Henry A. Giroux

Dr. Henry A. GirouxHenry A. Giroux (1943-)

Nacido en Providence, Rhode Island, Estados Unidos, fillo de emigrantes canadianos. Estudiou historia en Barrington (1968-1974) e doctorouse na Carnegie Mellon University de Pittsburgh (1977). Iniciouse como docente na Universidade de Boston (1977-1983), da que pasou á Universidade de Miami en Oxford, Ohio (1983-1992). Director do Center for Education and Cultural Studies da Universidade de Miami. Catedrático na Pennsylvania State University (1992). Director do Waterbury Forum sobre Educacion e Estudios Culturais da Pennsylvania State University.

O seu traballo académico máis significativo consistíu en integrar os estudios culturais dentro do estudio da Educación e a Pedagoxía, así como pola súa crítica radical ao sistema educativo e cultural moi determinado polo mercado das industrias culturais norteamericanas.

Entre os seus numerosos libros: Border crossings: cultural workers and the politics of education, Routledge, New York, 1992; Living dangerously: multiculturalism and the politics of difference, P. Lang, New York, 1993; Between borders: pedagogy and the politics of cultural studies (con Peter McLaren), Routledge, New York, 1994; Disturbing pleasures: learning popular culture, Routledge, New York, 1994; Fugitive cultures: race, violence, and youth, Routledge, New York, 1996; Counternarratives: cultural studies and critical pedagogies in postmodern spaces, Routledge, New York, 1996; Pedagogy and the politics of hope: theory, culture, and schooling, WestviewPress, Boulder, Col., 1997; Channel surfing: race talk and the destruction of today's youth, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997; Education and cultural studies: toward a performative practice (con Patrick Shannon), Routledge, New York, 1997; The mouse that roared: Disney and the end of innocence, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 1999; Stealing Innocence: Youth, Corporate Power and the Politics of Culture, St. Martins, New York, 2000.

En España están editados: Los profesores como intelectuales: hacia una pedagogía crítica del aprendizaje, Paidós, Barcelona, 1990; Igualdad educativa y diferencia cultural, El Roure, Barcelona, 1992; Placeres inquietantes: aprendiendo la cultura popular, Paidós, Barcelona, 1996; Cruzando límites. Trabajadores culturales y políticas educativas, Paidós, Barcelona, 1997; Sociedad, cultura y educación (con Peter McLaren), Miño y Dávila Editores, Madrid, 1999; El ratoncito feroz: Disney o el fin de la inocencia, Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, Madrid, 2001; Cultura, política y práctica educativa, Graó, Barcelona, 2001; La inocencia robada, Morata, Madrid, 2003; Cine y entretenimiento. Elementos para una crítica política del filme, Paidós, Barcelona, 2003.

Giroux é un crítico da cultura establecida nos Estados Unidos, arraigada aos circuitos do mercado, que presenta como instrumento de socialización en valores democráticos moi pobres, orientados á reproducción dos mitos que describen a realidade e a historia norteamericanas. Denuncia os imperios culturais e mediáticos como os causantes da desaparición do espazo público e o empobrecemento xeral dos norteamericanos desde as fases máis temperás da infancia e a xuventude. Os nenos e os xoves aparecen como obxectivo das industrias, pero tamén como víctimas dos consumos que estas lles ofrecen. Ao establecer unha relación entre os estudios sobre educación e cultura, describe os efectos negativos sobre a socialización cívica na fase escolar da impregnación ambiental que despregan as corporacións mediático-culturais.

Henry A. Giroux: Lessons to Be Learned From Paulo Freire as Education Is Being Taken Over by the Mega Rich

Henry A. Giroux: Lessons to Be Learned From Paulo Freire as Education Is Being Taken Over by the Mega Rich

(This is a much expanded version of "Lessons From Paulo Freire," which appeared in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

At a time when memory is being erased and the political relevance of education is dismissed in the language of measurement and quantification, it is all the more important to remember the legacy and work of Paulo Freire. Freire is one of the most important educators of the 20th century and is considered one of the most important theorists of "critical pedagogy" - the educational movement guided by both passion and principle to help students develop a consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, empower the imagination, connect knowledge and truth to power and learn to read both the word and the world as part of a broader struggle for agency, justice and democracy. His groundbreaking book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," has sold more than a million copies and is deservedly being commemorated this year - the 40th anniversary of its appearance in English translation - after having exerted its influence over generations of teachers and intellectuals in the Americas and abroad.

