Revolutionary Learning
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102 pages

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Revolutionary Learning explores the Marxist and feminist theorisation of dialectics, praxis and consciousness in education and learning. Moving beyond previous books on Marxism and education, which tend to focus on the reproductive nature of educational institutions, this groundbreaking text draws upon work by leading feminist, anti-racist and anti-colonial scholars in its exploration of the key philosophical concepts that build the Marxist analysis of learning.

Alongside chapters dealing with adult education, institutional ethnography and the promotion of civic engagement, the authors also reassess the contributions of Marx, Gramsci and Freire to educational theory. Adopting an innovative and explicitly feminist perspective, they relocate these theorists' Marxist analyses of education into a more complex relation to patriarchal and imperialist capitalism.

With significant implications for critical education scholarship, research and practice, Revolutionary Learning's importance lies not only in its contribution to theory, but its extension into pedagogical practice with special attention to how a revolutionary critique of ideology is taken up by educators in their daily work.


1. Introduction: Revolutionary Feminist Praxis

2. What is ‘Critical’ About Critical Educational Theory?

3. Learning and the ‘Matter’ of Consciousness in Marxist Feminism

4. Centring Marxist Feminist Theory in Adult Learning

5. Institutional Ethnography: A Marxist Feminist Analysis

6. Capitalist Imperialism as Social Relations: Implications for Praxis, Pedagogy and Resistance

7. Learning by Dispossession: Democracy Promotion and Civic Engagement in Iraq and the United States




Publié par
Date de parution 20 février 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781786800510
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Revolutionary Learning
Revolutionary Learning
Marxism, Feminism and Knowledge
Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab
First published 2017 by Pluto Press 345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA
Copyright © Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab 2017
The right of Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978 0 7453 3643 5 Hardback ISBN 978 0 7453 3638 1 Paperback ISBN 978 1 7868 0050 3 PDF eBook ISBN 978 1 7868 0052 7 Kindle eBook ISBN 978 1 7868 0051 0 EPUB eBook
This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental standards of the country of origin.
Typeset by Stanford DTP Services, Northampton, England
Simultaneously printed in the United Kingdom and United States of America
Title Page
1 Introduction: Revolutionary Feminist Praxis
2 What is ‘Critical’ About Critical Educational Theory?
3 Learning and the ‘Matter’ of Consciousness in Marxist Feminism
4 Centring Marxist Feminist Theory in Adult Learning
5 Institutional Ethnography: A Marxist Feminist Analysis
6 Capitalist Imperialism as Social Relations: Implications for Praxis, Pedagogy and Resistance
7 Learning by Dispossession: Democracy Promotion and Civic Engagement in Iraq and the United States
In memory of Paula Allman, a dear colleague and friend who taught us how to read and use Marx. In preparation for a reading circle and dialogue, Paula sent the following to our group in Toronto in January 2008:
To whatever degree you wish, or will permit, I would like to join in the dialogue of your reading circle. Shahrzad has kindly asked me to participate, as far as I can at a distance, but I do not want to impose. Therefore, I hope you will feel free to use, or not use, the following input as you see fit. I also hope that if you want to make any comments to me or ask any questions that you will. I sincerely hope that you all are, or are on your way to becoming, revolutionary critical educators, and both now and in the future I will do everything I can to help you in that endeavour .
We have the same hopes for our readers as Paula had for us, and we extend the same invitations and wishes.
In writing this book we aspired to continue with the ideas posed in our co-edited book, Educating from Marx: Race, Gender, and Learning (2011), and in Marxism and Feminism (edited by Shahrzad Mojab, 2015). However, this writing required fortitude, as we wanted to go beyond the continuity and think through possibilities for renewal and the resynthesizing of Marxism, feminism, consciousness, ideology, learning and praxis. We tried out our ideas in conversations with our graduate students and colleagues, especially the incomparable Helen Colley, with activists and artists, in Marxist Reading Groups, and in forums in different regions of the world. Thus, this collection is also a reflection of the contributions, critiques and comments of others, whose ideas are entwined with ours and have inspired us. We feel especially indebted to Paula Allman, Himani Bannerji and Dorothy Smith, whose scholarly rigour has helped us in thinking through the complex subject matters of Marx’s method, capitalist social relations, imperialism, colonialism, feminism and anti-racism.
We gratefully thank Stephan Dobson for his unwavering interest in our writings and his consistent editorial and theoretical reminder to avoid ‘tripping’ the readers!
We are grateful to a number of individuals at Pluto Press for their assistance and support. Our deep appreciation goes to David Shulman for his unflagging support and encouragement.
We offer deep and tender thanks to Amir Hassanpour, who has generously provided invaluable personal and scholarly support over the years.
