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Abstract

RODOLF'O STAVENHAGEN

The radical critique questions the theoretical conceptions implicit in much current social scientific
activity. I t implies not only that a measure of ideology
is inseparable from professional practice (contrary to
hollow claims t o a "value-free'' social science), but also
requires the development of adequate theory capable
of explaining, even when not testable empirically, what
society is all about (particularly those societies o r parts
thereof where applied social scientists generally exercise their profession). A second imperative refers t o the
problem of communications: how can research findings
best be made available t o those most in need of social
knowledge yet usually least capable of acquiring it;
who also happen t o be precisely those groups most
commonly studied by social scientists. A critical and
committed social science must also turn from the
traditional study of the underdog t o that of the
dominant elites and the system of domination itself.
Ideological commitment by the social scientist t o the
anti-status q u o might also lead t o his emerging role as
activist, and n o t merely as participant, observer. The
applied social scientist cannot, by definition, be neutral
to the larger political and ideological issues which
determine the framework of his professional practice,
whether h e is engaged in international organizations or
works on development problems within his own national context.

Decoloniser les sciences sociales appliquees

Rodolfo Stavenhagen, a Mexican social scientist, is
currently Senior Staff Associate at the International
Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva. This paper is a
slightly revised version o f the author's guest lecture at
the thirtieth Annual Meeting o f the Sociew for
Applied Anthropology, held in Miami, April 1971. The
opinions expressed herein are entirely personal and d o
not reflect those of the institutions with which the
author is associated. He would like to thank Dorien
Grunbaum, Otto Feinstein and Jeffrey Harrod for
helpful comments on a first draft o f this paper.

La critique radicale conteste les conceptions thkoriques contenues dans une grande part de la science
sociale contemporaine. Elle admet non seulement le
fait que des orientations idkologiques se trouvent
inskparablement likes ?i la pratique professionnelle des
sciences sociales (contrairement aux prktentions d e
ceux qui croient & une science sociale "libre de
valeurs"); mais elle demande aussi le dkveloppement
d'une thkorie capable d'expliquer la societk m6me
quand cette thkorie n'est pas vkrifiable empiriquement.
Un deuxikme point est ?i considkrer: celui de la
communication. Comment peut-on faire pour que les
rksultats des recherches puissent parvenir aux groupes
sociaux qui ont le plus besoin de la connaissance
sociale et qui ont gknkralement le moins de chance d'y
parvenir. Ce sont ces groupements humains qui sont
gknkralement I'objet des ktudes des chercheurs dans les
sciences sociales. Une science sociale critique e t engagee doit kgalement dkpasser les ktudes traditionnelles
sur les "sous-privilkgiks" pour se tourner vers l'ktude
des klites dominantes e t du systeme de domination
sociale lui-meme. L'engagement ideologique du cherc h e w en sciences humaines dans la lutte contre le statu
quo doit conduire a un nouveau r61e social qui
VOL.

30,

NO.

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WINTER

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333

depasserait celui de l'obsewation participante; nous
voulons parler de l'observation agissante. Le praticien
des sciences sociales appliquees ne peut pas, par
definition, Etre neutre face aux grands problkmes
politiques et ideologiques qui conditionnent le cadre
social de sa profession, soit qu'il travaille dans des
organisations intemationales, soit qu'ils s'occupe des
problkmes d u developpement dans le contexte national
qui est Ie sien.

