Debunking Critical Theory’s ‘Indoctrination’ Charge: Provisional Notes on Critical Diversity Literacy Pedagogy
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critical thinking
critical diversity studies
social justice

How to Cite

Steyn, M., & Vanyoro, K. (2023). Debunking Critical Theory’s ‘Indoctrination’ Charge: Provisional Notes on Critical Diversity Literacy Pedagogy. Research in Educational Policy and Management, 5(3), 128-144.


Several decades after the abolishment of the formal slave trade, the administrative colonisation of Africa by Europe, and the adoption of progressive international human rights laws for equality, there is no doubt that pro-social justice education is facing a massive backlash from the far right globally. As critical diversity studies teaching and learning practitioners and facilitators, we address how the normative order seeks to legitimise anti-social justice discourses using invalidated assumptions, including the myth that critical theoretical education employs indoctrination. We show how our work is about making visible the baseless and groundless nature of arguments made by the far right in their dismissal of critical theory (CT). Using experiences from teaching and learning in the Theories of Diversity, Otherness & Difference postgraduate course at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS), we show how CT is a pivotal pedagogical banister for the 21st century. A banister is a support structure along the rails of a staircase. CT in critical diversity studies (CDS) incorporates anti-foundational thinking, which assumes no fixed theoretical resting place as this simplifies the complexity of diversity issues. Overall, this article concludes that far from being a form of ‘indoctrination’, as is argued by the far right, CT is a useful pedagogical banister for our existence in the 21st century.
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