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Learning liberation : a comparative analysis of feminist consciousness raising and Freire's conscientization… Butterwick, Shauna J. 1987

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LEARNING LIBERATION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING AND FREIRE'S CONSCIENTIZATION METHOD by SHAUNA J. BUTTERWICK B.S.N. University of British Columbia, 1978 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Administrative, Adult and Higher Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April, 1987 © Shauna J . Butterwick, 1987 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the The University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Administrative, Adult and Higher Education The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date: April, 1987 A B S T R A C T i i This study emerged from an awareness of the cr i t ica l role that learning plays wi th in social movements and from a belief that adult education can learn much from examin ing the learning activities of the Women ' s Movement . U s i n g a comparative approach, the similari t ies and differences between feminist consciousness ra is ing and Frei re ' s conscientization method were explored. The process of analysis involved studying Fre i re ' s wri t ten works avai lable in Eng l i sh and the literature resources available through the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia l ib rary on feminist consciousness ra is ing. The comparison began w i t h presentation of the historical, poli t ical , social, and economic factors which led to the development of consciousness ra is ing and conscientization. Th i s included an examination of the historical background of B r a z i l , of biographical information on Frei re , and of the events which led to the development of F re i re ' s conscientization method. In a s imilar way , this study explored the his tor ical background of the Women's Movement , wi th part icular emphasis on its re-emergence dur ing the sixties and those factors which led to the creation of consciousness ra is ing groups. The next step in the analys is was the comparison of consciousness ra i s ing and conscientization using the fol lowing categories: the themes or content wi th in each process, the nature of the interact ion, the presence and role of teachers or coordinators, the phases in each process, and the changes in consciousness expected as a result of each process. The s tudy concluded wi th discussion of the differences between these two processes, w h i c h appear to be closely l inked to the different contexts and factors, such as the different kinds of oppression being fought against, which led to the development of each learning activi ty. A s the s imilar i t ies were identified, i t became evident that a number of important elements were common to both learning activit ies despite the v e r y different contexts. These common elements were presented as principles of the consciousness ra is ing method found wi th in l iberating social movements . Compar ing these two learning activities indicated the liberating power of a l lowing people to tell their own story. Implications for practice focused on the need for a contextual sensi t ivi ty when work ing wi th or studying the learning activities of social movements. It was argued that awareness of the similari t ies (suggested principles) and differences between consciousness raising and conscientization could prevent application of either method as s imply recipes for l iberation. M a n y recommendations were made for further research which stressed the ut i l i ty of comparat ive analysis for continuing examination of learning wi th in social movements. Recommendations were made for examination of the relationship between the nature of learning activities and the kind of oppression, either gender-based or class-based. Fur ther collaboration between the Women's Movemen t and adult education was suggested. T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S i v A B S T R A C T " L I S T O F F I G U R E S v A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S v i C H A P T E R I - I N T R O D U C T I O N & B A C K G R O U N D T O T H E P R O B L E M 1 Research Approach 4 A n Ini t ial Comparison 5 Structure of Thesis 9 C H A P T E R II - R E S E A R C H M E T H O D O L O G Y 10 B r i e f His to ry of Comparat ive Method . . .10 U t i l i t y of the Comparat ive Method 11 Limi ta t ions 12 Guidelines 12 Method Adapted for this Study 15 S u m m a r y 17 C H A P T E R III - B A C K G R O U N D O N C O N S C I E N T I Z A T I O N 18 B r a z i l - A Country in Trans i t ion 18 Paulo Fre i re - Biographical Sketch 21 Fre i re ' s Philosophical Perspective 23 Religious Convictions 24 Pol i t ical Influences 25 Exis ten t ia l i sm and Phenomenological Perspective 26 Origins of the Conscientization Process 29 S u m m a r y 31 C H A P T E R I V - B A C K G R O U N D O N C O N S C I O U S N E S S R A I S I N G 33 His tor ica l Perspective 33 Re-emergence D u r i n g the Sixties 36 The Bas i s of the Struggle 38 Women 's Oppression 40 The Personal Is Poli t ical 44 Femin is t Consciousness .46 Origins of Consciousness Ra i s ing Groups 47 S u m m a r y 50 C H A P T E R V - C O M P A R I S O N O F P R O C E S S E S 52 The Consciousness Rais ing Process 52 The Conscientization Process 56 Compar ison U s i n g Themes 61 Themes or Content of the L e a r n i n g Process '. 61 Na tu re of the Interaction 64 Role of Teacher/Coordinator 65 Phases Wi th in the Process 68 Changes in Consciousness 69 S u m m a r y 73 C H A P T E R V I - D I S C U S S I O N A N D C O N C L U S I O N S 74 Interpretation of Results 74 Simi lar i t ies 77 Limi ta t ions of A n a l y s i s 79 Implications for Practice 79 Implications for Research 8.3 Concluding Remarks 85 R E F E R E N C E S 87 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Steps in the comparative method v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my appreciation to the many people who have played a critical role in the creation of this thesis. Dr. Tom Sork, my advisor, has always been patient, thorough, and constructive in his analysis and feedback. My conversations with Dr. Jane Gaskell were important to the development of my understanding of the Women's Movement and the role that learning plays in liberation. There have been many friends too numerous to list here, who have helped to create a cooperative learning community, in which I have been supported, encouraged, challenged, and validated for my beliefs and concerns. My partner David has been my biggest supporter of all, and his guidance and criticisms, although at times reluctantly received, have been ultimately appreciated. Finally, I must thank my father and mother for their continuing and unchanging belief in me. This thesis I dedicate to them both. To my mother who suffers from Alzheimers Disease, who may or may not have understood the long conversations I have had with her, telling her the trials and tribulations of this study. And, to my father, who has been a model of strength and endurance, and whose efforts have placed my struggle with this thesis in its proper perspective. 1 C H A P T E R I - I N T R O D U C T I O N & B A C K G R O U N D T O T H E P R O B L E M Freedom stretches only as far as the l imits of our consciousness. C a r l Jung , 1942. The l ink to social movements and the recognition of learning as an integral part of effective social movements have been recurring themes wi th in the literature of adult education. At tent ion has been given to the activities of the Ant igonish Movement in Canada , the Highlander School movement in the Uni ted States, the Fo lk Colleges found in Scandinavian countries, and to the learning wi th in social movements of th i rd world countries. However, there is st i l l much more to be understood regarding the learning processes which lead to empowerment and social change found wi th in social movements. In general, the education literature has given limited attention to the non-formal educational activities that seek to alter socio-economic relations wi th the dominant order, and which have affected changes in social structure and social relations (Paulston, 1980; Touraine, 1981). Those who criticize this absence argue that more study is needed so that educational programs which facilitate changes from below and which lead to personal and group liberation can be understood and applied to different situations. More recently, the adult education literature has reflected s imi la r concerns. Welton (1986) has indicated that future research should involve collective and collaborative efforts to develop a conceptual framework in which to examine adult learning that occurs within social movements. In addition to the importance of further exploration of such learning, this author asserts that adult education can learn much about educational processes that seek to alter socio-economic relations wi th the dominant order from the 2 Women 's Movement . There has been an unfortunate absence of discussion wi th in the adult education literature about feminist approaches to learning which lead to indiv idual and social change. One such act ivi ty that comes to comes to mind is the consciousness ra is ing process which has been regarded as the foundation of the recent re-emergence of the Women's Movement. It appears that adult education is more informed about "foreign" practices such as Fre i re ' s conscientization method than about the feminist practice of consciousness rais ing. Considering the desire of adult education to link wi th and understand learning in social movements, and the potential benefits of recognizing and learning from the educational activities of the Women's Movement, this study sought to explore, through a comparative analysis, both practices of feminist consciousness ra i s ing and the conscientization method developed by Frei re . The importance of research on conscientization and Freire 's l i teracy method has been pointed out by K i d d (1981) in his discussion of future research agendas for adult education. "The idea may be well established but the conditions for achieving i t are not widely understood or accepted" (p. 60). At tempts to transplant Fre i re ' s approach have led to concerns about its applicabili ty to other contexts, par t icular ly those found in Western industrialized nations. Giroux (in Fre i re , 1985) has suggested that before Freire 's method can be applied to different contexts there needs to be exploration and understanding of the "metalanguage" wi th in Freire 's work, the understanding of which would prevent grid-like applications. W a l k e r (1980) has raised concerns about the ways in which women's involvement in adult education as educators and learners appears to be "wri t ten i n invisible ink" . Interest in the learning activities of the Women's Movement is growing wi th in adult education, but it remains l imited to suggestions only, wi th 3 little offered in the way of exploration of women's learning. Mez i row (1981) has described consciousness raising as a process that has transformed the perspectives of thousands of women, but unfortunately has not explored this process to any extent that informs adult education about how and why it is effective. Welton (1986) has also encouraged adult education to become famil iar w i th and learn from the activities of the Women's Movement. In general, the exclusion of women from the discourses which construct knowledge has long been lamented by feminists (Smith, 1977; Thompson 1983). Thompson has added that women's learning and education should not be regarded as s imply an object of interest. Instead, the task should be to i l luminate the process through which women, against considerable odds, are learning liberation. Spender (1980) has also defended the importance of further research of women's education and learning. "There can be no more radical educational goal than transforming the inferiority of women into independence and autonomy. The potential that adult education affords to the achievement of this goal is great" (p. 22). A comparison of consciousness rais ing and conscientization can help to i l luminate the process of learning liberation and it may suggest ways of ana lyz ing other s imi lar learning activities. Through a comparative analysis, differences and similari t ies can be revealed and by placing these two processes i n relationship to one another, a perspective is created which is different from that which could be achieved through a single case study. Thus, comparison provides an enriched understanding of Freire 's work and, brings to adult education understanding of a feminist approach to learning liberation. 4 Research Approach The comparative method was selected for this study, an approach more commonly applied to the examinat ion of formal educational systems or practices between countries or wi th in one country than to informal learning processes. Comparison was selected as an approach because it helps to identify similarit ies and differences and, as a result, assists i n determining those characteristics that appear more cul tural ly bound and those that appear wi th in a variety of contexts. U s i n g a comparative method this study w i l l examine the contexts from which these processes emerged and the cri t ical elements of both the consciousness ra is ing and conscientization methods. Par t i cu la r interest wi l l be paid to the dialectical relationship between his tory and the development of the movements, between individual transformation and social change, and between consciousness and praxis . The guidelines suggested by Bereday (1964) for comparative analysis w i l l be adapted to fit this examinat ion. Chapter two provides further background and elaboration on the research methodology and presents an overview of the decisions made for this par t icular comparative process. The questions which w i l l be guiding this study are: 1. W h a t are the similari t ies and differences between the feminist approach to consciousness ra is ing and Fre i re ' s perspective of conscientization? 2. A s a result of this comparison, what can be suggested as a way to study other learning processes connected to social movements? 5 A n Ini t ia l Comparison In the early sixties, Freire , as a Braz i l i an educator, created a program which combined the development of cri t ical consciousness w i th l i teracy. H i s methods were very successful in t ra ining and politicizing the illiterate peasants (they learned to read and write in 45 days). The land owners and mi l i t a ry elite found his activities subversive and following the mi l i t a ry coup in 1964, he was exiled. Dur ing his exile he lived in Chi le , taught at H a r v a r d , and worked for the Wor ld Council of Churches in Geneva. While continuing to develop and practice his l i teracy method and conscientization process, Frei re has articulated his educational philosophy and his approach to pedagogy. A t the center of Freire 's pedagogy is the notion of cr i t ical consciousness as the foundation for social change. 'Conscientizacao' (conscientization) is the te rm coined by L a t i n Amer ican educators which Frei re then used to name his approach. It is defined by Freire (1985) as "the process in which men [humans], not as recipients but as knowing subjects, achieve a deepening awareness of both the sociocultural reali ty that shapes their lives and of their capacity to transform that real i ty "(p. 93). Freire emphasizes that conscientization is not s imply awareness, but includes action based on a cri t ical awareness of the individual and society. . In Nor th Amer ica , the Women's Liberat ion Movement is also concerned wi th individual and social change through the development of cri t ical or feminist consciousness. The cornerstone of activity for this movement has been consciousness rais ing groups in which women, through sharing personal experiences of the inequality between men and women, move toward an understanding of oppressive social structures and the need for social change. Women begin to realize that what they viewed as individual problems are actually 6 shared and are the symptoms of society-wide structures of power and powerlessness, rather than personal deficiencies. F r o m this comes an understanding that their problems cannot be addressed without understanding society and mak ing changes i n it. "Consciousness rais ing is the feminist method: the collective cri t ical reconstitution of the meaning of women's social experience as women live through i t" ( M a c K i n n o n , 1982, p.29). Consciousness ra is ing groups wi th their dual focus on personal and social change represent social experiments in microcosm (Eisenstein, 1984). Through consciousness ra is ing women have challenged the common notion of "poli t ical" as something which occurs only i n the public domain and which is concerned only wi th par t icular kinds of issues. The fami l ia r slogan of the Women's Movement - "the personal is pol i t ical" - refers to this challenge of what constitutes "poli t ical ." The formulation of the politics of this movement and the construction of feminist theory have emerged from the personal experiences of women in these groups. These two processes have been developed wi thin dramatical ly different socio-economic and polit ical contexts, but despite this there are strong similarit ies between them. F r o m a broader perspective, there appears to be some fit between the development of Fre i re ' s perspective and the discussion of theory building found wi th in the feminist l i terature. B o t h consider the relationship between theory and practice to be dialectical. The feminist literature considers theory building as legitimate only when it is inductive, that is, when it arises out of women's experience ( M a c K i n n o n , 1982; Eisenste in , 1984). S imi la r i ly , Freire 's thoughts regarding education and the development of his concepts for literacy t ra ining came, i n large part , from his direct experience of poverty as a child and later as a welfare official and educator (Collins, 1977). 