Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

what do I want?

Reflecting on the question What do I want? I would like to outline what I imagine the proposal of this thesis could be, what its effects could be, how I think my research is supposed to be realized. Different objectives have been already mentioned while I tried to determine Who am I? and What should I do? . Those objectives represent different scopes that I would like to draw upon when imagining What do I want? .

On the one hand, certain objectives are not directly linked to the written result of this thesis. I perceive those objectives as immanent features of the process of research action(s) in general. By realizing research action(s) based on the ground I prepared while asking Who am I? , I aim to realize those objectives [or not]. I consider those objectives as guiding objectives for me and my [research] praxis. I could draw on them in other contexts’ as well because they are to a large extend not directly rela- ted to the situation in São Paulo, even though their relevance became only appa- rent to me while I stayed in São Paulo, together with the people.

Looking back at the time in the city, as already mentioned elsewhere (p.14) , these guiding objectives represent a form of intended praxis but fulfilling all of them or even just a fraction is difficult to achieve. They depend just to a certain extend on my own praxis, intention and attitude. Important factors such as time or the lack thereof for instance, are hard to influence because they may be imposed upon me by larger structural factors such as the limited time frame this thesis has to be completed in or the long lasting process of building relations based on friendship, solidarity and trust.

Therefore I consider the guiding objectives of my thesis as framework I try to act upon but I also know that I cannot and will not achieve all of them.

The other type of objectives I would like to mention, are those that are directly linked to the thesis theorizing, its written form and the outlook beyond thesis completion.

By writing this thesis from an activist perspective , by not being a mere academic observer but also by not being entirely engaged in struggle as mentioned elsewhere (p.39) , I feel a certain dilemma . I do not intend to propose what to do next from an academic perspective but I also cannot claim transformation as radical and profound as the people in São Paulo do, because I am still an alien in a way, even though not a complete stranger, but now disconnected from the city and its people, especially while writing this lines, back at home. I think I would feel better if I had formulated this thoughts after a couple of years of intense living, experiencing and participating, as continuation of what I started to experience during my time in São Paulo.

I base this thesis theorizing upon street experience, on street and movement theo- rizing, and I consider this thesis as part of the struggle of the people. In the midst of my dilemma I certainly believe that this thesis could contribute to gain different perspectives of the lived urban space and struggle we are all part of in our [everyday, academic, activist, marginalized, privileged, criminal] life, on the processes that produce and shape our lived space we are struggling in, in order to transform it and in order to re-possess the means of production of our lived space , the city, thus us.

A final note though on the lack of a research question that is often demanded in academic theorizing. In my current position I doubt I could formulate a research question. I could propose a question about possible strategies for movement struggle but the current frame of my research does not offer the space for such a proposal nor am I involved in any struggle in São Paulo to such an extend that it would make sense to even start thinking about such a proposal.

The limiting factor time that has been mentioned already (p.17) is one of the factors that needs to be overcome in the first place in order to participate and become actively engaged in urban social struggles in the city. At this moment, my thesis alre-ady poses a multitude of questions upon me, mostly linked to the experience made in the city and more than I could answer right now. I perceive my current research just as the first step that could be followed by another one, another day, that can draw on those experiences I made here. Defining a proper research question means also discussion and consensus finding with the people who’s struggle is supposed to be part of this thesis.


relevancy//for whom//for what << what do i want? >> objectives//guiding

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