Pedagogy of the Oppressed

by

Paulo Freire

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Oppression, Liberation Term Analysis

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 of two distinct groups: oppressors and the oppressed. Liberation is the opposite of oppression, a situation in which the oppressed group challenges the power of their oppressors and changes their conditions.

Oppression, Liberation Quotes in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed quotes below are all either spoken by Oppression, Liberation or refer to Oppression, Liberation. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed published in 2000.
Preface Quotes

This volume will probably arouse negative reactions in a number of readers. Some will regard my position vis-à-vis the problem of human liberation as purely idealistic… Others will not (or will not wish to) accept my denunciation of a state of oppression that gratifies the oppressors. Accordingly, this admittedly tentative work is for radicals.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

…The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself…the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. The man or woman who emerges is a new person, viable only as the oppressor-oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all people. Or to put it another way, the solution of this contradiction is born in the labor which brings into the world this new being: no longer oppressor, no longer oppressed, but human in the process of achieving freedom.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence, even when sweetened by false generosity, because it interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocation to be more fully human.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in “changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them”; for the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to that situation, the more easily they can be dominated.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world. They must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with the posing of the problems of human beings in their relations with the world.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker)
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause—the cause of liberation. And this commitment, because it is loving, is dialogical.

Related Characters: The Oppressed (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The revolution is made neither by the leaders for the people, nor by the people for the leaders, but by both acting together in unshakable solidarity. This solidarity is born only when the leaders witness to it by their humble, loving, and courageous encounter with the people.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

Prior to the emergence of the people there is no manipulation (precisely speaking), but rather total suppression. When the oppressed are almost completely submerged in reality, it is unnecessary to manipulate them. In the antidialogical theory of action, manipulation is the response of the oppressor to the new concrete conditions of the historical process.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

In cultural invasion it is essential that those who are invaded come to see their reality with the outlook of the invaders rather than their own; for the more they mimic the invaders, the more stable the position of the latter becomes.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
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Oppression, Liberation Term Timeline in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The timeline below shows where the term Oppression, Liberation appears in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
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Freire then addresses potential criticisms of his work: his focus on liberation and oppression could be seen as “idealistic” or “reactionary,” and some will not accept his... (full context)
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Freire breaks down the ideal characteristics of a radical: radicals are “committed to human liberation,” willing to confront oppression head-on, and they work in dialogue with other people. Radicals do... (full context)
Chapter 1
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...drive to affirm ourselves as human beings) and “dehumanization,” which is a product of historical oppression. Though both humanization and dehumanization are possible for all people, people naturally strive to become... (full context)
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Any movement to defeat oppression, according to Freire, has to be led by oppressed people. Oppressed people have the most... (full context)
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To overcome oppression, people must begin to recognize its causes so that they can transform their conditions and... (full context)
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The results of liberation should be twofold (and, to Freire, dialectical): there should be an objective change in how... (full context)
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A key part of the first stage of Freire’s pedagogy involves understanding the consciousnesses of oppressors and oppressed people, and especially the inner conflicts of oppressed people. Freire defines oppression as... (full context)
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Freire then examines the oppressor consciousness in greater detail. More than anything, oppressors prioritize “their right to live in peace”—but concede that they also depend on oppressed people’s... (full context)
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People who commit themselves to human liberation should constantly reflect on their preexisting beliefs and biases. To authentically achieve freedom, a convert... (full context)
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...people can begin to gain confidence and conviction when they learn about the causes of oppression, and see that their oppressors can be vulnerable. A key part of liberation is this... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...knowledge as something that teachers have and students lack. This approach is closely tied to oppression, because it presumes that the people who don’t have power are ignorant. Freire then asserts... (full context)
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...world as it is, instead of questioning it or trying to change it. This helps  oppressors, who want to prevent oppressed people from understanding the true nature of oppression. Freire argues... (full context)
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...“banking” model—whether they are aware of it or not—do not understand that the model reinforces oppression. But Freire notes that some students may begin to understand that their education is in... (full context)
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...cannot impose their ideas on students, but should instead work with students equally. Just like oppression, the “banking” model is “necrophilic” and stifles the life of human beings. But the suffering... (full context)
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...model. “Problem-posing” is “revolutionary futurity,” according to Freire, because it relies on the hope that oppression is changeable and can be defeated in the future. When oppressed people understand this, they... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...who benefit from the situation, and others who are harmed by it. In this context, oppressors see the freedom of oppressed people as a limit to their power. According to Freire,... (full context)
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...bad, the peasant might see himself in a person who drinks to cope with an oppressive job. Throughout this process, the educators listen and document the responses, and eventually begin to... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...to be complete. Revolutionary leaders and oppressed people should both use praxis while struggling for liberation so that the leaders are not merely imposing their will onto the oppressed. Otherwise, the... (full context)
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Conquest. “Antidialogical action” is a way of changing culture that serves the interests of oppressors. The most important aspect of antidialogical action is conquest: oppressors try to control people and... (full context)
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...and Rule. Oppressors divide and isolate oppressed people to prevent them from organizing together for liberation. This creates rifts among different groups of oppressed people and discourages them from dialogue. One... (full context)
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Manipulation. Oppressors use manipulation to control oppressed people and to prevent them from challenging the oppressors’ power. The myths used in conquest are one example of this manipulation, but it also... (full context)
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Cultural Invasion. In cultural invasion, oppressors impose their own values and beliefs onto an oppressed culture. Cultural invasion makes oppressed peoples’... (full context)
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...here, Freire discusses “dialogical action,” which is what revolutionary leaders should use to attack the oppressors’ antidialogical methods. Revolutionary leaders must have the support, dialogue, and trust of oppressed people to... (full context)
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Unity for Liberation. While oppressors see unity as dangerous, revolutionary leaders must seek unity in every part of the liberation... (full context)
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...unity. While unifying the oppressed, revolutionary leaders are also trying to organize them to view liberation as a common goal. These leaders must show “witness” to oppressed people—they must express the... (full context)
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...preserve or change society; when it includes dialogue, cultural action can overcome the contradictions of oppressive society and achieve liberation for all people. Cultural synthesis does this by treating different cultures... (full context)