This paper, based on the reflections of two academic social scientists, offers a starting point for dialogue about the importance of critical pedagogy within the university today, and about the potentially transformative possibilities of higher education more generally. We first explain how the current context of HE, framed through neoliberal restructuring, is reshaping opportunities for alternative forms of education and knowledge production to emerge. We then consider how insights from both critical pedagogy and popular education inform our work in this climate.
Against this backdrop, we consider the effects of our efforts to realise the ideals of critical pedagogy in our teaching to date and ask how we might build more productive links between classroom and activist practices. Finally, we suggest that doing so can help facilitate a more fully articulated reconsideration of the meanings, purposes and practices of HE in contemporary society.
This paper also includes responses from two educational developers, Janet Strivens and Ranald Macdonald, with the aim of creating a dialogue on the role of critical pedagogy in higher education.