Since the 1980s, there have been too few intellectuals on the North American educational scene who have matched Freire's theoretical rigor, civic courage and sense of moral responsibility. And his example is more important now than ever before: with institutions of public and higher education increasingly under siege by a host of neoliberal and conservative forces, it is imperative for educators to acknowledge Freire's understanding of the empowering and democratic potential of education. Critical pedagogy currently offers the very best, perhaps the only, chance for young people to develop and assert a sense of their rights and responsibilities to participate in governing, and not simply being governed by prevailing ideological and material forces.

When we survey the current state of education in the United States, we see that most universities are now dominated by instrumentalist and conservative ideologies, hooked on methods, slavishly wedded to accountability measures and run by administrators who often lack a broader vision of education as a force for strengthening civic imagination and expanding democratic public life. One consequence is that a concern with excellence has been removed from matters of equity, while higher education - once conceptualized as a fundamental public good - has been reduced to a private good, now available almost exclusively to those with the financial means. Universities are increasingly defined through the corporate demand to provide the skills, knowledge and credentials in building a workforce that will enable the United States to compete against blockbuster growth in China and other southeast Asian markets, while maintaining its role as the major global economic and military power. There is little interest in understanding the pedagogical foundation of higher education as a deeply civic and political project that provides the conditions for individual autonomy and takes liberation and the practice of freedom as a collective goal.

Henry A. Giroux: Living in the Age of Imposed Amnesia: The Eclipse of Democratic Formative Culture

Henry A. Giroux: Living in the Age of Imposed Amnesia: The Eclipse of Democratic Formative Culture

We live in an age in which punitive justice and a theater of cruelty have become the defining elements of a mainstream cultural apparatus that trades in historical and social amnesia. How else to explain the electoral sweep that just put the most egregious Republican Party candidates back in power? These are the people who gave us Katrina, made torture a state policy, promoted racial McCarthyism, celebrated immigrant bashing, pushed the country into two disastrous wars, built more prisons than schools, bankrupted the public treasury, celebrated ignorance over scientific evidence ("half of new Congressmen do not believe in global warming" )(1) and promoted the merging of corporate and political power. For the public to forget so quickly the legacy of the injustices, widespread corruption and moral abyss created by this group (along with a select number of conservative democrats) points to serious issues with the pedagogical conditions and cultural apparatuses that made the return of the living dead possible. The moral, political and memory void that enabled this vengeful and punishing historical moment reached its shameful apogee by allowing the pathetic George W. Bush to reappear with a 44 percent popularity rating and a book tour touting his memoirs - the ultimate purpose of which is to erase any vestige of historical consciousness and make truth yet another casualty of the social amnesia that has come to characterize the American century.

Imposed amnesia is the modus operandi of the current moment. Not only is historical memory now sacrificed to the spectacles of consumerism, celebrity culture, hyped-up violence and a market-driven obsession with the self, but the very formative culture that makes compassion, justice and an engaged citizenry foundational to democracy has been erased from the language of mainstream politics and the diverse cultural apparatuses that support it. Unbridled individualism along with the gospel of profit and unchecked competition undermine both the importance of democratic public spheres and the necessity for a language that talks about shared responsibilities, the public good and the meaning of a just society. Politics is now defined through a language that divorces the ethical imagination from any sense of our ethical responsibilities. Consequently, it becomes increasingly more difficult to connect politics with the importance of what Tony Judt and Zygmunt Bauman have called the social question - with its emphasis on defining society in terms of public values, the common good, spiritual well-being and "an imagined totality woven of reciprocal dependence, commitment and solidarity."(2)

