Unmasking Power: Foucault and Adult Learning
Adult educators talk emphatically of empowerment as a process through which adult learners find their voices and develop the self-confidence to take control of their lives. Empowering adults has come to signify what is distinctive and admirable about the field. Michel Foucault, the French social theorist, developed an analysis of productive power coexisting to different degrees as repression and liberation. Foucault maintains that, in modern society, sovereign power (exercised from above by a clearly discernible authority) has been replaced by disciplinary power (exercised by people on themselves and others in their lives). An appreciation of Foucault's ideas can help adult educators avoid a naive understanding of how power manifests itself in their daily practices—particularly the false face of apparently beneficient power exercised to help adult learners realize their full potential.Résumé
Les éducateurs d'adultes mettent de l'avant l'empowerment en tant que processus permettant aux apprenants de trouver leurs voix et de développer leur confiance en soi en vue de prendre le contrôle de leurs vies. L'empowerment des adultes en est arrivé à référer à ce qui est distinctif et admirable dans le domaine. Michel Foucault a élaboré une analyse du pouvoir de production qui co-existe à differents degrés comme force de répression et de libération. Foucault soutient que dans la société moderne le pouvoir souverain (celui exerce d'en haul par une autorité identifiable) a été remplacé par un pouvoir disciplinaire (exercé par les gens sur eux-mêmes, sur leur vie et sur celles d'autres personnes dans leur entourage). Un examen des vues de Foucault pourrait aider les éducateurs d'adultes à dépasser une compréhension naive de la manière dont le pouvoir se manifeste dans leurs activités courantes, particulièrement l'image erronée du pouvoir apparemment bénéfique exercé dans le but d'aider les apprenants adultes à réaliser leur plein potentiel.
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