Context

(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

Having survived a childhood of extreme poverty, Paulo Freire was intimately aware of the dehumanization that deprivation creates. At a young age, he vowed to dedicate his life to the “struggle against hunger,” and as an adult, he kept that vow by undertaking the education of thousands of illiterate Brazilian and Chilean peasants who were the victims of paternalism, indigence, and disenfranchisement. His views on education and the struggle for liberty are captured in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the first of his writings to be translated and published in the United States and, therefore, the work that introduced his research and methodology to the American academic world and general public. Some critics found the work vague, redundant, and needlessly complex, however, the greatest objections were caused by its content. Some felt the work advocated revolution and others criticized the work for its liberal use of quotes and concepts from socialist and communist leaders Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and others. It was obvious, however, that Freire had developed a unique educational method that worked within the parameters of his environment.