Enforced forgetting subordinates public time to corporate time and eliminates those public spheres that might challenge it. Corporate time demands that we never stop moving - it is time organized around increased production, the speeding up of labor time and it embodies a resistance to any space or mode of time that would allow us to think critically about how time might be reconfigured to expand and deepen a democratic polity. Against this notion of corporate time with its construction of imposed forgetting, we need a language that embraces what might be called public time - a mode of time and space that resists the rapid-fire demand to keep moving, keep buying and stop thinking. Public time is not driven by the necessity to consume or lose oneself in the never-ending spectacles of sound-byte driven talk shows, reality television and celebrity culture. On the contrary, it registers a different understanding of time, rooted in the necessity to provide conditions in which people can slow down enough to be thoughtful, exercise informed judgments and engage in social relations that affirm solidarity, the public good and the need to struggle collectively to implement the promise of a democratic society. According to democratic theorist Cornelius Castoriadis, public time represents "the emergence of a dimension where the collectivity can inspect its own past as the result of its own actions and where an indeterminate future opens up as domain for its activities."(3) For Castoriadis, public time puts into question established institutions and dominant authority. Rather than maintaining a passive attitude toward power, public time demands and encourages forms of political agency based on a passion for self-governing, actions informed by critical judgment and a commitment to linking social responsibility and social transformation. Public time legitimates those pedagogical practices that provide the basis for a culture of questioning, one that provides the knowledge, skills and social practices that encourage an opportunity for resistance, a space of translation and a proliferation of discourses. Public time unsettles common sense and disturbs authority while encouraging critical and responsible leadership. As Roger Simon observes, public time "presents the question of the social - not as a space for the articulation of pre-formed visions through which to mobilize action, but as the movement in which the very question of the possibility of democracy becomes the frame within which a necessary radical learning (and questioning) is enabled."(4) Put differently, public time affirms a politics without guarantees and a notion of the social that is open and contingent. Public time provides a conception of democracy that is never complete and determinate, but constantly open to different understandings of the contingency of its decisions, mechanisms of exclusions and operations of power.(5) At its best, public time renders governmental power explicit, and in so doing, it rejects the language of ritualistic adherence and the abrogation of the conditions necessary for the assumption of basic rights and freedoms. Moreover, public time considers civic education the basis, if not essential dimension, of justice because it provides the conditions for individuals to develop the skills, knowledge and passions to talk back to power while simultaneously constructing forms of political agency that encourage public responsibility through active participation in the very process of governing.

Henry A. Giroux: Business Culture and the Death of Public Education: The Triumph of Management Over Leadership

Henry A. Giroux: Business Culture and the Death of Public Education: The Triumph of Management Over Leadership

The recent news that Mayor Bloomberg has anointed Cathleen P. Black, the chairwomen of Hearst Magazines, as the new chancellor of the New York City school system is another high profile example of how much business elites in the United States despise public education and its traditional role as a guardian of civic values, democratic politics and public culture. It appears that Black's only suitability for the job is that she has "extraordinary qualifications as a manager," has "marketing prowess" and has participated "in a mentor day with Michelle Obama at a Detroit public school and, several years ago, [served] as 'principle for a day' in a school in the south Bronx."(1) This appointment could provide fodder for a skit for "Saturday Night Live" if it were not both true and tragic. Of course, there is a larger script here that points to the increasing power of corporate leaders and a business elite to eviscerate from public schooling any vestige of public values, democratic modes of governance, teacher autonomy, critical thinking and a vision of schooling as a space in which to teach students to be critical thinkers and engaged citizens. Within this stripped-down view of schooling, enlightened self-interest, efficiency and market-driven values rule. In this view, management is divorced from any viable sense of leadership and the connection between schooling and the public good is replaced with a business model of schooling that disregards both the social and any vision not defined by the crudest forms of power, instrumental rationality and mathematical utility.

