, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 447-464

On Paulo Freire's Debt to Psychoanalysis: Authority on the Side of Freedom

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Abstract

Paulo Freire's major work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, owes adebt to psychoanalysis. In particular, as this paper argues,Freire's account of teacher authority needs to be understoodthrough psychoanalytic sensibilities. Paulo Freire maintains thatteacher authority can be ``on the side of freedom.'' This is ahighly charged claim given that liberalist traditions generallycast authority as the enemy of freedom. Breaking with liberalunderstandings of authority, Freire's ``authority on the sideof freedom'' is a matter of maintaining the delicate psychicbalance that leads neither to domination nor to submission.This paper investigates how such an authoritative balance functions.