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Title: Knowledge and social justice : re-considering critical pedagogy in higher education
Author: McArthur, Janice Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 913X
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is a contribution to the literature on the role and purposes of higher education. It is informed by the perspective of critical pedagogy, which is itself based on two mutually-reinforcing commitments: a belief in the inter-relationship between education and society, and a belief that education should further the cause of greater social justice within society. The thesis takes as its starting point a sense that critical pedagogy has tended to under-emphasize the role that knowledge, and particularly the disciplinary knowledge of higher education, can play in this movement towards greater social justice within and through higher education. Acknowledging the importance of diverse perspectives and 'takes' on critical pedagogy this thesis therefore offers another perspective to be considered, not necessarily as an alternative, but in conversation with those in the established literature. Like other examples of critical pedagogy, the ideas outlined in this thesis are based on particular streams and interpretations of critical theory. In this case, the work of Theodor Adorno is used to ground the major arguments about the contribution that knowledge within higher education can make to broader social justice. Of particular importance are Adorno's ideas on non-identity, negative dialectics, standing outside the mainstream and the relationship between theory and practice. This thesis argues that higher education can contribute to social justice through its engagement with complex and contested forms of knowledge; active forms of participation that embrace the necessity of risk and uncertainty in our engagement with knowledge; the provision of spaces and opportunities whereby those engaging with knowledge can escape mainstream domination, and thus have a stronger chance of changing the status quo; and, finally, a complex recognition of the relationship between theory and practice that challenges the division in social or academic life between thinking and doing, and thus releases the latent emancipatory potential of knowledge and thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available