Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Becoming
Chapter 1. Becoming through Negation: Revisiting Marx’s Humanism
BECOMING THROUGH NEGATION: REVISITING MARX’S HUMANISM
In this chapter, we begin the process of developing a Marxist critical pedagogy of becoming by turning to Marx’s approach to Hegelian dialectics. We begin with a brief outline of Marx’s take on Hegel’s dialectics. Because of the current crisis of capital, we look to Marx’s shifting conception of the falling rate of profit (which reflects his developing understanding of how contradictions operate within capitalism). We argue that this analysis reflects Marx’s developing understanding of what the negation of the negation means under capitalism. Due to the role that the United States continues to play as the center of global capitalism, these discussions focus on the U.S. We might note, drawing on Hegelian dialectics, that the hegemonic logic of capital serves the purpose of preventing the tendency of capital’s contradictions from leading to social transformation, or revolution. We argue throughout the chapter that critical pedagogy can offer a powerful tool in helping students and teachers situate their own experiences in this larger social, historical context, fostering self-empowerment and collective critical agency. In other words, in order to negate ourselves as alienated labor, we need to be able to see ourselves as such, see ourselves as the negation of ourselves as such, and, finally, engage in ← 13 | 14 → the negation ourselves. For Marx, as we will see below, this is the historical process of becoming, which, in line with Paulo Freire, should be conceived of as a never-ending process, one...
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