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Critical Theory Explained
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Henry Giroux


Giroux on Giroux

[from a conversation with Carlos Torres]

Part 2

HG: I tried to reinvigorate the debate by challenging the notion that domination was so oppressive that schools could only be talked about as either prisons, or total institutions in the service of oppression. It was an unproductive discourse and emphasized the social reproduction forces at work in schools while ignoring any space for resistance or the complex ways in which power worked.

. . . my long time concern with the role of teachers as intellectuals has, certainly been, an organizing principle for much of my work. As an important theoretical category, it underwent a number of revisions moving from a concern with teachers as transformative intellectuals to the more political role of teachers as public intellectuals.

. . . I believe that my writing on popular culture speaks to a significant contribution in my overall body of work. The work on popular culture also made it possible for me to cross disciplines and write and publish in other fields, outside of education.

. . . . another significance of the work is that it linked pedagogy to other spheres in a way that attracted a lot of attention from other fields. In this sense, I think my work contributed to a growing recognition of the importance of pedagogy in other fields, including composition, literary studies, speech communication, media studies, and so on.

. . . my work has always taken an amazingly strong stand for developing the discourse of ethics. And not an ethical discourse that makes a claim to some universal essence. But one that is provisional and constantly reexamining itself in the light of the historical conditions and contexts that we inherit and move within. I can't imagine a critical pedagogy or cultural politics that doesn't engage the difficult issues surrounding the meaning and limits of ethics and its relationship to the political.

. . . If educators can't address the question of agency and ethics then we're in big trouble, to say the least.

Back to Part 1


Giroux Introduction Page
What is Critical Pedagogy? What is the Role of Schools? What is the Role of Teachers? What is the Role of Curriculum? Giroux on Freire Giroux on Giroux Links
Updated: 11/22/99
Laurie Williams