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Participation and Recognitionin Social Research

Emil A. Sobottka

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Latin American participatory research and critical theory of the Frankfurt School are rarely associated with one another, and also have not had effective dialogues that would allow mutual enrichments. This article, however, highlights some elective affinities between them in order to explore new resources for research and social engagement. Its focus relies on the question of the attitude of the researcher and the languages that allow articulating perceptions of injustice. After reviewing intuitions and proposals from the foundational period in critical theory and the tradition of participatory research, the text examines within these traditions the difficult question of the origin of normative principles that can serve as immanent criteria of judgement in analyses of reality. Finally it takes the proposed renewal of critical theory through the recovery of the language of recognition, according to Honneth, to ask if it could contribute to participatory research today.

Keywords: participatory research, critical theory, citizenship, emancipation