The Pedagogical Solution: Freire’s Critical Pedagogy and Social Democracy

  • Luis S. Villacañas de Castro


‘A critical [educational] process is driven and justified by mutuality. This ethic of mutual development’, argued Ira Shor (2009) in the context of his analysis of Freire’s dialogic pedagogy, ‘can be thought as of a Freirean addition to the Vygotskyan one’ (p. 291). As this quote suggests, the aim of this chapter is to describe the essential feature of Paulo Freire’s solution to the conundrum that Lev Vygotsky’s framework stumbled upon. While Shor’s sentence hits the target, it relies on a widespread opinion among education scholars, who tend to emphasize the ethical component of critical pedagogy in general and Freire’s project in particular (Darder, 2009; Flores-Kastaris et al., 2009). In contrast to this ethical turn, this chapter argues that the main reason why educators should push dialogue, equality, freedom, and tolerance to the foreground of their teaching, as Freire did, is not ethical but specifically pedagogic, and hence that it has less to do with the convenience of treating these principles as abstract, ethical values (and thus valid irrespectively of the social situation people find themselves in: educational, political, economic, and so on), than with the educational need that has been repeatedly explained in this book: namely, the need to overcome the negative effects of the phenomenal forms. In other words, dialogue, equality, freedom, and tolerance should orient teachers’ practice not because they are ethical or virtuous in themselves, but on account of their educational efficiency vis-à-vis the specific pedagogical problem posed by the phenomenal forms.


Individual Freedom Critical Consciousness Social Democracy Critical Pedagogy Social Democrat 
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Copyright information

© Luis S. Villacañas de Castro 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis S. Villacañas de Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ValenciaSpain

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