Participatory Research in Argentina: Three Experiences in the Educational Field within the Context of the Reinstatement of Democracy
The reinstatement of democracy in Argentina in 1983 was accompanied by the re-opening of channels for political participation, as well as the creation of spaces for civil participation, such as NGOs and initiatives of the Catholic Church, which had been closed during the military regime. These transformations also have affected the university, not only by democratization, but also by a renewed interest in participatory research strategies. In this context, participatory approaches have grown in importance, not only in academic circles, but also in experiences financed by international organizations like UNESCO, OAS (Organization of American States) IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), and less so by those organized by national or provincial ministries. However, participatory research has never reached the same academic status in Argentina as it has in other countries of South America.
The aim of this article is to analyze the main facets of knowledge production using participatory research methodologies in the educational field in Argentina. I define the concept of educational field in BOURDIEU's sense, that is, as a structured space of positions, as a force field that imposes its own rules, regularities and forms of authority, but also as an arena of struggle wherein the existing distribution of capital is disputed.
Finally, I present some initial reflections on why these kinds of methodologies are being resisted in the social sciences.