Proceedings Journal Article — The Poet and the Educator: Notes for a Comparative Study on the Early Works of Octavio Paz and Paulo Freire — by Jorge Capetillo-Ponce


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This essay involves a brief sketch of the basic ideas of Octavio Paz and Paulo Freire, and a few notes at the end that can help us in the attempt of a comparative study of their early work (ideological traditions they draw upon; treatment of alienation and dialectics; treatment of colonialism and lackof originality; treatment of oppression and liberation; and contributions to a Latin American understanding of modernity). I focus on both thinkers’ early work for three reasons. First, because The Labyrinth of Solitude and The Pedagogy of the Oppressed are not only Paz’s and Freire’s most-widely-read works, but also because we find in these works a common theme: the analysis of alienation—even though from very different ideological perspectives. Second, in each text the reader can get acquainted with many of the central themes that each thinker would develop further in later years. And third, because during the early stages of their careers, when the Labyrinth and the Pedagogy were written, both Paz and Freire were interested in revolutionary causes. Freire kept this interest throughout his life, but for Paz the time he spent in Paris writing the Labyrinth coincided with an enthusiasm for the work of Marx and other classical writers of communism and socialism—as well as works from the anarchist and libertarian traditions—that waned in his later years.

Recommended Citation

Capetillo-Ponce, Jorge. 2004. “The Poet and the Educator: Notes for a Comparative Study on the Early Works of Octavio Paz and Paulo Freire.” Pp. 187-196 in Liberating Social Theory: Inspirations from Paulo Freire for Learning, Teaching, and Advancing Social Theory in Applied Settings: Proceedings of the First Annual Social Theory Forum, April 7, 2004, UMass Boston (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 6, Issues 2, Fall 2004). Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.

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