Review of Pedagogy of Insurrection by Peter McLaren (2015) New York: Peter Lang Publishing

By Goodman, Dr Greg | Making Connections, Fall 2016 | Go to article overview

Review of Pedagogy of Insurrection by Peter McLaren (2015) New York: Peter Lang Publishing


Goodman, Dr Greg, Making Connections


Review of Pedagogy of Insurrection by Peter McLaren (2015) New York: Peter Lang Publishing

As neoliberalism and the trans-global corporate tsunami continue their push to commodify and standardize the processes of public education, both the people who education serves and professional education providers need to resist this degradation of our schools. Taking up the fight for education on the side of humanism and social justice, we have had many valorous and undaunted leaders: Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Joe Kincheloe, Helen Keller. Their historic resistance to factory styled schooling has marked these individuals as champions for a new breed of educators seeking true democracy, equity, and social justice.

My early interest in educational reform was aroused in the 1970's after reading Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This book inspired me to work to change the schools to become more experiential, egalitarian, and equitable. For the past 45 years, I have worked with other critical educators 'to be the change' we wished to see in our schools. This has yielded many small victories and memorable moments. Unfortunately, as a progressive educator, more often I have witnessed a wholesale degradation of education through the neoliberal standardization and corporatization of our public schools. Few individuals have had the courage and the stamina to continue to provide opposition to the neoliberal agenda. However, one person stands out as an icon of the resistance: Peter McLaren.

Continuing the fight for educational change with a bold and unyielding tenacity, Peter McLaren enters his seventh decade with the attack, energy and enthusiasm of a twenty-something, and he is adding decades of study to bring his behemoth wisdom and humanitarian perspective to the battle. For the wellversed McClaren reader, this will come as no surprise. M has been a leader in critical pedagogy and multicultural education since first coming on the scene on the 1980's with Life in Schools. Since then, he has written copiously on our need to rebalance the equations of capital, power, and politics to serve rather than exploit the people for whom true democracy represents.

For those unfamiliar with McLaren's yeoman's contributions to our understanding of revolutionary critical pedagogy, I borrow this introduction of him from Petar Jandric's chapter titled Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy:

Among numerous awards, five books written by Peter have been winners of American Education Studies Association Critics Choice Awards, and his work has been the foundation for several dedicated institutions, including La Fundacion McLaren de Pedagogica Critica and Instituto McLaren de Pedagogicia Critica y Educacacion Popular in Mexico and La Catedra Peter McLaren at La Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela. In 21014, a sixth expanded edition of Peter's award-winning book Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education was published by Paradigm (2014).

Peter McLaren is a Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies at the College of Educational Studies, Chapman University; Emeritus Professor of Urban Education at the University of California, Los Angeles; Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership at Miami University of Ohio and Honorary Director of the Center for Critical Pedagogy Research at Northeast Normal University in China, where he holds the position of Honorary Chair Professor. He has published forty-five books and hundreds of scholarly articles and chapters that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and his name has slowly but surely become synonymous with the contemporary project of critical pedagogy. Peter's academic work is blended with political activism. As he lectures all around the world and actively participates in various political struggles, Peter passionately lives theory and practice of critical pedagogy (McLaren, 2015, p. 256).

For the reader familiar with McLaren's formidable and unflinching prose, this latest volume is a quintessential critique of the capitalist and neoliberal project to commodify and desiccate public education. …

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