Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change

Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change

Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change

Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change

Synopsis

Peter Pericles Trifonas has assembled internationally acclaimed theorists and educational practitioners whose essays explore various constructions, representations, and uses of difference in educational contexts. These essays strive to bridge competing discourses of difference--for instance, feminist or anti-racist pedagogical models--to create a more inclusive education that adheres to principles of equity and social justice.

Excerpt

The idea of difference has provided the conceptual groundwork for educational theorists of diverse ideological perspectives working toward the ethical purpose of actualizing equitable curricular contexts for teaching and learning that are responsive to individuals and groups within a society or culture regardless of race, class, gender, or sexuality (Apple 1990; Giroux 1992; Lather 1991; Pinar et al. 1995; Spivak 1993; hooks 1994; McLaren 1997). Yet this altruistic desire for securing equitable educational environments and opportunities is also the practical juncture at which feminist pedagogies, critical pedagogies, antiracist or postcolonial pedagogies, and gay and lesbian pedagogies begin to part company with respect to the concept of difference. Difference therefore becomes an intrinsic point of theoretical validation for asserting the legitimacy of such pedagogical discourses in practice by justifying the ethics of the methods each puts forward for the creation of equitable educational environments that seek to engage questions of social justice and alter the ideological preconditions of prejudice and discrimination.

For example, virtually all feminist pedagogies have validated the need to analyze the construction of sexual difference as a means for overcoming the bias of gender-role stereotyping (Luke and Gore 1992; Irigaray 1994). Some critical pedagogies have validated the importance of examining the sociopolitical ground for differences of subjectivity to illuminate the ideological subtext of human interactions (Freire 1970; Simon 1992; McLaren 1986, 1997), while others have concentrated on the economic distinction of class differences to address the bounds of social injustice and exploitation (Aronowitz and Giroux 1991; Apple 1993). Antiracist and postcolonial pedagogies have generally validated the necessity of acknowl-

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