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Interfering with Capitalism's Spell: Peter McLaren's Revolutionary Liminality

Keywords: revolutionary liminality , Peter McLaren , critical pedagogy

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Abstract:

McLaren’s recent (post-2000) writings promote a form of agency called “revolutionary critical pedagogy,” and a type of agent, the “committed intellectual” (McLaren 2005b, p. 253-281). But one can find an earlier agent-type in McLaren’s (1986) Schooling as a Ritual Performance, the “liminal servant,” that explains how “critical pedagogy is secured by the most fecund of revolutionary talismans, critique” (2005a: 9). Borrowing from Theodor Adorno (1968), I suggest that McLaren’s recent writing uses aspects of the “liminal servant” for the purpose of interfering with the “spell” of capitalist social relations through “revolutionary critical pedagogy.” The beginning prologue examines “revolutionary liminality” in McLaren’s writing; the second part explains how his written discursive strategies (naming the culprit, suggesting icons, theorizing to unite the disaffected) work to act out “revolutionary liminality.”

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