Resistance and an Alternative Model for Civic Education
This chapter shows how Adorno’s essays on education closely connect with the constellation of concepts that are all part of his democratic project: experience, critique, negative dialectics, and leadership. To draw out the democratic value of Adorno’s writings on education more clearly and fully and to give us a sense of the radical nature of his work, however, I begin this chapter by putting him into a conversation with an unexpected interlocutor: Paolo Freire. Adorno’s writings on education are quite extensive, and they share many of the same fundamental commitments we see in Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire’s alternative model of revolutionary leadership, based on a radically democratic pedagogy, helps illuminate the significance of Adorno’s own writings on education and helps us appreciate how concerns with democratic pedagogy shape his thoughts on leadership, as well as his practice of cultural critique in the United States.
Keywords: Democratic pedagogy, Radical democratic pedagogy, Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “Education after Auschwitz”, “Education for Autonomy”