7 Both feminists and Frei re have recognized the effects of domination and are working toward transforming this situation of dependency. Fre i re ' s perpective of oppression and liberation is located wi th in a view of L a t i n A m e r i c a suffering from colonization by the Spanish and Portuguese. In a s imi lar way , some feminists have found the colonial model extremely useful in their understanding of women's oppression (Millett , 1970; Morgan , 1977). Differences that are readily evident include the historical and socio-political context in which each process was developed. A s wel l , Fre i re ' s work was developed and directly l inked to a l i teracy campaign in B r a z i l , whereas consciousness ra i s ing was not connected to specific learning outcomes or social actions. Fre i re ' s wr i t i ng style, or rather the Eng l i sh translation, in contrast to the women's l i terature on consciousness raising, is sexist. Another difference and one which has important implications when attempting a comparison, is the nature of the resources available to examine the processes of conscientization and consciousness rais ing. O n the one hand, the process of conscientization examined in this study is the result of one individual 's work - Freire. Fortunately, he has wri t ten extensively on this subject and most of his works have been translated into Engl i sh and are available. On the other hand, consciousness ra is ing developed through the efforts of many women. Consciousness ra is ing has not been codified in the same w ay as Freire has wri t ten about his method. Or ig ina l l i terature describing the development of consciousness ra is ing is difficult to locate. Consciousness ra is ing arose out of groups not connected to any institution; as a result, they had fewer resources for publication, so that wr i t ten materials were l imited and not consolidated in any particular journal or book. E a r l y descriptions of consciousness ra is ing were also 8 wri t ten by women who consciously resisted developing rules and guidelines. Therefore the sources describing consciousness raising are varied and found wi th in "fugitive" pamphlets, handouts, and early feminist publications. Both of these concepts, conscientization and consciousness rais ing, have not been without their cri t ics. Consciousness raising literature has been described as anecdotal and emotional w i th little theory and analysis of the process. Consciousness ra is ing groups have not necessarily led to direct social action by the participants and this has been challenged by some as a serious weakness (Kincaid , 1977; Home, 1978). Others have questioned whether consciousness ra is ing was only a phase and has now disappeared. Some argue that the nature of the process i tself was only a navel-gazing exercise rather than one that was radical (Harstock, 1975). Cr i t ic isms of Fre i re ' s work have been directed at the abstract and repetitive qual i ty of his wri t ings (El ias & M e r i a m , 1980). H i s notion of conscientization has been criticized for being merely Utopian and one which does not address certain aspects of human nature, par t icular ly the difficulty of changing consciousness and acting wi th one's new consciousness (Boston, 1972). Others have charged that his methods are as cul tura l ly invasive as the methods he opposes (Berger, 1974; Bowers , 1978). Concerns have been raised that Freire 's method reflects his own unique philosophy as a Chr i s t i an -Marx i s t and has limited uti l i ty in other situations, par t icular ly industr ial ized Western countries. Another outcome of a comparison which places conscientization and consciousness ra i s ing in relationship to one another might be that a more fully informed response to cri t icisms can be made. Through comparison, further concerns m a y emerge as we l l . 9 Structure of Thesis Fol lowing this introductory chapter, the second chapter presents the discussion of the comparative approach adapted for this study and presents the categories chosen for comparison of the process of consciousness ra is ing to conscientization. In the third chapter, the context in which Fre i re ' s conscientization method was developed is explored. The fourth chapter describes the context of the Women's Movement and the emergence of consciousness ra is ing. In the fifth chapter, the processes of consciousness ra is ing and conscientization are outlined followed by the comparison using the categories outlined i n chapter two. This chapter highlights the similari t ies and differences between these two concepts. The s ixth and final chapter concludes wi th a discussion of the results of the comparison. The implications for adult education and the Women's Movement are also addressed and suggestions for future research are outlined. A n overview of the process of this analysis concludes the thesis. 10 C H A P T E R II - R E S E A R C H M E T H O D O L O G Y This chapter presents an overview of the comparative method which has been selected for this study. The chapter begins wi th a brief historical survey of the use of the comparat ive method in education and its uses and l imitations. Guidelines as suggested by Bereday (1964) are presented and followed by a discussion of the process undertaken for selecting mater ial for this study. The categories selected for comparison of consciousness ra is ing and conscientization are then presented. B r i e f His tory of Comparative Method In adult education the comparative method is only beginning to be recognized as an effective methodology. Compared to other methods it has a brief his tory wi th in education as well . The majority of studies in education using the comparative method have looked at differences and similari t ies across educational systems. The first recognized analyses occurred in the eighteenth century (Bereday, 1964; H a l l s , 1971). These early efforts were connected wi th the movement of educational systems to other countries and were organized by practitioners and administrators who hoped to find principles and practices that could be applied domestically. This was followed by studies by those in academia in which the focus was on analysis of the macro-factors and the development of more theoretical systematizat ions (Halls, 1971). The trend then moved away from developing general frameworks towards smaller, empir ical studies which could be used for educational reform and to influence policy. The methods of comparative education are sti l l going through a process of refinement. There has been a shift from attention to description to more concern for cr i t ical analysis of education within its context. A t present there is consensus 11 around the importance of systematic analysis , but beyond this there is great diversi ty in suggestions for the systems or cr i ter ia to be used for the comparison. U t i l i t y of the Comparat ive Method W h a t can the application of the comparative method achieve? Comparisons cannot directly solve problems wi th in the practice of adult education. Rather, comparison results i n several approaches being described while the selection of an approach remains wi th the practitioner. Because comparisons help to identify what is common across different situations, they can be used to develop theories or definitions which can be tested in further studies. A n example of this is Verner ' s (1970) examination of the cul tural influences on educational practices. B y identifying which elements wi th in the educational process were determined by culture and which were not, Verner was able to suggest a definition of education which was common to the various cultures he examined. Unders tanding the ways in which education is a product of historical and cul tural circumstances is often the result of comparing one country 's system or practice to another. Compar ing two or more case studies can lead to results different from those d rawn from single case studies. Compar ison encourages educators to proceed wi th caution when transferr ing the practice of education from one context to another and as such discourages ethnocentrism wi th in educational practice and theory bui lding (Noah, 1984). The comparative approach can also be used as something of a filter through which other 'foreign practices ' can be evaluated and adapted to the conditions at 'home'. In general, comparison leads to the identification of policies and practices that have more un iversa l application (Bennett, K i d d , & K u l i c h , 1975). 12 Limitat ions One of the difficulties in using the comparative approach is systematically-evaluat ing the var iabi l i ty of quantity and quality of information to be used for analysis . Var ious suggestions have been made (e.g. systems approach) towards determining an approach to the comparative method. There is no one established rule or w a y to compare systems or practices. There is, however, the principle of determining the categories for comparison and then systematical ly applying these categories to each country, system, or practice being compared. W h e n the results of comparative analyses are applied to future studies or to practice, researchers and practitioners must understand the inherent bias in the or iginal selection of the systems or practices chosen for comparison and the selection of categories in which to make comparison. These reflect decisions made by researchers which must always remain open to question. The interpretation of the researcher must be acknowledged before application or research is undertaken. Guidelines Bereday ' s (1964) guidelines for the comparative method i n education have been used and adapted for this study. Bereday uses the term 'political geography' to describe comparative education wi th the premise that education must be understood as an activity within a matr ix of other social circumstances. He has identified the following as the main goals of comparative education: 1. To deduce from the achievements and mistakes of systems other than our own, lessons for our schools. 2. To appraise educational issues from a global rather than ethnocentric perspective. (Bereday, 1965, p. 5) 13 In Bereday's guidelines, the first two steps of comparison include description and interpretation which provide a fami l ia r i ty and understanding of the educational systems being compared and of the cultures i n which they exist. The process of description requires the systematic collection of data to enable the same kinds of information to be collected on a l l systems or practices being compared. This collection of data is followed by interpretation of the historical , political, economic and social influences upon the pedagogical data. The th i rd step is one of juxtaposit ion, at which point a unifying concept or hypothesis can be suggested. The final step is a simultaneous treatment of a l l 'countries' being studied to prove the hypothesis derived from the juxtaposit ion. Bereday identifies the most difficult point in the comparative method as the Final one of bridging or moving on to an ext ra dimension that is more than s imply knowing a great deal about two countries and their educational practices or systems. The following figure displays the steps involved. There are two general approaches to comparison, one being the problem approach and the other being total analysis . In the problem approach themes are selected and examined for their persistence or var iab i l i ty throughout a l l the educational systems being studied. U s u a l l y the topic or theme chosen is relevant to the researcher's own country or situation. To ta l analysis is a much more ambitious and involved process in which the goal is to achieve an understanding of the impact of education on society in general. Th is k ind of approach is concerned with the formulation of laws or typologies leading to internat ional understanding of the interdependence of a l l aspects of education and society around it. 14 I. DESCRIPTION: Pedagogical Data Only Country A Country B II. INTERPRETATION: Evaluation of Pedagogical Data H i s t o r i c a l P o l i t i c a l Economic S o c i a l H i s t o r i c a l P o l i t i c a l Economic S o c i a l III. JUXTAPOSITION: E s t a b l i s h i n g S i m i l a r i t i e s and Differences C r i t e r i a of Comparability Hypothesis for Comparative Analysis IV. COMPARISON: Simultaneous Comparison Hypothesis Conclusion Figure 1: Steps in the comparative method Bereday, G.F. (1964). Comparative method in education, (pp. 29). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 15 Method Adapted for this Study For this study the problem approach appeared to be the most appropriate. The research problem which directed this analysis was to determine the similarities and differences between the two processes of conscientization and consciousness rais ing. In order to approach this question the first step in the process was to collect a solid body of information on the contexts in which these processes emerged. In order to approach such a collection systematical ly certain decisions were made. F i r s t , it was determined that information was needed on the history of B r a z i l and, in part icular , information on the period of the Reform Movement and also some biographical mater ia l on Fre i re . Unders tanding Freire 's process would require information on his perspective of consciousness and liberation, and would demand recognition of the influences which helped to shape his perspective (e.g. religious, political, and philosophical). Information which helped to describe the in i t ia l development of Fre i re ' s method was also needed. To acquire a knowledge of the background to consciousness raising, s imilar information was needed. Information which provided an historical overview of the Women's Movement was collected as wel l as discussions on the ideologies and themes wi th in the movement which influenced and/or grew out of the consciousness ra is ing process. To understand the origins of the consciousness rais ing process required collecting mater ia l which described the beginnings of the first consciousness ra is ing groups. Collecting such accounts, as was mentioned in the preceding chapter, was more difficult than gathering together Freire 's works, in that it involved materials quite diverse i n nature and wri t ten by different authors. The literature search of mater ia ls providing such information was limited to articles and books wri t ten in the Eng l i sh language and to those available v ia the 16 l ibrary services at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia . Discussions regarding this project also occurred v i a correspondence wi th some of the authors referenced i n this thesis (Bartky and Welton). Information on Frei re ' s method was l imited to his own descriptions. Mate r ia l gathered in order to outline the consciousness ra is ing process included works writ ten by many authors since the ear ly sixties. To gather this mater ial , an attempt was made to thoroughly examine the reference resources in education, the social sciences, and women's studies. Fol lowing this collection of materials and information, decisions were made regarding the themes or categories to be considered when comparing the two processes. After in i t ia l review of the literature the following themes were selected i n order to frame the comparison: thematic content, nature of interaction among participants, presence of and role of teacher, phases in the process, and how changes in consciousness related to the process. In the two chapters following this methodological discussion, the descriptive step of the comparison is presented. This in i t ia l par t of comparison provides detailed background information on both consciousness ra is ing and conscientization and includes a systematic analysis of the polit ical , philosophical, and social circumstances of Braz i l ' s Cul tura l Reform Movement and the Women's Movement in Nor th Amer ica . Fol lowing this, the next step is to juxtapose and compare the two processes using the aforementioned themes. This step is presented in chapter five, beginning wi th outlines of the principles and techniques of consciousness ra is ing and conscientization. Fol lowing this, each process is compared considering the thematic content, the nature of interaction, the presence and role of teacher, the phases of the process, and the changes in consciousness expected as a result of the process. 17 A s Bereday has mentioned, the most difficult aspect of the comparative approach to analysis is creating the bridge between the situations or examples being studied which must u l t imately add another dimension of understanding that moves beyond s imply knowing and appreciat ing a great deal about different ways of doing things in education. The knowledge created must be more than a sum of the parts. In the s ix th chapter this final stage of comparison, that of adding another dimension of understanding beyond s imply knowing a great deal about both of these processes,is addressed. S u m m a r y In this chapter the adaptation of the comparative method has been outlined beginning wi th identification of the more common uses of comparative education. The guidelines suggested by Bereday were described which include the steps of description, interpretation, juxtaposit ion, and comparison. The process adapted for this study was then outlined including the categories selected as the framework for the final comparison. In the next two chapters the first step in comparison, that of description of the different backgrounds of the processes of consciousness raising and conscientization, are presented. 18 C H A P T E R III - B A C K G R O U N D O N C O N S C I E N T I Z A T I O N The two educational processes of concern in this study have emerged from very different contexts and reflect the historical, political and social environment of their origins. A n y analysis of them must begin wi th acknowledgment and consideration of these influences. Th is chapter presents an overview of the his tory of B r a z i l wi th emphasis on economic and political conditions since the country was colonized by the Portuguese. This is followed by a biographical sketch of Fre i re and the religious, political, and philosophical perspectives which have influenced his pedagogy. A consideration of how and where Frei re ' s method was init iated concludes this chapter. B r a z i l - A Country in Trans i t ion B r a z i l is a nation dependent upon external markets , which has been severely exploited for several hundred years. B r a z i l was colonized by the Portuguese in the 1500's and shortly thereafter economic production was restricted to immense tracts of land upon which plantations and sugar mi l l s were developed. Our colonization, strongly predatory, was based on economic exploitation of the large landholding and on slave labor - at first native, then Af r i can . The first colonizers of B r a z i l . . . wished to exploit it, not to cultivate it. (Freire, 1973, p.21,22) W i t h the exclusive focus on sugar crops which utilized al l the r ich soil i n the area, the natural forests and wildlife were destroyed and food crop production was forced onto marginal land. O n these soils, the ma in food source for the slave population - manioc - grew rapidly but was extremely l imited in its nutr i t ional value. 