It is important to note that the business culture at work here not only reduces all social bonds to market relations, it also gives us shocking levels of inequality, impoverishment and a market morality that issued in the second Gilded Age with its ode to rapacious greed, moral impoverishment and an utter indifference to the massive hardships and suffering it produced globally with the economic recession of 2008. Management divorced from leadership privatizes hope, deskills teachers, treats students as consumers and exhibits an utter disdain for any mode of knowledge that cannot be reduced to empirical forms of measurement. It is more concerned with training than educating, and it increasingly relies on punishment models of governance when dealing with teachers and unions while simultaneously using harsh disciplinary measures against those students viewed as disposable because they are poor, black, or viewed as flawed learners. The mode of authority at work in this type of management is not simply punitive and overly dictatorial; it is also a caricature of a viable notion of leadership and social vision. It does not lead, but tramples, bullies and uses fear as its modus operandi. This is a mode of authority and management that believes that money is the only incentive for working hard, making knowledge meaningful and understanding the dynamics of learning. The egoism and cult of efficiency and materialism that informs this view of schooling and the world has no way of recognizing anti-democratic tendencies in the culture, has no language for recognizing how private troubles are related to social problems, ignores ethical issues, and lacks the slightest insight into what it means to educate young people as critical citizens.

Henry A. Giroux: When Generosity Hurts: Bill Gates, Public School Teachers and the Politics of Humiliation

Henry A. Giroux: When Generosity Hurts: Bill Gates, Public School Teachers and the Politics of Humiliation

Let's begin by saying that we are living through a very dangerous time. Everyone ... is in one way or another aware of that. We are in a revolutionary situation, no matter how unpopular that word has become in this country. The society in which we live is desperately menaced ... from within. To any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible - and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people - must be prepared to "go for broke." Or to put it another way, you must understand that in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty, when it is operating not only in the classroom but in society, you will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance. There is no point in pretending that this won't happen.  -James Baldwin

Baldwin's words offer a glimpse into a legacy of bad faith, culture of cruelty and politics of humiliation that seems to have gained momentum in American society since he spoke those words in 1963. His words reflect something of the all too evident brutish transformation of the revolutionary zeal that marked an earlier era's investment in substantive democratization to that which piously and patriotically calls itself revolutionary some 50 years later, and seeks nothing less than the total destruction of the democratic potential of American education. Not only have such pernicious practices descended on America like a dreadful and punishing plague, but they are now ironically embraced in the name of an educational reform movement whose "revolutionary" pretension is antithetical to the civil rights revolution for which Baldwin was fighting. Once eager public servants in the fight for equality and justice, teachers are now forced to play with a severe handicap, as if assembled on a field blindfolded and gagged. The one constancy that runs through these last several decades, less obvious only because of its utter pervasiveness in public life, is summed up by Baldwin as the legacy of "bad faith and cruelty." Bad faith and cruelty are now combined with a power-assisted politics of humiliation, all the more acute, because such commitments circulate continually as spectacle in a 24-hour media cycle universally assessable in a digital and commodified culture.

When I refer to a culture of cruelty and a discourse of humiliation, I am talking about the institutionalization and widespread adoption of a set of values, policies and symbolic practices that legitimate forms of organized violence against human beings increasingly considered disposable, and which lead inexorably to unnecessary hardship, suffering and despair. Such practices are increasingly accompanied by forms of humiliation in which the character, dignity and bodies of targeted individuals and groups are under attack. Its extreme form is evident in state-sanctioned torture practices such as those used by the regime of torture promoted by the Bush administration in Iraq and in the images of humiliation that emerged from the torture chambers of Abu Ghraib prison. The politics of humiliation also works through symbolic systems, diverse modes of address and varied framing mechanisms in which the targeted subjects are represented in terms that demonize them, strip them of their humanity and position them in ways that invite ridicule and sometimes violence. This is what the late Pierre Bourdieu called the symbolic dimension of power - that is the capacity of systems of meaning, signification and diverse modes of communication to shield, strengthen and normalize relations of domination through distortion, misrepresentation and the use of totalizing narratives.(1) The hidden order of such politics lies not just in its absences, but its appeal to common sense and its claim to being objective and apolitical. Culture in this sense becomes the site of the most powerful and persuasive forms of pedagogy precisely because it often denies its pedagogical function.

