Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education
Chapter 2. Oppression
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Even before I ever read Marx I had made his words my own. (Freire, 1998, p. 115)
In this chapter I attempt to understand, at a structural level, how and why oppression happens. I begin by considering discourses of oppression and the implications of the oppressor-oppressed dichotomy. Next, Marxism is briefly introduced as a central theory on the nature of human oppression and as a foundation upon which to investigate other social theories. Following Marx, I delve into Horkheimer and Adorno’s (1944/2002) critique of the modes of production of knowledge that raises fundamental questions of the relationship between epistemology and oppression. Then ways of knowing in Indigenous and Eastern philosophies are considered in search of a way to proceed beyond the deconstructionism that critical theory inspires. Finally Bookchin’s (1982) theory of human ecology positing that oppression is the result of a departure from nature is investigated. I conclude the chapter by trying to put together social theory, epistemology, and social ecology in order to move beyond an effort to understand the roots of oppression toward an understanding restoration. ← 19 | 20 →
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