critical theory and education

Critical Theory and Educational Studies Correspondence : Wilfred Carr, School of Education, University College of North Wales, Lon Pobty, Bangor, Gwynedd, United Kingdom.Search for more papers

critical theory and education

Critical theory and education
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Correspondence : Wilfred Carr, School of Education, University College of North Wales, Lon Pobty, Bangor, Gwynedd, United Kingdom.Search for more papers by this author

Critical theory and education General Issues. The literature indicates that, in the United States, discussions based on race/ethnicity and education focus primarily on social class. Several researchers believe that improvement in an individual’s social status will also improve her or his achievement in school. Others are suggesting that an examination of the larger population reveals that schooling and achievement are more closely tied to political issues.

the postmodern critique concerns itself with a rejection or debunking of modernism’s epistemic foundations or meta-narratives; a dethronement of the authority of the positivistic science that essentializes differences between what appear to be self-possessing identities, an attack on the notion of a unified goal of history, and a deconstruction of the magnificent Enlightenment swindle of the autonomous, stable, and self-contained ego that is supposed to be able to act independently of its own history, its own indigenist strands of meaning making and cultural and linguistic situatedness, and free from inscriptions in the, discourses of, among others, gender, race, and class (p. 196).

Illich, I. (1973). Tools for Conviviality. Harper and Row, New York.
Karlsson, A.-M. (2002). Web literacy, web literacies or just literacies on the web? The Reading Matrix, 2(2).

Critical theory and education
The most compelling educational research often mobilizes pieces of more than one theory, pulling conceptual tools from more than one framework. In what Lather ( 2006 ) describes as paradigm proliferation, researchers can engage with multiple frameworks and ultimately arrive at entirely new theoretical constructs and analytic tools. Among those tools can be elements of critical theory and Marxist analysis. However, we encourage researchers to move beyond dogmatic adherence to a particular frame and instead to think broadly about how the range of theories have variously explored elements of oppression and liberation and how they might inform future thinking and research.
In this short chapter, we attempt to introduce some of the key concepts in critical theory. We use the terms critical theory and critical pedagogy as somewhat interchangeable throughout. While that perhaps shows ideological or theoretical slippage in our own conceptualizations, it is also true that they are often used as if they were interchangeable in the research literature. We do not intend to imply there are no differences—but for the purposes of a text on educational research, the distinctions are muddier as critical pedagogy adopts and expands many of the tenets of critical theory (Giroux, 1997 ) with specific applications to education, teaching, and schools.

Critical theory and education
4. Meet Me behind the Curtain: The Struggle for a Critical Postmodern Action Research
Joe Kincheloe
5. Some Notes on Power, Agenda, and Voice: A Researcher’s Personal Evolution toward Critical Collaborative Research
Margaret D. LeCompte