Music Education Publications

What do we think we know?


Cathy Benedict

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education

First Page


Last Page



This chapter argues for a pedagogy of recognition and against a simplistic, didactic educative stance of “preparing students for social justice.” The question this chapter pursues is not how to best prepare or produce a student to be socially just, but rather how educators can facilitate moments of freedom, or “acting out with others” (Arendt, 1958, p. 198). Pedagogical engagements that disconnect individuals from acts of humanity and grace and the development of self-fueled ideological aims ensure competition, domination, and superiority. This suggests an interrogation of those engagements that have been, as Arendt (1998) suggests, “uncritically and slavishly accepted” (p. 179). The chapter examines concepts and constructs that are taken for granted—furthering individual pride, creating and posting class rules, and building upon “what is known”—revealing that social justice or socially just actions are neither the reproduction of an existing discourse nor preparation for future goal-oriented behaviors.

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