La decolonizacion de las ciencias sociales aplicadas
La critica radical de las concepciones teoricas
contenidas en una gran parte de las ciencias sociales
contemporheas implica no solamente el reconocimiento d e que una cierta orientation ideologica es
inseparable de la prictica profesional (contrariamente a
lo que pretenden aquellos que creen en la existencia de
una ciencia social "libre de valores"), sino que tambien
exige el desarrollo d e una teoria capaz de explicar la
sociedad (particularmente aquellas sociedades o partes
de sociedades en que se desempefian comunmente 10s
cientificos sociales aplicados), aun cuando dicha teoria
no pueda ser verificada empiricamente. Otro imperative
se refiere a1 problema de la comunicacion: ~ c o m ose
puede hacer llegar 10s resultados de las investigaciones
a 10s grupos que mas necesitan el conocimiento social
y que generalmente tienen las menores posibilidades de
adquirirlo? Son precisamente estos 10s grupos estudiados con mayor frecuencia por 10s cientificos sociales.
Una ciencia social critica y comprometida debe tambien salirse del marco estrecho del estudio traditional
de 10s de abajo para estudiar a las elites dominantes y
al sistema de domination mismo. El compromiso
ideologic0 del cienti'fico social para con el anti-status
q u o pudiera conducir asimismo a su nuevo papel como
obsewador activists y no simplemente como observador
participante. El cientifico social aplicado no puede, por
definicibn, ser neutral con respecto a 10s grandes
problemas politicos e ideologicos que condicionan el
marco dentro del cual ejerce su profesion, ya sea que
se trate de organismos internacionales o de la problemitica del desarrollo en el context0 nacional que le
es propio.

T LIES PERHAPS in the destiny of the social

I sciences that

they should not only reflect the
dominant forms of social organization of their times,
but also-as they have done ever since they grew out
of the social and political thought of the Enlightenment-that they should become major vehicles for the
expression of the radical countercurrents and critical

conscience that these very forms of organization have
brought forth. This dialectical relationship between the
social sciences and society finds its way into the
ambiguous and frequently conflictive roles that social
scientists as individuals are called upon to play in
modern society.
It has lately been found necessary in some quarters
to decry anthropology in general, and its applied
variety in particular, for its links t o colonialisnl and
imperialism. I believe this to be a healthy development,
for the historical relation between colonialism and
imperialism as world-wide systems of domination and
exploitation on the one hand, and the use of social
science in the management of empire, on the other,
has up t o recently been overlooked o r ignored. It can
n o longer be neglected, and it has become clear to
many of us that the methods, the theories, the various
"schools of thought," the very objects of study and
observation in anthropology and other social disciplines
have been deeply colored by this historical relationship.'
Let me add right away that I am deeply convinced
of the very important contributions that anthropology
and the other social sciences have made to the
advancement of knowledge, irrespective of their various
relationships with colonialism and imperialism: and
particularly to knowledge of and about the so-called
underdeveloped countries. I am also one of those who
recognize the deep strain of humanism, progressivisni,
liberalism and radicalism that has been imbedded in
the development of anthropology, and even in some of
its colonialistic varieties.
Thus it seems to me that it is equally mistaken t o
deny the evident historical relationships between
colonialism and anthropology (or between imperialism
a n d the so-called sociology of development)-a
question that lies in the domain of the sociology of
knowledge-as it is t o simply treat these disciplines as
handmaidens of colonialist o r imperialist domination.
For it is precisely out of the science of society that
the most powerful critiques of colonial systems,
imperialist domination, totalitarian political structures
and bourgeois class society have sprung. New generations of radical social scientists have arisen-mainly in
the Third World-who question some of the basic
assumptions upon which social science in the industrial
countries seems t o stand. Yet it must be recognized
that these social scientists then~selvesare a product of
the way social science in general has developed.
I think we may look at the issues involved from
two angles: the uses or application of social scientific
knowledge in general, and the professional practice of

