Oppression, Obscuration and Ideology

  • Glenn Toh


Guided by critical educator Paulo Freire’s vision for conscionably humane forms of education, this chapter examines the nature of power asymmetries, oppressions, fragmentations and imprisoning discourses operational within educational domains, in particular, English teaching. Discourses of neutrality, accountability and utilitarianism are problematized, discourses which undermine otherwise more humanizing ideals, while educators are seen variously to be professionally and subjectively collusive or complicit with regimes of oppression where hegemonies and mythologies are routinely nourished around ‘enlightened’ research or pedagogical practices which are empowering (alas only) in appearance, but decidedly oppressive in reality. The case of certain aspects of second language acquisition (SLA) research is highlighted as an example of presumption and oppressiveness in the way the learner is interpolated and invoked as a subject-object of scrutiny.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Toh
    • 1
  1. 1.Language and Communication CentreNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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