Power, Manipulation and Control in a Community of Inquiry

  • Pavel Lushyn
  • David Kennedy


Introduction: In a previous paper, we introduced the notion of pedagogical imposition, and argued for its importance in understanding the psychodynamics of CI. Practitioners of Cl usually define themselves as engaged in a liberatory pedagogy - that is, a form of teaching which avoids imposition on or manipulation of students. This paper will argue that, if we view the classroom as a system, this is a naive assumption. This argument is based, in turn, on our assumption that, first, any interactive system involves relations of power; and second, that any specifically pedagogical system involves unequal relations of power. But our argument will go further, and claim that in fact that in any system, relations of power are always ambiguous and shifting. Power may be exercised coercively or subversively, but any equilibrium which pretends to finality presupposes either stagnation of the system or its death.