When Pedagogies Pathologize: Theorizing and Critiquing the Therapeutic Turn in Education

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This conceptual and theoretical paper seeks to analyze the dynamics and consequences of psychologization and therapization, key mechanisms of the therapeutic turn in education. In particular, it focuses, on how the pathologization of social problems occasions individualization and the production of self-reliant and inward-looking subjects trained to maximize human capital according to the tenets of neoliberalism. Second, it explains the principles of a critical approach to education that is informed by the concept of intersectionality. It shows how this concept might be helpful in interrogating and addressing structurally embedded inequalities and injustices. Informed by the insights of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, this approach engenders a contextualized and nuanced analysis of social forces, social identities, and ideological instruments through which power and disadvantage are expressed and legitimized. To further illustrate its importance, insurgent citizenship education, a concept drawn from the experiences of a Philippine school for displaced indigenous groups will be discussed.