Listening

In Derek R. Ford (ed.), Keywords in Radical Philosophy and Education: Common Concepts for Contemporary Movements. Leiden: Brill. pp. 255-270 (2019)
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Abstract
In this chapter I focus on listening as a potentially revolutionary pedagogical activity. I argue that listening should not be understood as an essentially passive state, and focus on pedagogical situations where the educator can be misled by prejudices regarding the abilities, or lack thereof, of the individuals that the educator is interacting with in a pedagogical context. While the claims which I argue for apply to pedagogues in formal classrooms, I will be mostly concerned with pedagogy in the context of political and social movements. In the first section, I argue that there is a direct relationship between the manner in which dominant social groups , especially ruling classes in societies stratified along class lines, accumulate social power in a given society and the manner in which the conceptual tools that are available for the interpretation of social reality make it difficult for members of oppressed social groups to interpret social reality in a way that accords with their interests, either because the adequate conceptual tools are not part of the conceptual repertoire of their society, or because they do not have access to them due to their material conditions (grinding poverty, illiteracy, etc.). I argue that the revolutionary pedagogue must be aware of this structural problem. In the second section, I draw on the methods of participatory action research in an attempt to specify what the revolutionary pedagogue must be like as a listener in order to compensate for the existence of this deficiency in adequate conceptual tools for the analysis of social reality and the identification of objective social interests on the part of members of oppressed social groups. In other words, I specify the qualities that revolutionary pedagogues must possess as listeners in order to fulfill their task. In the third and concluding section, I argue that in order to compensate for the structural problem that I identify in the first section, pedagogues must be willing to identify with the members of the oppressed groups that they are attempting to teach (in a dialogical manner). They must be willing to commit what Amilcar Cabral called class suicide and its analogues in relation to other forms of oppression (Cabral 1979a, 126).
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