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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Abandon voice? Pedagogy, the body, and late capitalism

  • Author(s): Snaza, Nathan
  • Lensmire, Timothy J
  • et al.

The concept of voice—despite important criticism—continues to be one of the most powerful metaphors we have for thinking about agency and authorship in politics and education. In the first part of this article, Timothy Lensmire summarizes his previous work on voice, in which he criticized two popular conceptions and proposed a new one. Then, Nathan Snaza discusses Barbara Kamler’s response, grounded in feminist and poststructuralist commitments, to Lensmire’s work. Despite much agreement with Lensmire, Kamler argues that voice should be abandoned as a leading metaphor in critical pedagogies, in favor of story or text. In the third section, we return to an earlier text by one of the leading figures in writing pedagogy, Peter Elbow, in which he claims that instead of worrying about whether voice or text is best, we need to adopt a both/and approach; however, we find he privileges reception over production. In the final section, we argue for using the metaphor of voice precisely because it can call attention to the moment of production. This moment holds potential, in our account, for a concrete project of democracy.

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