Henry A. Giroux: Memories of Hope in the Age of Disposability

Henry A. Giroux: Memories of Hope in the Age of Disposability

Any rigorous conception of youth must take into account the inescapable intersection of the personal, social, political and pedagogical embodied by young people. Beneath the abstract codifying of youth around the discourses of law, medicine, psychology, employment, education and marketing statistics, there is the lived experience of being young. For me, youth invokes a repository of memories fueled by my own journey through an adult world, which largely seemed to be in the way, a world held together by a web of disciplinary practices and restrictions that appeared at the time more oppressive than liberating. Lacking the security of a middle-class childhood, my friends and I seemed suspended in a society that neither accorded us a voice nor guaranteed economic independence. Identity didn't come easy in my neighborhood. It was painfully clear to all of us that our identities were constructed out of daily battles waged around masculinity, the ability to mediate a terrain fraught with violence and the need to find an anchor through which to negotiate a culture in which life was fast and short-lived. I grew up amid the motion and force of mostly working-class male bodies - bodies asserting their physical strength as one of the few resources over which we had control.

Dreams for the youth of my Smith Hill neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island, were contained within a limited number of sites, all of which occupied an outlaw status in the adult world: the inner-city basketball court located in a housing project, which promised danger and fierce competition; the streets on which adults and youth collided as the police and parole officers harassed us endlessly; the New York system, hole-in-the-wall restaurant operated by a guy who always had ten "hot dogs" and buns in various stages of preparation on his arm on a Saturday night and would wait for us to do business after we spent a night hanging out, drinking and dancing.

For many of the working-class youth in my neighborhood, the basketball court was one of the few public spheres in which the kind of cultural capital we recognized and took seriously could be exchanged for respect and admiration. If you weren't good enough, you didn't play; if you were good, you performed with a kind of humility arbitrated by a code that suggested you didn't lose easily. Nobody was born with innate talent. Nor was anybody given instant recognition. The basketball court became for me a rite of passage and a powerful referent for developing a sense of possibility. We played day and night and we played in any space that was available. Even when we got caught breaking into St. Patrick's Elementary School one Friday night around 1:00 AM, the cops who found us knew we were there to play basketball rather than to steal money from the teachers' rooms or Coke machines. Basketball was taken very seriously because it was a neighborhood sport, a terrain where respect was earned. It offered us a mode of resistance, if not a respite, from the lure of drug dealing, the sport of everyday violence and the general misery that surrounded us. The basketball court provided another kind of hope, one that seemed to fly in the face of the need for high status, school credentials or the security of a boring job. It was also a sphere where we learned about the value of friendship, solidarity and respect for the other.

Henry A. Giroux: Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan's Corporate-Based Schools Can't Deliver an Education That Matters

Henry A. Giroux: Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan's Corporate-Based Schools Can't Deliver an Education That Matters

The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.
Arne Duncan

Visions have nowadays fallen into disrepute and we tend to be proud of what we should be ashamed of.
Zygmunt Bauman

Market-Based Educational Reform and the Politics of Fraud

In Arne Duncan's world, the language of educational reform is defined primarily through the modalities of competition, measurement and quantification. Competition is now one of the most important registers organizing and defining schools and classroom pedagogical practices - no doubt made obvious by the name of Obama's educational reform policy "Race to the Top," with its allusion to Wall Street values and casino capitalism. Within this discourse, there seems to be little understanding, as Stuart Hall has argued, "that there is a limit to the good that can be produced by individual competitiveness."[1] Of course, competition itself is not the problem since competition can be healthy in a number of areas. The real issue is when competition becomes, as Christopher Newfield points out, "the sole organizing principle of society."[2] And when that happens in educational policies such as those pushed by the Obama administration, one consequence is that the ultimate agent of schooling is modeled after the unattached individual competing for financial rewards, status and a job in the workforce. But there is more at work here than the vulgar instrumentalization of the curriculum, homage to an unchecked mode of market competition and the crude reduction of teacher work to thoughtless methodologies and techniques. There is also a neoliberal agenda in which public money is channeled into the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations. In addition, there is the ongoing infatuation with privatization and the push for charter schools, largely used to siphon off and privilege middle-class students, while promoting forms of tracking and social dumping that often mark underfunded public schools.[3] There is also the push for governance structures shaped in the image of a largely disgraced business culture, whose aim is to restructure the administrative apparatus in public schools as part of a broader political project to weaken the power of faculty and unions, while placing unaccountable power in the hands of corporate elites.

