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Susan Birden

Abstract

Widely accepted adult education methods often lead learners into confessional rituals. While confession is sometimes considered to be “good for the soul,” Michel Foucault’s (1990) deconstruction of confession in The History of Sexuality argues that confession is dangerous and that Western assumptions about the curative and liberatory effects of confession are erroneous. In this paper I uncover flaws in Foucault’s assumptions and contend that his claims cannot be applied universally. Then, utilizing Lewis Hyde’s (1983) definition of gift exchange, I theorize a “re-gifting” approach for adult educators to use when confronted with learners’ confessions. This theoretical project’s approach transforms the confessional rite into gateways for collaborative inquiry, rhetorical agency, artistic self-creation, and healing.

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Jun 7th, 9:04 AM

Healed Femurs and Artistic Toeholds: Making the Case for “Re-Gifting” Learners’ Educational Confessions

Widely accepted adult education methods often lead learners into confessional rituals. While confession is sometimes considered to be “good for the soul,” Michel Foucault’s (1990) deconstruction of confession in The History of Sexuality argues that confession is dangerous and that Western assumptions about the curative and liberatory effects of confession are erroneous. In this paper I uncover flaws in Foucault’s assumptions and contend that his claims cannot be applied universally. Then, utilizing Lewis Hyde’s (1983) definition of gift exchange, I theorize a “re-gifting” approach for adult educators to use when confronted with learners’ confessions. This theoretical project’s approach transforms the confessional rite into gateways for collaborative inquiry, rhetorical agency, artistic self-creation, and healing.