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Radical Imagine-Nation

Public Pedagogy & Praxis


Edited By Peter McLaren and Suzanne SooHoo

This collection of essays, poems, and reflections by scholars, public intellectuals, artists, and community activists (as well as those whose work intersects with all of these categories) constitutes a landmark achievement in critical pedagogy and social justice education. Edited by two leaders whose work spans both academic and grassroots communities, Radical Imagine-Nation was conceived during a time of political turmoil both nationally and internationally, a time when freedom and democracy seemed out of reach for millions around the world.

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Chapter Six: Utopia as Praxis: Paulo Freire Twenty Years After His Passing (Robert Lake)


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Utopia AS Praxis

Paulo Freire Twenty Years After His Passing


If I am not in the world simply to adapt to it, but rather transform it, and if it is not possible to change the world without a certain dream or vision for it, I must make use of every possibility there is not only to speak about my utopia, but also to engage in practices consistent with it.

—FREIRE (2004, P. 7)

It has been twenty years since Paulo Freire’s death in 1997.1 During this period of time his work has remained popular and flourished in North America and around the world. In this chapter I discuss some of the reasons for Freire’s sustained and increasing importance in this age of dehumanizing, dystopian globalization, hyper-fundamentalism, corporatized schooling, and a prevailing culture of narcissism and indifference. In response to these conditions I explore Freire’s praxis of utopia as “denouncing how we are living and announcing how we could live” (Freire, 2004, p. 105). These two aspects of critical consciousness can be compared metaphorically to our physical capacity of sight as it enables stereoscopic vision, which unites the perspectives of both eyes holistically into one unified perspective. Without this marvelous operation of consciousness, it is like looking at the world with one eye closed which skews and distorts objects at hand and far off ones as well. A supporting theory...

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