Emancipatory Discourse and Liberation

Management Learning Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 5, pp. 519-540, 2008

37 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2008 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012

See all articles by Joseph A. Raelin

Joseph A. Raelin

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business; University of Cape Town (UCT) - Graduate School of Business

Date Written: December 6, 2008


This paper takes up an important question that has puzzled learning theorists in the critical tradition, namely, are the dialogic practices of emancipatory discourse sufficient to change oppressive conditions in the power structure of modern organization? In other words, can critical dialogic processes change the social order to close the gap between a privileged class of managers and workers, or do we require class struggle and structural reform? By elaborating on such methods as dialogue, public reflection, and action science, the author attempts to make the case that marginalized groups in society might find their voice in projects that are intentionally contextualized and publicly reflective. These methods have found applications in some illustrated critical pedagogies, though not without strain induced from conventional institutions. The paper concludes with an enumeration of some conditions under which emancipatory discourse and liberationist struggle may coincide.

Keywords: emancipation, liberation, praxis, dialogue, public reflection, action science, critical action learning, critical discourse analysis, critical theory

JEL Classification: M14, M54, P11, P21,O15, D63, B14, B24

Suggested Citation

Raelin, Joseph A., Emancipatory Discourse and Liberation (December 6, 2008). Management Learning Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 5, pp. 519-540, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1312463

Joseph A. Raelin (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.leaderfulconsultancy.com

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Graduate School of Business ( email )

Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa

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