The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

4 NATIONAL POLICIES OF ADULT EDUCATION IN MEXICO, 1976-1988

INTRODUCTION

Critical perspectives in education, especially those elaborated in the context of advanced industrial capitalism, study the role that the educational apparatus plays in the reproduction of the labor force stratified in terms of race, gender, and social classes. This implies an investigation of the role that education plays in the formation of classes; in the conflicts and contradictions between classes, sectors of classes, and bureaucratic actors; in the accumulation of capital; in political domination; and in the legitimation of the privileges established by the dominant groups in the social formation ( Apple, 1982: 3; Giroux, 1983b: 43-56; Cole, 1988).

In Latin America, theoretical refinement has begun to replace first intuitions and initial convictions; at the same time, the most recent analyses have begun to incorporate in an organic fashion some of the principal results of the educational research of the 1980s (even if much of it is not exempt from theoretical perplexities). There is, to put it clearly and simply, a means for criticizing the fundamentals of the theoretical analysis reigning in the established paradigms. But it is a critique that can be realized in light of the main tendencies of educational development as expressed in a significant body of empirical research ( Myers, 1980: 19-53).

In this context, it is appropriate to note that the dominant tendency in educational research in Latin America has been to study the social functions of the school and, in a general form, education. The critical agenda of educational research has attempted to respond to the question regarding the reproductive (or not) character of the school with respect to the social relations of production.

In this sense, adult education has been much less studied than, for example,

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