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Paulo Freire

The Global Legacy


Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley

This collection is the first book devoted to Paulo Freire’s ongoing global legacy to provide an analysis of the continuing relevance and significance of Freire’s work and the impact of his global legacy. The book contains essays by some of the world’s foremost Freire scholars – McLaren, Darder, Roberts, and others – as well as chapters by scholars and activists, including the Maori scholars Graham Hingangaroa Smith and Russell Bishop, who detail their work with the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. The book contains a foreword by Nita Freire as well as chapters from scholars around the world including Latin America, Asia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. With a challenging introduction from the editors, Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley, this much-awaited addition to the Freire archive is highly recommended reading for all students and scholars interested in Freire, global emancipatory politics, and the question of social justice in education.
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Chapter Two: Paulo Freire and the Continuing Struggle to Decolonize Education



Paulo Freire and the Continuing Struggle to Decolonize Education1


More than forty years after Paulo Freire’s (1971) book Pedagogy of the Oppressed was first released in English, the inequalities and injustices that he was addressing then continue to persist in the United States and around the world. In many instances these conditions have worsened in the past two decades, with the infusion of neoliberal imperatives of privatization, deregulation, and the free market into practices of education. It is important then to begin our discussion about the legacy of Freire here, in that it has often been precisely Freire’s revolutionary critique of capitalism and the link of schooling to class struggle that have been stripped away, resulting in watered-down, diluted versions of his ideas.

As a scholar of color who was born a colonized subject in Puerto Rico and reared in abject poverty in the United States, there is no way that anyone can convince me that the center of gravity of oppression for those of us deemed “other” is simply the psychological aberration of white people toward our so-called “race.” Rather, I argue adamantly that the racialization processes experienced by the marginalized are intimately tied to the material domination and exploitation of our communities by the wealthy and powerful elite—and enacted, for the most part, by those who are not themselves affluent but answer the siren call of capital daily.

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