Also See:

Part I: Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform

Part II: Teachers Without Jobs and Education Without Hope: Beyond Bailouts and the Fetish of the Measurement Trap

In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

As the forces of privatization merge with the destruction of public housing in many urban areas such as Chicago, charter and privatized schools become the beachheads for gentrification and the emergence of gated communities. Moreover, the values that produce such spaces are now replicated in the schools themselves as they are filled by administrators, teachers and students who do not "know how to share public space to common advantage"[4] or who have not learned how to deal effectively with racial and economic differences.[5] Gaining ground since the 1980s, these reform measures represent the triumph of neoliberal ideology and policies over public education, formerly viewed as a repository of democratic ideals, values and practices. Rather than challenge reform measures whose heritage has more to do with fighting desegregation than fostering democratic modes of schooling, Obama and Duncan have simply legitimated and further extended them. The elements of such a reactionary educational policy are well known: unrestrained individualism in all realms, unbridled competition and corporate values as the master metaphors for educational change, all of which signify a gross perversion of democracy and anything approaching an empowering education. Duncan, in particular, appears to have no language for addressing problems, values, issues and goods that cannot be measured and quantified or are not subject to the profit-making dictates of the market. If public schools have the potential to be vibrant spaces for engaging young people in critical dialog, exchange and creativity, such potential is absent from Duncan's view of schooling. In fact, it is fair to argue that Duncan ignores, if not disdains, a long tradition in American life extending from Thomas Jefferson to C. Wright Mills and Hannah Arendt in which it has been recognized that citizens are produced, not simply born, and that public schools are the crucial political site where socialization for a healthy democracy takes place.[6]

Scott Jaschik: Interview with Henry A. Giroux: The University in Chains

Scott Jaschik: Interview with Henry A. Giroux: The University in Chains

Who controls higher education? Henry A. Giroux argues in his new book that academe has ceded too much power to the worlds of business and the military. In The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Paradigm), he outlines the problems he sees and calls on professors to take back direction of their campuses. Giroux is the Global Television Network Professor of English and cultural studies at McMaster University, in Canada. Previously, he taught at Boston, Miami and Penn State Universities. Giroux responded recently to questions about the themes of his new book.

Scott Jaschik: You start your book with President Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex. Why was academe left out and how does the warning apply to higher education?

Henry A. Giroux: Why the academy was left out of Eisenhower’s original speech is a matter of open speculation, but it has been argued that some of Eisenhower’s advisors felt that including the term in the original formulation would have unduly besmirched the sanctity of higher education. And more importantly, it would have targeted and discredited higher education at the Ivy League schools, which played a major role in educating the rich and powerful classes with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary to assume leadership in business and government. At the same time, Eisenhower clearly recognized that the arms industry, the defense establishment, and their Congressional supporters represented a combination of unwarranted power and influence whose existence presented a danger to the university in its capacity as “a fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery.”

Henry A. Giroux: Higher Education Under Siege: Implications for Public Intellectuals (PDF)

Henry A. GirouxHenry A. Giroux: Higher Education Under Siege: Implications for Public Intellectuals (PDF)
Thought & Action, Fall, 2006

What is the task of educators at a time when mainstream American culture is increasingly characterized by a declining interest in and misgiving about national politics? How one answers this question will have a grave impact not only on higher education but on the future of democratic public life. There are no simple solutions. Hence it becomes crucial for educators at all levels of schooling to provide alternative democratic conceptions of the meaning and purpose of both politics and education. In what follows, I want to argue that one of the primary tasks facing educators, students, community activists, and others in the 21st century should center around developing political projects that can challenge the ascendancy of cynicism and anti-democratic tendencies in the United States by defending the institutions and mechanisms that provide the pedagogical conditions for critical and engaged citizenship. Crucial to such a challenge is the role that higher education can play in reclaiming the links between education and democracy, knowledge and public service, and learning and democratic social change.

