The Power Struggles of Human Philosophy
Class struggle, as Marxism insists, has always been a reality, especially in human society - whereby the dominant few make sure that the marginal majority remain so mentally, psychologically and physically. The Marxist concept of which is a political and socioeconomic principle based on economic activities required by human society to provide for its material needs, which is applicable in every aspect of human life. The economic base and the psychological superstructure are ways and means that ensure that the dominant power remains in power at the cost of the marginal masses. Of these two, the superstructure works more subtly and effectively. Customs, traditions, guardians of law, lunatic asylums, civil institutions like educational institutions - all are superstructural tools.
This essay is about one such tool - the banking concept of education (as Paolo Freire calls it). Freire's banking concept of education as well as Michel Foucault's idea in his essay "Panopticism", one being an educational institution and the other being a concept of law-keeping.
Both seem to be making the same argument, though in different contexts. Both talks about ways of making the powerful retain its power by keeping the powerless in a state of ignorance. However, the difference between the two is that while Friere suggests a way out of the clutches of the banking method of education, Foucault's essay is tinged in pessimism. Foucault's pessimism is so much so that if we read Friere in conjunction with Foucault, then the optimism exuded by Friere seems overshadowed by the Foucault's pessimism.
Paulo Friere's essay entitled "The 'Banking' Concept of Education" describes the education system which is followed all over the world as one in which the teacher narrates and the students are expected to memorize them without any room for...