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334

theories about social structure and the dynamics of social forces are simply not testable in the immediate sense. While social scientists may be held partially responsible for the uses to which the knowledge t h e y produce is put. despite disclaimers t o t h e contrary in the name of cultural relativism. What I mean by this is that in the long run any theory of society. anthropology-by concentrating on the small-scale. and they condition each other. and particularly of social change." This leads to the question of ideology and value orientations in relation to theory: an empirically validated theory becomes knowledge (not "truth" in VOL. conflicts and contradictions. None of the existing theories. indeed. The radical critique demands a holistic approach in terms of global social units and total societies. and our choice will. anthropologists have not given much attention t o the interpretation of the national societies of which the object of their study is a part. they are simply more or less relevant in attempting to explain adequately a set of observable facts and their interrelationships. NO. But these two aspects are intimately linked. 4 WINTER 1971 335 . t o discover the mutual relationships and interconnections.) In fact. On the other hand. as some would have it. Whether we accept theories attempting t o explain "peasant conservatism" or prefer those that emphasize "peasant rebelliousness. O n the one hand. are directly verifiable or testable (in the laboratory sense that some "scientific purists" would like t o have it)." will depend on our value orientations. the discussion between Robert Redfield and Oscar Lewis about the interpretation of the social structure of the Mexican peasant village. Few anthropologists who have carried out field work among tribal or peasant peoples have had a theory-even a general theoretical orientation-to help them explain such linkages. but of research methodology and adequate theory. are of course not true or false in any absolute sense. This is a question not of ideology. they will only stand or fall in historical perspective. middleclass. social scientific knowledge forms part of humanity's cultural heritage. as far as I can judge. in turn. t o paraphrase a piece of good old Anglo-Saxon folk wisdom: the proof of the theory is in the praxis. But I would go one step further. for that matter). anthropology has been unable to handle the problems involved in the analysis of total social systems. And this o f course has t o d o with what. At a certain level of generality. We can only say that certain facts seem to be explained better b y one interpretation than b y the other. Tepoztlin. (I d o not mean studies of national cultures or national character. It is the rules of the game that must be changed. by reifying culture as a concept. 30. they should more correctly be considered paradigms. part societies and it is held that this approach does not enable them t o see wider issues and relationships necessary for a meaningful understanding of reality. the traditional-has not handled the theoretical aspects involved in these links and relationships satisfactorily. anthropological studies in underdeveloped countries have been much too culture bound. The task for anthropology is to unravel the mechanisms which relate the traditional anthropological unit of study to the wider society. On the average. which are quite numerous. Karl Marx formulated it thus: "Theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. will be validated by its utility as an instrument of action in the hands of organized social groups. It is there t o be used or applied by those who can and know how to make use of it. state that one of the opposing interpretations is true and the other false. in the two meanings of this term. They necessarily reflect the value orientations of those who use them. one wishes to explain. Like all knowledge. and the diffusion of the information t o potential users. or village communities. We cannot. In general. It is however not sufficient t o sin~plystate that tribal or peasant peoples. we find linear models based on the assumption that modernization or development will lead necessarily to some kind of social structure similar to the capitalist industrial. whenever problems of social change are considered. consumer societies we are ourselves a part of. Theories about national societies (or world-wide systems. teach). Unlike sociologists and political scientists. they can d o little t o actually control the process if they remain within the established rules of the scientific game (research. Anthropological studies are commonly criticised for being concerned with small-scale. determine the importance we attribute to different kinds of empirical data. We may recall. A similar discussion-with important implications for action programs-has arisen around the concept of "peasant resistance t o change" (see Huizer. for sure. publish. and more often than not. Erasmus and Foster 1970). are integrated into wider wholes (a truth that has not escaped anthropologists from the beginning). anthropologists have been rather naive concerning national social structures or world systems. some years back. I think the issue hinges on two important aspects: the nature and quality of the research. the isolated. by stressing.applied social science. t o analyze cleavages. but in their capacity to explain particular sets of facts they will in the long run turn out to be more or less adequate.

