Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Brad J. Porfilio
Critical theory was born in Europe out of concerns among scholars about the powers of fascist states in the mid-twentieth century. The legacy of the so-called Frankfurt School is embodied in many research studies, critical pedagogies, and Utopian visions put forth by critical theorists in education for the past forty years. Critical theorists see education as a tool used by the ruling elite to sustain oppression along the lines of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. They have also offered pedagogies designed to rebuild schools and social and economic institutions in what they see as more egalitarian ways. Scholars in schools of education employ various methodological tools and theoretical insights across disciplines to reveal what causes social domination and suggest ways to subvert the corporate ordering of life. This entry briefly examines the origins of critical theory, then looks more closely at the many ways it has been applied in ...