Pedagogy of the oppressed

by Paulo Freire

Paper Book, 1970


"First published in Portuguese in 1968, [this book] was translated and published in English in 1970. Paulo Freire's work has helped to empower countless people throughout the world and continues to possess a special urgency as the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in urban centers around the world continues. The 50th anniversary edition includes a new introduction by Donaldo Macedo, an afterword by Ira Shor, and interviews with Marina Aparicio Barberán, Noam Chomsky, Gustavo E. Fischman, Ramón Flecha, Ronald David Glass, Valerie Kinloch, peter Mayo, Peter McLaren, and Margo Okazawa-Rey to inspire a new generation of educators, students, and general readers for years to come."--Page [4] of cover.



Call number



[New York] : Seabury Press, [c1970].

User reviews

LibraryThing member tole_lege
Seminal work about moving educatio away from a "transfer" model and on to a model of liberation. Includes the concept (so often forgotten by those who cite him) that the ulitmate responsiblity of the oppressed, once liberated, is to free the opporessor.

Will take less than an evening to read and
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will change your views about education.
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LibraryThing member jellyfishjones
I encountered Freire's ideas of critical pedagogy in a curriculum theory course and excitedly picked this up hoping to gain more practical insight. I did not realize this work is almost exclusively theoretical, with only the third chapter providing limited descriptions of educational
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"decodification and recodification" sessions. These, to me, were the most enlightening passages, especially the quoted dialogues from "consciousness classes". Where theory is concerned, I did not find the book nearly as approachable as many other reviewers. I found the writing style to be repetitive and overly-reliant on specific philosophical terminology when simpler language would have sufficed. In fact, I think many of the reviews here do more justice to the ideas than Freire's own writing! One example - Freire spends 5 pages discussing the fact that humans differ from animals due the human ability to self-reflect. What I just summarized in about 10 words comes from p. 97 of the work - " is the only one to treat not only his actions but his very self as the objects of his reflection; this capacity distinguishes him from the animals, which are unable to separate themselves from their activity and thus are unable to reflect upon it".

It was also hard for me not to read Friere's admiring quoting of Lenin, Marx, Mao Tse Dong, Guevara, et al. without thinking of the dark shadow history has cast on many of these thinkers. The "re-education" efforts of China and many other Communist countries relied on much of the same theoretical framework as the first two chapters of this work.

While there are many positive ideas in the work as quoted by some other reviewers, I also found many troubling passages, such as:
"Proposing as a problem, to a European peasant, the fact that he or she is a person might strike them as strange. This is not true of Latin-American peasants, whose world usually ends at the boundaries of the latifundium, whose gestures to some extent simulate those of the animal and the trees, and who often consider themselves equal to the latter" (p 174).

Overall, I rate this book "probably good for you but not enjoyable".
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LibraryThing member NateJordon
Whether you want to know how to be an effective teacher / professor or you want to know how to start a revolution, this is the book for you. This modern day "Robin Hood Manifesto" is profound in depth, with aims clear and concise. I'm certain a plethora of reviews, opinions, and college papers have
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been written about the book, so I'll keep mine to a minimum and let the book speak for itself:

“People confuse freedom with maintenance of the status quo. Threaten the status quo, and the status quo will determine that as a threat to freedom itself.”

“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.”

“In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more—always more—even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have and to be the class of the ‘haves.’”

Just a few gems there. Read the book and find 180+ pages of them.
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LibraryThing member awhayouseh
Freire stresses the importance of dialogue in the act of teaching. Diaglogue, he argues, is not separated from actions which make the world better, especially for the oppressed. Scholars of all fields, epecially educators, should read this book. It is very informative.
LibraryThing member danconsiglio
This is a foundational text for many progressives (progressive educators in particular, though it does not delve into methods). Either way it is a nice meaty chunk of lefty philosophy that feels well rooted in reality and many common human experiences. I've been told that I should read earlier
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works by Friere for books that put the onice for change more squarely on the working class, and give liberals a more secondary role. I'll get back to you on that one.
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LibraryThing member AndrewBlackman
I ended up reading this over a period of about six months, just getting through a bit of it and then moving on to read something else and coming back to it much later. It was all so disjointed that I didn't get much out of it other than the basic points.

I remember the part about "praxis", for
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example - he said that action without thought and thought without action are both pointless; what is needed is "praxis", which he defined as a combination of action and reflection.

