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Malefic generosity

  • By: Kathleen R. Kesson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Critical-political discourses in the field of curriculum studies concern themselves with issues of power, privilege, and oppression with the aim of understanding how education functions to maintain unjust and unequal relations in a society. Malefic generosity is a concept from Freirean critical pedagogy that concerns the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed and suggests a contradiction between pedagogical intention and pedagogical effect. Understanding the concept of malefic generosity can help to clarify why teachers with purportedly the best of intentions fail to achieve successful academic results with students from marginalized or oppressed groups.

Paulo Freire, in his landmark book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, contrasts two forms of education. Hegemonic education functions to integrate students into the logic of an unjust system, fails to make existing ...

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