From Personal to Critical Awareness and Active Engagement: Consciousness Shifts Among Students During Participation in an Academic Course

  • Ariela Bairey Ben IshayEmail author
  • Moti Gigi


In recent years a vast body of research has been devoted to questions concerning the development of critical consciousness and the desire to promote equality as a consequence of theoretical and dialogical study. The chapter analyses expressions of personal awareness and critical consciousness held by participants in a program that dealt with diversity in the workplace. The class was composed of students from various origins with regard to nationality, ethnicity, social class, and gender, and consisted mainly of working, mid-career students. The lecturers shared with the students some aspects of their personal and social backgrounds, including privilege and the lack thereof. By using ethnographic field work that included participant observation conducted in the classroom and interviews with 20 graduates, we examined the ways personal awareness, social consciousness, and the desire for change were manifest in the narratives of the students. Findings suggest that the students gained, through their combined theoretical and experiential studies, insights of self-awareness and critical consciousness, as opposed to research that found that introspective work on the personal sphere tends to depoliticize critical consciousness. Perhaps the encounters between students and lecturers that openly share elements of their own privileged and marginalized identities contributed to creating an atmosphere that opened students to understanding their experience on both a personal and a macro-social level.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationBeit Berl CollegeKfar SabaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationSapir Academic CollegeAshkelonIsrael

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