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Paulo Freire's "Critical-Transforming" Stages of Problem-Solving (R D Stanton-Salazar)

Updated March 14, 2012

NAMING THE PROBLEM: The experiences that are cause distress and conflict, and that prevent people from achieving a substantial measure of self-realization are identified. Fulfillment of every aspect of the human condition: the body (physical health), the mind and intellect, the individual's spiritual fulfillment, their mental health, their political competencies and the persons ability to influence the well-being of their community, their sense of ethics, their ability to "read the world" in the Freirian sense and to envision an alternative, socially-justice one.

FRAMING THE PROBLEM: The problem is framed in systemic terms; in the tacit and formalized rules and allocated roles that comprise the social system and that victimize particular groups of people. The rules and roles that comprise the system are seen as embodied in culture (the dominant culture, and possibly, the subordinate group's culture). This stage is in opposition to the practice of situating the problem in individuals who deviate from the rules and roles of "the system". People are loved and the system is interrogated (Alschuler, 1980). ANALYSIS OF THE CAUSES: A group of individuals, in investigating the causes of the problem, interrogate and unpack the social practices, cultural behaviors, and cultural products associated with the problem. A. INTERROGATING "THE SYSTEM" (interrogating "culture"): 1. A process unfolds whereby group members "unpack" the institutional policies, rules, practices, rules and roles and examine their respective "formal and latent functions" (i.e., whether they foster conflict and domination or whether they foster the empowerment of all involved). 2. As part of this process, group members also interrogate the ideologies and belief systems that legitimate these institutional rules and practices--making them appear normal. Ideologies are examined in terms of their "latent functions," whether they are oriented toward illuminating relations of power, or whether they are oriented toward "masking" them, whether they are oriented toward keeping power relations democratic or keeping them authoritarian.

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B. INTERROGATING "THE SYSTEM" WITHIN: 1. Group members begin with an appreciation of how, in the face of an oppressive system, cultural forms have been created (narratives, memories, folk rituals and practices) to foster resiliency and positive meaning in the community. 2. Next, group members determine whether they have played host to the system, thus perpetuating the problem. People are supported as they are asked to look within to determine whether the rules and roles and ideologies of the system--those found to foster and legitimate conflict, domination and de-humanization--have become "internalized" --in other words, an integral feature of people's personality, identity, and culture. TYPES OF ACTION TAKEN: 1. Through dialogue, group members help each other to see how they have participated in their own oppression, how through their "programs," they have regulated their own dehumanization. Through dialogue and love, group members are helped to liberate themselves from such "programs." Throughout this process, the origins of people's programs are kept in sight. Ultimately, the solution must entail transforming "the system." (What educational policies and interventions might be implemented to foster this process?) 2. Collaboratively, the group acts to transform the oppressive aspects of the system in ways that do not victimize anyone and that ultimately promote human development. (What policies could be developed to foster this process? What has to happen outside of school system so that social change really begins to happen?)
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3. Collaboratively, the group acts to foster ideologies that are oriented toward illuminating relations of power, and that are oriented toward keeping power relations democratic and empowering to all. (How would students and citizen groups begin this process of constructing and disseminating new ideologies?) 4. Collaboratively, the group acts to preserve and build upon those cultural forms have been created (narratives, memories, folk rituals and practices) to foster resiliency and positive meaning in the community. (What educational policies could be enacted that would foster this process?)

"[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can 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 a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side."
Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/41108.Paulo_Freire

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Looking at "Empowerment" in ALL its Dimensions Simultaneously & in an Integrative Fashion


by Ricardo Stanton-Salazar on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 11:51pm (FACEBOOK) Between 2005 & 2007, I became deeply interested in looking at "empowerment" in ALL its dimensions, all at the same time AND in an integrated way. Part of how this came about was through my study and practice of Hatha yoga & yogic spirituality; in 2007, I decided to train for my national certification as a Level 1 yoga instructor (RYT-200). My study of yoga came after 20 years of studying and writing about the social reproduction of inequality, closing following the work of Pierre Bourdieu. I came to understand racial, class, and gender oppression as having a destructive effective on every aspect of the human condition: the body (physical health), the mind and intellect, the individual's spiritual fulfillment, their mental health, their political competencies and ability to influence the well-being of their community, their sense of ethics, their ability to "read the world" in the Freirian sense and to envision an alternative, socially-justice one. Thus the need for a "a system" that simultaneously--and in a supremely integrative fashion-addresses human development,' the healing of the wounds of oppression, physical and mental health, political empowerment, and a "spirituality" founded upon social justice and service to humanity. Eastern/Indian yoga approaches such an integrated system, and Gandhi & especially Swami Vivekananda came very close to addressing the political dimension and social justice--but such a yogic system I envision is still around the corner.

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LET US CREATE "a system" of EMPOWERMENT that simultaneously--and in a supremely integrative fashion-- addresses human development,' the healing of the wounds of oppression, physical and mental health, political empowerment, and a "SPIRITUALITY" founded upon social justice and service to humanity. (If you truly want to find God & Goddess, look intensely within yourself for "the Divine," while simultaneously lowering your eyes from the heavens to those that suffer around you; give them your love, attend to their suffering, see the "Divine" that also dwells within them--it is in these actions that you will be engulfed in God's presence.) Namast

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