NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED311438
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Confusing the Technical, the Practical, and the Emancipatory: A Habermasian Critique of Composition Pedagogy.
Aber, John
The complex theory of knowledge and cognitive interests by the sociologist Jurgen Habermas, the dominant critical theorist in present day Germany, is applicable to current composition pedagogy. According to Habermas, all knowledge is shaped and used in three ways: in technical ways for instrumental reasons; in practical ways for socio-cultural reasons; and in emancipatory ways for reasons that relate to dependency and power. Thorough analysis suggests how each point is germane to the study and practice of composing. For example, there are times when writing instructors take as primary the technical interest in an effort to control their students as if they were objects to be shaped and molded for a pre-ordained kind of work. By the same token, most instructors realize that the practical interest must sometimes be primary, especially when it is necessary to discover what socio-cultural patterns of meaning sometimes prevent students from being willing to practice what instructors believe writers in the academy must do. Finally, instructors sometimes sense that students are in college or the composition classroom against their will. The emanicipatory interest then becomes primary and students' sense of autonomy and responsibility must be treated as paramount. Students are afforded the opportunity to reflect, to discuss, and to write about the conditions that led to these feelings of powerlessness that can render them dependent on forces beyond their control. All three interests are required for success in human endeavor, and for success as writers and as teachers of writers. (KEH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A