Visualising Paulo Freire’s world

With my Christmas book vouchers I have purchased a number of titles, one or two linked to youthwork management, a few others, and one or two written by Paulo Freire, including the one in this picture2016-01-11 23.42.28

Most of it is like refreshing water on the dry one track educational method soul of some theology or management reading, lengthy discussions on dialogue, freedom, faith and hope. Just wonderful. However, I was getting a bit bogged down with his descriptions of the state of oppression in Brazil, and not wanting to make light of the challenges in that context, I needed something to relate it to. All the talk of oppressive structures, people as objects, limitations of freedoms, and I was struggling.. then I realised…

what about The current Tory Government- if I picture them as the  oppressors – but who shall be the oppressed?

Well first i thought of people in Hartlepool. A place shafted because, well it just gets shafted.

Then people in the North in general. Northern Powerhouse, my arse.

And Junior Doctors -theyre on strike today.

And anyone in the NHS in fact. some of which who can strike, others who cant.

Or public sector workforce having reduced pensions, pay and redundancies in the last 6 years.

Young people- yes young people, theyre oppressed too, reduced housing benefits, costs of university, decimation of youth services, ore services for them, unable to vote, but can still be prosecuted.

in fact anyone who works with young people, youthworkers, mental health workers, social workers, teachers, special needs teachers, careers advisers (who dont exist) anyone who has relied on funding from the government to work with young people – will have experienced something like policy that has shaped influence or working practice, or reduced funding, and their job changed not for the benefit of young people – but for an ideological view that influences practice.

What about those in families that are deemed ‘Broken’ by the government? – nice use of language to determine power, normativity and oppression there Dave..

Or British Muslims, or Muslims at all, and if you’re a young British Muslim, then triple whammy.  If youve fled war, hatred or oppression, only to find it here.

If you’re out of work, not sure the stacks are in your favour either, with sanctions which cost the government more to enforce than save money at all.

for the rest of the time reading the book, contextualising oppression might not be too much of a challenge. Ill just exchange oppressors or Brazilian government for  ‘Current British Government’ or Neo-liberal agenda. And for oppression,  Ill settle for young person, or youthworker, as its closest to hand. Maybe ill visualise a young person in Hartlepool, or a young british born muslim person who lives in Hartlepool with a Dad out of work and mum in Prison. Thatll do.

But it could be any one of the above.

The challenge is for the people seeking to transform the world where people are oppressed is to not maintain the oppression that others have already placed upon them. The oppression created by narratives that as Freire argues sub-merge people in a reality, and dullen the critical to challenge the oppressors. Liberation might not just be through education but a form of education that is awakens the consciousness, and seeks freedom, to be creative, to make and to be active subject. (p11)

Thanks Current government, youve given me a glimmer of insight into Freires world.





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