"Critical Pedagogy and Predatory Culture" is a major contribution to the radical literature on culture, identity, and the politics of schooling, especially as it addresses the challenge and the promise of school and social reform through what the author calls a "critical multiculturalism." The author's approach to what he calls "predatory culture" and his exploration of recent debates over the role of public institutions and the state within such culture offers the discerning reader a unique combination of neo-Marxist and post-structuralist theory--referred to by the author as "resistance of postmodernist critique." Readers are invited to construct a politics of resistance at the level of everyday institutional life and within other public spheres. Such a politics of resistance is discussed in detail as a form of critical pedagogy which the author develops from the work of the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, and, in a number of geopolitical settings, the educational left, including Deleuze, Guattari, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard and others.
"As the presently heated national debates over education in the US have at the forefront issues concerning multiculturalism, the Western canon, and privatization, it is refreshing to find a critical educator such as McLaren who doesn't choose to hide behind language, but rather uses it with cutting political clarity to debunk some of the myths about democratic practices in the US. . . . Acknowledging the multiple versions of what constitutes postmodern thought and critical pedagogy, McLaren's book not only successfully ruptures any generic definitions, but also attempts to find some shared ground upon which critical and postmodern theoretical insights and agendas can be at least understood, and thus further built upon to address the growing plethora of social ills and injustices that plague our society."
-Pepi Leistyna, "Harvard Educational Review
"In his most persevering and eloquent style, McLaren bravely challenges and criticizes the deep structures of domination within schools and society that erode the hearts and minds of our youth; and, in doing so, he infuses the political struggle for educational justice with vibrant theoretical dimensions that breathe new life into our hopes and dreams as cultural workers and organic intellectuals."
-Antonia Darder, Claremont Graduate School, 1994
"Peter McLaren is one of the foremost North American advocates of critical pedagogy as a strategy to transform educational practices as part of a project of social and cultural transformation . . . Well written and full of original and engaging ideas."
-Douglas Kellner, Texas University at Austin
"McLaren's unerring sense of what is important as well as the remarkable range of hisscholarship establish him as perhaps the central political theorist in the field today."
-Bill Pinar, Louisiana State University
"A love for autonomy, the struggle to sustain it. . .the defense of the idea that friendship is to be cherished, the maintenance of intellectual responsibility. . .the courage to expose oneself; the relishing of risk; a kind of purity without puritanism; a humility without servitude. These are all aspirations. . .that, through the life and work of McLaren, challenge me. . .."
-Paulo Freire, from the Preface