19 The northeast of B r a z i l , where Frei re was born and where he originated many of his ideas for l i teracy and politicizing education, remains the most impoverished region of the country. O n l y briefly during the 1500's did this area experience a period of affluence when sugar production was high and markets abundant. This long history of exploitation of slave labor and the r ich soils for crops destined for external markets has left its mark on the northeast of B r a z i l . The per capita income in this region as of the mid fifties was st i l l only 40% of the national average (Zachariach, 1985). Fo r centuries after the Portuguese ini t ia l ly arr ived in B r a z i l , there was no central government and thus the landowners assumed extremely powerful positions as controllers of the economy for the Portuguese. Only in the ear ly part of the last century did any form of self-government begin when a Portuguese court was established in Rio de Janeiro. A l o n g wi th the establishment of a government base in 1808, the economy began to shift away from r u r a l production to industrial activities in the cities. S lavery was abolished in the late 1800's and capital that had been previously used to purchase slaves was diverted into industr ial activities, mostly in the cities. To replace slave labour, immigra t ion was encouraged, bringing Western civil ization to B r a z i l . The major impulse of industrial ization came after the 1920's and Wor ld W a r II when the urbanized areas grew rapidly. A l o n g wi th this shift to an urban economy, the government attempted to introduce an imported nat ional democratic structure of European origin. The new structure, requir ing part icipat ion and political and social responsibility, was imposed upon a feudal economic base. There was little acknowledgement of the long B r a z i l i a n history of an ill i terate enslaved population ruled by a few powerful 20 landowners and an absent government. For the last century B r a z i l has experienced profound transi t ion from dependence toward independence requiring both economic and social transformation. The 1950's and 1960's were years in which par t icular ly intensive and transformative changes occurred. This period of change has become known as the Popular Culture or Reform Movement . The government was eager to t ransform the economic situation based on exploitation of Braz i l ' s na tura l resources by external powers to one based on more national control over production and markets . This move required major agrar ian reform as wel l as efforts to increase the participation of the population in the politics of the country. A spir i t of hope emerged which involved great upheaval and turmoil . A change in the attitude of government and active support by the Catholic church encouraged the reform. A new awareness had also emerged in the peasant and labourer population. A radical popular peasant movement began in 1955, init iated by Jose de Prazeres , a plantation tenant. Such activities were supported by government members such as Francisco Jul iao, a state legislator wi th upper class origins who had sympathies for the peasants' situation and Joao Goulart , a member of the cabinet of President Getulio Vargas , who encouraged the formation of unions among the labourers. In 1961, Goular t was elected president. The three years following witnessed major attempts to change the oppressive conditions of the peasants and push the economic structure toward independence. D u r i n g this time the Goular t government established S U D E N E - the Superintendency for the Development of the Northeast. This government funded program included plans for economic development of the nine states along wi th educational aid to support this radical restructuring of the area. S U D E N E was directed by Also Fur tado, an 21 internationally respected B r a z i l i a n economist. - The Catholic church played a major role during this t ime. Peasant unions were organized by the church with emphasis on educational programs to help the peasants overcome their backwardness. This was called the Movement for Basic Educat ion ( M E B ) . The church hoped that these unions would help to counter the more radical peasant leagues which were felt to be communist based. Paulo Frei re - Biographical Sketch It is evident that Frei re was not alone as an individual wi th middle class origins who developed strong sympathies and concerns for the muted peasant and labourer population. F re i re had experienced something of the poverty of these peoples. He was born i n 1921 in Recife into a middle class family. However , the fami ly suffered major economic setbacks when Freire 's father died and the depression of the 1930's descended upon B r a z i l . Frei re very clearly recalls these years of dai ly struggle and hunger during which time his school performance was m i n i m a l and he barely qualified to enter secondary school (Collins, 1977). For tunate ly , his family situation improved and he was able to complete school and enter the Facu l ty of L a w where he also studied language and philosophy. This interest in philosophical educational issues was enhanced by his work as an instructor i n Portuguese wi th in secondary schools. He was marr ied in 1944 to E l z a M a i a Cas t a Ol ive r i a , a grade school teacher, who also added to his developing perspective and became a strong and crit ical supporter of his method. They had five children. A l though he passed the bar, Freire chose to work instead as a welfare official where he came into direct contact wi th the urban poor. H e was later appointed director of the Department of Education and Cul ture of the Social Service i n the State of Pernanbuco. He was also teaching courses i n history and 22 philosophy of education at the Univers i ty of Recife and was awarded a doctoral degree in 1959. D u r i n g the ear ly sixties, Frei re became involved wi th the Movement for Basic Education ( M E B ) program of the Catholic church. H e was director of one program that involved 104 schools and over 9000 children. H e was also active in organizing adult education programs for the radio. H i s interest in adult education continued to grow and was influenced by the success of Cuba 's l i teracy campaign. In 1962 he was appointed the first director of the U n i v e r s i t y of Recife's Cul tu ra l Extension Service where he more fully developed his ideas regarding li teracy training. One of his better known programs involved teaching 300 labourers and peasants to read in 45 days. Such success caught the attention of Goular t and the M i n i s t r y of Educat ion. Fre i re became coordinator of the Nat iona l L i te racy P rog ram of the M i n i s t r y of Educat ion and Cul ture . Coordinators were trained by the hundreds in almost a l l of the state capitals. Unfortunately, the national campaign based on Fre i re ' s method was never fully realized. The landowning, conservative, and mi l i t a ry elements i n B r a z i l were watching with a l a rm the reform activities of the Goular t government and recognized the threat to their longstanding positions of weal th and power. On A p r i l 1, 1964 there was a mi l i t a ry takeover. Some suggest this move was supported by the U . S . A . and was repeated in Chile some ten years later when Allende was overthrown (Zachariah, 1985). Frei re was jai led for 70 days dur ing which time he began to write about his experiences and philosophy of oppression, education, and liberation. After his release from ja i l , Fre i re ' s B r a z i l i a n citizenship was revoked and Frei re moved to Chile to work for the Chr i s t i an Democratic government. President 23 Eduardo F r e i was interested in using Freire 's methods to promote participation by the Chi lean people in his development efforts. Fre i re worked wi th U N E S C O and the Chi lean Institute for Agra r i an Reform. In 1968 Fre i re completed his Portuguese manuscript , Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which described his perspective and educational method. Fre i re left Chile in 1969 when he was invited to Harva rd ' s Centre for Studies i n Educat ion and Development and Centre for Study of Development of Social Change. He stayed at H a r v a r d for one year then, i n 1970, joined the Wor ld Counci l of Churches in Geneva as a consultant. F r o m this position he worked wi th many governments and groups in the U . S . A . , Canada, India, Tanzania , and Guinea-Bissau who were interested in his approach. Another of his works, Pedagogy i n Process: The Letters to Guinea-Bissau (1978), was wri t ten dur ing this t ime. In 1980, after 16 years of exile, he was welcomed back to B r a z i l where he continues to work as a professor at the Catholic Un ive r s i ty of Sao Paulo. Freire 's Philosophical Perspective Fre i re ' s work reflects a variety of influences including his Braz i l i an origins, experiences as an educator, and certain philosophical and polit ical perspectives. It would be more accurate to identify Freire 's views as eclectic and an example of praxis , that is, the result of the dialectical relationship between thought and action, than to identify his work as falling into one category or another. W h e n one attempts to categorize the influences or elements of Freire 's work, there is much blurr ing of the edges and overlapping of influences (Collins, 1977; Zacchar iah , 1985). For example, Freire 's Chr i s t i an beliefs have been greatly influenced by M a r x i s m and existentialist philosophies. H i s perspective on M a r x i s m is tempered by his Braz i l i an background in which a 'patron-dependent' 24 consciousness characterizes the populace more than does class consciousness. Religious Convictions Fre i re defines himself as one who is becoming a Chr i s t i an . He was raised a Catholic, as is 94% of the B r a z i l i a n population. However , dur ing his universi ty studies he decided to wi thdraw from active part icipat ion i n the church. He was distressed wi th the failure of individuals who called themselves Chr i s t i an to practice their faith. H e was also cri t ical of the church for not supporting the oppressed people. H e later returned to Chr i s t i an i ty but w i t h a commitment to liberation theology shared by other radicals wi th in the Catholic church throughout South Amer i ca . Frei re ' s views of Chr is t ian i ty were also affected by Mourn ie r , a French Chr i s t i an existentialist who wished to promote a Chr i s t i an -Marx i s t dialogue in an effort to find an alternative to capi tal ism and communism. Mourn ie r supported the idea of l iberal democracy which encouraged individuals to become political subjects, but he argued that these individuals st i l l remained objects relative to their economic existence. The priori ty must be "personal responsibil i ty over the anonymous organization" (Mournier in Zachar iach, 1985, p. 37). Fre i re believes in following the scriptures w i th in the Old Testament where issues such as hunger and oppression are more openly dealt w i th . However , his practice runs counter to the v iew wi th in the Old Testament that the condition of the human race is the wi l l of God. Individuals and societies, he believes, are shaped by a much more complex interaction of environment and culture. E v e n though he rejects the idea that the w i l l of God controls destiny, he does not view individuals as entirely responsible for their l iberation. Instead Frei re sees people actively engaged in their l iberation, but it is also a process that is preached 25 by Chr i s t . Chr is t iani ty , he warns, must not impose solutions on the oppressed but should encourage dialogue with them. Fre i re considers Chris t iani ty as part of history and as such is capable of complacency as well as reform. H e is hopeful that a fundamental urgency to become more involved in social reform wi l l be restored wi th in the Chr i s t i an church. Pol i t ica l Influences A strong M a r x i s t element i n Frei re ' s work is found in his emphasis on the need for a dialectical understanding of historical change. H e views the relationship of theory and practice, subjectivity and objectivity, and consciousness and real i ty to be dialectical. These cannot be viewed as separate entities or as dichotomous. The role of consciousness and praxis in the transformation process is another important M a r x i s t influence. Consciousness of the concrete condition i n which one lives wi l l not alone enable one to move beyond or transform that si tuation. Frei re urges the development of awareness of the oppressed as wel l as the oppressor of their inhuman state. P rax i s , the dialectical union of reflective thought and action, is what wi l l transform situations. It is only as beings of praxis, in accepting our concrete situations as a challenging condition, that we are able to change its meaning by our action. That is why true praxis is impossible in the antidialectical vacuum where we are driven by subject-object dichotomy. (Freire, 1985, p. 155) Despite his M a r x i s t references, Frei re does not endorse any specific polit ical viewpoint other than vague socialism. He suggests that once people are allowed their freedom they must be free to choose the polit ical sys tem most responsive to their needs. H e is emphatic about the requirements of an educated, cri t ical and 26 part icipat ing populace for democracy, a goal which B r a z i l has been struggling to achieve. Exis ten t ia l i sm and Phenomenological Perspective Frei re ' s work reflects an existentialist v iew of the freedom of individuals to choose and act as well as a phenomenological v iew of consciousness. The influence is evident in his methodology where dialogue wi th the oppressed is crit ical to authentic knowing. Fre i re describes authentic knowing as when individuals become subjects of their world rather than objects. W h e n the oppressed become subjects of their world they become beings for themselves, ra ther than beings for others. Authent ic knowing occurs through dialogue, when knowledge and values become personally meaningful to the peasants. Thus , knowing is no longer directed by what others say, but is the result of a deliberate decision by the peasants themselves. Fre i re ' s phenomenological consideration of consciousness is critical to his ideas and methodology. Consciousness, according to Fre i re , is what separates humans from animals , because humans have the capacity to reflect upon themselves. Tha t is, human beings are capable of discovering themselves as part of real i ty yet distinct from reali ty. Consciousness cannot be separated from action and is not capable of t ransformation by itself. " H u m a n beings do not get beyond their concrete situations, . . . only by their consciousness or their intentions, however good these intentions m a y be" (Freire, 1985, p. 154). Consciousness can only be transformed in praxis . Frei re blends his M a r x i s t and existent ial philosophies in his discussion of the domain of existence for individuals which he describes as the dialectic between determinism and freedom. Be ing able to admire the world and see their place in i t 27 allows people to move beyond being s imply determinant beings and this makes their l iberation possible. "Consciousness is constituted in the dialectic of man 's objectification of and action upon the wor ld" (Freire, 1973, p. 69). F re i re asserts that praxis is only possible when this objective-subjective dialectic is maintained. Thus praxis occurs when humans recognize themselves as conditioned and their lives as determined. They can experience both their subjectivity and their objectivity. Frei re views the ability of humans as different from that of animals because they can imagine the results of their work even before it is completed. One of the di lemmas which face humankind is that the world can be transformed either toward growth or toward diminution and humans must choose one path or the other. Fre i re emphasizes individuals ' historical relation to the world, in that they make history, and history in turn makes them and can be recounted by them. Frei re describes the consciousness of the oppressed as ly ing toward the "an ima l " end of the continuum, that is, they are immersed in the wor ld and are unable to objectively see their condition. This condition Frei re calls a culture of silence, which is born within the relationship of the dominated to their dominators. This is contrasted wi th a culture that has a voice. The introjection of the culture of the dominators results in the duality, ambiguity, and ambivalence experienced by the oppressed. The oppressed are not l i teral ly silent, rather they speak in a voice that is the echo of the dominator. Fo r Fre i re , most of the poor of L a t i n A m e r i c a exist wi th in a culture of silence which is directly the result of the conquest by the Spanish and Portuguese. Since then L a t i n Amer i can societies have been closed, that is, characterized by r igid hierarchical social structures, economies controlled from the outside, and high 28 percentages of i l l i teracy and disease. Fre i re describes the consciousness of the people in such closed societies as semi-intransitive or magica l (1973, 1985). In this mode of consciousness people cannot see the problematical situations of dai ly life, that is, they are unaware of the challenges outside of the sphere of biological necessity. They view their situations as the result of superior powers or of their own natural incapacity. The first cracks in the closed societies of L a t i n Amer ica , Frei re believes, began to appear w i t h the abolition of s lavery in the 1800's. This period of transit ion accelerated after Wor ld W a r s I and II, but was interrupted wi th the mi l i t a ry coup i n B r a z i l in 1964 when the poor of the nation were returned to a culture of silence. The consciousness of such a period Frei re calls transitive consciousness or naive. A t this point the interests and concerns of the people begin to extend beyond simple su rv iva l . However , their consciousness, Fre i re warns, is s t i l l naive, which is reflected in the over-simplification of problems. This shift from intransit ive to transit ive consciousness represents the historical moment when popular consciousness begins to develop wi th pressure on the powerful elite by the masses. Both the elite and the masses suffer from anxiety during this time. The masses have a glimpse of the possibili ty of freedom and the elites respond by allowing only superficial transformations which are designed to present any real change in their power. A s the contradictions become more sharply etched in this state of transition, there are changes occurring in the polit ical dynamics , including the emergence of populist leadership. Fre i re views the actions of such leadership as stil l manipulat ive. However , such manipulat ion involves mass protest and demands 29 and ult imately leads to the acceleration of the process of democratic mobilization. In one of Freire 's latest works (1985) he considers only two possibilities for L a t i n Amer ican societies: revolution or coup d'etat. Considering Braz i l ' s coup which resulted in the silencing of popular sectors, and despite the recent democratic election in 1985, Frei re cautions the populace to resist the tendency to reactivate the culture of silence. Origins of the Conscientization Process A s Frei re worked as a welfare official and, later, as an educator, he described his growing conviction of the nature of education as a polit ical tool and of the importance of working wi th the people rather than formulat ing prescriptions for them (1973). He found that the urban population had a keen interest in education compared to those in the ru ra l areas. A s he worked for the A d u l t Educat ion Project of the Movement of Popular Cul ture in Recife he found his convictions matur ing . In this project he developed and tested the notion of cul tura l circles i n which the themes and topics were raised by the group participants themselves. Such subjects as i l l i teracy, the r ight to vote for illiterates, and the polit ical evolution of B r a z i l tended to be repeated across groups. Fre i re recorded these themes and then produced visual aids such as fi lmstrips and slides which portrayed these topics. After working wi th these cul tural circles for six months, F re i re wondered about using a s imilar approach to l i teracy. Aided by the Service of Cu l tu ra l Extension of the Univers i ty of Recife, which Frei re directed, the first experiment w i th the new literacy method took place in Recife. The first group consisted of five participants, two dropping out after the first few days. Or ig ina l ly from r u r a l areas, these participants had migrated to the city and reflected a sense of apathy toward their situations and toward li teracy. 30 After the twentieth meeting they were given several tests which involved the display of pictures depicting common situations and words superimposed wi th the picture. After being asked to respond to questions about these pictures the participants were amazed to discover they could read. "We were certain that [an individual 's] relation to real i ty , expressed as a Subject to an Object, results in knowledge, which [an individual] could express through language" (Freire, 1973, p. 43). Fre i re argues that this relationship of subject and object exists whether people are literate or not. Fre i re describes how he wanted not only to help the illiterates to read, but also to overcome their "magica l" and "naive" understanding of the world and develop a more cri t ical understanding. He wanted the participants in his method to discover culture and to realize themselves as creators of this culture. To do this Fre i re selected ten situations and presented them as pictures (codifications). For each picture there were certain elements for the groups to "decode." Frei re reports the enthusiasm of the part icipants for these discussions and their increasing self-confidence as they realized their own participation in the production of culture. These discussions of culture would then move to understanding of the importance of lettered culture as wel l as an oral culture. The importance of l i teracy in relation to part icipat ing in the development of culture then became apparent to the part icipants. A s Fre i re developed these methods, he reviewed other l i teracy techniques and rejected the use of pr imers , which had been the major tool in previous approaches. He argued that such tools donated words and sentences to the illiterate and supported a passive form of learning which he called "banking" education. Frei re believed in the part icipants creating their own words and sentences. 