Do we Need a New Social Contract Pedagogy for our age of extremes? Reconstructing some Freirean concepts on citizenship and education for a deliberative democracy.

This keynote discusses the contemporary political context of education in America (and many other parts of the world) with an emphasis on the rise of political extremes, particularly the rise of authoritarian populism and the Alt-Right. The rise in the politics of identity is a consequence of the heightened sense of competition for material standards of living resulting from the intensification of neoliberalism, but also heightened sense of competition for power over the discourse in political and cultural realms surrounding identity politics. Drawing from Freire and the politics of liberation, a theory of social contract democratic pedagogy is proposed in which education is viewed as a key social policy and means to advance the ‘social contract’ of a deliberative democracy.

CARLOS ALBERTO TORRES is Distinguished Professor and former Director of the UCLA-Latin American Center. He is the Founding Director of the Paulo Freire Institute in São Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and UCLA. Dr. Torres has been a Visiting Professor in universities in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is also the holder of the UNESCO UCLA Chair on Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education, Department of Education, UCLA; and is a Foreign Fellow in The Royal Society of Canada (also called the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada), and a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.