Pedagogy of the Oppressed


Paulo Freire

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Oppression, Liberation

Oppression is a situation in which one group of people imposes unfair conditions on another group, preventing the latter group from questioning or challenging those conditions. For Freire, all oppressive societies are made up… read analysis of Oppression, Liberation

Dehumanization, Humanization

Dehumanization is a process that oppressors use to prevent human beings from achieving the freedom to understand and change their conditions. In an oppressive society, oppressors use dehumanization to maintain their power over others and… read analysis of Dehumanization, Humanization


When Freire uses the term freedom, he is specifically referring to the freedom to question, understand, and change one’s conditions in the world. Freire asserts that human beings naturally strive to achieve this kind of… read analysis of Freedom


Praxis is the combination of reflecting and acting on the world in order to change it. While human beings seek the freedom to understand and change their conditions, praxis refers to the concrete work of… read analysis of Praxis


In Freire’s work, dialogue is the interaction between people who critically think about the world together. When people are in dialogue with one another, they have equal agency, and no person has power over… read analysis of Dialogue
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A dialectic is a contradiction or conflict between two separate ideas that are then synthesized into a new idea (i.e. thesis, antithesis, and synthesis). Dialectics are important to Marxist and Hegelian philosophy, and Freire argues… read analysis of Dialectic


Often translated as “critical consciousness,” conscientização is the process through which a person learns about the social and political contradictions of his/her life, and takes action to challenge them. Freire argues that conscientização is a… read analysis of Conscientização

Verbalism, Activism

Verbalism and activism are specific ways of achieving freedom that, according to Freire, are ineffective. Verbalism occurs when a person reflects on their conditions, but does not take any concrete action to change them… read analysis of Verbalism, Activism


Themes are the worldly expression of people’s ideas, values, and feelings at a specific moment in history. For example, Freire argues that the most important themes of his time are domination and liberation—both are… read analysis of Theme


A limit-situation is a historical condition that prevents people from having freedom. Any limit-situation implies that some groups of people will benefit from it, while other people will be harmed. For example, Freire sees… read analysis of Limit-situation


A pedagogy is a set of methods and practices for teaching. In academic settings, the term refers to the broader study of educational practices; it can include discussions of how students learn, how teachers interact… read analysis of Pedagogy