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Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy

Insurrection and Commonwealth


Charles Reitz

Critical pedagogy, political economics, and aesthetic theory combine with dialectical and materialist understandings of science, society, and revolutionary politics to develop the most radical goals of society and education. In Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy: Insurrection and Commonwealth, Marcuse’s hitherto misunderstood and neglected philosophy of labor is reconsidered, resulting in a labor theory of ethics. This develops commonwealth criteria of judgment regarding the real and enduring economic and political possibilities that concretely encompass all of our engagement and action. Marcuse’s newly discovered 1974 Paris Lectures are examined and the theories of Georg Lukács and Ernest Manheim contextualize the analysis to permit a critical assessment of the nature of dialectical methodology today. Revolutionary strategy and a common-ground political program against intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender comprise the book’s commonwealth counter-offensive.


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Introduction: Education and Struggle


The Education and Struggle series edited by Michael Peters and Peter McLaren has made it possible for me to bring my reflections on philosophy and polit- ical praxis to a wide audience of social and educational activists. I write as an intellectual co-conspirator and pedagogical comrade of Peter McLaren and have found the critical theoretical power of his analyses formative in my own writing. Most recently his Pedagogy of Insurrection (2015), but also his Capitalists & Conquerors: A Critical Pedagogy Against Empire (2005), his Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution (2000), his Revolutionary Multiculturalism: Pedagogies of Dissent for the New Millennium (1997), and his Critical Pedagogy and Predatory Culture (1995) have framed my own critical perspective on politics, pedagogy, and praxis. One of McLaren’s (2015) most recent contributions concerns the forma- tion of critical consciousness (i.e. theory formation) and its relationship to radical practice. In a fashion that I take to be a Copernican revolution revers- ing conventional thinking on the matter, he writes: Critical consciousness is not the root of commitment to revolutionary struggle but rather the product of such a commitment. An individual does not have to be crit- ically self-conscious and well-versed in the theories of the Frankfurt School or the writings of liberation theologians in order to feel the obligation to help the poor and 2 philosophy & critical pedagogy the dispossessed. In fact, it is in the very act of struggling along-side the oppressed that individuals become critically conscious and aware and motivated to...

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