Revolutionary Pedagogies: Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory

By Peter Pericles Trifonas | Go to book overview

THE LIMITS OF DIALOGUE AS A CRITICAL PEDAGOGY

Nicholas C. Burbules

Introduction

It seems that hardly anyone has a bad word to say against dialogue. A broad range of political orientations hold out the aim of “foster-ing dialogue” as a potential resolution to social conflict and as a basis for rational public deliberation. A range of pedagogical approaches, from constructivist scaf-folding to Socratic instruction to Freirean liberatory pedagogy, all proclaim the virtues of an interactive engagement of questions and answers in the shared pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Philosophical accounts of dialogue from Plato to the present employ the dialogical form as a literary genre that represents the external expression of an internal, dialectical thought process of back-and-forth ratio-cination. Dialogue constitutes a point of opportunity at which these three interests-political, pedagogical, and philosophical-come together. It is widely assumed that the aim of teaching with and through dialogue serves democracy, promotes communication across difference, and enables the active coconstruction of new knowledge and understandings. 1

Nevertheless, the ideal of dialogue has received withering criticism, particularly from poststructural feminist theorists in education and from those for whom “difference” is a lived experience of marginalization and not just a demographic category of identification. For these critics, “dialogue” has exerted a kind of hegemonic dominance that belies its emancipatory rhetoric, its apparent openness to difference, and its stress on equality and reciprocity within the dialogical relation. The way in which dialogue has become almost synonymous with critical pedagogy has tended to submerge the voices and concerns of groups who feel themselves closed out of dialogue or compelled to join it only at the cost of restricting their self-expression into acceptable channels of communication. Finally, an idealized, prescriptive conception of dialogue has abstracted the situated historicity of specific practices of com-

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Revolutionary Pedagogies: Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • I - Cultural Politics 1
  • Diasporas Old and New 3
  • Strange Fruit 30
  • All-Consuming Identities 47
  • References 59
  • The Touch of the Past 61
  • II - Instituting Education 81
  • Where a Teaching Body 83
  • Notes 106
  • Notes 112
  • Technologies of Reason 113
  • Notes 135
  • Unthinking Whiteness 140
  • Postmodern Education and Disposable Youth 174
  • Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogies 196
  • Notes 218
  • III - The Discourse of Theory 223
  • The Shock of the Real 225
  • References 249
  • The Limits of Dialogue as a Critical Pedagogy 251
  • The Social Sciences as Information Technology 274
  • Responsible Practices of Academic Writing 289
  • Degrees of Freedom and Deliberations of “self” 312
  • References 349
  • Permissions 353
  • Index 359
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