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

who am I?

KEYWORDS Who am I? , objectivity, subjectivity, standpoint , neutrality, research actions

So, Who am I? and why do I want to ask this question?

I personally consider important to make my personal attitude transparent, to comment that my attitude affected and affects the course of this thesis. This thesis does not aim to express objective narratives because objectivity is hard for me to achieve when expressing those experiences, insights, actions and observations that compose the core of this work. The concept of objective observation, that from my perspective means neutrality, devoid of symbols and biased interpretations, probably the plain and ‚real‘ nature of an object, is not realizable and probably not seminal for me either, because I cannot and don’t want to disconnect myself from what I experienced, what people experienced, from my attitude that clearly influenced to large part the realization of my research action(s) in São Paulo an the structure of this written work.

I have the use of the information that that which I see,the images, or that which I feel as pain, the prick of apin, or the ache of a tired muscle—for these, too, are imagescreated in their respective modes—that all this is neit-her objective truth nor is it all hallucination. There isa combining or marriage between an objectivity that is passive to the outside world and a creative subjectivity, neither pure solipsism nor its opposite. (Brockman, 2004, web) (7)

The narrations that are mapped in this thesis are those that I experienced or that just happened by chance, unplanned, unstructured, but never through external force or other-directed (8). By other-directed and external force I mean that nobody told me what I had to do, according to her or his demands, according to the structural demands of a project, without the possibility of negotiating according to our individual interests and limits. When I stayed with my people I have always been asked if I am interested in joining them, in participating in their realities.

I could have chosen another frame, an existing academic or NGO project on the same topic, where I probably would have met the same people and visited the same places, but which perhaps would have resulted in totally different outcome, based on other standpoints and attitudes. Is the reality I experienced then more valid than that of others or vice versa? I think not, both have their legitimacy, they are probably motivated differently and therefore narrate different stories, probably describe the same realities from different standpoints based on the narrators individual reality and context. In the words of Schrödinger I would then say

We cannot, however, manage to make do with such old, familiar, and seemingly indispensable terms as “real” or “only possible”; we are never in a position to say what really is or what really happens, but we can only say what will be observed in any concrete individual case. Will we have to be permanently satisfied with this…? On principle, yes. On principle, there is nothing new in the postulate that in the end exact science should aim at nothing more than the description of what can really be observed. The question is only whether from now on we shall have to refrain from tying description to a clear hypothesis about the real nature of the world. There are many who wish to pronounce such abdication even today. But I believe that this mean smaking things a little too easy for oneself. (Schrödinger, 1933,p.316 )

By not aiming to reproduce narratives in an objective manner I do not mean to dismiss the idea of a neutral standpoint, as a standpoint that takes into account several perspectives and that is not judging. However, the content of the thesis shall reproduce the positions, ideas and thoughts of those that shared them with me, with whom I collaborated, my personal expression of what I perceived and experienced.


(7)  About Bateson: http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge149.html

(8)  guided by external standards

methodology//self//conception << who am i? >> notes//são paulo//city//extremes

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