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An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics

Goods in Contention

Edited By Ronald C. Arnett, Annette M. Holba and Susan Mancino

An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics: Goods in Contention complements existing communication ethics scholarship with an examination of 103 scholars who explicitly and implicitly contributed to our understanding of this crucial subject matter. The purpose of this collection is to give an overview of key figures whose work assists our understanding of the development and influence of communication ethics. We selected voices on communication ethics after considering an individual author’s contribution to the following coordinates: (1) dialectical and dialogical engagement with other scholars and perspectives; (2) the performative praxis of ethics in the interplay of theory and the public domain; and (3) examination of the connection between history and questions with a constitutive ethical theory offering a connecting response. Dialogical and dialectical engagement, performative praxis of ethics, and the intimate relationship between historical moments and ethical reflection provide a background for understanding author selection for this volume.

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Chapter 34: Paulo Freire: Literacy of Dialogue (Leeanne M. Bell Mcmanus)


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Paulo Freire

Literacy of Dialogue


Paulo Freire was born on September 19, 1921 in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, one of the most impoverished parts of the nation. Due to economic constraints within his family, he experienced interruptions in his education; however, this did not stop him from earning his Ph.D. and becoming an influential educator, humanitarian, and theorist. Known for transforming education by his words and actions, he advocated for education that would not only move the oppressed to liberation but also encourage all educational theorists and scholars to understand the importance and power of education.1

Freire’s theories and practices about education emerged in the context of a society characterized by rigid hierarchical structures, selective educational opportunities where maintaining the status quo and illiteracy were the norm, and neo-colonial exploitation. His philosophies about education are situated in the classical works of Plato and modern Marxist and anti-colonialist thinkers. Freire is known for his grassroots education initiative in northeastern Brazil that focused on adult literacy and the development of critical thinking skills. His intention was to free the masses from oppression through education. However, a military coup overthrew the government, causing the termination of the national literacy campaign. Freire was imprisoned for over two months and forced to flee the country, along with hundreds of other activists and leaders who believed in the importance of empowering people.2 ← 172 | 173 →

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