collaborative and collective teaching and learning methods. Thus the idea of collective social expertise becomes a core aim of teaching in the context of critical pedagogy.

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Remaking Critical Pedagogy: Peter McLaren’s Contribution to a Collective Work

Gregory Martin

pp. 65 - 77


This article explores the collective works of Peter McLaren and his contribution to critical pedagogy within the field of education and beyond the academy. To understand how McLaren’s work took a radical turn in the 1990s, the article traces the historical development of his praxis. In particular, McLaren’s engagement with the postmodern Left and his response to developments in British educational Marxism are highlighted in this paper. Bringing Marxism, class analysis and politics back into the heart of education, McLaren has situated himself at the forefront of remaking critical pedagogy as a material force for social change. The resulting fusion has provoked a storm of controversy amongst the educational Left. Beyond this, however, has been the influence of critical pedagogy in social spheres beyond the university and academia, including the mass workers movement.

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The Possibilities of Transformation: Critical Research and Peter McLaren

Brad J. Porfilio

pp. 78 - 97


The purpose of this paper is to unveil how Peter McLaren’s revolutionary brand of pedagogy, multiculturalism, and research colored my two-year qualitative research study, which unearthed twenty White female future teachers’ experiences and perceptions in relationship to computing technology and male-centered computing culture. His ideas positioned me to see beyond technocentric discourses generated by political, economic, and education leaders, as I was enabled to pinpoint how larger social relations of power perpetuate computing technology as a “boy’s toy,” designed to amass wealth and power for elite White male corporate leaders at the expense of the vast majority of global citizens. His scholarship also proved to be a source courage and inspiration. It prodded me to believe my research project has the potency to bludgeon unjust practices that perpetuate women's and girls' technological reticence, fuel the corporate takeover of teacher education, and perpetuate Western imperialism, environmental degradation, and hopelessness across the globe. Not coincidently, the critical study served as an educative space for several pre-service teachers. They uncovered how several constitutive forces merge with unjust practices to create women’s and girls’ computing reticence as well as perpetuate women’s marginalization in schools, the business world, and in other social contexts. They appear to possess the critical mindset and courage to create classroom practices bent on forging an egalitarian society.

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Peter McLaren & the 3 R’s: Reflection, Resistance and Revolution

David Gabbard

pp. 97 - 105


I cannot feign some distanced objectivity in writing this profile of Peter McLaren. Our relationship dates back to 1989, when Philip Stedman, one of my professors at the University of Cincinnati, invited me to accompany him on a visit to Peter at nearby Miami University of Ohio. I had read some of Peter’s work, particularly some of his early collaborations with Henry Giroux, who had helped bring Peter to Miami from Canada. No amount of reading, however, could have prepared me for meeting him face-to-face.

At the time, Peter and his wife Jenny, a beautiful woman possessed of equally great intelligence and compassion, lived an hour’s drive from Cincinnati in the small town of Oxford situated in the middle of southwest Ohio farm country. After we parked the car in front of their modest house, Jenny welcomed us warmly at the door before we ever had the chance to knock. She invited us in and we exchanged introductions for what seemed like a long time. Being so new to academia, I was anxious to meet Peter who was, even then, an important figure in critical educational studies. When he did appear, he too welcomed us warmly, receiving us like we had known each other for years and like our arrival was as much of an event for him as it was for us. As I’ve grown to know Peter over the past fifteen years, I’ve learned to trust and appreciate his immediacy as part of the more general passion with which he lives his life. It’s same passion unmistakably reflected in his writings, and the same passion that generates such tremendous shared loyalty and bonds of solidarity between himself, his students, and others of us who work with him.

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The Secret Downing Street Memo and the Politics of Truth: A Performance Text

Norman K. Denzin

pp. 106 - 118


Reading forward from the recently released secret Downing Street Memos, to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, in this performance text I critique the Bush Administration and its reliance on science, or evidence-based models of inquiry (SBR). SBR raises issues concerning the politics of truth and evidence. These issues intersect with the ways in which a given political regime fixes facts to fit ideology. Three versions of SBR are discussed, as is a model of science as disruptive cultural practice. I conclude by calling for a merger of critical pedagogy with a prophetic, feminist post-pragmatism.

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An Interview with Peter McLaren: Comments on the State of the World-2005

Michael F. Shaughnessy

pp. 119 - 126


Ever since writing Life in Schools and Schooling as a Ritual Performance, my books have mostly been collections of articles that I have published, sometimes modified to various degrees for the book I am putting together. So I don’t set out to make certain points, I see what points are there after the book is put together. I produce a lot of written work, so much so that somebody once remarked that I have never had a thought go unpublished. Putting my articles together gives me a chance to revisit recent articles and make clarifications and to guide my thoughts to a precision they don’t always have the first time around. And more recently I have sought out students and young scholars to work with in a collaborative fashion, which I think is something sorely lacking among scholars—even leftist scholars—these days. But yes, there are always underlying themes to my books that can be traced back twenty years or more. In my work dating back to the mid-eighties, I have always tried to fathom the ways that capitalism functions in North American contexts, and more recently, in global contexts, with a special emphasis on Latin America. The structural crisis of capitalism in the 1970s was a watershed moment for world capitalism, and current developments such as neoliberalism can be directly traced to this crisis. I want to underscore with a white heat that capitalism is not the best possible way to organize the social universe of human beings. In fact, it has transmogrified into a behemoth that, in a ferocious hunger for self-expansion, feeds off the commodification of social life that it creates. It is auto-copulatory. Worse, it ingests the detritus of humanity that it creates. More recently, since I began working from a Marxist humanist perspective in the late 1990s, I have tried to show the crucial role played by revolutionary social movements in the reclaiming of our humanity.

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McLaren, Peter & Farahmandpur, Ramin (2005). Teaching against Global Capitalism and the New Imperialism: A Critical Pedagogy. Lanham, Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, xiv+299 ppISBN 0-7425-1039-5 (cloth); 0-7425-1040-9 (pbk)

Junrui Chang & Changyong Yang[

pp. 127 - 135


着浓厚的兴趣,彼得·麦克拉伦(Peter McLaren)是这个领域众多杰出学者之一。1999年,本文作者之一的杨昌勇在其博士学位论文《当代西方“新”教育社会学进展评析》 中专门研究过批判教育学。该论文现以《新教育社会学:连续与断裂的学术历程》为书 名在中国出版(杨昌勇, 2004)。第二,作为伊利诺大学厄巴纳-香槟分校东亚与太平洋 研究中心的访问教授,杨昌勇的研究课题是《教育社会学:美国的一种后现代实践及其 理论》,彼得·麦克拉伦和拉明·法拉曼普尔(Ramin Farahmandpur)的著作《反对全 球资本主义和新帝国主义的教学:一种批判教育学》(2005)由此落入我们的研究视 野。第三,作为一个年轻的学者和博士研究生,常君睿正在尝试将批判教育学的理论与 方法应用于她对中国乡村学校艺术课程的研究。第四,作为中国的教育研究者,我们对 彼得·麦克拉伦及其合作者拉明·法拉曼普尔运用马克思主义在社会主义教育学方面的 努力很感兴趣。我们很乐意接受并为这本新书写书评。

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