Crossing the Postmodern Conditions that Divide: Theorizing Difference and the Cultural Politics of Emancipation in Critical Pedagogy

  • Peter Pericles Trifonas
  • Effie Balomenos


Postmodernism is the precarious condition of our times. Despite the “post” phase of modernity the prefix of the neologism implies, the social injustices of the previous age have left indelible marks on the solvent ethics of postmodernity and the theorization of difference. The distressing signs of the historical legacy of modernism are to he found in the material domain of discriminatory social practices instituted by the cultural politics of an exclusionary agenda in the name of neoliberal conceptions of an autonomous subject. Difference or deviation from the accepted “norms of being” has been accorded a pejorative connotation in relation to highly arbitrary criteria of judgment based on the ever so problematic categories of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality This conscious disenfranchisement of alternate subjectivities or “otherness” is in effect the empirical ground of marginalization within the social sphere of community It is the material results of the societal production of the meaning of representation that rationalizes the social value placed on acts of inclusion and exclusion. Difference therefore comes to be measured practicably in relation to the acceptable configuration of cultural ordinances of aspect—being like others means being acceptable to a closed conception of community as the taking up of arms against the radicality of difference. Any deviation from standardized images of “normality” is figuratively conceived in terms of narrowly defined criteria and the fixed, qualitative scaling of personal or group characteristics. Marginalization ensues.


