"A Socio-Political Understanding of Education and Citizenship: Canadian-Portuguese Youth, Alienation, and the Educational Process"
Education as a theoretical process must be thought of as a continuing discourse that speaks between different times and places, a relationship of patterns that allows today’s language the ability to understand yesterday’s culture. Consequently, education as a form of communicating the self and society does not disappear from one generation to another. It is built upon, at times forgotten, only to be remembered at a later time under a different value system.
All of production, and truth itself, are directed towards disclosure, the unbearable “truth” of sex being but the most recent consequence. Luckily, at bottom, there is nothing to it. And seduction still holds, in the face of truth, a most sibylline response, which is that perhaps we wish to uncover the truth because it is so difficult to imagine it naked. (Baudrillard, 1990, p. 181)
Education as seductive, then, does not allow for a total and final description of life. Both Durkheim and Giroux are aware of the need to be seduced in order to re-learn or even to desire to learn. The truth, our desire to know, always needs an ‘other’ as reader—as seducer, structures of intersubjectivity are interpretations of our ways of knowing. For both Durkheim and Giroux, education is possible because we are part of a shared language. A seductive pedagogy, then, must resist its own “truth” in order to see beyond itself; to see us as social beings who are struggling with pleasure and unpleasure—our resistance to the unknown.
David Pereira’s research takes a cross-section of the Portuguese-Canadian community as he considers male youth and their attitudes towards educational attainment through perceptions of masculinity. Pereira writes:
As the first exploration of masculinity among young men of Portuguese heritage in Canada, the importance of this study is clear. Participants’ personal understandings of masculinity were frequently in conflict with how they understood constructions of masculinity in their community, which caused significant internal tension for some participants. Power, control, sexuality and gender relations emerged as main dimensions of masculinity that informed the various ways these young men relate to other men and women, as well as how they relate to education and their community. (2011, p. 103)
This need to educate so that individuals can situate themselves within the larger context is part of the ongoing challenge, their resistance to a perceived loss of ethnic heritage, in the Portuguese-Canadian community. The young men in Pereira’s study are representative of this larger problem: the problem being that inter-generational knowledge is becoming stagnant in the Portuguese-Canadian community. It only makes sense to them that education should be about the immigrant/individual being able to take care of himself, his family, etc. It only makes sense that becoming ‘too educated’ may distance me from the ethnic roots I love and am familiar with. Too much thinking about the larger world around me is not “useful” to what I “do.” It does not bring wealth, recognition, or praise. As one Portuguese young man, in Pereira’s study, said:
The Portuguese-Canadian community is but one group of many ethnic groups in Canada that reflect and encompass the need for an educational system that encourages learning beyond its monetary value. Such a model only further reproduces the hegemonic discourse that urges ‘the immigrant’ to work hard, and they, too, will become a ‘real’ Canadian one day. This is a form of alienation that Portuguese-Canadians must overcome, but first they must become aware of it. Here is the catch: this awareness comes from insisting that democratic forms of education be the model for all Canadians, not simply a luxury after the money has been made.
InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies (IJPDS) Vol. 3.1 (2014), pp 125-127.
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Pereira, D. (2011). "Dropping out or opting out? A qualitative study on how young men of Portuguese ancestry in Toronto perceive masculinity and how this informs educational attainment." (Master’s thesis). Graduate Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.