31 Freire also had plans for a post-literacy program in B r a z i l . Catalogues of thematic breakdowns were to be collected from the thousands of cul tura l circles throughout B r a z i l which would then be made available to high schools and colleges. Together wi th these catalogues of themes, audio-visual materials would also be developed based on the different themes. This , Fre i re believed, would help the schools and colleges identify the reali ty of the il l i terate population. H e also mentions plans for the development of materials which would present propaganda as a "situation-problems" for discussion to counter the manipulat ion of the masses by both the elite and the new popular leadership. S u m m a r y In this chapter the contextual background of Frei re ' s work, has been presented. Al though Frei re ' s work and concepts are the result of the merging of many philosophies, several strong elements can be isolated: his B r a z i l i a n origins, his Chr i s t ian convictions which have been mediated by M a r x i s t thought, and a phenomenological and existentialist orientation to consciousness and h u m a n nature. One is struck by Frei re ' s attention to the dialectical relationship between liberation and history, between determinism and freedom, and between consciousness and praxis . The possibility of liberation emerges out of par t icular moments in history. Fre i re also presents a view of the changing nature of consciousness, as the oppressed move toward developing a cr i t ical v iew of the world. People are capable of their l iberation when they recognize the relationship of determinism and freedom. Liberat ion w i l l not come about only through consciousness of this relationship, but through praxis , action based on awareness. Freire 's work, despite his abstract style, appears to be informed by his own practice. He attempts to live his philosophy, as his work is continual ly being 32 informed by the understandings he has acquired throughout his world travels. Approach ing Fre i re ' s method within such a context, one comes closer to understanding his perspective of liberation, the role education has to p lay in it, and his commitment to the process. The development and transmission of his ideas arose out of a par t icular period of history in B r a z i l i n which economic and political factors resulted i n a period of transition, beginning in the last century and leading to several intensive years of upheaval and reform. The support by those in power played a cri t ical role in Fre i re ' s success and political impact. Fre i re ' s t ime i n prison and exile from his homeland indicate the difficulty of at tempting such a l iberation process within a hostile environment. Fre i re fortunately took the opportunity while he was in prison to begin reflecting on his experiences and w r i t i n g i n order to both clarify and share his thoughts. Since then his ideas have spread to many parts of the world and he has continued to write and reflect on this perspective and practice. 33 C H A P T E R I V - B A C K G R O U N D O N C O N S C I O U S N E S S R A I S I N G In the previous chapter, background on the development of conscientization was presented, wi th attention on the Reform Movement in B r a z i l and an understanding of those factors which have influenced Fre i re . In this chapter, the context i n which consciousness ra is ing developed, the Women's Movement , is presented. It begins wi th references to feminist activities of the last few centuries, recognizing that the Women's Movement is not a new phenomenon. The re-emergence of act ivi ty during the sixties is examined wi th a focus on the younger branch of the Women's Movement from which consciousness ra is ing emerged. In presenting the philosophies which influenced the development of consciousness raising, there are a diversi ty of views, which is not surpr is ing considering that consciousness ra is ing was developed not by one individual , but by many women. U s i n g three major themes as a framework, both commonalities and differences in philosophical and political ideologies are presented which provides an understanding of the influences on a l l activities of the Women's Movement , including consciousness raising. The chapter closes wi th a look at those specific activities which gave bir th to the phenomenon of consciousness ra is ing. His tor ica l Perspective To identify the b i r th of the most recent wave of the movement is to deal wi th both mys te ry and bewilderment (Rowbotham, 1973). It has threads s imi lar to earlier aspects of the movement but it also seems somewhat of an orphan. The idea of women's liberation is not a recent phenomenon but, unfortunately, its history has been confined to cycles of lost and found (Spender, 1983). Thus , the voices of feminists up unt i l the last two decades have been given little space and attention. 34 M a n y of the efforts of earlier feminists were not recorded and other works have slid into obscurity and are difficult to find. Despite the difficulties of a poorly recorded and recognized history, i t is understood that a historical perspective is a necessary foundation for the power to deal w i th the present (Eisenstein, 1984). Connecting wi th other feminists, even his tor ical ly, is cr i t ica l to the surv iva l of this movement and research continues to add to the knowledge of the history of feminism. A s this research continues, the previous activities and reflections of women have become more evident. It appears that for as long as men have held power, women have protested (Spender, 1983). One of the central concerns of the feminist struggle during the last few centuries was the demand for reformist changes such that women could be accepted as equal to men and could compete with men within al l realms (Oakley, 1981). The changes requested were mainly legal and related to policies of the work place and educational institutions. M u c h emphasis was placed upon government passing legislation ensur ing women's equality. There was less emphasis on changing the social structures that maintained the roles of men and women. A more radical analysis of women's oppression was not common wi th in the feminist l i terature, wi th a few notable exceptions. M a r y Wollstonecraft 's Vindica t ion of the Rights of Women, which was first published in 1792, was a radical document and much ahead of its time. The thrust of Wollstonecraft 's remarks challenged the notion of femininity as an immutably natural state and suggested that it was instead a construct of a patr iarchal culture. D u r i n g the nineteenth century a multitude of women's clubs and organizations sprang up wi th a wide variety of social and political purposes that provided an environment for women in which to learn political skil ls and a 35 communication network which helped spread the suffrage movement. The acquisition of a few basic political r ights continued to be the focus of the feminist movement into the early part of the twentieth century. The efforts culminated in women acquiring the r ight to vote in 1918 i n B r i t a i n and Canada , and in 1920 in the Uni ted States. Other rights fought for were the r ight for marr ied women to own property, and to enter into contracts, and for women to be selected to juries. Al though these basic rights were granted, the si tuation of women's oppression st i l l remained. There were more subtle and deep seated causes to be revealed and changed. In part icular , during W o r l d W a r I and Wor ld W a r II, women were welcomed into positions once occupied by skil led male workers . They were encouraged to serve their country by entering the work domain which had been historically dominated by men. However , when the w a r was over they were expected to return to their proper and 'na tura l ' place which was i n the home. The women who were displaced by the re turning soldiers began to question and challenge the societal expectations and rationale regarding their natural location wi th in the world. This questioning of their roles i n society together with other factors made the transit ion by thousands of women from worker to homemaker a difficult one. Expectations that they would be marr ied and taken care of r an against the real i ty of a l imited number of eligible men who returned from the human destruction of the war . These women were left to support themselves, something they had done admirably dur ing the war . Thei r options once again were l imited to service oriented, low-paying jobs. This situation was coupled wi th a dramatic rise in prices for basics such as food and housing. Wi th in a short period of time, women moved from a position of resourceful and skil led workers to 36 low status, dependent members of society. Re-emergence Dur ing the Sixties Social movements are born when contradictions wi th in society can no longer r emain hidden. "When the position of women wi th in the social whole is altered, new conceptions of self and society come directly into conflict wi th older ideas about a woman's role, her destiny, and even her 'nature'" (Bartky, 1977, p.26). Some suggest that the feminist movement is more a consciousness or a state of mind than a c lear i ly defined group of people, collection of organizations, or var ie ty of actions (Rowbotham, 1973). The recent re-emergence of the movement cannot be easi ly understood without acknowledging a complex interaction of many political, social and economic variables. The mid to late sixties were witness to a dramatic rise in activity of a feminist nature which grew out of a part icular k ind of social reali ty found i n advanced capitalist countries (Rowbotham, 1973). In these countries there were major changes affecting women's status at work and in the home which were the result of contraceptive advances, the dramatic increase in numbers of women entering higher education and the market economy, and the social upheaval of the sixties. The efforts of such authors as de Beauvoir (1952) provided enormous impetus to this re-emergence of the movement and sparked a surge of wr i t ing by other feminists. The feminist activities which emerged during the sixties consisted of two distinct branches, one being the older branch of the movement and the other being the younger branch (Freeman, 1979). In some ways these two groups represent the "generation gap" of the Women's Movement . The former branch consisted of older women who had been working wi th the national and state commissions on the 37 status of women. They were famil iar and skil led in government lobbying and developing legislation. Th is branch was more h ighly organized with one of its main groups being the Na t iona l Organizat ion of W o m e n (NOW) , which was established in 1966. One of the better known founders of N O W was Bet ty Fr iedan, author of The  Feminine Myst ique (1963). A s a magazine wri ter F r i edan began to recognize a pattern emerging as she spoke w i t h women about their concerns about their children, their marriages and their communities. She called it the "problem wi th no name". "I do not accept the answer that there is no problem . . . it cannot be understood in terms of age-old problems of . . . poverty, sickness, hunger, cold. The women who suffer this problem have a hunger that food cannot fill" (Friedan, p. 26). Fr iedan 's book was met wi th both outrage and enthusiasm which helped to establish N O W . The second branch of the movement, from which consciousness rais ing emerged, was made up of generally younger, white, middle class, and college educated women. These women had been involved i n the upheaval of the sixties. They moved on to form their own groups such as the N e w Y o r k Radical Women, as they discovered the contradiction between the M a r x i s t rhetoric of liberation and their subordinate and silenced position among their male comrades. This sexist orientation of the N e w Lef t was evidenced by the remarks of leaders such as Stokley Carmichae l that the best position for women to be was on their backs. In contrast to the older branch of the movement, these women were resistant to any kind of structure or hierarchy. The i r paramount concern was for women to have equal opportunity to share. The notion of structures, leaders, and spokespeople was strongly rejected by these women in favour of structureless 38 groups without leaders and without men. The Basis of the Struggle In presenting a picture of the philosophical views which influenced the Women 's Movement and the development of consciousness raising, one must recognize that, in contrast to the conscientization method which arose from the efforts of one individual , consciousness ra is ing was developed by m a n y women. It is also important to realize that most social movements are not born wi th ready-made ideologies. Rather, the experience of the participants and the success and failure of activities such as consciousness ra is ing helped develop philosophies and perspectives which in turn helped shaped other kinds of activities (Freeman, 1979). Participants in the Women's Movement , as has been mentioned, are not a homogeneous group, nor is there one description which reflects a l l women's experience of oppression. There are common themes, however, which are threaded throughout the diverse views and strategies. Before discussing these themes i t is important to consider the role that such diversi ty plays wi th in the Women 's • Movement . This diversity of experience and analysis has been regarded as both an obstacle to attaining the goals of liberation and as a strength of the movement (Torrey, 1978). A s B a r t k y (1977) argues i n her phenomenological analysis of feminist consciousness, "the oppression of women is universal , feminist consciousness is not" (p. 23). The Women's Movement has been criticized for this lack of consensus on various issues due to the diversity of opinions, experiences, and organizations wi th in the movement. Torrey (1978) counters these crit icisms and believes in the 39 strength of such diversi ty. In her argument she weaves a common thread amongst the various philosophies and activities and suggests that such diversity must be examined more closely to see that a var ie ty of actions are necessary for movement goals to be obtained. The white middle class woman asking that her family share wi th her in the responsibili ty of homecare m a y never think of joining the radical activities of the woman who marches in the streets demanding that society share in the responsibility of mak ing the streets safe for a l l citizens. Each woman m a y have different strategies for action, but both are at tempting to change women's situations and move toward greater equali ty. Stanley and Wise (1984) also recognize the reali ty of diversity within the movement. They point to the l ink between a feminist perspective and the context from which it emerged and caution against s imply transplanting such perspectives. Feminis ts must avoid the assertion that they are speaking for al l women, ignoring the reali ty of oppression on the basis of class and race (Eisenstein, 1984). One of the ma in struggles i n feminist analys is is to envelope these differences and accept the val idi ty of a spectrum of realities. The divers i ty of women's experiences and perspectives has led to strategic and theoretical wrangles. A n example is the debate wi th in the movement regarding the issue of pornography. O n one side are feminists who argue that government must assert its power and responsibili ty through legislation to make such activities i l legal. The other side of the question, s t i l l w i th in the feminist camp, is that such moves by the government would lead to censorship and should be avoided on the grounds that such action pushes pornography underground where it is even more difficult to deal wi th . 40 Along wi th the diversity wi th in the movement there are several central themes which cut across the variety of feminist perspectives: women are oppressed, the personal is political, and feminist consciousness is the prerequisite to the achievement of liberation (Oakley, 1977; Eisenstein, 1984). It appears that these were the major themes which gave impetus to the development of consciousness ra is ing and that through the consciousness ra is ing process they were further validated and provided the groundwork for future feminist analysis and activities. Women's Oppression The first major theme - that women are oppressed - is coupled wi th the belief that this is not inevitable, but something which must and can be changed. W i t h i n the feminist l i terature the discussion of women's oppression is varied, reflecting the diversity of experience and political perspectives among women. However, there is common agreement that women's oppression is gender based and supported by sexism, the systematic exclusion and denigration of women, which is in turn supported by a patr iarchal sys tem which maintains male supremacy (Spender, 1984). "Identifying the nature and causes of women's oppression is probably the most fundamental concern of modern feminism" (DuBois, K e l l y , Kennedy, Korsmeyer , & Robinson, 1985, p. 87). Different perspectives on the origin of women's oppression have given rise to the diversity of political ideologies wi th in the movement. The development of feminist political theories is sti l l in a very pre l iminary stage (Thompson, 1980; Barret t , 1980). The following distinctions have been suggested by Jaggar (1977) as a picture of the continuum of political feminist analysis . They are organized under the classifications of radical, classical Marx i s t , and L ibe ra l . These should be considered as very broad classifications and l imited to the task of presenting an 41 overview. A radical feminist perspective such as Firestone's (1970) sees the source of women's oppression as biological and par t icular ly related to their childbearing activities. These feminists look forward to the utilization of technology to relieve women from their biological burdens. Some radical feminists hold a separatist view in which they attempt to remove themselves completely from the patr iarchal order. These feminists argue that they are radical because they believe i n al lowing no separation between theory and practice. The classical M a r x i s t v iew regards capital ism as the pr imary cause of women's oppression for it thrives upon the economic inequalities of men and women. The ut i l i ty of a M a r x i s t analysis of women's oppression has continued to be debated by feminists and other philosophers. Eisenstein (1984) cautions that feminists must not throw away such analysis only on the grounds of its connection wi th sexist males wi th in the N e w Lef t movement of the sixties. Some feminist theorists are work ing toward a modified M a r x i s t view of women's liberation which acknowledges the interrelatedness of the rea lm of work and sexual relations (Kel ly , 1983). L i b e r a l feminists have a reformist v iew of the changes needed. Such groups do not advocate for radical changes in economic structures (i.e. the destruction of capitalism). The i r "conservative" stance is important to their ability to mainta in a place wi th in the established poli t ical world . They work for changes in discr iminatory law and practices, and in the unequal distribution of household labor. The ult imate goal of the l iberal feminists is equal opportunity wi th in the existing system. 