Power, Identity, and the Construction of Knowledge in Education

Lana J. Vindevoghel


This paper explores the social construction of knowledge, identity formation, and the ways in which the education system supports dominant societal ideology. I examine how dominant historical and societal ideologies are deeply cultivated and facilitated through education systems, including forcefully through the residential school system and, in many cases, subtly through post-secondary education. Further, I identify the method in which personal biases, predisposed by dominant social influence, are subconsciously reflected in the classroom through micro-aggressive behaviour. Weber’s (2010) framework of themes provides a comprehensive perspective from which to understand the nature in which identity is influenced by dominant societal ideology. Finally, I analyze the social construction of knowledge, development of identity, and support of dominant ideology through Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and Foucault’s theory of discourse. The discussion then shifts to describe how conscientization and critical reflection can provide a step forward towards diminishing dominant societal ideology within the educational environment and create a path to embracing Freire’s concept of liberating education.

Keywords: knowledge; identity; ideology; education


knowledge; power; identity; education

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