Counter-Hegemonic Education & Critical Pedagogy 



"Hegemony as it is traditionally understood is the success of the dominant class in presenting their definitions of reality and truth. It manifests itself in the political, economic, social and cultural terrains of society as well as through a dynamic process of negotiation between the dominant and subordinate classes. It is about the dominant seeking to make the rest of society believe and accept that their approach to life and understanding of society is the right and only way. As Gramsci pointed out (as cited in Jay, 2003 p. 5), hegemony is never simply imposition from above. Instead, it is maintained through the winning of the consent of subordinate groups by the dominant one(s). A major means for winning this consensus involves the universalizing of the dominant groups interests as the interests of society as a whole.


Critical pedagogy is an educational approach that seeks to promote educational experiences that are transformative, empowering, transgressive ande ven subversive. Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, (1972) which aims at helping learners find a sense of agency in their lives through the process of “conscientization,” is generally regarded as the foundational text associated with this approach. Critical pedagogy has a vision of a more egalitarian society and posits the view that this state of affairs can be realised through rationality (which might be problematic for some persons) while simultaneously incorporating some aspects of postmodern thought. There are various approaches to critical pedagogy but some common themes can be delineated, for instance the questioning of how power operates in the construction of knowledge, bell hooks (1994) explains: “More than ever before...educators are compelled to create new ways of knowing, different strategies for sharing knowledge” (p.12). This involves rethinking a number of aspects of educational practice including who makes the decisions about what and how to learn, who does the talking and who takes the responsibility for learning."  Mervin Chisholm, Developing Counter-hegemonic Pedagogy in Adult and Higher Education.

Countering Hegemony & Engaging in Critical Pedagoggy

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