Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? On being critical about critical pedagogy in physical education

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A challenge for critical pedagogy in physical education is how to take forward an agenda in circumstances of precarity while avoiding the many pitfalls, such as indoctrination, utopianism and self-conceit, that could diminish its effectiveness as well as its reputation. This paper considers the possibility of being critical about critical pedagogy while remaining passionate for the cause of social justice through education. To date, it has appeared to be sufficient for critical pedagogues in physical education to regulate themselves, but this has failed to produce any agreement on how critical pedagogy might respond, for example, to rising precarity. Five key points emerge from an analysis of Burbules’ work on critical pedagogy. I consider how we might build self-awareness and self-critique into critical pedagogy in physical education, and by so doing address both the challenges raised by critiques of critical pedagogy and indeed the question itself of quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25062
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019


  • critical pedagogy
  • precarity
  • self-critique
  • physical education
  • PE
  • social justice

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