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[Xmca-l] Re: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?

(apologies for double posting, but I didn't see this new thread until I
posted this on the other thread. Thanks Annalisa for creating a new one!!)

Your post about a "pedagogy of the oppressor" being what we have today
seems apt as you state it but is precisely the opposite of what I had meant
by the idea in the first place.

Rather, my point was that perhaps more important than a pedagogy of the
oppressed is the need for a pedagogy of the oppressors - a pedagogy that
can teach (and yes liberate) those persons who occupy the position of

I find it strange to think that it is only the oppressed who need to be

As to Francine's question of "who are the oppressors?", I have a tendency
to view human beings rather optimistically. I'm not a big fan of
Machiavellian imaginings of "elites" who hold power and pull strings to
their great benefit while others suffer and the elites laugh maniacally. I
think that the situation, as Francine notes, is a bit more complicated, and
perhaps a bit less pleasant.

My sense is that the best way to understand "who are the oppressors" is as
"those who benefit disproportionately from the current system of power, and
as a result as those who unthinkingly support the current system of power."

Thus, the "oppressors" certainly include elites who hugely benefit from the
way things are but I don't think that they necessarily do it for malicious
reasons. I think these elites often want others to succeed as much as they
have - working on the assumption that everyone can have a disproportionate
share of the pie (cf. Keilor's Minnesota town where all the kids are above
average), but these elites have not been properly educated to be able to
recognize that not everyone can have a disproportionate share of the pie.
(and here is where the Lave quote you mentioned is really important and it
seems like an understanding of the social and collective nature of human
capacities would be an important part of any pedagogy of the oppressors in
my sense of the term (i.e., what oppressors SHOULD know) since a highly
individualistic view of the world serves to justify the place of the elites
and hence is a part of the pedagogy of the oppressors in your sense of the
term (i.e., what people learn today).

But I think that the "oppressors" should also include many non-elites who
have benefitted disproportionately from the way things are and who thus
don't have much of an incentive to see things change. I wouldn't want to go
so far as to say that we are all oppressors but I also wouldn't want to
draw any hard and fast lines regarding who counts as oppressor and who as
oppressed. We all are, to some degree, both. But we are certainly more of
one than the other as we move through the world and as the world changes
around (and through!) us.

That seems too many directions, but I remain interested in the idea of what
a pedagogy of the oppressors might look like.


On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 1:46 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hi,
> I am peeling off from the old thread to begin a new thread!
> Our inquiry hear appears to be: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?
> I suggest "a" and not "the" because there could be more than one, surely?
> For new arrivers to this thread, it commenced from this thread here:
> http://xmca.ucsd.edu/yarns/15848
> With its genesis here, thanks to Greg!
> http://xmca.ucsd.edu/yarns/15848?keywords=#52332?
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602