Pedagogy and the Politics of the Body: A Critical Praxis

Pedagogy and the Politics of the Body: A Critical Praxis

Pedagogy and the Politics of the Body: A Critical Praxis

Pedagogy and the Politics of the Body: A Critical Praxis


Having been a dancer for many years, Shapiro turned to the academic study of the body as it intersects questions of pedagogy, art, and social change. She lays a foundation for a theory and practice of a somatically-orientated critical pedagogy by exploring what it might mean to approach questions of identity, justice, moral responsibility, ideological conformity, and resistance through engaging our own body experiences and memories.


Sherry Shapiro's book, Pedagogy and the Politics of the Body, is inspired by an acute and often painful realization that, no matter how distant, removed, and powerless human beings feel in relations to the complexity of contemporary social and economic life, they carry the mega- and microstructures of social life in the machinery of their flesh, in the pistons of their muscle, in the furnaces of their guts, and in the steely wires of their tendons. Shapiro both recognizes and affirms the primacy of the body in the creation of all knowledge. She further demands the inclusion of the human body as a nexus of textual production since she is aware that, produced within discourse, the body is also generative of discourse. Shapiro admonishes that educational theory doesn't place much importance on the body.

Merely to recognize the importance of the body in educational theorizing is to attract censure from the doyens of the educational establishment, but to affirm such a knowledge and render it valid-as does Shapiro-is firmly an act of apostasy. We all have unfinished business with the history or our body, and Shapiro provides us with an approach to map and transform such history.

The field of education needs impertinent and irreverent scholars like Sherry Shapiro. Her act of scholarship is both a reflective practice of resistance and a tactical engagement in transformation.

Shapiro's book is centered around resisting the injustice that our bodies know only too well through the sorrow and the suf-

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