To read this content please select one of the options below:

Pedagogy against “dis-utopia”: from conscientization to the education of desire

No Social Science without Critical Theory

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1483-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-538-3

Publication date: 28 July 2008


In August 2007, over 6,000 sociologists gathered in New York to attend the 102nd meeting of the American Sociological Association and discuss the possibility of radical social transformation in post-modern capitalist society.1 The adoption of the conference theme ‘Is another world possible?’ was theoretically significant, for it seemed to call into question one of the most fundamental assumptions upon which critical sociology depends: that despite the rarity of radical social change, it is possible, desirable and even imperative to imagine and struggle for better alternatives to existing ways of being. From phenomenological insights into the contingency of our subjective interpretations of reality to the imperative of reconciling ‘appearance’ with ‘reality’; from the long history of collective movements to defend human dignity to the ‘politics of small things’ (Goldfarb, 2006), critical theories of society presume that human fates are not determined and futures are not reified, and that the possibility of possibility is a pre-condition for ‘normal’ human existence. This is not to say that progressive alternatives to the status quo are not often and everywhere repressed to some degree and in some form, or that they are equally distributed or attainable. But as Gustavo Gutierrez once remarked, a ‘commitment to the creation of a just society and, ultimately, to a new human being, presupposes confidence in the future’ (2003, p. 197).


Amsler, S.S. (2008), "Pedagogy against “dis-utopia”: from conscientization to the education of desire", Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) No Social Science without Critical Theory (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 291-325.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited