Pedagogy of the Precariat

by PETAR JANDRIC and HENRY A. GIROUX

Digital.WorldAn important and broad ranging interview with Henry A. Giroux that addresses critical pedagogy in and for the age of the digital media. Topic of discussion include “haunted digital borders and alternative public spheres,” “cultural studies in and for the age of digital cultures,” and “digital imagination machines against the violence of organized forgetting.” Here’s a sneak peak from the final section “Towards a Pedagogy of the Precariat”:

Petar Jandric: As a common result of these trends, the precariat is quickly becoming an important social force – even in traditional bastions of the middle class such as the academy. Would you agree with Guy Standing that the precariat needs to develop own class identity (Standing, 2014; Standing and Jandrić, 2015)? What is the role of information and communication technologies in development of such identity? What are the main similarities and differences between pedagogy of the oppressed and pedagogy of the precariat?

Henry A. Giroux: That is an important question. I think that a pedagogy of the precariat suggests that you are talking about a pedagogy that recognises new distinctive economic, political and social registers. A pedagogy that is no longer rooted complete in 20th century formations, but in the 21stcentury. A pedagogy that takes on particularly the savagery of the regime of neoliberalism that has really altered the deck around the assault on the public, the assault on unions, youth, public goods, the environment, public values, and democracy itself. In many ways, the regime of neoliberalism has developed a public pedagogy rooted in poisonous values such as the unbridled belief in market values, radical individualism, and unchecked competition that so limits human possibilities by undermining all notions of the public, solidarity, the support for the common good, and care for others. In this form of market fundamentalism, human agency is reduced to a form of social combat and human relations mimic the logic of exchange values, promoting only matters of self-interest. Such a reduction of human agency operates in ways which suggest that Paulo Freire’s notion of pedagogy as always unfinished holds an enormously important number of insights. Like any social theory, like any ideology, like any worldview, critical pedagogy needs to adjust to circumstances in which it finds itself. And at this historical moment we find ourselves in a historical conjuncture is that is quite distinctive in that finance capital now governs all of the major institutions of the United States, including the government, and the market is viewed as the a template for governing all social relations, not just the economy. I think that Paulo Freire would be the first to agree with the importance of understanding pedagogy as both a practice of freedom and as a powerful force for domination particularly as it currently relates to this current market driven historical conjuncture. You know, near the end of his life, Paulo did start talking about neoliberalism (Roberts, 2003).

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