Monday, June 16, 2008

Pedagogy of the Hostage

Just riffing on the Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I found it in Google books.
I read this years ago and I am reviewing the highlights and notes.
I like the way he states the problem in the first chapter about how the oppressor and the oppressed are interdependent. The observation that liberation must happen for both and that it is easy to make the mistake of humanitarianism.
"As long as their ambiguity persists, the oppressed are reluctant to resist, and totally lack confidence in themselves. They have a diffuse, magical belief in the invulnerability and power of the oppressor.[21]The magical force of the landowner’s power holds particular sway in the rural areas. A sociologist friend of mine tells of a group of armed peasants in a Latin American country who recently took over a latifundium. For tactical reasons, they planned to hold the landowner as a hostage. But not one peasant had the courage to guard him; his very presence was terrifying. It is also possible that the act of opposing the boss provoked guilt feelings. In truth, the boss was “inside” them" (Friere, 1968)

Actually, I was thinking that the whole education systems is like a colossal extended hostage-taking incident. 'We are in control!!! everybody get in this room, sit down, shut up and nobody gets hurt. Don't do anything stupid, do exactly as we tell you and we won't have to shoot you.
If we get what we want everybody is going to get out just fine if not...the shooting starts.'

So they capture us in early childhood and hold us hostage for 12, 16, 20 years. Don't make any trouble and you'll get out with your life (certificate, degree, credential, livelihood, $$, status .) But you must do exactly as we tell you otherwise you will be uneducated, poor and despised.
Of course if you are held captive for 20 yrs ( long enough to get yer doctorate) the Stockholm syndrome takes over and you get to join the hostage takers.
Very dramatic of course and if you accused me of hyperbole you wouldn't be the first.

Freire , P. (1968). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. . Retrieved May 14, 2008, from

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