42 Midgley and Hughes (1983) suggest that these political positions have developed into sectarian positions and urge that there be less dogma based on old models such as M a r x i s m and behaviourism. They argue that sectar ianism develops when such models become masters rather than servants to feminist attempts to explain women's oppression. Eisenstein (1984) also cautions against sectar ianism in any social movement because it supports false universa l i sm which denies the existence of a plural i ty of oppressive conditions. For women, because their oppression is gender based, their consciousness is inseparable from their reproductive capabilities and sexuali ty. Thus the demand for women to have control of their bodies and of reproduction has become a central issue wi th in the Women's Movement . Feminis ts such as O ' B r i e n (1981) consider that advances in contraceptive technology have the power to transform women's situation toward one of equality where parenthood would represent an authentic and social project freely chosen and rat ionally controlled. Feminis ts have struggled to identify the nature of women's oppression and argue that oppression has been conceived in too l imited a fashion. The psychology of oppression is held by many to be s imi lar to that experienced by blacks (Bar tky , 1979). Such oppression includes stereotyping, cul tural domination and sexual objectification. "To be psychologically oppressed is to be caught in the double bind of a society which both affirms m y human status and at the same time bars me from the exercise of many of these typical ly human functions that bestow this status" (Bartky, 1979, p. 40). The relationship between oppressed and oppressor, as viewed by feminists, reflects a ty ranny which operates wi th in int imacy rather than one between worker and capitalist (Eisenstein, 1984). It is difficult for women as an oppressed group to 43 consider the world without the oppressor (men). This gender difference located in both the sexual and work sphere both binds women and distinguishes them from their oppressors. Femin i s t research has examined the structures which support and main ta in women's oppression. Some examples of this research include the works of Chesler (1972), D a l y (1974), and Spender (1985). Chesler examined how the male personality and psychological framework has become the accepted picture of health wi th in psychia t ry and medicine, wi th female traits identified as unhealthy. D a l y , a feminist theologian, studied how the existence of women and female images has been consistently removed and suppressed wi th in Western religions, w i th the subsequent development of the male image of God. Spender has studied how male speech patterns have been developed as the norm and women's style of conversation has been consistently interpreted as ineffectual. The dual i ty suffered by women as oppressed beings is exemplified in their experiences of being split - they present to the world the image demanded by the dominant pa t r ia rchal culture and have another sense of self which is often contradictory to the public one. Authors such as Rowbotham (1973) often use metaphor to describe those structures which create such duali ty and invis ibi l i ty . "The prevai l ing social order stands as a great and resplendent hal l of mirrors . It owns and occupies the wor ld as it is and the world as it is seen and heard" (1973, p. 27). Feminis ts have given much attention to the difficulty of breaking this duali ty. "So much of wha t we know is suspect because it has been encoded by men and works against our interests" (Spender, 1983, p. 379). 44 The Personal Is Pol i t ical The second theme common to feminist analysis and ideology is that the 'personal is polit ical ' and is one that is strongly l inked to the development of the consciousness ra is ing process. Han i sch (1969), a member of the N e w Y o r k Radical Women, wrote one of the first documents discussing this notion. She noted that declaring the personal as political was a radical departure from the personal vs. political. Hanisch asserted that personal problems are polit ical problems because only collective action, not personal solutions, can solve them. Th i s famil iar slogan of the feminist movement acknowledges the real i ty of unequal power relationships that is experienced by women wi th in their personal lives. That is, the oppression of women must be analyzed wi th in the personal and private world i n which women live. The exploration of the in ternal and private is a political necessity for women. The issues, strategies for change, and the creation of women-centred knowledge arise out of the personal. " M a n y of the crucial elements of the new knowledge about women's situation . . . were accumulated through accounts first garnered in [consciousness raising] groups" (Eisenstein, 1984, p. 37). This knowledge of women's experience which grew out of 'the personal is polit ical ' provided impetus for much feminist research that has challenged the 'scientific evidence' regarding women's na tura l capabilities and has revealed the practice of generalizing the results of studies ut i l iz ing male populations to a l l individuals, women included. Such recent feminist analysis includes the efforts of Gil l igan (1980) and Spender (1985). Gi l l igan began her analysis of mora l development wi th a concern for previous research being generalized from a male sample to both male and female populations. She discovered that women's moral decisions arose out of a completely different set of values from that of men. She 45 also suggested that the supposed superior moral i ty of male decision making should be questioned. Spender (1985) reviewed previous research in the area of the sexes and language. She was puzzled by the studies that concluded that women had less effective speech styles and by the societal assumption that women were the talkat ive sex. She found many blatant biases in the research designs and i n the interpretation of data. Women, she concluded, were talkative relative to being silent. M e n , she found, dominated an average of seventy percent of the time during mixed sex conversations. H e r analysis has provided important empir ical evidence of the sexist nature of language and the need for women to challenge how language supports the dominant order. The shift of the personal into the political rea lm has been analyzed by such authors as M c W i l l i a m s (1974) and Spender (1980). M c W i l l i a m s criticizes the academic communi ty for fail ing to acknowledge the power and impact of the Women's Movement due to their limited view of what is political. A n y t h i n g relating to women, par t icu lar ly the private and personal, was not considered political and was therefore ignored. Spender suggests that feminists have recycled the word "poli t ical" to mean a new phenomenon which cannot be understood using a patr iarchal definition. "When we embarked upon our program of constructing knowledge in which we were neither distorted nor invisible, we began to engage i n a political act" (Spender, 1980, p. 14). 46 Feminis t Consciousness The final theme common to feminist perspectives is the notion of the development of feminist consciousness. "Feminis ts are not aware of different things than other people; they are aware of the same things differently" (Bartky, 1977, p. 26). The development of feminist consciousness is directly related to the economic and historical moment. O n l y when there is apprehension of possibility can the movement begin toward feminist consciousness. P r io r to this, the perception of women's condition as natural , inevitable, and inescapable w i l l not lead to the development of feminist consciousness. Becoming a feminist is a profound personal t ransformation, an experience which cuts across ideological divisions wi th in the Women 's Movement (Huws, 1982; B a r t k y , 1977). It is both a painful and a rewarding experience for it is an awareness of vict imizat ion together w i th a consciousness of power. "We understand where we are, in light of where we are not yet" (Bar tky , 1977, p. 26). The development of feminist consciousness has been described as s imi lar to paranoia for there is little in society that is free of the sex-role differentiation as a major organizing principle. This can make day to day l iv ing an ethical and existential impasse (Bar tky, 1977; Stanley & Wise , 1984). Authors such as Stanley and Wise (1984) believe that the development of feminist consciousness cannot occur without praxis , that is , action based on this consciousness. They describe the moment to moment practice of feminism as whether one decides to "pass" or not. B y this they mean that there is very little in daily life that is not constructed in sexist terms, that feminists must make decisions continually about whether they resist and reveal such sexism, or whether they let it pass. 47 Femin i s t consciousness is different for each woman because it is grounded in the historical and social context. Neither is it a point that is "arr ived at" because, as the Women 's Movement changes society, women in turn wi l l be shaped by the historical moment. Feminis t consciousness is about praxis for it provides a system for acting i n the social world where the mundane and routine expressions of sexism become problematic. Often feminists are accused of Going Too F a r . "It hurts to t ry and change each day of your life right now - not i n talk, not ' i n your head', and not only conveniently 'out there' . . . but in your own home, kitchen, bed" (Morgan, 1977, p. 126). Origins of Consciousness Rais ing Groups Consciousness ra is ing groups have been identified as being both a cause and a result of the recent re-emergence of the movement. F reeman (1975) has suggested that they may have pre-empted the movement by providing a communicat ive network. Consciousness rais ing groups emerged from the younger branch of the Women's Movement, and in part icular from the activities of the N e w Y o r k Radica l Women. In the following paragraphs the li terature which emerged out of the N e w Y o r k Radical Women's group (Redstockings) is examined. These publications represent the first wri t ten descriptions and guidelines to the consciousness ra is ing process (Sarachild, 1968, 1973). Sarachi ld acknowledges that the process which developed out of her radical women's group was similar to 'speaking bitterness', an activity which originated dur ing the recent Chinese revolution. She views consciousness ra is ing as a radical weapon and makes reference to the Greek origins of the term ' radical ' , that is, 'root'. "We wanted to pul l up weeds in the garden by their roots, not just pick off the leaves at the top" (1968, p. 144). 48 Sarachi ld remembers the first consciousness ra is ing group as a rather spontaneous event rather than a planned act ivi ty . The N e w Y o r k Radical Women had been meeting to organize and plan for future public actions. One woman began revealing her thoughts about women being an oppressed group. This idea was not new to the group, but what Sarachi ld describes as different and powerful was how this woman related the abstract notion of oppression to her own experiences, par t icular ly her efforts to make herself at tract ive. T h i s began a moving discussion among others present about their own personal experiences of oppression. . This link to their personal lives and the shar ing of common experiences revealed a very powerful w a y to understanding women's oppression. Those present agreed that the group needed to do more consciousness ra is ing wi th much debate regarding how this process would take shape. In the end the group decided to raise its consciousness by studying women's lives by topics like childhood, jobs, motherhood. . . . Our starting point for discussion, as we l l as our test of the accuracy of what any of the books said, would be the actual experiences we had i n these areas. (Sarachild, 1973, p. 145) Sarachi ld suggests that the radical nature of such consciousness rais ing -seeking of the roots of women's oppression - does not lend itself to immediate kinds of action, but rather to action that is carefully planned and sometimes even delayed. The kinds of public actions to pursue would be a form of consciousness raising, but wi th in the public rea lm as old ideas were challenged and new ones presented. Despite this hesitancy to leap into action, the ear ly descriptions of consciousness ra is ing were also clear on the need for action. Uncovering the truth, Sarachi ld cautions, is insufficient, but wi th greater understanding there is discovery 49 of the necessity for action and of new possibilities for action. F ind ing a solution must take place through theory and action both. These early groups met wi th accusations of being only therapy sessions which dealt wi th t r iv ia l issues, not political concerns. They were also charged wi th being dangerous. "We hadn't realized that just s tudying this subject and naming the problem would be a radical action in itself (Sarachild, 1973, p. 145). M a n y women experienced great resistance from their husbands and male acquaintances, and some women were prevented from attending while others were given specific instructions that certain subjects were to be off l imits . The 'establishment' also attempted to undermine and weaken the strength of the groups by referring to their corporate t raining sessions as consciousness ra is ing groups. In this early literature on consciousness raising, Sarachi ld is emphatic that it not be considered a stage that would be replaced by a future action phase nor s imply a methodology, but rather an essential part of the overal l feminist strategy. "It is a program planned on the assumption that a mass liberation movement wi l l develop as more and more women begin to perceive their situation correctly" (Sarachild, 1968, p. 202). These early groups played an important part in the development of ideology by providing the groundwork for a surge of feminist analysis such as Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex (1973) and Mil le t t ' s Sexual  Polit ics (1970). Consciousness raising, as described by Sarachild, is both an end and the means to an end. The purpose is to get to radical truths about women's situation such that action could be taken. These ear ly radical groups wanted to initiate and support a mass movement. Fo r such a movement to arise, women would have to see the fight against oppression as their own struggle as wel l as that of others. 50 Women would have to see the t ru th in their own lives before acting in a radical w ay for anyone. Sarachi ld is cri t ical of other attempts to produce set guidelines or rules to follow. She felt that this would lead to the formation of methodological experts. She argued that there was no one method of consciousness raising, the only method was the "basic radical principle of going to the original sources, both historic and personal, going to the people - women" (Sarachild, 1973, p. 147,148). S u m m a r y In this chapter the contextual background of consciousness raising was outlined wi th consideration of the social, political and economic variables influencing the Women's Movement . This overview attempted to indicate to the reader that the Women's Movement has historical roots spanning several centuries and the shape i t takes is reflective of the changes in societies over time. The themes which cut across different perspectives and the diversity of experience and philosophy were explored. Y e t another common notion about the Women's Movement is that i t represents a homogeneous population of women. It was evident that there exists a cont inuum of perspectives regarding the causali ty of oppression and the strategies for change. The development of feminist theory is difficult given such plural i ty ; however, this can also provide the movement with its strength and abil i ty to be t ru ly l iberat ing. The origins of the recent re-emergence were located in the two branches of the Women's Movement . The younger branch consisted of women who had been active in the movements of the sixties. A s they developed the idea of consciousness ra is ing, they brought to the process the belief that any hierarchy was bad and structure and leaders did not allow for the more important activity of equal sharing among women. In the same way that exploring the B r a z i l i a n context and Fre i re ' s philosophy has given insight into the forces that created the conscientization method, recognizing the background and perspectives brought by the women who helped develop consciousness ra is ing provides understanding of the forces at work in shaping this process. The two preceding chapters have provided the contextual background of conscientization and consciousness raising. The study now moves from this descriptive stage to one of juxtaposition and comparison. In the next chapter, the two processes being studied are outlined providing specifics of each method followed by a comparison using the categories described in chapter two. 52 C H A P T E R V - C O M P A R I S O N O F P R O C E S S E S The next step in this comparative analysis is the juxtaposition of the two processes followed by comparison. This chapter begins with an outline of the techniques and methods beginning wi th consciousness rais ing followed by conscientization. These two processes are then compared using the categories outlined in chapter two as a framework: the source of themes or content, the quali ty or nature of interaction between part icipants, the existence of and role of teachers/coordinators, the phases of the process, and finally the changes in consciousness which are suggested as the goal of each process. The Consciousness Rais ing Process W i t h i n the l i terature which discusses the consciousness rais ing process there is a wide var ie ty of approaches: the anecdotal, descriptive, and those that view consciousness ra is ing as a technique and test for differences in outcome. The research on consciousness ra is ing includes main ly studies in which it was used as a dependent variable and the part icipants were tested for changes in behaviours and attitudes (Bailey, 1977; Abe rna thy et a l . , 1977; Follingstad, Robinson, & Pugh , 1977; Ba l lou , 1979). Other research focused on the demographics of the participants and their responses to questionnaires regarding personal significance of the process (Lieberman, 1976; K i n c a i d , 1977; Home, 1978). F o r this comparison wi th Fre i re ' s approach, descriptions of the principles and techniques of the consciousness ra i s ing process were needed and therefore the literature which offered such information was analyzed (Sarachild, 1968 & 1973; A l l e n , 1970; F reeman , 1973; E a s t m a n , 1977; Cassell , 1977; Eisenstein, 1984; and Spender, 1984). In the following discussion the principles, techniques and phases of 53 the consciousness rais ing process as described in the foregoing l i terature are presented. "Consciousness ra is ing groups are experiments in the process of cr i t iquing established social norms and the shaping of new ones through the development of reciprocal, non-hierarchical relationships and conscious avoidance of the imposit ion of a leader or teacher" (Hart , 1985, p. 121). The m a i n principle from wh ich other techniques and guidelines have followed is that for women, the source and authority-regarding oppression is