mimicry/hybridity/dislocation/diaspora/decolonization/exile/talking back/mimicry/hybridity/dislocation/diaspora/decolonization/exile/talking back
“If nothing should subsist of these pages, I hope at least our true confidence in the “people” would live on.”
Paulo Freire – Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Born in 1922, in Brazil, Paulo Freire starts working on a method to eliminate illiteracy in the late forties, to come up with a first version of his education for critical consciousness in the late sixties. Since then, his name has often served to justify numerous actions for literacy. A multi-cultural educator, Paulo Freire has worked for the oppressed claiming that their liberation is also the liberation of the oppressors. His method started to be experienced in the north of Brazil, where over 50% of the population of the time was illiterate. The results were so good that Paulo Freire was given the responsibility of eliminating illiteracy in Brazil by the ministry of Education. During this time he was also teaching in the history and philosophy of education in University.
The unifying thread in his work is critical consciousness as the motor of cultural emancipation. Freire writes, in the context prior to the military coup of April 1964, Education as the Practice of Freedom, and is forced into exile. From that work, Freire precise his thoughts in Cultural Action for Freedom, in which he claims history and theory can lead to reflective action. That work leads Freire to the elaboration of his most important work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in which he defines his notion of freedom as dynamic and rooted in the process by which the oppressed struggle to “extroject” (the term is his, and means to project out of themselves) the slave consciousness which the oppressors have “introjected” into the deepest spaces of their being.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, readers can find the basic components of Freire’s literacy method, in which the traditional definition of educators and students is challenged; Freire’s educators are meant to learn things through teaching.
§ participant observation of educators turning in to the vocabulary of the people;
§ their arduous search for generative words at tow levels: syllabic richness and a high charge of experiential involvement;
§ a first codification of these words into visual images which stimulate people submerged in the culture of silence to emerge as conscious makers of theirs own culture;
§ the decodification by a “culture circle” under the self-effacing stimulus of a coordinator who is no teacher in the conventional sense, but who has become an educator-educatee in the dialogue with educatee-educators too often treated by formal educators as passive empty recipients of knowledge;
§ a creative new codification, this one explicitly critical and aimed at action, where those who were formerly illiterate now begin to reject their role as mere objects in nature and social history and undertake to become subjects of their own destiny.
Paulo Freire’s central message, is that one can know only to the extent that one problematizes (as opposed to a problem-solving attitude) the natural, historical and cultural reality in which one is immersed. Freire’s vision grew out of his practical involvement with oppressed groups in a process of struggle for liberation. He believes no one has the right to impose his or her personal options and observations on others. The oppressed of the world have no problem recognizing his voice as their own in their effort to overcome their cultural silence. In his sense, those who are oppressed do not enjoy the freedom to fail or experimentation this is why they need to study carefully serious ideas which they can put into practice. Freire’s approach to education, communication and technology only means something unless it is assumed and re-created by human is struggle. Freire’s work, a testimony of the importance of each individual, convinces us to believe that liberating education and authentic communication are possible.