Americas: Thought and Action, by Abraham Salazar, 2018. Mixed Media.
ACTIVIST RESEARCH IN THE AMERICAS OF THE 21st CENTURY
In the 21st century, there has been a gradual return and growing legitimization of Activist Scholarship. Although in its origins at the end of the 19th century the social sciences debated if scientific research of the social had value in itself or should be applied for it to be valuable, in the 20th century an objectivist and abstract turn dominated the deliberation to establish academic rigor based on the degree of separation that research had with the political, economic and social fields. The applied social sciences were separated from the non-applied social sciences, and the difference between the scientific and the humanistic was emphasized - at least in theory. Towards the end of the 20th century, counter-hegemonic feminist and postcolonial critiques regained their strength and, from a marginal space (academically speaking), managed to gradually restore social value and academic rigor to the studies that from their design to their application challenged social inequalities and promoted justice, closing the pre-established gap between academia and community from the notion of apolitical objectivism.
In this historical moment, nationally and transnationally characterized by growing socioeconomic differences, political polarization, armed conflicts and violence, environmental decay, forced migrations, and resistance social movements, activist scholarship becomes fundamental to articulate academic work with social action without compromising its legitimacy or scientific validity. For this reason, I was invited to edit a special issue of Revista CS on academic activism in the Americas of the 21st century with the aim of critically and constructively analyzing methodological strategies for social emancipation and the promotion of equity and justice. Although the objective of this issue is to highlight the value of academic activism, the articles must also maintain a critical and constructive view of the methodological strategies analyzed in order to improve their application and expand their theoretical implications.
This monographic issue includes seven manuscripts by academic activists from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and the United States, which together provide an enriching interdisciplinary, transnational and historical vision contribution and future projection on activist academic experiences, in addition to showing the potential and the relevance of this epistemological, ontological and theoretical-practical approach.
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