Scaling critical pedagogy in higher education

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Journal Article
Critical Studies in Education, 2017, 58 (1), pp. 1 - 18
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Across the globe, neoliberal reforms have produced effects in the higher education sector that are multiple, convergent and embodied or performed. In this context, a growing number of activist-scholars, from a range of disciplines, have explored the role of critical pedagogy within the space of the classroom. Yet, persistent critiques and challenges suggest that the field of critical pedagogy needs to build upon a richer set of theoretical and practical insights. While the discipline of geography has proven to be a generative source of learning and renewal, a recurring tendency exists within the educational literature to treat the key geographical concept of scale as a discrete, pre-given unit of analysis. Consequently, scale remains largely under-theorised and misunderstood leading to simplistic binary oppositions and choices. This binary filter underpins a comfortable but problematic ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ paradigm. Drawing upon contentious debates in the field of geography, this paper explores how the intersections between diverse spatial concepts, including scale, might be strategically deployed to rework the spatial imaginings of critical pedagogy.
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