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Michael Apple

Interview with Michael Apple

Excerpts-Part 1

The following segment attempts to give yet another glimpse into the thinking of Michael W. Apple. The questions and answers are taken from Education, Power, and Personal Biography (pages 21-44). My intention is to briefly highlight some aspect of his answer.

Q:Back in 1988, Raymond Morrow and I interviewed you to try to place your work in perspective. What has happened in your life and research agenda since then?

A:On a personal level, having lived though five more years of the rapaciousness of the Right has had a profound impact. My older son was institutionalized. He became quite violent because of the chemical imbalance in his brain that showed up over time. Because of this, he signed himself into a hospital. We were faced with $90,000 in medical bills not covered by the increasing destruction of the mental health apparatus under Reagan/Bush. It enabled me to see at a personal level what it meant for the Right to be in power. I mention the personal here because the arguments of changing our ideas about who is on the bottom, blaming them rather than blaming a structural crisis of the economy became even more powerful for me, and not just at the theoretical level of "I understand this better." If I did not have a decent salary, my son would be dead. That created a very different way of looking at the state.

Q:What kind of theoretical challenge did you take up in the past years?

A:The past five years have increased my struggle to come to grips with postmodernism. At the same time as it was influencing me, I wanted to critically question some of the core assumptions some postmodernists were uncritically accepting. I was one of the people in this large collective endeavor who argued against the reductive and class analytical tendencies within the neo-Marxist tradition. I've spent years arguing against reductive analyses of political economy, such as Bowles and Gintis's earlier work, which was a major intervention and one that still deserves to be respected event hough I still disagree with 60% of the book.

Part 2

  Critical Theorists: Michael Apple Values & Politics Denunciation Reproduction, Contestation & Curriculum Power/Knowledge/Pedagogy  

    Learning in Schools Cultural Capital & Official Knowledge An Interview with Michael Apple Other Sites Online  
Updated: 11/24/99
Laurie Williams