The MAPA Social Innovation Lab
Working at the Intersection of Theory U and Freirean Pedagogy
Keywords:Otto Scharmer, Paolo Freire, awareness-based social change, social transformation, consciousness, gender equality
AbstractThe purpose of this commentary is to invigorate the theoretical approach used by the MAPA Social Innovation Lab in its effort to elaborate a gender equality narrative for the 21st century. To this end, I examined the intersection of Otto Scharmer's Theory U with the main postulates of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogical method, as reflected in the MAPA Social Innovation Lab process. The discussion passes through three axes: the construction of collective consciousness, the role of culture, and the theory-praxis dilemma for social transformation. I make the case that Scharmer (Thoery U) and Freire agree that the search for authentic or generative consciousness is an indispensable step in the reshaping of society. Freire offers a comprehensive methodology for the understanding of culture and social transformation which can been seen as complementary to Scharmer's co-sensing. Taken together they address the issue of "historical viability". The aim of these reflections on the intersection of Theory U and Freire is that they will nurture MAPA´s—and other social innovation labs'—action research, political activism, and praxis towards a vigorous gender narrative for the 21st century.
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