Theory as Liberatory Practice





Theory as Liberatory Practice


Theory is not intrinsically healing, revolutionary, or liberatory. Theory performs this purpose only when tempted to do so, and articulate hypothesizing towards this end. Theory takes discipline and focus, because it is, easy to hypothesize for the sake of it. Hooks endeavors to express the fact that, it is likely to practice theorizing without ever knowing or possessing the phrase. This is comparable to the way one may act and live in feminist resistance devoid of ever using the term feminism.

Ironically, it is often the persons who utilize such phrases the least that take action the most, and vice versa. Therefore, it is easy to consider a theory as not entirely functional, self-indulgent, a type of narcissistic, politically non-progressive practice. The Theory as Liberatory Practice chapter endeavors to depict theory counterproductive, given that theory is so frequently used to generate a gap between conjecture and practice in order to achieve class elitism. Hooks hypothesizes that, to discard theory altogether is to underpin the severance of conjecture and action. The author wrote those expressions in the specific perspective of feminist political effort, but the point is broader.


There are several arguments that support Hooks position. These points of fact are illustrated below.

Hooks confirms the power of theory by an illustration paradigm whereby a number of elite academics who create theories in regard to ‘blackness’ in a manner that make it a crucial terrain which just the chosen few are able to enter. This fact has some common attributes with the people in society among us who act in response to those academics by advancing anti-intellectualism by proclaiming all theory as valueless. Both deny the authority of liberatory education for decisive consciousness, in so doing perpetuating environments that reinforce the collective repression and exploitation (Hooks 60).

The influence to engage the body, spirit, and mind is the potential of conjecture and the guarantee of truthfully liberatory education. If every human experience is entirely understood, possibly there would be no need to hypothesize further.

In the chapter, the author challenges the apparent dichotomy linking practice and theory or existing experience. The author attributes the gratuitous disinterest in feminist theory and feminism by women to this perceived dichotomy. According to the author, feminist conjecture presented as disconnected and/or mysterious in regard to real experiences in life as well as issues outside the classroom batters women’s fragile psyches in struggling to discard patriarchy’s tyrannical yoke (65).

This kind of theory edifies the academic departments, but, on the other hand, it undermines the liberatory movements. Theorizing ought to be linked to critical reflection, practice, action, and/ or real life experiences. This is what makes the feminist transformation achievable. Personal experience, personal testimony is merely fertile ground for the creation of liberatory feminist theory since it typically structures the base of Hooks theory (70).

Points of Discussion. Firstly, it is essential to note that, for individuals who may be interested in intellectual work as well as political change, the link between practice and theory can from time to time emerge as vague. However, Hooks is of the opinion that this needs not be the case, when she describes a theory as a place for healing (59). She remembers her childhood as an interlude of painful separation. How she constantly questioned authority and rules that estranged her from her family unit, for whom the effort to survive took precedence. For the author, finding theory that echoed her individual experiences of tyranny was a profoundly liberating experience. However, this should not designate that Hooks is completely unperturbed by the feminist theory, which often disregarded the issues and silenced the right to be heard of people of color.

Secondly, Hooks discusses a different type of silencing. When theory is put in writing in gratuitously complicated lingo, it can create a type of class elitism. It is essential to note that whichever theory that is not shared in daily conversation cannot be employed in educating the public. Therefore, movements that endeavor to change the lives of people, require finding approaches to express complex ideas in easy language. Political activists are likewise implicated in bridging the gap between praxis and theory. Activists would limit their efficiency in the event that they decline to engage with conjecture. Theory ought to call for action, and therefore, activists ought to be willing to investigate how theory would make their work increasingly effective (63).


This paper agrees entirely with Hooks’ concerns regarding difficult language. Even though, this paper appreciates the writers who communicate in complicated, meaty lingo, it generally finds that their thoughts are much simpler to engage with if expressed via the voice of a different critic. It appears that thinkers that are able to come up with intricate theories ought to be able to express them plainly. Hook’s writing, provides an exceptional paradigm of the manner in which this is doable. This is clearly evident in the following quotation from the text:

“When our lived experience of theorizing is fundamentally linked to processes of self-recovery, of collective liberation, no gap exists between theory and practice” (61).

Hooks proposes that conjecture as healing may be transformed into action, and this paper suggests that one opportunity for action is to distribute and share theory with the people who are experiencing anguish, in order that, they would be empowered by acquiring the necessary resources to comprehend their affliction. Hooks also transforms her conjecture into deed when she alleges that antagonism toward theory undermines the feminist struggle in opposition to oppression, signifying that rather than complaining, feminists ought to work in promoting the significance of theory in relation to feminist movements. In order to move past the critical part, feminists should be actively all-encompassing and progressive by endeavoring to maintain positive mind-sets when confronted with struggle, seeking an opportunity to make matters work or to transform things rather than giving up and complaining. Upon examination of analyses of Hooks’ theory, this paper is of the opinion that a variety of translations of theory into deed may exist at the same time. Translations indirectly or directly created by theorists, translations generated by individuals while studying theory, as well as translations generated by groups subsequent to studying theory are all paradigms of theory translation into activism.While reflecting and writing this paper, the numerous features of feminist activism, come to the surface. The author endeavors to encourage readers to confront their fears, whenever they engage in feminist activities or discussions, which relate to theory.

According to the text, it is apparent that theory and activism are facets of identity since they are fundamental to feminism. They are distinctive yet they interact, which demonstrates the spaciousness, and intricacy of feminism.

Works Cited

Bell Hooks. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, London, Routledge. 1994. Print