Capable of Resisting and Entitled to Lead: On the Historical Conditions of the Neo-Marxist Educational Discourse

Ingolfur A. Johannesson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the assumptions about resistance and leadership in selected literature on critical pedagogy and argues that the idea of resistance in critical pedagogy (as well as its siblings empowerment and voice) is rooted in traditional notions of Marxist vanguard politics that consider the trade-unionized White male working class as the entitled leaders of the revolutionary movement. The article records a “pre-history” of the ways that resistance and leadership were conceived before they were taken up in critical pedagogy and traces out how European traditions and practices that have influenced the production of neo-Marxist educational theory are perpetuated in North American academia. The article draws not only on written sources but on the author’s knowledge of the European Marxist-Leninist movement itself Further, the bases for central concepts in critical pedagogy, such as counter hegemony and transformative intellectuals, are examined. Then, attention is paid to aspects of leadership practices in the field of critical pedagogy. It is argued that inside Marxism there is a theory and practice of elitist leadership notions and that this practice is replicated among contemporary critical pedagogues. The article insists that this practice needs to be recognized, abandoned, and retheorized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-318
Number of pages21
JournalEducational Policy
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1992

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