Subjective Identity Cultural Politics Knowledge Claim Educational Theory Critical Pedagogy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Althusser, L. (1971). Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. Irans. B. Brewster. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  2. Apple, M. W. (1990). Ideology and Curriculum. Routledge: New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. —. Education, Culture, and Class Power: Basil Bernstein and the Neo-Marxist Sociology of Education. Educational Theory 42:2 (1992): 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baudrillard, J. (1981). Simulcres et Simulation. Paris: Galilée.Google Scholar
  5. —. (1983). For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. St. Louis: Telos Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bennington, G. (1986). “Postmodernism.” In Postmodernism, ed. L. Appignanesi. London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, p. 5.Google Scholar
  7. Best, S. and Kellner, D. (1991). Postmodern Theory. New York: The Guilford Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blatz, C. V. (1989). “Contextualism and Critical Thinking: Programmatic Investigations.” Educational Theory 39:2 (1989): 107–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. R. Nice. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bourdieu, P. and Passeron, J. C. (1977). Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Trans. R. Nice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Bromley, H. “Identity Politics and Critical Pedagogy.” Educational Theory 39:3 (1989): 207–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cherryholmes, C. H. (1988). Power and Criticism: Poststructural Investigations in Education. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. —. “Reading Research.” Curriculum Studies 25:1 (1993): 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corson, J. D. “Social Justice and Minority Language Policy” Educational Theory 42:2 (1992): 201–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Derrida, J. (1976). Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  16. —. (1981). Dissemination. Trans. B. Johnson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Doll, W. E. (1989). “Foundations for a Postmodern Curriculum.” Journal of Curriculum Studies 21:1 (1989): 243–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eco, U. (1979). The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Text. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.Google Scholar
  19. Foster, H. (1983). “Postmodernism.” In The Anti-Aesthetic, ed. H. Foster. Port Townsend: Bay Press, pp. ix–xvi.Google Scholar
  20. Foucault, M. (1973). The Order of Things. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  21. —. (1979). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. A. Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  22. —. (1980). Knowledge/Power. Trans. C. Gordon. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  23. Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. M. B. Rames. New York: Seabury Press.Google Scholar
  24. Freire, P. and Faundez, A. (1989). Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  25. Giroux, H. A. “Critical Literacy and Student Experience: Donald Graves’ Approach to Literacy.” Language Arts 64:2 (1987): 175–181.Google Scholar
  26. —. (1988a). Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  27. —. “Postmodernism and the Discourse of Educational Criticism.” Journal of Education 170:3 (1988b): 5–30.Google Scholar
  28. —. Border Pedagogy in the Age of Postmodernism. Journal of Education 170:3 (1988c): 162–181.Google Scholar
  29. —. “The Hope of Radical Education: A Conversation with Henry Giroux.” Journal of Education 170:2 (1988d): 91–101.Google Scholar
  30. —. “The Politics of Postmodernism.” Journal of Urban and Cultural Studies 1:1 (1990): 5–38.Google Scholar
  31. —. (1992). Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Giroux, H. A. and Simon, R. I. “Schooling, Popular Culture, and a Pedagogy of Possibility.” Journal of Education 170:1 (1988): 9–26.Google Scholar
  33. Giroux, H. A. and McLaren, P. “Writing from the Margins: Geographies of Identity, Pedagogy, and Power.” Journal of Education 174:1 (1992): 7–29.Google Scholar
  34. Goodman, J. “Teachers as Intellectuals: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Learning.” Journal of Education 170:2 (1988): 143–149.Google Scholar
  35. Guba, E. G. “Relativism.” Curriculum Inquiry 22:1 (1992): 17–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hall, S. “On Postmodernism and Articulation: An Interview.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 10:2 (1986): 45–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harvey, D. (1990). The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  38. Hutcheon, L. (1992). “Theorizing the Postmodern.” In The Post-Modern Reader, ed. C. Jencks. New York: St. Martins Press, pp. 76–93.Google Scholar
  39. Jameson, F. (1989). Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Jencks, C. (1986). What is Postmodernism? New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  41. —. (1987). Post-Modernism: New Classicism in Art and Architecture. New York: Rizzoli.Google Scholar
  42. —. (1992). “The Postmodern Agenda.” In The Post-Modern Reader, ed. C. Jencks. New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 10–39.Google Scholar
  43. Kanpol, B. “Postmodernism in Education Revisited: Similarities within Differences and the Democratic Imaginary.” Educational Theory 42:2 (1992): 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kaplan, L. D. “Teaching Intellectual Autonomy: The Failure of the Critical Thinking Movement.” Educational Theory 41:4 (1991): 361–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kearns, J. and Newton, K. “An Interview with Jacques Derrida.” Literary Review 14 (1980): 21–22.Google Scholar
  46. Kellner, D. “Reading Images Critically: Toward a Postmodern Pedagogy.” Journal of Education 170:3 (1988): 31–52.Google Scholar
  47. —. (1989). Critical Theory Marxism and Modernity. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Lather, P. “Ideology and Methodological Attitude.” JCT 9:2 (1989): 7–26.Google Scholar
  49. —. (1991). Getting Smart: Feminist Research and Pedagogy with/in the Postmodern. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Luke, C. and Gore, J. (eds.) (1992). Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Lyotard, J. F. (1984). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. G. Bennington and B. Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  52. —. (1986). “Defining the Postmodern.” In Postmodernism, ed. L. Appignanesi. London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
  53. —. (1992). “What is Postmodernism?” In The Post-Modern Reader, ed. C. Jencks. New York: St Martin’s Press, pp. 138–150.Google Scholar
  54. Martusewicz, R. A. (1992). “Mapping the Terrain of the Post-Modern Subject: Post-Structuralism and the Educated Woman.” In Understanding Curriculum as Phenomenological and Deconstructed Text, ed. W. F. Pinar and Reynolds. New York: Teachers College Press, pp. 131–158.Google Scholar
  55. McLaren, P. “Schooling the Postmodern Body: Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Enfleshment.” Journal of Education 170:3 (1988): 53–83.Google Scholar
  56. —. (1991). “Critical Pedagogy, Postcolonial Politics and Redemptive Remembrance.” In Fortieth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference. Ohio: The National Reading Conference, Inc., pp. 33–48.Google Scholar
  57. —. “Critical Pedagogy Political Agency and the Pragmatics of justice: The Case of Lyotard.” Educational Theory 44:3 (1994): 319–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Siegel, H. (1988). Educating Reason. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  59. Smyth, J. W. (1987). A Rationale for Teachers Critical Pedagogy: A Handbook. Victoria: Deakin University.Google Scholar
  60. Spivak, G. C. “Acting Bits/Identity Talk.” Critical Inquiry 18:4 (1992): 770–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stanley W B. (1992). Curriculum for Utopia. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  62. Von Glassersfeld, E. “Cognition, Construction of Knowledge, and Teaching.” Synthese 80 (1989): 121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G. E. M. Anscombe. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Pericles Trifonas 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Pericles Trifonas
  • Effie Balomenos

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations