Analysis of the power structures by way of, for example, the unmasking of mechanisms of exploitation and dependencewhich "international aid" imposes on the Third World, (Document No. 2), the study of the institutions of social controlwhich insure the ideological consensus in the highly industrialized societies, (Document No. 5/6), or a critique of theeducational system, (Document No. 8).Theoretical reflection based on an involvement with a given social group as, for example, the analysis of the women'smovement, (Document No. J), or the process of political education carried on among, the Aymara people of Peru,(Document No. 4).And it is in this latter category, that of research done on the basis of a direct involvement, that we are aided by themethodology of the militant observer.
We propose, therefore, in the following pages, to explain this methodology, to examine the conditions for its applicationand the scientific foundation on which it rests, and to look at its concepts of society, social science, and the role of theresearcher.In order to examine this methodology, we must begin a reflection which will seen, at times, very theoretical aid veryabstract. But this requires an effort, which must not and cannot be avoided. In order that the social science cease to be themonopoly of the so-called experts and specialists, oppressed groups must learn to appropriate for them- selves the"scientific knowledge" and use it as a tool in the process of struggle against manipulation and oppression.
Science, What For?
Six years ago the first American set foot on the moon. Pictures of the moment, published everywhere in the beautifulcolors of Life magazine, excited humanity. Even the jobless peasant of the Rio de Janeiro slums shared in this euphoriaand participated in the pride. That peasant, also, had seen the pictures on television or in the journals and suddenlyexperienced solidarity with “the human scientific spirit”.
The conquest of cosmic space promised a glorious future in which science could control and foresee everything, wherethe specialists of wisdom would become the only authorized masters. Deep inside everyone--or, at least in a great