Narration, Place, and the Social
Chapter 1. Introducing Critique as Sociomaterial Practice
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INTRODUCING CRITIQUE AS SOCIOMATERIAL PRACTICE
Karl Marx wrote in 1845 that we are what we do: “As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production” (1845/2004, p. 42; see also Marx, 1845/1994). In other words, Marx suggested that our practices, and in particular, forms of labour and associated modes of production, shape us as humans. Critical education is familiar with focusing on such practices as objects of critique, for example, in considering how institutionalized practices of schooling structure individualized conditions of racism. However, critical education itself also involves practices that do things to students, and thus far these processes have received far less examination.
In this book we suggest that common conceptualizations of critical education—i.e., as deconstructive mental activity most often occurring in classrooms with a focus on individual learning—implicitly include everyday practices and understandings bound up in the very social structures and norms that critical forms of education seek to challenge. Rather than only considering practices as objects of critique, this book advocates for also explicitly attending to everyday practical experience in the generative processes of critical ← 1 | 2 → education. In addressing the role of practice in learning more intentionally, the book elaborates a critical situated approach to teaching and learning.
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