The Hunger Games & Critical Literacy, Post 1 of 4.
Part #1, Introduction – A Definition of Critical Literacy (Parts #2, #3 & #4 TBA)
I’ll define critical literacy as the ability to both:
#1 observe, analyse, deconstruct a system (aka the observer’s perspective, from without), and
#2 engage with the system, complicitly but seeking agency.
The more you’re #1 without #2, the more academic and functionally useless you are. Such wisdom! Such rags! Your insights are very likely too clean for the messiness of reality. You’re well armed with exquisite simulations of a world that does not exist. Arm-chair commentator! Critic! Voyeur! All perspective, no action.
The more you’re #2 without #1, the more functionally blind you are. You’re subsumed into the system. You’re an oblivious component part of something bigger. Cog in the machine. Blissfully unaware; your brain belongs, functionally, to another circuit. The very words you use to think are given to you. Your thoughts are musical riffs by another composer. You sing with the choir. Pawn in the game! Such unison!
But tragically, it feels to you like you’re calling the shots.
Indignant I may be, this is MY choice. But it ain’t.
I guess we all straddle both, but both can be intensified, cultivated, without cancelling each other out. The learning process is disconcerting, painful, disorientating. Self is context, domain-dependent: take the escalator to the gym. To call out others’ contradictions, easy. To call out yourself, and then be the contradiction, harder.
To what extent does ‘SCHOOLING’ (capitalised, mythic, archetypal, writ large) position its players in Mode #2?
Post #2, tomorrow.