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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 16, 2000

Race, Social Identity, and Human Dignity

Shaireen Rasheed
Pages 203-214

Power, Pedagogy, and Social Reality
A Critical Examination of Language Theory in Academia

Living Dangerously: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference, Henry Giroux critically examines the emphasis on “clarity” in educational discourse, the best known advocate for which is Michael Apple. Giroux points out that a new generation of social critics, particularly in feminist theory, literary studies, post-colonial analysis, and Afro-American cultural criticism, has broken with traditional conventions that call for writing in a clear, unambiguous discourse. In contrast to Apple’s interpretation of “clarity” in language, the present paper will emphasize Giroux’s claim that educators need to center their discussion of language around a politics of difference that allows teachers and students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to govern and shape society rather than be relegated to society’s margins. This paper will argue for the development of methods of articulating how social locations shape various social and intellectual perspectives. Education for critical consciousness should focus on the links between the historical configuration of social forms and how these links work subjectively.

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