Critical Theory and Critical Consciousness in African American Liberatory Struggle: An Analysis of Maulana Karenga’s Kawaida Theory
V. Njia Lawrence-Porter
William E. Cross, Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 1993 L424
viii, 143 leaves; 29 cm.
This study examines Kawaida Theory as it relates to the development of critical consciousness among African American people. Kawaida Theory is presented as a critical theory of social change and liberatory praxis developed out of the African American nationalist movement of the 1960s. The study contends that, although the development of Kawaida Theory has been a significant contribution to African American liberatory thought and practice, there are ideological contradictions inherent in the theory which limit its ability to affect critical consciousness.
The study first traces the historical and intellectual development of Kawaida Theory. Following the historical overview, the study analyzes consciousness as it relates to the concepts of popular culture, national culture, revolutionary vanguard, cultural revolution, and ideology using Paulo Freire's idea of liberatory pedagogy and critical consciousness as a theoretical framework.
The study concludes that the current conceptualization of the fundamental tenets of Kawaida Theory serve to limit the development of critical consciousness and that, as a critical theory, Kawaida falls short of its necessary role. This study also reveals two divergent discourses within the whole of Kawaida Theory-a popular discourse and an intellectual or scholarly discourse-which represents a core contradiction. The findings of this study challenge theorists of African American liberatory struggle to re-evaluate African American cultural nationalist thought, expand beyond its former role of creating counter-ideologies to European American cultural hegemony, and develop processes which allow African Americans to transform all forms of oppression, including oppressive paradigms which develop within the struggle for liberatory change.