Knowledge Stampede On Land, at Sea, and in Cyberspace: What Is and What Could Be
In the critical pragmatic spirit of Knowledge and Critical Pedagogy: An Introduction our transformative intersection of epistemology and the politics of knowledge moves our scholarly praxis from providing an accurate depiction of FIDUROD’s one true reality to a nuanced notion of usefulness in the effort to address inequality and human suffering. Of course, despite the attacks of our detractors, this does not mean we are not interested in obtaining fair, complex, subtle, and compelling insights into the domains we study. This would go without saying except for the fact that so many have accused critical theoretical work of dishonest portrayals of various phenomena; the salient point here is that we are seeking a new scholarly rigor that provides a more insightful and interpretively rich understanding of the subjects we explore. The problem in this quest is that criticalists can simply never see this as some straightforward task—it is always confronted by the reality of multiple perspectives and standpoints.
The researcher’s charge is complicated by her knowledge of the existence of diverse ways of interpreting the meaning and significance of what one has examined. Those who dismiss this complexity not only produce knowledge inscribed by unconscious, unexamined assumptions but in the process tragically perpetuate an unjust status quo. No matter how much such uncritical scholars might wish it were so, the phenomenal world does not give up its meaning(s) so clearly. The Greeks who created the mythology of Hermes made this point many millennia ago. All knowledge is contextual, in process, relational, representational, and ideologically relevant. In the mainstream research grounded by the epistemology of FIDUROD, all of these complications are dismissed, swept under the dominant epistemological carpet. In this context criticalists explore the meaning of these dynamics in light of their normative dimensions—that is, in the context of “what is” in relation to “what ought to be” (Geeland & Taylor, 2000; Reason & Bradbury, 2000). Paulo Freire (1970, 1978) referred to this as a form of conscientization—or critical consciousness raising about the nature of dominant power and oppression and the ways the virus infiltrates human affairs.
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