wi th in themselves. This has implications for the approach to communication or sharing, the exclusion of men from these groups, and the generation of themes or topics for discussion. The groups attempt to hear from al l the members and to s tay focused on a topic. A s each woman shares wi th the group her experience of oppression, the other participants are encouraged to avoid invidious comparisons or judgments on what had been said. Hea r ing women's stories is not for the purpose of therapy, i t is to listen to what they have to say and to collectively analyze the si tuation of women, not to analyze the women themselves. Women in these groups are considered equals and as each woman speaks she is allowed to complete her statement without interruption. A s the topics for discussion are raised, such as women's experience of work or childrearing, the question of who and what would have an interest in mainta ining the oppression of women is applied. "Just letting things happen" can lead to avoidance of some topics because they are difficult and painful to discuss. Groups such as Al l en ' s (1970) suggest a study plan as a w a y to cover important topics, to give structure to group meetings, and to encouraged cross-group communication at monthly "collective" meetings. The plan is based on four elements of women's condition suggested by Mi tche l l 54 (1966): Production, socialization, sexuali ty and reproduction. The exclusion of men is part of the conscious decision to avoid domination. Groups such as the N e w Y o r k Radica l Women had left the N e w Left movement because of the repressive activities of their male colleagues. When men were present, women's problems were not taken seriously and groups became stratified. These experiences led them to create a space where women would feel free to break their silence rather than have it continue. There are no presupposed changes expected in women's behaviour nor par t icular actions to be taken by either the group or the individual members. Women are encouraged to participate and share wi th the understanding that they are not expected to take action as individuals. Public actions which are decided upon should be in the form of public consciousness raising. In Free Space (Al len , 1970), a book writ ten as a retrospective analysis of the smal l group process wi th in the women's movement, the participants made several important discoveries. They described their realization that consciousness ra is ing was about developing ideology, not about solving personal problems. The process was painful as they became aware of the reali ty of their oppressive situations. There was also a sense of exhilaration in their collective realization and shared vision of a different future. This group described their understanding that theories which could not be rooted in concrete experience were not useful, and for the concrete to be understood, it must be subjected to the process of analysis and abstraction. In this analysis of the free space of the smal l group, distinct phases were also determined. The ongoing nature of these phases was emphasized, one phase never real ly completing before moving on to the next. They emphasised that for 55 analysis and abstraction to be val id , they must continue to be rooted in women's day to day experiences. "Out of this emerging ideology come[s] a program grounded in solid understanding of women's condition which w i l l have its roots, but not its totality, in our experience" (Allen, 1970, p. 30). 1. Opening U p . This is the beginning phase of the group in which trust and int imacy are developed. Feelings are acknowledged for wha t they are and no judgement is made. Fo r many women the group is the first place where their feelings and experiences are acknowledged and not ridiculed. The group must share a commitment to confidentiality, regular attendance, and a r r iv ing on time. 2. Shar ing. The ini t ia l phase of opening up answered the need for expression, but the emphasis must shift to one of shar ing and teaching one another. In order to arr ive at a collage of s imilar experiences the group must understand the purpose of their sharing. A t this time, the understanding of the common nature of women's problems begins to develop, the need for collective action is appreciated, and the shattering of myths about women's inferiority and male superiori ty occurs. 3. A n a l y z i n g . Once the group has collected the r a w data, the next step is to analyze the why and how, and to develop the strategies for fighting women's oppression. This phase in the group's development now moves toward objective analysis of the concrete experience. This phase is often difficult because women have operated so much wi th in the subjective rea lm and have been isolated. Dur ing this phase women begin to develop identities independent of their spouses and children. Other sources of information such as studies and books can be used now, but they wi l l be tested against women's own experiences. The group emphasized that this stage of analysis should follow the first two, guided by the principle of seeking answers from women's experience, not from any preconceived theory. 56 4. Abs t rac t ing . This phase did not occur until the group had been meeting for over a year . They described it as the purest form of free space in which the totality of the nature of women's condition is appreciated. W i t h this synthesis of analysis , a v is ion of potential can develop. Out of this holistic v iew of the oppression of women comes the ability to then make decisions and priorities regarding the problems to work on and strategies to be developed. The Conscientization Process The t e rm conscientization was a term already widely used in L a t i n A m e r i c a and popularized by Bishop Helder Camara , who promoted the progressive Catholic position. C a m a r a defended the term from critics who asserted that it reflected a communist perspective. He supported the process because it was "one of the most beautiful expressions of the democratic vocabulary" (in Freire , 1973, p. 133). Fre i re reports that when he heard the term, he realized the profundity of its meaning and began to incorporate it into his writ ings. F re i re developed his perspective on literacy t raining wi th in a view of B r a z i l in t ransi t ion from being a closed society to an open one. Through his analysis of other common l i teracy practices, he came to reject the mechanistic approach to l i teracy t ra in ing wherein the students were only patient recipients. M o s t education, Fre i re argues, is "banking education" in which knowledge is seen to be deposited into the students wi th in a very passive learning relationship. L i te racy t raining, he believed, was a tool for the awakening of the intransitive consciousness of the masses. Fre i re ' s conscientization process involves part icular techniques and stages which are outlined i n the following paragraphs (1973, 1985). Dialogue, Fre i re believes, is the foundation of authentic education. It is "the encounter between men [people] mediated by the world, i n order to name the wor ld" 57 (Freire, 1970, p. 76). This interaction prescribed by Fre i re is reflected i n the horizontal relationship between persons, a relation of empathy shared by people who are engaged in a joint search. On ly in an atmosphere of love, hope and mutual trust can true dialogue take place. The horizontal nature of this discourse is contrasted wi th a vertical one where the teacher places h imsel f or herself above the student, wi th the resulting unequal power relationship. The role of leaders or coordinators wi th in Fre i re ' s l i teracy and conscientization method is another fundamental element wi th in his pedagogical perspective. He is emphatic that these coordinators must work wi th , and not for, the people. This requires careful selection and t ra ining. Fre i re frequently mentions the importance of the solidarity that these leaders must have wi th the oppressed and that they "have no right to steer people blindly toward their salvat ion" (Freire, 1973, p. 167). A s a consultant to the government of Guinea-Bissau , Fre i re (1978) wrote about his experience as an educator, consultant, and observer of the national reconstruction campaign following the overthrow of the Portuguese colonialist government. H e discussed the importance of a coherence between a political/revolutionary stance and action. He found that he was reminded, as he was in Chile , "to listen more than speak, and to not separate the act of teaching [from] the act of learning" (Freire, 1978, p. 9). Th is dialectic relationship between teacher and learner is at the core of much of his discussion on the role of educators wi th in the l i teracy process. In his observations of the cul tura l circles wi th in this newly liberated country, he noted that the educators were often impatient and lacked v ivac i ty when discussing themes. H e elaborated further about the importance of the tension between 58 impatience and patience. When educators are too impatient they make the words for the learners and if they are too patient they become passive teachers. Both situations develop passive learners who are not criticallly engaged in their learning. Freire speaks of the difficulty of finding and training coordinators and leaders. In Letters to Guinea-Bissau he shares his experience as a consultant/teacher and provides a picture of such a 'training' process as he and his colleagues became simultaneously educators and learners in their work with the new government of Guinea-Bissau. The phases of his method include co-investigation, selection of generative words, the creation of codifications, and the decodification process. 1. Co-investigation. The program content is developed by coordinators researching with the groups or community for a common vocabulary that has meaning and reflects the experiences of the peasants. From this vocabulary certain words are selected which become the generative words to be used in the literacy process, that is, words that can generate discussion and questions regarding the peasants oppressive conditions. 2. Selection of Generative Words. The selection of generative words follows certain criteria: they must exhibit certain phonemic richness, phonemic difficulty or complexity, and pragmatic tone. The best generative word is one which is complex, has a strong link between the word itself and what it designates, and a potential to generate sociocultural reactions to the word by the individual or group using it. An example of a generative word is TIJOLO, meaning 'brick'. 3. Creation of Codifications. Once the generative words have been identified they are codified. This means that these words are then linked to pictures: either photographs, slides, or drawings, which represent typical existential 59 situations which function as challenges or "situation-problems" containing elements to be decoded by the groups. The codifications must be famil iar local situations which lend themselves to analysis of regional or nat ional problems. For example, a drawing or slide depicting a peasant building a house using bricks is shown to the group. The coordinator and participants then discuss these pictures and in the process develop an awareness of their situations as problems and of the structures that cause such problems. These discussions also lead to a developing awareness of the difference between nature and culture, and in par t icular the role that the participants p lay in developing culture. 4. Decodification. Fol lowing this codification, that is placement of the generative word wi th in a context and discussion of the meaning and causality of these situation-problems, the process moves on to focusing the participants ' attention on the generative word. The word is shown together wi th the picture, then i t is shown separately on a card. T I J O L O The word is then broken down into its syllables. TI - J O - L O This is followed by the presentation of "discovery cards." The first card presents the phonemic families of each syllable horizontally. 60 (TA-TE -TI -TO-TU) ( JA-JE-J I -JO - JU) ( L A - L E - L I - L O - L U ) Fo l lowing this horizontal display of phonemic families the next card shown to the part icipants presents them vert ically. T A - T E - T I - T O - T U J A - J E - J I - J O - J U L A - L E - L I - L O - L U In summary , the process begins wi th coordinators co-investigating wi th a communi ty to discover generative words. Codifications are developed (slides or drawings) and the codified situation is presented followed by discussion and analysis of the situation-problem. Once this analysis has been exhausted the word itself is brought to the participants ' attention. A t this time the participants are encouraged to visualize it rather than memorize it. Then the word is presented by i tself which is followed by the word separated into its syllables. Then the phonemic families of each syllable are shown on discovery cards, first horizontally then vert ical ly. The group starts to make words wi th the combinations of the phonemic families, and begins on this first session to write these words they have created. They are told to go home and bring more words they have made wi th the combinations. They do not have to be actual words because the most important process is.the discovery of the mechanism of phonemic combinations. The words are brought to the next group session and are tested by the coordinator and the group together. 61 Compar ison U s i n g Themes  Themes or Content of the L e a r n i n g Process The process of co-investigation i n which themes are generated from the participants themselves can be found in both feminist consciousness ra is ing and Frei re ' s conscientization method, but the techniques used are quite different arid reflect the different contexts in which each practice emerged. In Freire 's process the themes which are codified into situation-problems and the words which are used to present the phonemic breakdown of the Portuguese language have been generated through coordinators and learners work ing together through co-investigation. The themes or topics for investigation in the consciousness ra is ing groups arise as the women working , as equals, begin to share their personal experiences. The identification of themes or content in both practices of conscientization and consciousness ra is ing groups challenges old ideas of what has been considered political. The famil iar slogan of the Women 's Movement - "the personal is poli t ical" - indicates a belief that the analysis of women's oppression must begin wi th women's personal and private l ives. The exploration of the internal and private is a political necessity for women. The issues, strategies for change, and the creation of women-centred knowledge arises out of this personal analysis. In the first stage of his l i teracy program, Fre i re begins by presenting to the learners pictures of common situations, and through discussion the participants begin to perceive these as problems reflecting their oppressed condition and the structures which main ta in such oppression. Thus , for the participants of Freire 's method, the personal also becomes polit ical as they explore their daily reality, discover how it reflects their oppression, and begin to link their situations to 62 structural factors rather than viewing themselves as deficient. In the process of generating themes from the reali ty of the oppressed, both Fre i re and feminists have discovered the importance of simulataneously work ing wi th in structures which support the oppressors' ideology (e.g. language), and working to create a free space in which the oppressed can voice their experiences and concerns. Freire describes one of the most important decisions of the new government of Guinea-Bissau: whether to remove the old educational structure which reflected the values and history of the Portuguese colonialists, or to util ize such a structure and gradually introduce reforms which would eventually recreate the system as one that reflected the language and history of the indigenous Af r i can population (1978). H i s experiences wi th the government of Guinea-Bissau point to the d i l emma of learning how to read and write and recognizing that language can be an oppressive structure i n itself. In a s imilar vein, women have discovered the patr iarchal domination of knowledge and language as they struggle to name their world using the oppressor's language. The identification of issues or themes becomes problematic using a language which represents the world view of a patr iarchal order and which is l imited or even derogatory in descriptions of women's condition. Given this problem, consciousness ra is ing groups are cri t ical for women to overcome two major hurdles: F i r s t , they must find a space in which they feel free to express themselves, and second, they must find words to express the real i ty of their dai ly lives. Wi th in such spaces women can begin to recyle and recreate language. The process is slow because the language available must be transformed into a tool of liberation rather than domination. The contributions of Smi th (1977) and 63 Spender (1985) add empir ical support to both feminist and Freire 's concerns regarding the domesticating potential of language and knowledge production. The obvious difference i n these approaches to identifying themes is the presence of coordinators. In Fre i re ' s method, the educator or coordinator maintains this position no matter how much that person is also a learner wi th in the process. Wi th in consciousness ra i s ing groups, women from other groups may help wi th the formation of a group and the leadership role m a y be rotated among the participants, but one woman does not main ta in a role of coordinator or teacher. Both Fre i re and the feminist l i terature on consciousness rais ing discuss the difficulty of adhering to this principle of generating themes from the participants. Frei re discovered that coordinators had difficulty in practicing the concept of working wi th the people rather than for them. In their impatience, they would often provide situations and vocabulary for the learners, rather than wait for them to generate their own. Consciousness ra is ing groups have found that discussion in subject areas that are difficult and have much emotional weight tend to be avoided. Other problems emerge when group discussion is dominated by those participants who are more confident and articulate than others. This is part icularly acute in groups where there is a m i x of middle and work ing class women. One of the criticisms of consciousness ra is ing groups is that they are main ly the activities of middle class women whose class position has given them the freedom and ski l l to speak out, in comparison to work ing class women who m a y be less confident and articulate. W h e n middle class women have helped to initiate groups for working class women and have remained i n these groups, their role becomes very s imi lar to that of Freire 's coordinators. Then the concern expressed by Freire about leaders 64 committing class suicide also has relevance for the consciousness ra is ing activities of the Women's Movement. Consciousness ra is ing and conscientization have been compared using the first theme of how the themes or topics are developed. Both support the principle of grounding the educational process wi th in the experiences and dai ly lives of the participants. However , the method of co-investigation in Frei re ' s p rogram requires clearly identified teachers/coordinators who initiate the process. In contrast, the role of coordinator is not maintained by any one individual wi th in consciousness raising groups. Nature of the Interaction Another aspect of conscientization and consciousness ra is ing