Henry A. Giroux: Public Time and Educated Hope: Educational Leadership and the War Against Youth

Henry A. Giroux: Public Time and Educated Hope: Educational Leadership and the War Against Youth

What are the implications for society as a whole, if there are no longer social spaces conceived as at least partially autonomous from the market and market-driven politics? Where are we to find the sites of difference, the terrain of social witness, critical leverage and utopian vision, insofar as the domain of childhood--or of everyday life or of a semiautonomous realm of culture--is increasing shot through with the values of the marketplace and the discursive politics of postmodern global culture? And what happens to the bodies and minds of children in the process? [1]

Henry A. Giroux: Selling Out Higher Education (PDF)

Henry A. Giroux: Selling Out Higher Education (PDF)
Policy Futures in Education, Volume 1, Number 1, 2003

The expansion of neo-liberal capitalism globally suggests an especially dangerous turn at the current historical moment, one that threatens both the substance of democracy as fundamental to the most basic freedom and civil liberties, and the very meaning of higher education. As the power of nation states and civil society to impose or make corporate power accountable is reduced, politics as an expression of democratic struggle is deflated and ethical responsibility appears irrelevant. As neo-liberal capitalism substitutes market relations for the rule of justice and law, it becomes more difficult for educators, students, and citizens to address pressing social and moral issues in systemic and political terms. This article addresses the fundamental shift in society regarding how we think about the relationship between corporate culture, higher education, and democracy. Specifically, it argues that one of the most important indications of such a change can be seen in the ways in which we are currently being asked to rethink the role of higher education. Underlying this analysis is the assumption that the struggle to reclaim higher education must be seen as part of a broader battle over the defense of public goods, and that at the heart of such a struggle is the need to challenge the ever-growing discourse and influence of neo-liberalism, corporate power, and corporate politics. The article concludes by offering some suggestions as to what educators can do to reassert the primacy of higher education as an essential sphere for expanding and deepening the processes of democracy and civil society.

Henry Giroux: Translating the Future and the Promise of Democracy

Henry Giroux: Translating the Future and the Promise of Democracy
Address to convocation by Dr. Henry A. Giroux

I am honoured to accept this honorary degree on this important occasion today, and to be with all of you in sharing this wonderful achievement of graduating from Memorial University. As a father of three teenage boys, I also want to congratulate those family members, friends, and others whose support throughout the years helped to make it possible for you to achieve this tremendous milestone in your life. It is a humbling task to stand before you and say something worthy of this memorable event. Needless to say, I am mindful of a comment made by the late United States Supreme Court Justice, Harry Blackman, who stated that “a commencement speaker was like the corpse at an old-fashioned Irish wake: he was necessary to justify the occasion but no one expected him to say anything.” Seeing as I am alive, I am more inclined to take the advice of the great philosopher, Hannah Arendt, who insisted that award winners should talks less about their own merits and much more about the “world,” and specifically about the public spaces in which we speak and are heard and to which we have certain responsibilities. And it is precisely in this spirit of affirming public discourse, civic morality, and what it might mean to conduct your lives as engaged citizens attentive to the suffering of others and the fragility of democracy itself that I want to frame my brief remarks.

Henry A. Giroux: Cultural Studies in Dark Times: Public Pedagogy and the Challenge of Neoliberalism

Henry A. Giroux: Cultural Studies in Dark Times: Public Pedagogy and the Challenge of Neoliberalism

