The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

tionships rooted in institutionalized ideologies which one has internalized in one's psychological history. Learners must consequently be led to an understanding of the reasons imbedded in these internalized cultural myths and concomitant feelings which account for their felt needs and wants as well as the way they see themselves and their relations! ( Mezirow, 1979: 28).

Indeed, the last--and a crucial--aspect of a theoretical program in emancipatory education and critical theory is to refine the linkages and metatheoretical and theoretical bridges between this tradition and postpluralist theories of the state.

These challenges cannot wait too long to be addressed, particularly at the level of planning. Morales-Gómez is right when he affirms that "efforts to plan education have been framed in a technocratic rationale of neo-classical economic efficiency . . . and a naive rhetoric about reaching and benefiting the poor, without taking into account the inherent ideological contradictions that this implies" ( 1989: 198). Indeed, the above challenges are an even more pressing demand in the context of Latin American societies that are experiencing, in the words of Norberto Gonzilez, executive secretary of the Economic Commission of Latin America:

The most severe and prolonged crisis of the last fifty years, which has forced us to undertake a thorough reassessment of many of our long-standing assumptions concerning development. This reassesment covers both long-term development strategies and short-term economic policies on the one hand, and the role of economic agents and the manner in which they operate, on the other. (in Morales- Gómez , 1989: 204 n.16)

The politics of nonformal education in Latin America have to be viewed in the context of these pervasive economic and social crises, but also in the context of the theoretical impasse that seems to prevail in the sociology of development ( Vandergeest and Buttel, 1988; Sklair, 1988) and eventually in the sociology of education ( Whitty, 1985). A main disadvantage of the situation as it is, is the lack of resources of any kind, even at the level of sociological imagination. The advantage is that at times of crisis, new research programs may emerge. New research programs can produce a new, fresh look at all these conflicting scenarios. It may perhaps be too naive to hope that these new research agendas will be developed from, and be informed with, theoretical rigor, progressive politics, and human compassion.


NOTES
1.
In spite of some positivist overtones, I basically agree with Leslie Sklair's argument that "metatheory is a set of assumptions about the constituent parts of the world and about the possibility of knowledge of them" ( 1988: 697), while theory, which can logically be deducible from a metatheory, "is a set of propositions derived directly or in-

-151-

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