Introduction: Conceptualizing ‘the Known’ and the Relational Dynamics of Power and Resistance



This volume stands as an intended expression of responsible pedagogy; however, as no such recognized category exists — on the odd assumption that all of our pedagogies are responsible — it will most likely be banished to the distant domain of critical pedagogy, host to the voices of ‘them’ and ‘their’ views as opposed to ‘us’ and ‘our’ views. With this unwanted categorization in mind, a few words on the nature of the critique seem like as good a place as any from which to begin. Foucault (1981/1988: 154) contends that the critique is not just a ‘matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest.’ While this appears to be a fundamental requirement of any prospective responsible pedagogy, like so many facets within the relational dynamic of resistance-power/power-resistance, the nature of the critique offers numerous pitfalls and paradoxes. Indeed, Foucault (1978/1997: 42) earlier warns that the critique ‘only exists in relation to something other than itself: it is an instrument, a means for a future or a truth that it will not know nor happen to be’. In terms of this volume, such a perspective on the nature of the critique complements the Krishnamurtian approach to ‘the unknown’ in that it can never be more than a mere gesture toward an unreachable final destination or point of resolution.


Language Education Language Teacher Happy Ending Intended Expression Moral Accountability 
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