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Conscientization and the Cultivation of Conscience

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Keqi (David) Liu

Conscientization and the Cultivation of Conscience constitutes a major contribution to the international literature on the work of Paulo Freire, one of the most influential educationalists of all time. It provides a fresh perspective on the Freirean notion of conscientization, rethinking this pivotal concept in the light of the history of ideas on conscience. The author offers a holistic, philosophical reading of Freire’s texts and argues for the cultivation of conscience through love and dialogue. Such a reading, he suggests, allows us to better respond to the moral crises that face us in the age of global capitalism. The ideas advanced in this book have important implications for philosophical and cultural understanding and for educational theory and practice.
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Chapter Six: The Integration of the Cultivation of Conscience Into Conscientization

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  CHAPTER SIX

This chapter seeks a guideline for integrating the cultivation of conscience into conscientization, determines the distinctive and irreplaceable functions and roles that both the cultivation of critical consciousness and the cultivation of conscience assume, and identifies the new features conscientization gains after the integration.

There are two main reasons for the integration of the cultivation of conscience into conscientization. One is that conscience may bend in front of armed injustices or system problems no matter how important it is to morality. The other is that the practice of cultivating conscience must carry on in a dialogical approach on a social scale to transform self-conscience of inner harmony into social conscience of justice. Thus, once the cultivation of conscience is integrated, it is important to ensure that conscientization must still proceed on Freire’s unyielding revolutionary, critical, dialogical, and praxical track. Freire’s dialectical “meetings” with Marx and Christ are instructive for completing this project. ← 121 | 122 →

As mentioned in the first chapter, Walker (1980) called into question Freire’s treatment of existentialist Christianity and Marxist liberation. He argued that they are contradictory. However, Freire himself did not consider this a problem:

My meetings with Marx never suggested to me to stop “meeting” Christ. I never said to Marx: “Look, Marx, really Christ was a baby. Christ was naïve.” And also I never said to Christ, “Look, Marx was a materialistic and terrible man.” I always spoke to both of them in a...

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