n Education as Change - Power and participation in and through service learning

Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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In recent times there has been a proliferation of community service learning projects within universities. The aim of this paper is not to refute community service learning initiatives within higher education, but rather to draw attention to the ways in which power relations might be concealed within them, ultimately subjecting them to the very same forces they claim to be resisting. We urge for the need to go beyond rhetoric and to examine the underlying assumptions that inform current practices - explicitly or implicitly. Foucault's work on power and empowerment has been found to be useful in understanding the relationships between service, power, participation and learning. We conclude by pointing out that all is not lost and propose reflexivity as a strategy that may assist to more critically interrogate the ways in which we recruit service learning and community participation into higher education in South Africa.

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