As the Right wages a frontal assault against all remnants of the democratic state and its welfare provisions, the progressive Left is in disarray. Theoretical and political impoverishment feed off each other as hope of a revolutionary project capable of challenging the existing forces of domination appears remote. Militarism increasingly engulfs the entire social order as matters of "war and national security" become "consuming anxieties" that provide the "memories, models, and metaphors that shape broad areas of national life" as well as drive American foreign policy (Sherry 1995:xi). As U.S. military action expands its reach into Iraq, Afghanistan, and possibly Iran and Syria, under the guise of an unlimited war against terrorism, public spaces on the domestic front are increasingly being organized around values supporting a bellicose, patriarchal, and jingoistic culture that is undermining "centuries of democratic gains" (Buck-Morss 2003:33). As politics is separated from economic power, the state surrenders its obligation to contain the power of corporations and financial capital, reducing its role to matters of surveillance, disciplinary control, and order. Market fundamentalism and the militarization of public life mutually reinforce each other to displace the promise, if not the very idea, of the Great Society—with its emphasis on the common good, basic social provisions for all, social justice, and economic mobility. Fuelled by dreams of empire as well as the desire to mask the shape political power is taking in a period of economic and social decline, militarism and neoliberalism cloak themselves in the discourse of democracy in order to hide the barbarism being reproduced in the torture prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the spread of wage slavery in the interest of capital accumulation, and in the carceral surveillance and disciplinary measures being imposed on the nation's public schools. Democratic political projects appear remote and give rise to either cynicism, solipsism, or reductionistic ideologies on the part of many progressives within and outside of the academy. The crucial task of theorizing a politics suitable for the twenty-first century has fallen on hard times. Economistic theories return to dominate much of the Left, reducing politics to a reflection of economic forces, interests, and measures. Within the university, critically engaged intellectuals appear in short supply as most academics, especially in the humanities and social sciences, bid a hasty retreat to arcane discourses, retrograde notions of professionalism, or irrelevant academic specialities (Agger 1989; Said 2004). Rather than reinventing and rethinking the challenge of an oppositional politics within a global public sphere, the academic Left appears to be withdrawing from the demands of civic engagement by retreating into what Susan Buck-Morss (2003) calls "theory-world," a space where the "academic freedom of critical theorists coincides with our lack of influence in public and political debate"(p. 68). Hope, once embodied in the politics of persuasion, the drive for instituting critical education in a diverse number of public spheres, collective efforts to organize struggles within major institutions, and the attempt to build international social movements seems, at best, a nostalgic remnant of the 1960s. The naturalness and commonsense appeal of the neoliberal economic order produces a crisis of political and historical imagination, on the one hand, and an educational crisis on the other. It is in opposition to the current turn away from matters of history, culture, and politics that I begin with a quote from Susan George, a powerful critic of neoliberalism and a leading voice in the anti-globalization movement. She writes:

In 1945 or 1950, if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today's standard neoliberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage or sent to the insane asylum. At least in the Western countries, at that time, everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat, or a social Christian democrat or some shade of Marxist. The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions, the idea that the state should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection-such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time. Even if someone actually agreed with these ideas, he or she would have hesitated to take such a position in public and would have had a hard time finding an audience (George 1999, para 2).

Henry A. Giroux: Higher Education is More Than a Corporate Logo

Henry A. Giroux: Higher Education is More Than a Corporate Logo
Dissident Voice, January 26, 2004

Anyone who spends anytime on a college campus these days cannot miss how higher education is changing. Strapped for money and increasingly defined in the language of corporate culture, many universities seem less interested in higher learning than in becoming licensed storefronts for brand name corporations--selling off space, buildings, and endowed chairs to rich corporate donors.

Henry A. Giroux: La pasion de la derecha: Fundamentalismo religioso y el trato de la democracia

Dr. Henry A. GirouxHenry A. Giroux: La pasion de la derecha: Fundamentalismo religioso y el trato de la democracia"
"The Passion of the Right: Religious Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Democracy,” Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies (in press).

Con la reelección de George W. Bush, el fundamentalismo religioso parece estar fuertemente enfocado en su esfuerzo por definir políticas a través de un moralismo fanático y reductivista.

Esta clase de fanatismo religioso tiene una larga tradición en la historia Americana, extendiéndose desde el siglo XVII con el arribo del Puritanismo hasta el despliegue actual del Pentecostalismo.

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalismo y la muerte de la Democracia: Resucitando la esperanza en tiempos de oscuridad

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalismo y la muerte de la Democracia: Resucitando la esperanza en tiempos de oscuridad
"Neoliberalism and the Demise of Democracy: Resurrecting Hope in Dark Times"
www.dissidentvoice.org
August 7, 2004

El Neoliberalismo se ha convertido en una de las más penetrantes , si no, peligrosas ideologías del siglo XXI. Su penetración es evidente no sólo por su influencia sin paralelo en la economía global, sino además, por su poder para redefinir la naturaleza de la política en sí misma. El fundamentalismo de mercado libre antes que el idealismo democrático es ahora la fuerza conductora de la política y la economía en la mayor parte del mundo, y su ideología de mercado está conducida no sólo por sus beneficios, sino que además es acompañada por la habilidad de reproducirse con tal suceso que, parafraseando a Fred Jameson, es más fácil imaginar el fin del mundo que el del capitalismo neoliberal.

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