Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-12-2017


This dissertation is centrally concerned with the ways in which Erich Fromm’s critical analysis of society can be applied to education, specifically looking at the ways in which Fromm’s conceptualizations of freedom, ethics, and love can be used both to critique education and to provide an alternative vision of education through an ethic of love. With its focus on humanization and freedom, critical pedagogy offers a powerful critique, but its liberatory potential has yet to be fully realized, largely because of the ways in which critical theory has been engaged in the work of critical pedagogy. Fromm’s work offers a necessary complication to critical pedagogy through his analysis of the psychological and emotional dimensions of authentic humanization. Combining the liberatory aims of critical pedagogy with Fromm’s work enables us to reveal how schooling functions to perpetuate negative freedom, to propose a universal ethic or moral vision for critical educational studies, and to engage in a critical humanizing praxis. Ultimately, the hope of this project is to show how a more complex understanding of freedom that centers a critical theory of love allows us to develop a pedagogical framework where education as the practice of positive freedom becomes synonymous with teaching as an ethic of love.


Erich Fromm, Education, Freedom, Love, Liberatory Education, Critical Consciousness

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ricky Lee Allen

Second Committee Member

Glenabah Martinez

Third Committee Member

Katherine Crawford-Garrett

Fourth Committee Member

Neil McLaughlin