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Subversion in the Classroom: Anarchist Thought and Practice in Higher Education

Brogan, Andrew (2018) Subversion in the Classroom: Anarchist Thought and Practice in Higher Education. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:75259)

Language: English

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This thesis is a critique of critical pedagogy which questions several of the key political assumptions behind critical pedagogy's calls for social change. Over the past decades critical pedagogy has become established as the progressive response to dominant approaches to education, first addressing issues of economic oppression and then expanding its analysis to include race, gender, sexuality and more. The wide range of authors contributing to critical pedagogy reflect this growing field of analysis and despite the variation in background and focus, all authors are united by a central tenet: education is political, and education can help to change the world for the better through greater justice, equality, democracy, and freedom. In recent years critical pedagogy has turned its attention to neo-liberal approaches to education which emphasise individual competition, personal gain, and free market economics, positioning itself as the progressive and critical response to neo-liberal education. The aim of this thesis is to question the assumptions behind this call for greater justice, equality, democracy, and freedom, and to argue that rather than offering a progressive response to neo-liberal practices of education, critical pedagogy leaves key structures of neo-liberalism unquestioned.

I contend that the anarchist thought and practice developed in this thesis offers a possibility for subversion which avoids the pitfalls of critical pedagogy by creating and developing moments in which we take responsibility for our actions, our (trans)formation as a subject, and our relationships to others in ways which are unaccountable for by neo-liberalism and critical pedagogy alike. I conclude the thesis piece by arguing that no matter the practices of governance we are subject too, be they neo-liberal in nature or emanating from critical pedagogy, there always exist moments and means of subversion.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Rossbach, Stefan
Uncontrolled keywords: Anarchism, Critical Pedagogy, Higher Education, Subjectivity, Governmentality, Freire, Foucault, de Certeau
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2019 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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