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Research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences for a new Chile: ideas for organizing the discussion

These ideas are shaped by the struggles we have developed in recent years as knowledge organizations in general, and as an academic and disciplinary association in particular. In this context, the relationship between the democratization of knowledge and the perspective of rights and the deepening of democracy has been a central issue. We propose below to distinguish three levels of matter, with a view to arranging the discussion to come.

Physical, labor and research conditions

The first is the material instability of research, the manifestations of which are characterized by a wide scope that affects all areas of knowledge in a different way. We must add another complication: instability also affects differently according to the position you occupy in the academy. It reproduces prejudices and exceptions of a patriarchal, centralist, racial and class character. Moreover, the nature of scientific research and the Chilean academic system makes it impossible to address these issues in a centralized manner, because the spaces and institutions involved are multiple and have high degrees of autonomy.

In this dimension, it is important to highlight the difference with other disciplines of knowledge, because the established cognitive hierarchies unfortunately increase this situation and produce more urgency in our areas. We believe it is essential to enhance the production of the knowledge we cultivate. But we also understand that this is a transversal conflict.

conceptual and political level

To reflect on the relationship between the democratization of knowledge, the perspective of rights and the deepening of democracy from our regions, we can distinguish three potential conceptual and political inputs that, although converging in multiple ways, have different characteristics and manifestations.

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The first is the democratization of forms of knowledge production. This is directly related to both the improvement of the material conditions of those of us engaged in research and knowledge building, as well as to the social expansion of access to technologies and processes that allow the production of human, artistic and social knowledge. In this framework, universities play a central role, with regional universities in particular being strengthened.

The second relates to cognitive democratization, which refers to overcoming disciplinary hierarchies between different ways of knowing reality, which also means accepting that all knowledge lies historically, making any claim to purity relative. This idea also presupposes the expansion beyond the academic knowledge that is recognized as legitimate, a critical issue for human groups that have historically been excluded from the formal institutional framework of knowledge.

The third section focuses on the relationship between the arts, humanities and social sciences with emerging democratic and social challenges. In what way can we contribute to the manifestation, confrontation, and resolution of the conflicts or ills that deeply afflict our society? To begin to answer this question beyond illusions and dogmatism, it is necessary to open up concrete spaces for action. We hope that this possibility is closer to the hand of the current presidential debate and the constitutional process.

The relationship between the arts, humanities and the state

This is a multifaceted question, but three of them seem pivotal to us. The first is the question of the place of research in the arts and humanities within the system of knowledge production and transmission. Within this framework, there is consensus on the need to create a more robust institutional framework, giving us greater autonomy in the ways of evaluating and considering our fields within the broader research ecosystem. But the special character of such institutions, and the implications of taking this or that path, are still under discussion. The common diagnosis has not yet translated into clearer and more realistic proposals.

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Another component is the relationship between education and research in the arts and humanities. It is important to advance in the integration of the formal education system and the production of knowledge related to our fields. This is a process that has no practical reason only, such as promoting attitudes, skills, or values ​​that seem to be highly valued in contemporary democracies, such as the ability to argue, self-awareness, critical thinking, a propensity for dialogue or respect for human rights. We are also convinced that from our regions it is possible to enrich the life experience of all people, especially when the development of such knowledge and practices are closely linked to the needs and peculiarities of the educational and social communities in which they develop.

Specifically, strengthening and extending cases and tools that started with this task appears to be important. Also the possibility of cross training in our fields for all university professions.

The third edge is the need to open research in our fields towards an assertive dialogue with society. This means double movement. The first is to popularize research in the arts and humanities, incorporating country institutes conducting research, with the aim of contributing to more comprehensive insights into the problems being addressed. In turn, our areas should be present in the creation, implementation and implementation of public policies. For its integrated design, as well as to raise qualitative evidence from the respective communities. The promotion or creation of regional spaces for art and culture will be very important for this purpose. In fact, there is a file set of suggestions that emerged from our regions for the yet-to-be-considered epidemic.

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The second movement is to get rid of the technocratic and economic concepts of development, evidence and science that today seem to be dominant in the country, to assume that without an effective and serious dialogue with social and cultural diversity, it is impossible to build a country project. democracy. For this purpose, the arts and humanities can play an essential role.

* Enrique Ryopo, Braulio Rojas, Carolina Ginza, Matias Ayala

  • The content in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial font or its location the counter.