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In this chapter, Karin Fierke alerts us to how Kratochwil’s notion of praxis, understood as acting here and now, relates past and future to present situations. History, she argues, is remembering, and as such always part of a future project. What stitches together past and future are our present concerns. From this point of departure, Fierke problematizes the ‘we’ that constitutes David Hume’s common world of ‘commerce and conversation’ and wonders how we can see those who have been written out of history. She takes the issue of slavery as her example, beginning with Hume’s own troubling silence on the transatlantic slave trade in which his native Scotland was heavily involved. She then moves on to the ‘eerie and troubling silence’ surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his inability to ‘see’ the real victims of slavery when constituting the ‘we’ of the union rejoining North and South after the American Civil War. Her chapter ends with reflections on the importance of redefining a global ‘we’ as the subject of conversation.

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Community-based Action for Transformative Change

In this second edition of a bestselling book, the authors’ unique, holistic and radical perspective on participatory practice has been updated to reflect advances in thought made in the past decade, the impact of neoliberalism and austerity and the challenge of climate change. Their innovative approach bridges the divide between community development ideas and practice to offer a critical praxis.

The authors argue that transformative practice begins with everyday stories about people’s lives and that practical theory generated from these narratives is the best way to inform both policy and practice.

The book will be of interest to academics and community-based practitioners working in a range of settings, including health and education.

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intersectionality, a point that I develop later in the section on critical praxis. Time for a reminder: neoliberal politics was unheard of before Margaret Thatcher appeared in 1979 seizing the opportunity for a revolution in Far- Right politics in the UK, and almost instantaneously it globalised as a political ideology. My emphasis here is on the fact that this thinking has only been applied in politics since 1980, with disastrous consequences. A lack of sufficient analysis of the strategy to critique and dismantle it has left the neoliberal machine to rumble on, serving

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community-based action; the emotions generated by seeing life more critically motivate people to act together for change. In cycles of action/reflection, this builds towards a critical praxis; a unity of action and reflection, of theory and practice: The insistence that the oppressed engage in reflection on their concrete situation is not a call to armchair revolution. On the contrary, reflection – true reflection – leads to action. On the other hand, when the situation calls for action, that action will constitute an authentic praxis only if its consequences

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understanding of an issue or problem and one’s part in it. It calls for going within to question one’s assumptions about the world. This epistemological reflexivity helps us to see how the way we view the world influences the way we choose to act in it. And at the heart of the process is the empowering insight that the self is involved in knowledge construction (personal reflexivity); in other words, crucially, we can change the world by changing our understanding of what is possible. This process is a result of engaging in critical praxis, that is, combining theory

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Freire, influenced by Gramsci, put these ideas on power into practice providing a critical praxis, a unity of theory and practice, that continues to influence the world over for effective change through critical consciousness and collective action. The role of the critical educator in Paulo Freire’s education for critical consciousness starts by creating the context for questioning lived reality from the stories people tell about their everyday lives. Seeing life’s contradictions from a critical perspective exposes the structural inequalities embedded in society

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! The way we make sense of the world has a direct impact on our being, how we behave towards each other and towards the planet. Ideas and action as a symbiotic unity, straddling the divide between theory and practice, constitute a unity of praxis. This is the foundation of Paulo Freire’s education for critical consciousness. Freire developed his critical praxis by listening to the stories people told about their lived reality in the favelas. He heard the consequences of structural discrimination in their stories, how power reaches into personal lives to

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in Chapter 1. It calls for an evolving critical praxis.

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