Versions of some of the chapters included here were originally published in other formats and have been revised and expanded:
Chapter 2 appeared as S. Carpenter and S. Mojab, ‘What is “critical” about critical adult education?’, in T. Nesbit, S. Brigham, N. Taber and T. Gibb (eds.), Building on critical traditions: Adult education and learning in Canada (Toronto: Thompson, 2013), pp. 160–70.
Chapter 3 appeared as S. Carpenter and S. Mojab, ‘The “matter” of consciousness in Marxist-Feminist theory’, in P. Jones (ed.), Marxism and Education: Dialogues on Pedagogy and Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 117–40.
Chapter 4 appeared as S. Carpenter, ‘Centering Marxist-Feminism in adult learning’, Adult Education Quarterly , Vol. 62, No. 1, 2012, 19–35, available at .
Chapter 7 is derived in part from an article published in the International Journal of Lifelong Education , 26 July 2011, available at
We thank the editors and publishers for permission to republish earlier versions of the chapters. Portions of this research were supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We fully understand that we alone are responsible for all the ideas presented in this text.
Introduction: Revolutionary Feminist Praxis
It is now an intellectual and political habit for us to begin our writing with the assertion that the world is messy and chaotic. The more we open our essays with this statement, the messier the world gets. Millions of people are driven to the seas and through the deserts by wars, destruction, dispossession and displacement. Aspirations to live free of violence are difficult to realize in the context of the vast, persistent and growing inequities of Europe and North America, compounded by increasingly reactionary and racist violence on the part of the state and civil society against forcibly displaced people. The persistence of this material condition is utterly dependent on the ideologies of patriarchal, racist capitalist social relations. Under the global expression of racialized patriarchy, violence has increased exponentially, taking on a massified character and regularly reported around the world: the rape to death of women in public, including by military, paramilitary and extremist forces; their abduction and selling in the sex market; the enforcement of child marriage; sexual abuse and assault from refugee camps to university campuses; arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian girls and women for their resistance to occupation; the detainment of Kurdish women activists in Turkey; the missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada; the murder of women on the US–Mexico Border; girls kidnapped across Africa; and religious forms of terrorism against women’s reproductive autonomy. These are breath-taking atrocities committed every day and night by patriarchal forces of capitalism, imperialism and fundamentalisms. As Bannerji argues, ‘the very content of the word “human” is being emptied out and filled with screams of agony of those condemned to it. In this atmosphere of violence how can violence against women not intensify, almost as an excrescence of this ordered disorder?’ (2016, p. 17).
In order to address not only these forms of violence and degradation, but also the continuing contradictions of patriarchal, racist capitalism, we argue that we need to revolutionize our thinking around learning and the critical education project. We consider this endeavour to be our contribution as revolutionary feminist scholars of education. By revolutionize, we do not simply mean change: we need to fully embrace the revolutionary potential of learning and pedagogical work and engage with our history of scholarship through the imperative of generating revolutionary feminist praxis. By praxis we mean, following Allman’s dialectical articulation, ‘a concept that grasps the internal relation between consciousness and sensuous human experience, a unity of opposites that reciprocally shape and determine one another’ (2007, p. 79, emphasis in original). We explore this dialectical iteration of praxis through this text. It is our contention – and we would argue these claims can easily be seen in the last three decades of debate – that critical education is plagued by persistent theoretical and political inconsistencies. Following significant articulations of the relation between education and social reproduction, the field of critical education has been unable to contend with the growing complexity of both the material condition of the world and the ideological apparatus of bourgeois society in the academy. As argued by key Marxist scholars of education, including Paula Allman, Wayne Au, Noah De Lissovoy, Teresa Ebert, Sandy Grande, John Holst and Glenn Rikowski, critical education theory suffers from several important inconsistencies and reformist tendencies. The influence of a non-dialectical reading of Marx under conditions of patriarchy and racism continues to produce substantial errors in scholarship, including: the inability to understand class and labour power as relations and processes; a causal and deterministic articulation of consciousness and praxis as external relations; culturalist and identity-based approaches to ‘difference’ that cannot illuminate inter-constitutive social relations; confusion over the relationality between colonialism, fundamentalisms, imperialism and neoliberalism within capitalism; and the continued marginalization of feminist, anti-racist and anti-colonial scholarship within the academy. This position has left critical education theory stuck in economistic, reformist and culturalist cycles, unable to contend with the aggressive tendencies of both l

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