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Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1)

Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1)

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PAULO FREIRE'S
 PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED
 
SUMMARY
 New York: Seabury, 1974. Translated from the original Portuguese (1968) by Myra Bergman Ramos
CULTURE OF SILENCE. Every person, however ignorant or submerged in the "culture of silence," can look critically at his or her world through a process of dialogue with others, andcan gradually come to perceive his personal and social reality, think about it, and take actionin regard to it. (back cover)FROM OBJECT TO SUBJECT. Through the process just described, the view of an illiterateor other oppressed person is so transformed that he or she is no longer to be a mere objectresponding as surrounding social forces direct. (back cover)EDUCATION'S EITHER/OR. Education either conditions the younger generation intoacceptance of society's status quo or becomes "the practice of freedom" through which peopledeal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to transform their worlds. (15)DEHUMANIZATION, which afflicts both those whose humanity has been stolen and thosewho have stolen it, distorts the process of becoming more fully human.(28)DEPENDENCE. The peasant begins to get courage to overcome his dependence when herealizes that he is dependent. Until then, he goes along with the boss and says, "What can Ido? I'm only a peasant." (47)SELF-DEPRECIATION. This derives from internalization of the oppressors' opinions. Theyso often hear that they're "good for nothing, know nothing, and are capable of learninganything&emdash;that they are sick, lazy, and unproductive" that finally they believe it.. . ."The boss seems to be the only one who knows things and is able to run things." . . . Or to theeducator, "We ought to keep quiet and let you talk. You are the one who knows, we don'tknow anything."SELF-DEPRECIATION CAN CHANGE. "They used to say we we were unproductive because we were lazy and drunkards. All lies. Now that we are respected as men, we're goingto show everyone that we were never drunkards or lazy. We were exploited." (50)THE NATURE OF OPPRESSOR CONSCIOUSNESS. It tends to transform everythingaround it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, people's creations,the people themselves, time&emdash;everything comes to be viewd as objects at the disposalof their perchasing power. The main thing becomes to have more, always more. In thismaterialistic concept of culture, "to be is to have and to be the class of the 'haves.'" They can'tsee that they "suffocate in their own possessions and no longer are; they merely have." Of course they blind themselves to all this. "If others do not have more, it is because they areincompetent and lazy. . . Because they are "ungrateful" and "envious," they are seen as potential enemies." Often this desire for complete domination includes a sadistic impulse.(45)CHANGE IN THE OPPRESSED AND OPPRESSORS. Although oppression dehumanizes both parties and stifles their humanity, the oppressed has to lead the struggle for a fuller humanity for both. The oppressor, who is himself dehumanized because he dehumanizes
 