in which there are strong similarit ies is the prescription for interaction and communication among participants and between teacher and learners. Fre i re describes such interaction as dialogue - "the encounter between men [individuals] mediated by the world , in order to name the world" (1970, p. 76). According to Fre i re , teachers, revolut ionary agents, and coordinators must work wi th , not for, the oppressed. Al though the idea of dialogue is a concept that has been overworked and as a result has lost some of its meaning, this approach to communication is implici t in the practice of consciousness ra is ing as wel l . A n important aspect of the guidelines which emerged from the first consciousness ra is ing groups was the effort to consider a l l participants as equals, and to avoid hierarchy by developing a horizontal structure. This emphasis on equality and horizontal communication has led to the development of a sense of sisterhood, which is the recognition of the shared experiences of oppression and the simultaneous discovery of the objective nature of 65 this oppression. Sisterhood has generated a sense of power for Nor th Amer i can women who have been isolated and alienated from each other. Al though dialogue is the form of communication advocated in both practices, there are differences i n emphasis as to who is included within this horizontal exchange. Fre i re focuses most of his discussion of dialogue on the teacher-learner or revolutionary-peasant relationship. Wi th in 'leaderless' consciousness ra is ing groups, the communicat ion is necessarily among participants. U s i n g the second theme, the nature of interaction or communication wi th in each process has been compared. Dialogue is essentially the principle of communication adhered to by both consciousness-raising and conscientization. In Frei re ' s method the emphasis is on the horizontal relationship between teacher and learner and in consciousness ra is ing groups, the focus is on sisterhood and the shared communicat ion among women as equals. Role of Teacher/Coordinator There are both obvious differences and subtle similarit ies between consciousness ra is ing and conscientization regarding the presence and role of teachers or coordinators. Characterist ics commonly attributed to consciousness ra is ing groups include their leaderless structure and the conscious exclusion of men. In contrast, in Fre i re ' s l i teracy method and conscientization process, teachers/coordinators p lay an important role and may be members of the intellectual elite or the middle class. Fre i re views the role of leaders or coordinators wi th in his l i teracy method as fundamental to the success of the program. He emphasizes that these leaders "have no r ight to steer people bl indly toward their salvation" (1973, p. 167). Those who wish to join w i t h the oppressed in their struggle for liberation must work in 66 communion wi th them. Those from the middle class or the intellectual elite must commit class suicide, that is both acknowledge and renounce the invasive and paternatistic activities of the dominant class. These educators must strive to develop a coherence between their revolutionary thought and their teaching practice, and to "not separate the act of teaching [from] the act of learning" (Freire, 1978, p. 9). Fre i re reports that t ra ining coordinators to work wi th , and not for, the oppressed is one of the most difficult aspects of educating the educators. Al though there are no formally acknowledged coordinators wi th in the consciousness ra is ing process, the role of women who gain experience in one group and then help to establish other groups is s imi lar . They introduce the need for commitment to attendance and confidentiality, suggest guidelines for discussion, and a variety of topics or issues to be discussed. After a few sessions, these initiators leave the group to continue on its own. In many ways , the t ra ining of coordinators that Fre i re acknowledges is so important is also cri t ical to consciousness ra is ing groups. Women wi th previous experience have learned through t r ia l and error and have been through ' t ra in ing ' . There is also the potential for these women to impose their perspective upon a group, rather than shar ing it, thus fail ing to practice the principle of generating themes from the personal experiences of the part icipants. Al though consciousness rais ing groups m a y not necessari ly be leaderless, a closer look at the process wi th in consciousness ra is ing groups reveals that, like the concept of political, the concept of leadership has taken on different meaning (Eastman, 1977). In consciousness ra is ing groups leadership is at times group-centred and at other times shifts from one part icipant to another. Thus , women experience leadership without the presence of followers. In this w a y these 67 groups have encouraged the latent leadership capabilities of women. The exclusion of males from consciousness rais ing groups as part of the conscious decision to avoid domination, raises interesting questions when compared to Fre i re ' s process. This decision may have arisen out of women's intuitive understanding of how knowledge is constructed. This is supported by such sociological theories as that of Berger and L u c k m a n (1972) who suggest that real i ty is constructed and sustained pr imar i ly through talk. Spender (1985) also considered the muted condition of women as a result of male domination of communication and language. "If men were present . . . their greater rights to discourse, acknowledged by both dominant and muted groups, would . . . have precluded the evolution of a new reality compatible with female experience" (Spender, 1984, p. 132). If one accepts that men dominate language and communication, their exclusion is understandable wi th in a process which hopes to break such domination and allow for creation of woman-centred knowledge. Is it real ly possible to commit "class suicide" as Fre i re suggests, in order for coordinators from the middle class to work wi th the oppressed? M u s t men commit "gender suicide" in order to work wi th women? I f class suicide is possible, such that an individual from the dominant class acknowledges and renounces their paternalistic attitudes and invasive practices, can one gender renounce its dominance of another? W h a t m a y be more important to consider are the implications of middle class women work ing wi th working class women. Is "class suicide" necessary to work wi th the work ing class women? Or does the fact that they share some common experiences of oppression based on their gender diminish the conflict which might arise due to class differences? Women's experience in mixed class groups 68 should be explored to test Freire 's notion. In summary , both of these processes, consciousness ra i s ing and conscientization, make use of teachers/coordinators, but the perspective of leadership is different for both. The structure of consciousness ra is ing groups does not support leaders wi th followers, rather leadership is shared and group-centred which has led to the development of the latent leadership capabilities of the participants. There is also a difference in the role these teachers p lay . In Fre i re ' s method, the teacher or coordinator initiates the process, directs the learners although al lowing them to generate themes and create words, and maintains the role of teacher-learner throughout the l i teracy t ra in ing process. W i t h i n consciousness ra is ing groups, those women who assist other groups to begin, usually leave the group to operate on its own after a few in i t i a l sessions where the guidelines have been introduced. In principle, groups do not identify one particular individual as teacher or coordinator. Phases W i t h i n the Process In both of these practices there is movement from description to analysis. In this transit ion, the participants experience themselves as both subject and object in relation to their oppressive situations. W i t h i n feminist consciousness rais ing groups, the process begins wi th opening up to develop trust and sharing of personal experiences of oppression. This is much like Fre i re ' s practice of co-investigation of themes by the coordinator work ing wi th the learners i n a community. In both processes, the learners experience their subjectivity i n relation to their oppression. 6 9 In consciousness raising, the next phase - analysing - begins when the collection of data (personal experiences) has reached a point where common themes begin to emerge. Some authors have referred to this identification of commonalities as encoding women's experience. Fre i re ' method involves the development of slides or drawings from the identification of common themes as a result of the co-investigation. This step - codification - is much like that previously described wi th in consciousness raising. W i t h i n analysis and codification, the participants now step back from their oppression and begin to understand i t i n an objective way . Fo l lowing analysis, the consciousness rais ing process moves toward abstraction, in which women's oppression is examined in relationship to those structures wh ich support such domination. Decodification in Frei re ' s method begins when the learners recognize their situations as problematical and the role that the dominators and their structures play in maintaining that oppression. Th is process involves abstraction much like the previous phase in consciousness raising. Changes in Consciousness Bo th Fre i re and feminists indicate the central role that feminist and cri t ical consciousness p lay in the movement toward liberation. In a s imi lar way , both refer to the dialectical relationship between consciousness and the historical moment, and between consciousness and praxis. The possibility of the liberation of Braz i l ' s oppressed people emerged from a period of transition from a closed society to an open one. F re i r e perceives that such a period of transit ion is directly related to the historical moment i n which certain economic, political, and social changes were occurring. Feminis t s have also recognized that feminist consciousness can only emerge when the par t ia l or total liberation of women is possible, which is directly related to poli t ical , economic, and historical factors. 70 The continual and changing nature of such consciousness also reflects this dialectical relationship. Fre i re emphasizes that cr i t ical consciousness is never a point reached and completed, but rather a continual process. S imi la r ly , feminists point out that consciousness, because of its intricate connection to context, w i l l be altered over time and different for each woman. . Fre i re has adopted a developmental perspective in which he describes three major states of consciousness: semi-intransit ive (magical), transit ive (naive), and cri t ical (1973, 1985). The feminist l i terature frequently contains reference to the process and implications of developing a feminist consciousness. In particular, B a r t k y ' s (1977) suggestion of a morphology of feminist consciousness is very s imilar to Frei re ' s framework. Fo r Fre i re , magical consciousness is a consciousness in which there is no consideration of causali ty, only the view that existence is determined by superior powers. F a t a l i s m is characteristic of this stage and resistance is considered impossible. In B a r t k y ' s discussion of feminist consciousness, she describes the pre-feminist consciousness as one where there is perception of women's condition as natural , inevitable, and inescapable. This consciousness is reflected in the arguments based on biological determinism. Na ive consciousness is the beginning recognition of causali ty, but there is oversimplification of problems and a sense of superiori ty and control over facts. The beginning awareness of contradictions leads to attempts to investigate causality but wi th l imited vision of the complexity of oppression. This recognition of causality is s imi lar to B a r t k y ' s description of the shift from apprehension of women's vict imization toward the apprehension of the possibil i ty of equality. 71 Research on participants in consciousness ra is ing groups validates Fre i re ' s notion of naive consciousness (Eastman, 1973; Bai ley , 1977; Home, 1978; Krave t z , 1978). Women who enter these groups appear to be past the stage of magical consciousness. This seems logical as women would not consider attending such groups i f they viewed women's situations as inevitable and natural . Women who enter these groups, research has found, already have an awareness of women's inequality. I f one applies Freire 's model, have these women moved beyond magical consciousness because of the level of general public awareness of women's situation? Fre i re describes crit ical consciousness as one in which there is "integration wi th real i ty where causality is continually being submitted for analysis" (Freire, 1973, p. 44). Instead of a fragility of argument, such as wi th naive consciousness, there is empir ic ism between the causal and circumstant ia l relationships of facts. The new research which is emerging wi th in feminist analysis is beginning to provide such empir ic ism which challenges the mythology of male supremacy and female inferiority. L i k e Freire 's cri t ical consciousness, i n which reali ty is continually being submitted to analysis, B a r t k y refers to the day-to-day experience of feminists who find that there is little in society that is free of the sex-role differentiation. The notion of praxis is cri t ical to both consciousness ra is ing and conscientization. Feminists recognize that gaining awareness of sexism in society w i l l not alone change such practices. Sarachi ld (1968,1973) spoke of the importance of not only seeking the root of the problem but also of pul l ing it up. F re i re frequently refers to the need for action based on awareness and differentiates between blind act ivism and armchair intellectualism. 72 However, feminists have taken up the implications of the praxis of feminist consicousness and expanded it more than Freire has. Freire refers to, but does not elaborate on, the risk, pain, and exhilaration as the oppressed move towards liberation. Authors such as Rowbotham (1973), Morgan (1977), Bartky (1973), and Stanley & Wise (1984) provide evidence based on their own experiences of the difficulty of praxis and also of the power that arises from praxis. These authors who discuss praxis have been informed by their own experience and those of other women. It is important to remember that feminists who write about their experiences, concerns, and developing philosophies, is a form of praxis which has been met with resistance and hostility. Freire's writing style may reflect his perspective as an educator and his intellectual consideration of conscientization. The feminist literature is less abstract and much more accessible than Freire's distanced style. Perhaps this has to do, once again, with many of the authors being participants in these activities. It may also reflect the fact that there is no ownership of the consciousness raising method, no one individual can claim to be its creator. Freire, on the other hand, writes as a "director" of such activities (which he was), rather than as participant. Does he recognize that his style restricts access to such knowledge? In the foregoing discussion the approaches to consciousness considered by feminists and by Freire have been compared. Some have criticised Freire's Utopian view and abstract style. There are strong similarities to his approach in the feminist discussion. As such they validate Freire's approach and can enrich further discussions of the relationship of consciousness to education and liberation. Bartky's tentative morphology paints a more concrete picture of the existential struggles women face as they embrace feminism than does Freire's description of 73 crit ical consciousness. This kind of discussion regarding the praxis of a feminist/critical consciousness is an important addition to further understanding of the link between individual and social change. S u m m a r y This chapter has presented a juxtaposition and comparison of Fre i re ' s l i teracy method and his notion of conscientization to the feminist practice of consciousness raising. U s i n g part icular categories for comparison, s imilar i t ies and differences were identified regarding the following: The method of determining themes or topics, the style of communication, the perspective of leadership, the phases of the process, and the perspective of changes in consciousness. In the following and final chapter, the interpretation and conclusions of this comparative analysis are presented. The discussion includes implications for practice and research. 74 C H A P T E R V I - D I S C U S S I O N A N D C O N C L U S I O N S This final chapter presents the conclusions and final stage of the comparative analysis . The interpretations of the comparison should move beyond s imply knowing a great deal about different educational practices or their contexts, toward creating new understandings about such practices. This chapter begins wi th discussion and interpretation of the comparison, followed by implications for practice and research. Concluding remarks relate to the comparative process and insights gained by this author. Interpretation of Results The purpose of this analysis was to increase understanding of the learning practices of social movements through the comparison of two particular educational activities. A s a result of this comparison similari t ies and differences have been identified. The following discussion begins wi th consideration of the differences and then moves to a discussion of the s imilar i t ies . These two learning activities, al though very similar , have arisen out of two very different contexts and different experiences and understandings of oppression. Frei re ' s method arose out of the Reform Movement in B r a z i l which was a revolution against class oppression. Consciousness ra is ing arose out of the Women's Movement which is a revolution against gender-based oppression. Fre i re developed his method w i t h consideration of Braz i l ' s long history of exploitation and dependency. H i s B r a z i l i a n origins, Chr is t ian commitment, and M a r x i s t philosophy have given shape to his conscientization method. Hi s method cannot be said to be a grass-roots act ivi ty i n that it was developed by Freire , a wel l educated member of the middle class. Nevertheless, it reflects the development of a 75 process that was inductive and contextually grounded. The techniques peculiar to Freire 's method such as his use of coordinators and codification through v isua l aids are tied to his efforts to develop l i teracy training. H i s method is much more structured and reflects his background as educator and his position of being employed by the state. In order to teach the large illiterate population, Frei re designed a method which would reach the most people i n the least amount of time. The impact and success of his method relates not only to Freire 's vision and commitment, but also to the mandate given to h i m by the newly elected populist government. When state support was removed after the mi l i t a ry coup, Fre i re ' s programs were dissolved and he himself was jailed and subsequently exiled. Fol lowing this, Freire developed and further refined his ideas as he worked in other countries. It is important to realize that the dissemination and application of his ideas are directly related to the support of the state given to h i m i n Chi le , i n the Uni t ed States at H a r v a r d , and in other countries such as Guinea-Bissau where he worked as an educational consultant. W h a t are the outcomes of Frei re ' s conscientization process? Fre i re makes no specific reference to evaluation of his process. The mi l i t a ry coup in B r a z i l prevented the fulfillment of his dream of a conscientized and literate population. To really consider this question of results, it would be necessary to follow up programs Freire has initiated such as in Guinea-Bissau and examine other programs that have used his methods. One evident outcome of his work has been the widespread disseminiation of his ideas and attempts by many to practice his method. Another outcome is of course the efforts of Fre i re to rework and to continue to wri te about his ideas as he comes into contact wi th those who have utilized his approach. 