1 am always touched by the prefaces to published monographs on Latin America. social classes) at the local and regional levels. power structures and conflict potential between differentially located social groups (i. And it would be wrong t o simply shrug this literary omelette off as a bit of harmless . deriving from inadequate theoretical orientations. Most comnionly held social theory has been unable to cope with these phenomena. the university libraries or the limbo of government files? Can books about peasants be brought to the attention of. purposeful behavior of social groups) i t ceases to be "mere" theory and becomes social reality. the issues of social struggle become clear (because they have been adequately identified and analyzed-and not usually by the social scientist. And this is so because they are based on wrong assumptions. a recent statement by a leading spokesman of American Indians to the effect that his people have been cursed above all others in history because they have anthropologists should give pause for thought to many (Deloria. however. These practical problems are of increasing concern to social scientists throughout the world and they raise the need to address ourselves t o the question of the relation between the researcher and the wider society within which he acts. Not only d o we face the need for a process of de-elitization. and if validated by praxis (i. with direct participation of the researchers themselves. popular rebellions and revolutions be shorn of their scientific and scholarly paraphernalia and made available t o the revolutionaries themselves? I am assuming that the scientific value of such work is good enough t o deserve being involved in such a process of de-elitization. Dona Gracias and the other helpful inhabitants of San Pedro or San Miguel (or whatever the name of the barrio or the village might be). (Some years ago C.e. Yet how frequently d o those communities and these helpful informants whose lives are s o carefully laid bare by proficient researchers actually get t o know the results of the research? Is any effort made to channel the scientific conclusions and research findings t o them. but by the interested parties themselves). and thus solve. most importantly. It may be countered that this argument leads into the trap of the self-fulfilling prophecy. 1 don't think that this should deter us. it is generally agreed that community development programs are not as successful as they should be (or they turn into outright failures).e. then communities (or a good part of them) d o become dynamic forces for progressive social change. This is not. What does this mean in concrete terms? T o take an example from common anthropological subject matter. because they are unable to really mobilize community participation. with the necessary bounds that this same history imposes on him. I am not sure whether much anthropological production would survive the crucial confrontation with its Object-transformed for that purpose from Object into acting Subject. then the selffulfilling prophecy becomes one of many dynamic forces that mankind uses t o forge its future. not always unambiguous and subject to constant revision. but l'or whose collaboration and hospitality the study might never have been written. because if we accept that man is not only a blind creature of historical forces but also shapes his own history. and usually social scientists are belatedly called upon to explain ex post what should have been clear from the beginning. t o ensure that research findings be freed from the bonds of the specialized journals. When. in which the grateful a u t h o r expresses his acknowledgment to Don Simpatico. it may become ideology when used as a guide for action. by the organized.) It is a sad reflection on the state of our art that on the very few occasions that members of groups studied by anthropologists have the opportunity to comment on our profession they feel it necessary t o d o so in most unflattering terms. Quite aside from his wit.any absolute sense). however. but also of demystification and the direct responsibility of the researcher must be engaged here. about the social structure of rural villages and their links to the wider society. Specifically. discussed with and used by peasant organizations? Can studies on urban migrants be made to help labor unions and neighborhood voluntary associations to better understand. to translate our professional jargon into everyday concepts which the people themselves can understand and from which they can learn something? And. Witness the mobilization potential of peasants around the agrarian reform issue in most Latin American countries. they ignore or play down the patterns of dominance.. knowledge is necessarily relative. to which they can contribute precisely through such a dialogue? Would it not be recommendable that efforts be made by the sponsoring institutions.. 1969:83). but by the practical day-to-day problem solving of real life issues. Wright Mills proposed this in his The Sociological Imagination but I daresay that only a handful of social scientists have followed his lead. Jr. if they d o not actually (as is often the case) perpetuate the very inequalities they pretend to overcome. That is why I hold that the most fruitful social theory is the one that may be validated not by any amount of statistical verification. their problems? Cannot studies on social movements. always the case.