others, tries to hang onto his power and dehumanizing practices. (32) When the oppressedseek to regain and deepen their humanity, they must not in turn oppress the oppressors, butrather help to restore the humanity of both. (28) The contradiction between the two classes isresolved by the appearance of a new kind of human being, one in the process of liberation.It's not possible to eliminate oppression just by a shift of roles in which the oppressor  becomes the oppressed and vice-versa. (42) In such change we can't say that one personliberates himself, or another, but that people in communion liberate each other. (128)WHEN OPPRESSORS JOIN IN THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION. When they moveto the side of the exploited, "they almost always bring with them the marks of their orgin. . .which include a lack of confidence in the people's ability to think, to want, and to know."They "believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them. . . A real humanist can be identified more by his trust inthe people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." (46) "Revolutionary leaders cannot think 
about 
the people, or 
for 
the people, but only
with
the people." (128)RESTRICTIONS THAT PREVENT THE RETURN OF OPPRESSION. When those whowere formerly kept down establish a new situation in which those who held power beforelose their special priveleges and find themselves on a more or less equal footing with others,then they are likely to feel oppressed. Any restriction on their way of life feels unjust. For theoppressors, "human beings" refers only to themselves; other people are "things." (43) An actis that keeps the former oppressors from regaining their former place, maintains Freire, is"oppressive only when it prevents people from being more fully human. Accordingly,restraints that keep the former oppressors from regaining their former position and puttingrigid old solcial structures back in place do not constitute oppression. (42)BUREAUCRACY VS. HUMANISM. If a new order "hardens into a dominating bureaucracy, the humanist dimension of the struggle is lost and it is no longer possible tospeak of liberation." (43)FALSE CHARITY VS. TRUE GENEROSITY. False charity gives a little something to theextended hands of the have-nots, but preserves the haves' power. True generosity lies in"striving so that these hands&emdash;whether of individuals or of peoples&emdash;need beextended less and less in supplication" and become capable of working and transforming theworld. (29)INITIALLY THE OPPRESSED IDENTIFY WITH THEIR OPPRESSORS. If given a bit of  power, at first the oppressed tnd themselves to become petty tyrants. "Their ideal is to bemen; but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their mofel of humanity. They arestill identified with their oppressors' values. The peasant who becomes a foreman may beharsher toward the other peasants than the owner. The context of the situation remainsunchanged. (30)PRESCRIPTION AND FREEDOM. Every prescription, like the oppressed's prescription for the oppressor, imposes one person's choice on another and bring the consciousness of thelatter into conformity with the former's views. This can be threatening, because it wouldrequire the subservient to replace the oppressor's image of them with one that stressesautonomy and responsibility. (31) The oppressed learn that without freedom, they can't existauthenticlly, but at the same time they fear authentic existence. There are conflicts between
 
throwing out their "internal oppressor" or not, between being fuly themselves or beingdivided, between being actors with choices or spectators who do as they're told, betweensolidarity and alienation. (33)THE SITUATION CAN BE TRANSFORMED. For the oppressed to be able to wage thestruggle for theirliberation, they need to "perceive the reality of oppression not as a closedworld from which there is no exit, but as a limiing situation which they can transform." (34)CHANGE IN OPPRESSOR'S ATTITUDE. The oppressor truly helps the oppressed onlywhen he stops viewing them as an abstract category and sees them as unique persons whohave been unjustly dealt with, deprived, and cheated. This requires an end to pious,individualistic gestures and risking an act of love. To affirm that people "should be free, andyet to do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality, is a farce."DIALOGUE. "To substitute monologue, slogans, and communiques for dialogue is toattempt to liberate the oppressed with the instruments of domestication." This is the "populist pitfall"--transforming them into masses which can be manipulated. People can only beliberated with their reflective participation in the act of liberation. (52)INDEPENDENCE CANNOT BE GIVEN AS A GIFT. "While no one liberates himself byhis own efforts alone, neither is he liberated by others. (53)ONE-SIDED NARRATIVES. In traditional education, there is a narrator (the teacher) and alistening object (the students.) "Education is suffering from narration sickness." (57) Thisminimizes students' creative power, and "serves the interests of the oppressors, who careneither to have the world revealed nor to see it transformed." They "react almost instinctivelyagainst any experiment in education which stimulates the critical faculties and is not contentwith a partial view of reality. (60)THE BANKING MODEL OF EDUCATION turns students into "receptacles" to be "filled" by the teachers, like making deposits at a bank. The teacher deposits and students are thedepositories. Students receive, memorize, and repeat. (58) Since we "receive" the world as passive entities, education should make us more passive still, and adjust us to our world sothat we do not question it. The banking model tries to control thinking and action and inhibitsour creative powers. It tries to maintain the submersion of consciousness. In it we are merelyspectators, not re-creators. (62)STAGES IN THE BANKING MODEL. The banking concept distinguishes two states. In thefirst, the educator cognizes a cognizable object and prepares a lesson. During the second, heexpounds to his students about it. (67)"MYTHICIZING" REALITY. Banking education tries to conceal certain facts that explainthe way we exist in the world. It fails to acknowlege that we are historical beings, and thatwhat we take as "reality" are particular historical conditions. (71)POPULIST CHARASMATIC LEADERS. Liberating education does not mean the oppressedcoming to feel that they themselves are active and effective by identifying with charasmaticleaders. These leaders can't bring about their liberation for them. (65)

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