Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Politics of Disimagination

This piece from Henry A.Giroux is the kind of thing I instinctively find appealing.  Thoughtful, insightful, aware.

But there is something very wrong with it.  What?

The piece itself seems to be part of the "Disimagination Machine" Giroux bemoans.  Giroux describes "that the politics of disimagination refers to images, and I would argue institutions, discourses, and other modes of representation, that undermine the capacity of individuals to bear witness to a different and critical sense of remembering, agency, ethics and collective resistance."  And what is Giroux's solution to this problem?
Against the politics of disimagination, progressives, workers, educators, young people and others need to develop a a new language of radical reform and create new public spheres that provide the pedagogical conditions for critical thought, dialogue and thoughtful deliberation. At stake here is a notion of pedagogy that both informs the mind and creates the conditions for modes of agency that are critical, informed, engaged and socially responsible. The radical imagination can be nurtured around the merging of critique and hope, the capacity to connect private troubles with broader social considerations, and the production of alternative formative cultures that provide the precondition for political engagement and for energizing democratic movements for social change - movements willing to think beyond isolated struggles and the limits of a savage global capitalism.
Giroux sees the many problems of the current system, but he places the blame at the rulers of that system instead of the system itself.  And he assumes that if we just educate people and teach them how to think critically, we will somehow overcome the inherent nature of the system and find Nirvana.  Talk about a lack of imagination!

You can lead a person to knowledge, but you can't make him think.  Giroux simultaneously demonstrates and ignores this sad fact.