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ERIC Number: ED509944
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov-8
Pages: 307
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 90
Worker Generated Issues, Critical Dialogue, and Praxis: A Freirean Approach to Developing Social Change Projects
O'Brien, Tim
Online Submission, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of St. Thomas
The escalating crisis in capitalist relations around the world demands a variety of responses that unmask the confusing structures that perpetuate asymmetrical power relations, while reframing what is truly in the interests of the majority of people. Industrial unions in the U.S. have at times aspired to such an advocacy role, but currently offer little resistance to the loss of living wage jobs. At the grass roots level, there have been promising projects of resistance to globalization growing out of the fields of Popular Education, Participant Research and Critical Pedagogy. Taking a community centered approach these projects attempt to amplify the voices of those most affected by the failing economy, by implementing strategies based on egalitarian and democratic principles stimulating an organically developed critical theory. This dissertation study is an exploration into developing social change projects based on the work of Paulo Freire and informed by other voices within the field of Critical Pedagogy and related traditions. Working with 16 volunteer autoworkers from an assembly plant located in the Midwest of the U.S., this research examines their issues, themes and group process leading to visions of small scale social change. Two themes, "The loss of the middle class", and 'Raising Children: from a community perspective", emerged from one-on-one interviews, and became the generative beginnings for the group work. The group production was considered a success by the participants, developed out of consensus and culminating in envisioned projects potent with possibility for actual implementation. However, analysis of the process and content of the group work revealed several important weaknesses with the way in which the group work was facilitated, particularly in the lack of well developed dialectic reasoning and problem posing in dialogue. The results suggest a lack of politicization engendering a weak form of praxis, allowing the participants to move from their own concrete realities to an abstract position of helping "Others". Several ideas for inserting political elements are suggested in the conclusion of this dissertation. Three appendixes are included: (1) Materials Contained in the Recruitment Packet; (2) Pre-interview Questionnaire; and (3) Interpretive Description of Group Work. (Contains 7 tables and 13 figures.)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A