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Marx, Capital, and Education

Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Becoming


Curry Stephenson Malott and Derek R. Ford

With the contradictions of capitalism heightening and intensifying, and with new social movements spreading across the globe, revolutionary transformation is once again on the agenda. For radicals, the most pressing question is: How can we transform ourselves and our world into something else, something just? In Marx, Capital, and Education, Curry Stephenson Malott and Derek R. Ford develop a «critical pedagogy of becoming» that is concerned with precisely this question. The authors boldly investigate the movement toward communism and the essential role that critical pedagogy can play in this transition. Performing a novel and educational reading of Karl Marx and radical theorists and activists, Malott and Ford present a critical understanding of the past and present, of the underlying logics and (often opaque) forces that determine the world-historical moment. Yet Malott and Ford are equally concerned with examining the specific ways in which we can teach, learn, study, and struggle ourselves beyond capitalism; how we can ultimately overthrow the existing order and institute a new mode of production and set of social relations. This incisive and timely book, penned by two militant teachers, organizers, and academics, reconfigures pedagogy and politics. Educators and organizers alike will find that it provides new ammunition in the struggle for the world that we deserve.
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“With communism as our horizon, the field of possibilities for revolutionary theory and practice starts to change shape. Barriers to action fall away. New potentials and challenges come to the fore. Anything is possible.”


Education is, by definition, a transformative process. When one enters into an educational engagement—knowingly or unknowingly—one is necessarily changed in some way. At the very least, the information that one knows is altered in some form or manner. At the other extreme, and still at the level of the individual, one’s very subjectivity is reconstituted. The stakes become even greater when we look at education at the scale of society. Indeed, to say that education has the power to transform society or the world borders on the mundane. We would be hard pressed, for example, to name one contemporary leading political figure that did not resort to such clichés. Yet our problem with such proclamations is not that they are banal but that they are completely devoid of direction. The content, nature and, most importantly, the direction and potentiality of this transformation are completely immaterial to education itself. In other words, yes, education can change people and societies, but how and—just as importantly—toward what ends?1 ← 1 | 2 →

It is these questions in which this book intervenes. We are, to be sure, not merely concerned with raising and exploring these questions because they are interesting or provide for good academic inquiry....

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