Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

The New Extremism and Politics of Distraction in the Age of Austerity

A language of critique and educated hope suggests a new and spirited struggle against a culture of civic illiteracy, one in which the commanding institutions of society are divorced from matters of ethics, social responsibility and social cost. The new extremism in American society, which attempts to make critical thinking irrelevant and render hope a paralyzing cynicism, must be challenged by a politics and pedagogy that have the capacity not only to “influence those in power” but also mobilize those who don’t have power.”  This is a pedagogy that should “not only shift the way people think about the moment, but potentially energizes them to do something different.”  A politics that merges critique and hope recognizes that while the idea of the good society may be weakened, it is far from an idea that can be relegated to the dustbin of history.


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