Critical social issues differently than upper caste males? Critical

Critical
educational theorists view school knowledge as historically and socially rooted
and interest bound. Knowledge acquired in school or anywhere, for that matter
is never neutral or objective but is ordered and structured in particular ways.
It’s emphasis and exclusions partake of silent logic. Knowledge is a social construction
deeply rooted in a nexus of power relations. When critical theorists claim that
knowledge is socially constructed, they mean that it is the product of
agreement or consent between the individuals who live out particular junctures
in time. To claim that knowledge is socially constructed usually means that the
world we live in is constructed symbolically by the mind through social interaction
with others and is heavily dependent on culture, context, custom and historical
specificity.  And this particular
referential field will influence how symbols generate meaning. There is no pure
subjective insight. We do not stand before the social world; we live in
the  midst of it. As we seek meaning of
events we seek the meanings of the social. We can now raise certain questions
with respect to the social construction of knowledge, such as: why do women, dalits
and minorities often view social issues differently than upper caste males?

Critical
Pedagogy asks how and why knowledge gets constructed the way it does and how
and why some constructions of reality are legitimated and celebrated by the dominant
culture while others clearly are not. Critical pedagogy asks how our everyday commonsense
understandings our social constructions or ‘subjectivities’ get produced and
lived out.

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Let’s
put this in the form of further questions: What is relationship between social
class and knowledge taught in school? Why do we value scientific knowledge over
informal knowledge? Why do we have teachers using ‘Standard English’ or in other
words academic English? How does school knowledge reinforce stereotypes about women,
dalits, adivasi’s, minorities and disadvantaged peoples? What accounts for some
knowledge having high status while the practical knowledge of ordinary people or
marginalized or subjucated groups is often discredited and disvalued? Why do we
learn about the great ‘men’ in history and spend less time learning about the contributions
of women and dalits and the struggles of people in lower caste castes and
classes? How and why are certain types of knowledge used to reinforce dominant
ideologies, which in turn serve to mask unjust power relations among certain groups
in society?

 

Hegemony

The
dominant culture is able to exercise domination over subordinate classes or groups
through a process known as hegemony. Hegemony refers to the maintainance of a domination
not by the sheer exercise of force but primarily through consensual social
practices , social forms, and social; structures produced in specific sites
such as the schools, family, media, political system. Social forms refer to the
principls that provide and give legitimacy to specific social practices. For
example, the state legislature is one social form that gives legitimacy to the
social practice of teaching.

Hegemony
is struggle in which the powerfull win the consent of those who are oppressed,
with the oppressed unknowingly participating in their own oppression. Hegemony
refers to the moral and intellectual leadership of a dominant class over a subordinate
class achieved not through coercion or willful construction of rules and
regulations, but rather through general winning of consent of the subordinate
caste, class to the suthority of the dominant caste class.

Ideology

Hegemony
could not do its work without the support of ideology.

Ideology
permeates all of social life and does not simply refer to the political ideologies
of socialism, liberalism, communism, ambedkarism, rationalism. Ideology refers
to the production and representation of ideas , values and beliefs and the
manner in which they are expressed and lived out by both individual and groups. (Giroux, 1983)

Simply
put, ideology refers to the production of sense and meaning. It can be
described as a way of viewing the world, a complex of ideas, various types of social
practices, rituals and representation