76 Consciousness ra i s ing is a true grass-roots activity because i t emerged from the oppressed population. These activities, however, also developed out of a part icular class wi th in this gender-defined population, that is from groups made up of main ly middle class women. The class-based origin of this practice indicates that there were some similar i t ies in the factors which helped to shape each method of conscientization and consciousness rais ing. In contrast to Fre i re ' s programs which were supported by the state, consciousness ra is ing groups required no support and thus have not suffered from state intervention. The women who initiated the consciousness ra is ing process m a y share the same class background as Fre i re , but they avoided structure, leaders, and hierarchies based on their experiences as activists during the sixties. These women were more loosely organized than the older branch of the movement and used different resources to help gather support for their work. Word of mouth, "fringe" documents, and the transference of information by women relocating around the country became the important means of communication which helped the spread of consciousness rais ing. There is a different "voice" in Freire 's wri t ing compared wi th the literature on consciousness ra is ing. F re i re objectifies the process. He describes the oppressed as "other". The oppressed that Fre i re wrote about are, for the most part i l l i terate, and therefore his message is not to them, but to other educators. Feminis ts write as both subject and object of the consciousness rais ing process. They write from the position of both part icipant and teacher in order to share the principles of consciousness rais ing. W h e n considering the outcome of consciousness raising, there are difficulties because of its informal nature and because of the problems in finding materials 77 developed by consciousness ra is ing groups. The exception is Free Space (Allen, 1970) which presents the reflections of women who were engaged in the process for over a year. Their level of analysis and understanding provides powerful val idat ion for the consciousness ra is ing process. The research which has assessed outcomes of consciousness rais ing refers to changes in part icipants ' attitudes and self esteem, but often asserts that there were no significant behavioural changes or act ivi ty of a political nature as a result of participation in consciousness ra is ing. These conclusions must be questioned, wi th careful attention to the perspective and operationalization of 'political act ivi ty ' . Consciousness ra is ing, which validated the personal as political, has provided many of the queries which have led to a cri t ical and woman-centred approach to research. The level of awareness in the public regarding the pervasiveness of discr iminatory practices based on gender must be attributed in some respects to the outcome of consciousness ra is ing. The differences between these two practices reflect their different contexts, and point to a connection between part icular techniques and the nature of the oppression being fought against. This connection raises further questions about the learning activities of social movements: A r e part icular structures which include coordinators/teachers and codification required i n the fight against class oppression? When the struggle is against sexism, are there techniques peculiar to the learning process such as the exclusion of men and leaderless structures? Similar i t ies Both of these consciousness ra is ing activities share the assumption that changes in consciousness are cri t ical to achieving the goals of l iberation and equality. The identification of similari t ies also reveals a shared understanding of the dialectical relationship between consciousness and praxis . Thei r his tory is 78 s imilar as wel l , in that both were developed as a result of an inductive process where thoughts and ideas grew out of and were constantly being altered by experience. The following characteristics were found to be common to both consciousness ra is ing and conscientization. A s a result of this study, they are suggested as the principles of consciousness ra is ing which can guide the design and selection of techniques, curr iculum, and structure and which can guide the consciousness ra is ing process in a variety of contexts. These principles are: 1. Tha t the themes, content, or curr iculum are generated from the experiences and day to day real i ty of the learners, as perceived by the learners. 2. Tha t the communication amongst learners-teachers is dialogical, that is, a reciprocal exchange between equals wherein teacher is learner and learner is teacher. 3. Tha t the process must be collective and move through phases of shar ing (co-investigation), analysis (codification), and abstraction (decodification). 4. Tha t the process reflects the dialectical relationship between individual and social change, between consciousness and history, between praxis and thought, and between data and theory. These principles are familiar ones to adult education. They have been arr ived at inductively through this comparison and could be considered as confirmation of the principles of adult learning. Considering that they are the common elements of processes defined as liberating, perhaps the l ink of adult education to social movements can st i l l be found wi thin the principles of adult learning. Such evidence should prove heartening to those who support the philosophy that adult education as a tool for social change. 79 Limita t ions of A n a l y s i s The comparative method which was used in this analysis points to limitations one must observe when generalizing and apply ing the results. In order to compare two practices, decisions have to be made regarding the collection of mater ia l and categories for comparison. Al though the decisions were based upon broad understanding of the purpose of this study and an effort to avoid narrowing the selection of information prematurely, they nonetheless l imi t the study. Therefore the implications of this analysis are l imited to considering consciousness ra is ing activities connected to social movements. The categories selected in this comparison also l imit this study to understanding par t icular aspects of the process. It must be emphasized that the "field" explored consisted of wr i t ten l ibrary resources which l imits the analysis to the information and perspectives provided by the authors of such mater ial . This step is a pre l iminary one to undertaking a study of ongoing activities. This study is l imited as wel l by the fact that only two practices were compared. A larger, more ambitious analysis of several groups or activities would give rise to more substantiated conclusions. Implications for Practice This comparative analysis has indicated how the learning activities of both consciousness ra is ing and conscientization emerged from par t icular contexts and how these learning activities both reflect and have helped to develop the ideology and praxis of the social movements from which they emerged. Those who attempt to understand the learning activities of social movements should recognize the importance of the history of the movement and the complex factors which have helped to shape the learning activities. Thus , this study indicates the importance of acquiring a contextual sensitivity when work ing in or s tudying the learning 80 activities connected to social movements. Such a perspective w i l l help to prevent apply ing such processes as recipes for liberation. M u c h discussion has arisen around the notion that adult education should consider its historical connection to social movements and rekindle such partnerships wi th social movements. Both social movements and adult educators could benefit from shar ing their experience and understanding about adult learning. Ideally, such a partnership would be based on mutual respect and dialogue. This author affirms, however, that consciousness ra is ing and conscientization must be recognized as methods of liberating social movements, and should not become methods for adult education to increase participation nor a technique for behavioural change. In its eagerness to "relight the fire", adult education must be cognizant of the danger of domination and invasion into the activities of social movements. Th is comparison, by presenting Freire 's work in relation to consciousness rais ing, raises questions about each method, but has also led to validation of each method. This comparison and identification of similari t ies and suggestion of principles, gives clues as to what Giroux (in Fre i re , 1985) meant by the "metalanguage" to be found not only in Freire 's conscientization process, but also wi th in the consciousness rais ing process. Concern over the application of Freire 's method to the Nor th A m e r i c a n context m a y indicate the practice of using his method without understanding those elements or principles which may be transplanted to different contexts, not just L a t i n A m e r i c a . Those who consider his approach as only a technique without first understanding the origins of conscientization, w i l l l ikely frustrate both themselves and the part icipants in their programs. Reaching this understanding, however, is 81 not an easy process as Frei re ' s wr i t ing style is often dry , circular , and abstract. Despite Freire 's concern about the dangers of a rmchai r intellectualism, his language makes his ideas inaccessible except to those wi l l ing to study h i m at length. Often educators believe they are unable to utilize Fre i re ' s method because of their view of the constraints wi th in which they must operate. The principles suggested as a result of this analysis can assist educators who could use them as signposts and create different methods and techniques wi th in the l imits of their work setting. Grid- l ike application denies the importance of contextual limits and does not encourage creativity or understanding of the basic principles of Freire 's method. Recognizing these principles as guidelines allows for creat ivi ty on the part of educators who for the most par t are a lways work ing wi th in boundaries. These concerns are also relevant to feminists who m a y be impatient to achieve changes. A s was discussed above, apply ing consciousness rais ing in a grid-like fashion w i l l l ikely result in manipulat ion and domination. Instead, feminists who understand the principles which guide this process can recreate it in different contexts and wi th consideration of the l imitat ions wi th in each different situation. A s feminist perspectives and analysis shift and expand, and as changes in consciousness are continual, feminists m a y find that these principles offer some stabili ty wi th in such a t ransforming context. Ea r l i e r in this chapter, questions were raised regarding the connection of these methods to the nature of oppression. This comparison has indicated that both methods have arisen from a middle class perspective. Is the consciousness rais ing process only effective for middle class women? Fu tu re activities that involve a working class population of women m a y or m a y not reveal a s imi lar process. 82 O n the one hand, feminists working wi th such groups or suggesting strategies for working class women should not assume that the consciousness ra i s ing process is appropriate. O n the other hand, perhaps some of the problems that the movement has faced recently, such as women who resist the notion of feminism and who consciously argue that they are not feminists, reflect the need for the consciousness rais ing process to continue. Whatever the process, one principle that seems cri t ical to feminism is going to the women themselves and allowing them to tell their story. Th is may require different strategies for different contexts. Work ing class women who consider the Women 's Movement as irrelevant to their lives, may be indicating that what they understand and hear about feminism and from feminists has no meaning to their day to day reali ty. In particular, the Women's Movement has had l imited impact on women's economic situation (women continue to earn less than men). The consciousness ra is ing process has indicated the importance of constantly submit t ing real i ty for analysis . What does the reali ty of increasing economic dispari ty between men and women tell feminists about the causali ty of such inequality and the strategies needed for change? Feminis ts and Freire can learn a great deal from each other. Fre i re could make his wri t ings more accessible by including more concrete examples that give meaning to his discussions of liberation and consciousness. Freire 's perpective of praxis could be enhanced by the experiences and difficulties that women face as they attempt to practice wi th a feminist consciousness. B y studying feminist analysis of consciousness raising Freire could add to his "wor ld" view of conscientization. Frei re needs to recognize the sexist nature of his wr i t ing and the barr iers it creates for many who could learn much from his analysis , but tu rn away 83 because of his style. Feminis ts could learn from Fre i re ' s discussion of the nature of oppression and his "macro" view of changes in consciousness from magical , transitive, to cri t ical . Frei re ' s analysis of cul tura l invasion could assist feminists in differentiating between superficial transformations 'al lowed' by the dominant order and those which lead to true liberation. Perhaps Fre i re ' s ideas could help explain the opposition to women's liberation from groups such as R E A L Women. A r e they a more visible example of the oppressor housed within? Adu l t educators can find allies in the Women 's Movement. Both groups can benefit greatly by shar ing their knowledge and experiences. In many ways the learning activities wi th in the Women's Movement have tested and proven much of what has been defined as "rhetoric" wi th in adult education. There needs to be further collaboration between the practice and research wi th in the Women's Movement and adult education. Implications for Research This study has indicated the potential of us ing the comparative method as an approach to exploring the learning activities of social movements or those nonformal activities that seek to challenge the relationship to the dominant order. Th is approach should be considered as par t icular ly useful for future research. Bui ld ing on this study, future research could explore other educational activities of social movements to continue this process and to substantiate the conclusions made. A larger, more ambitious comparative analysis of several practices of consciousness rais ing could lead to the development of a model or theory of consciousness raising. Future research could examine in more detail only one of the categories or principles suggested, for example the t ra in ing of coordinators/teachers involved wi th 84 consciousness raising activities. Other explorations could focus on the dynamics of leadership to test Freire 's notion of "class suicide". Future efforts could also look at the process of generating themes and those environments which inhibit or support a dia logicalform of communication. Other studies could pursue the questions raised regarding the connection between educational techniques and structure, and the nature of oppression (ie. gender, race, class). Does the middle class origin of consciousness ra is ing reveal a middle class bias? A r e working class women prevented from part icipat ing in s imi lar processes because of economic and cul tural barriers? A r e there other learning activities which are specific to working class women which lead to changes in consciousness? A r e there learning activities which must precede the process of consciousness raising as defined by this study such as those that would develop li teracy skills and assertiveness? Future study of programs which have applied Freire 's work could be examined for evidence of the principles suggested i n this study. Programs wi th in different cultures and contexts could be compared to ascertain whether these principles reflect a "Western" bias. Future research agendas could pursue the question of whether consciousness raising has been transformed and relocated into other kinds of activities. Is consciousness rais ing the "feminist method", w i th the principles, as outlined in this thesis, guiding the learning activities? Future research could examine the implications of consciousness ra is ing from the perspective of the participants, wi th attention to the difficulties inherent in the praxis of a new consciousness. Those studies that examine the political impact of consciousness ra is ing, could operationalize political activity based on a feminist v iew, that is , the 85 day to day interactions and decisions made by feminists as they encounter a sexist world. This research process reveals the importance for effective social movements to continually submit their practice for analysis . In the urgency to take action and make decisions, time for thought and reflection seems limited. Understanding the factors which affect both success and failure is important information i f l iberating social movements are to continue to create viable alternatives to discrimination and inequality. Such analysis allows for visions of the future, not only understanding of causali ty. Concluding Remarks It must be emphasized that this l inear presentation of the steps taken in this analysis is not representative of the actual process. A truer picture would resemble a circular or spira l process rather than a straight line. The comparison also shifts from one level to another and is much like peeling back the layers of an onion. W i t h each inspection, subtler levels of both similarities and differences are revealed. W i t h the identification of a s imi la r i ty , there was often the simultaneous recognition of differences. The comparative process is difficult and slow wi th much circl ing back to redefine what was previously considered in light of new understandings. The first step in this process was the collection of information on the social movements from which these activities emerged. A t this stage comparisons were already being made and suggestions for categories taking shape. A s mater ia l was discovered about a part icular perspective of Braz i l ' s Reform Movement, then this author would attempt to collect s imi lar information on the Women's Movement, and vice versa. The literature was examined many times over as new understandings 86 were reached and as new themes for comparison emerged. A t times it was difficult to separate the act of comparison wi th the steps of description and juxtaposi t ion. The notion that there are "steps" in the comparative process gives a false picture of the actual nature of comparison which involves much back and forth and moving between levels of analysis. 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