The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Examining the Janus Face of Power in Critical Literacy Through a Habermasian Lens

Cheu-jey Lee


This paper is concerned with the connection between the problematic of power in critical literacy and Jurgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action. It begins with a literature review of critical literacy to show that power can be oppressive or resisting/liberating. It argues that certain communicative parameters of Habermas’s theory of communicative action can be appropriated to address the oppressive and resisting/liberating aspects of power in critical literacy. This paper ends with a discussion of what power, relocated in Habermas’s framework, implies for critical literacy education.


power; critical literacy; literacy education; Jurgen Habermas; theory of communicative action

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