Decanonizing the Field
Part II: The political and the power of the personal
part ii the political and the power of the personal · 8 · dialectics and the development of curriculum theory Henry A. Giroux One of the major tasks of the curriculum field is to demonstrate in consistent fashion the process of self-criticism and self-renewal. Unfortunately, such a task is more easily stated than accomplished. Yet, while the reasons for the loss of this critical capacity are varied and complex, the underlying source for the atrophy of self-reflection in the curriculum field may be traced to a general failure, particularly among members of the dominant tradition, to understand how the interface of ideology, dominant institutional interests, and curricu- lum theory contribute to the latter’s incomplete development. Walter Benjamin provided one clue when he wrote, “In every era the attempt must be made to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it.”1 What this implies is that no field of inquiry, including the curriculum field, is immune from the self-complacency that threatens it once the field gains status as an “acceptable” mode of discourse and inquiry. Thus, the institutionalization of the curriculum field points to the need to develop a mode of analysis that educates its members to the language and logic of its own political and ideological center of gravity. What this means is that if the curriculum field is going to resist the conformity that threatens to overtake it, its members will have to reassess its possibilities for critique and growth against the influence and mediations of...
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