The Importance of Community

Community, understood in conjunction with solidarity and coalition, lies at the center of a feminist value system (hooks 43). As a concept, community refers to the understanding that members of a group have of themselves as a collective and how they relate to each other based on that understanding. Feminism holds that patriarchy has socialized women and other historically marginalized groups to fear one another, and to believe they are “valueless and obtain value only by relating to or bonding with men” (hooks 43). Community stands as a tool for the theoretical and political goals of feminism, and the value of solidarity likewise guides feminist pedagogy.

Group and Community

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Feminist pedagogy, then, deliberately addresses notions of listening, speaking, risk-taking, respect, reconciliation, and mutuality as central to its success. The classroom offers opportunities to model the interactions that can embody the values of solidarity and shared power, and facilitate the goals of unveiling and dismantling oppressive structures and organizing for action. Practices of community building include discussion-based learning, collaborative assignments and assessments, consciousness-raising exercises, and activities and resources that tie classroom learning to activism in the outside community.

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