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Title: Synthesizing Gramsci and Freire : possibilities for a theory of radical adult education
Authors: Mayo, Peter
Keywords: Gramsci, Antonio, 1891-1937
Freire, Paulo, 1921-1997
Adult learning -- Case studies
Education -- Study and teaching
Adult education
Educational anthropology
Critical pedagogy
Issue Date: 1994
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Citation: Mayo, P. (1994). Synthesizing Gramsci and Freire : possibilities for a theory of radical adult education. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 13(2), 125-148.
Abstract: This paper will focus on two of the most cited figures in the debate on radical education, namely Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) and Paulo Freire (b. 1921). Both were engaged in projects which, though different, were conceived of and carried out within the context of an unmistakably leftwing politics of social transformation and, therefore, an ongoing struggle against systemic, structural and symbolic forms of oppression. Both regarded forms of adult education as having an important role to play in such a struggle. The paper constitutes a preliminary attempt at examining the extent to which the combined insights of Gramsci and Freire can provide the foundation for a theory of radical adult education. In the first section, a number of questions are posed which, it is felt, can provide the basis of an assessment of the potential which an educationist's work can have for incorporation in a theory of radical adult education. It is in terms of these questions that Gramsci's and Freire's respective potential contributions to the development of such a theory are examined separately. An attempt is then made at synthesizing their ideas relevant to adult education for the purposes of laying a foundation for such a theory. In the final section of the paper, some of the limitations in their work for incorporation into such a theory are identified. Critical issues which are not addressed adequately by Gramsci and Freire and which need to be engaged with, in the interest of strengthening the proposed theory, are indicated.
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