Then the stuff for which the book is well known, about how teaching should be a collaborative project between teacher and learners rather than a hierarchical "banking" approach where the all-knowing teacher deposits knowledge into the "vessels" of learners.
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LibraryThing member intrepidflame
Every educator should be made to read this book. I can't believe I went through Peace Corps and the Fellowship program at Columbia without running across this pivotal book on pedagogy.

This is a must read for any working within the bounds of the educational sphere. Finally a compassionate manifesto
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guiding us towards the end of human suffering and oppression through love and dialogue.
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LibraryThing member augustusmcghee
Great book!!!! Paulo Freire takes concepts of education and links them to social change relative to observations of occurrences throughout history and present realities. An insightful perspective that calls people to awareness of themselves through understanding of love, unity and diversity in
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order to create a better world.
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LibraryThing member beau.p.laurence
a MUST READ for understanding how class rules in education
LibraryThing member Corrientes
Paulo Freire takes concepts of education and links them to social change relative to observations of occurrences throughout history and present realities. An insightful perspective that calls people to awareness of themselves through understanding of love, unity and diversity in order to create a
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better world. ( )
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LibraryThing member Reisgids
irst published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire’s work has taken on especial urgency in the
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United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in cities and urban centers is increasingly accepted as the norm. With a substantive new introduction on Freire’s life and the remarkable impact of this book by writer and Freire confidant and authority Donaldo Macedo, this anniversary edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will inspire a new generation of educators, students, and general readers for years to come.
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LibraryThing member radicalspaces
good book to read to see what can be done to awaken populations
LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
I've seen quotes from this that burned with fierce fire into my brain (ex: "Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them
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into objects"), so hopefully someday I'll read the whole thing.
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LibraryThing member DocWood
Freire wrote about teaching illiterate peasants (and, God love him, fomenting revolution at the same time) but his book nevertheless serves as a philosophical guide to turning traditional college education on its head. I've revamped my entire course based on his work.
LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
Freire helped open me up further to the complexity of living in a culture of oppression and the inherent dehumanization in systems of power that want to control rather than allow people to become more critically engaged. As a person on the side of the oppressor, I need to be reminded of what I've
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lost in this exchange and also how much I need to reorient to think of how people must be allowed to grow into critical engagement. This verve and perspective cannot be handed out, else perpetually sustaining the system of oppression, but interdependent exchange, with an orientation to the real disparities within interpersonal and educational models.
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LibraryThing member KallieGrace
This is not compulsively readable but still full of such important ideas it's hard to put down. There are so many ways to oppress and to be oppressed, and even in trying to help those you see as oppressed you may be contributing to their oppression. It's impact over intent. Oppressors cannot be
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fully human while trying to revoke the humanity of another. I think this would be a good book to come back to regularly.
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LibraryThing member JNagarya
I note that one reviewer had a difficult time reading this -- read a bit, went away for six months, came back and read a bit, then went away again . . . then labels the book disjointed, rather than his scatter-brained -- disjointed -- approach to it being the problem.

It is actually a
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straightforward text, so easily read and digested in much less than a week. It should also be mandatory reading for, especially, would-be teachers, but also such "scientists" as economists and sociologists. And by those who rail against "liberation theology" without having the least clue as to what it actually is.

It should be read, that is, by everyone who can read, without regard to preexisting ideological predisposition -- it actually is possible to see beyond such distorting lenses. And if during the reading you don't begin critically evaluating the education you "received," then you haven't suspended your idiological warp beforehand.

Yes: the FOX-ian paranoids will hate it, as instructed by FOX, and call it names, as they are given them by FOX. But there's nothing new about the ineducable rejecting anything that smacks of the risk of learning and knowing more than they already know, which is less and less as they reject more and more of fact and reality. But those who are thoughtful will find that this book is seminal, foundational, not only as a method of pedagogy but also as a clarifying method of criticially evaluating their context and situation, and reality.

In two words: must reading.
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LibraryThing member RajivC
This book by Paolo Freire is interesting. However, each takes what he/she wants from the book.
The education chapter stood out for me and is one that people must read carefully.

This is not an easy book to read, especially the last chapter, in which he kept repeating the word, 'praxis.'

However, I
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suggest that a reader read once, and then return to the book again, at leisure.
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Original publication date



0816491321 / 9780816491322
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