The Stark Reality of the ‘White Saviour’ Complex and the Need for Critical Consciousness: A Document Analysis of the Early Journals of a Freirean Educator




Straubhaar, Rolf

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Taylor & Francis


While the Anglophone academic literature has long engaged in analysis of the role of privilege in the work of educators in the global North, this article represents an initial foray into such analysis in non-formal educational settings in the global South. Through a cultural-textual document analysis of 12 months of personal journal entries written by the author while working as a Freirean adult educator in Mozambique, this article documents a lack of recognition of social privilege exhibited by the author in these entries, which is here referred to as the White Savior complex. This article also documents how the pursuit of what Freire calls critical consciousness can effectively problematize this privileged mindset.



critical consciousness, privilege, document analysis, self-study, Freire, Paulo, Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology


Straubhaar, R. (2015). The stark reality of the ‘White Saviour’ complex and the need for critical consciousness: A document analysis of the early journals of a Freirean educator. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(3), pp. 381-400.


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