Freedom, aesthetics, and the agôn of living in Maxine Greene's work

John Baldacchino

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Maxine Greene argues that to take a position is to make a choice. This choice is concrete, free and active. It is a matter by which one does philosophy and by which one engages one’s action with the world. More importantly, Greene’s work confirms that we cannot essentialize our choices into a series of experiential reactions. Many seem to forget that choices are active decisions in that they deeply represent our ability to turn experience into forms of anticipation. Starting with experience, Greene asserts a Deweyian stance, especially when this is markedly posed as active, rather than passive. When it comes to choice there is a curious relationship between Greene’s and Arendt’s approach on the relationship between choice, freedom and action. This paper will confirm how beyond Arendt and Dewey, Greene asserts her own originality, where her philosophical approach is often mediated by her equally original take on art and aesthetics education. In Greene, one finds how choice also presents us with necessary tensions that articulate an agôn of living; indeed, an agôn of creation by which we sustain our ways of living—democratically and together—but also by struggling against what continues to separate us into isolated individuals in societies that are fragmented by obstacles and oppression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-38
Number of pages21
JournalReview of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Early online date15 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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