A Shared Vision of Radical Education. Going Beyond Specific Differences in the Relation between Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich

Jones Irwin

Abstract


This essay explores the specific differences between the philosophies of Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich, while nonetheless arguing for their shared vision of radical education. With a focus on Freire’s earlier period of work, especially the seminal Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we point to the differing reception of their respective works in Europe of the 1970s (where Illich is often seen as an incompatible and extreme case). This in retrospect seems somewhat surprising as we argue that the fundamentals of their thinking are a shared critique of banking education and a re-conceptualisation of authority and teaching in renewed education systems. Both thinkers reject the two most obvious positions post-May ’68.  On the one hand, there is the New Right perspective, represented by the Philosophes in France, who view all Leftist thought as Stalinist. On the other side, we have what might be termed the «Deleuzian-Guattarian» alternative, represented most crucially by the 1974 text, Anti-Oedipus. Here, the whole conception of a possible «revolution» (the whole ’68 dream), is deemed to be an impossibility. Instead, both Freire and Illich share in a renewed sense of the critical educational project of emancipation, albeit with different emphases. Moreover, the current crisis of education under late capitalism (and subject to the conditions of the Covid pandemic) returns the powerful resources of Freire and Illich to centre stage in education and politics.


Keywords


Deschooling; Problem-Posing; Illich; Freire; Radical Education

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14516/ete.507

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