It requires the study of the system of domination itself. 30. In French-speaking Black Africa intellectuals and students tend t o grade visiting foreign social scientists (particularly Frenchmen) according to their degree of mental decolonization before they begin t o judge their professional capacities. it seems to me. how they react t o and participate in the process of change. created by the cultured and the rich. It should have become abundantly clear in recent years that the causes of oppression. of advertising and the manipulation of ideologies. of regional and VOL. if the poor had any say in the diagnosis of their own problems (on this. or to carry out research at all. of entrepreneurs (not only as innovators or modernizers but as political and economic interest groups). the elites. 4 WINTER 1971 337 . of corruption among labor leaders. More than any of the other social disciplines. not destructive. the scientific study of elites and decision-making at the upper echelons of the social edifice is still very sketchy. tastes and the innermost emotions. of the role of estate owners in the maintenance of traditional agrarian society. adapt or modify existing systems. we may say the deprived and the privileged). attitudes. the social scientist has revealed precisely those tendencies which are most subject t o the radical critique: the paternalistic or "colonial" approach to the study of society. through a creative dialogue between researcher and Object-Subject of research). tribal peoples. ends-but not to abandon the field altogether. peasants. By concentrating his attention upon the "underdogs" in society. Compared to studies of Indians. that is. for the nature and chracteristics of this transmittal (if built into the research itself. and perhaps the most important pole: that of the dominant groups. How many studies d o we have of political elites and their decision-making processes. or deprivation (relative o r absolute). will turn it into a process of mutual learning and will thus change the very nature of the scientific activity. but also about how the system works. anthropology has been bound by these limitations. Some younger radical social scientists now refuse to publish their work. his university education and his general place within the social structure. in the nature of the relationships binding the oppressed and their oppressors (or.) Still. see Valentine 1968 and Current Anthropology 1969). and particularly of the mechanisms whereby the social groups at the top. marginal migrants and s o forth. are t o be found in the functioning of total systems. I believe a part of the problem is the diffusion t o the desired publics of the product of research. Yet it is not only a question of information transmittal per se. NO.egghead breaking. is t o save social science and to ensure its use for humanitarian. The truly comprehensive understanding of social forces in a process of social change requires more than an analysis of the so-called underprivileged social groups or of social movements against established systems of domination. scholars in academic communities (particularly when they go back t o their own foreign countries) can d o relatively little to control the uses or misuses (or simply the nonuse) of the fruits of their labour. The point here. We often hear it said amongst radicals that social scientific produce is really only o f use to repressive governments. in most cases. Or what the results would be when erzcogidoridden peasants encountered entrbn-anthropolopsts o n an equal footing (see Erasmus 1968). o r exploita- tion. It is here that I see a vast new field of inquiry opening u p for the radical social scientist. And this requires giving attention to the other pole of the relationship. on these grounds. This-transposed t o the problem area of research-is what Paulo Freire calls dialogics in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970). urban poor. I have often wondered what would remain of concepts such as the culture of poverty. the social scientist should be well placed t o carry out such studies. into a total system. One would think that because of his social origins. yet u p t o now his scientific and mental equipment does not seem to have carried him into this direction. (See Jaulin 1970 and Copans 1971 for a critique of French neocolonial ethnology . Yet precisely one of the more criticable and increasingly criticised aspects of social science-at least as far as the Third World is concerned-is that it is mainly concerned with studying the oppressed-from the outside. of foreign business communities in underdeveloped countries. those who stand on this as a matter of principle will simply radicalize themselves out of meaningful social scientific activity. As I said earlier. In these countries the identification between colonialism and ethnology is such that the very name and nature of the discipline is in disrepute and rejected by many Africans. how they operate t o maintain. While it is certainly necessary at times t o delay or refuse publication of research findings because of possible harm it may cause to the groups involved. of the functioning of bureaucracies. opinions. And perhaps for this very reason it is incumbent upon anthropology t o break with its own past and set out upon new paths. fit into the general structure. We must thus try t o channel t o the former not only scientific knowledge about themselves. or simply backwardness and traditionalism. the exploiting classes or the self-seeking imuerialists. if these words shock the sensibilities of those who think they are too value-laden.

I am here consciously drawing an analogy between the accumulation of capital and the accumulation of knowledge in a capitalist society. social.local cacicazgos or coronelismo. say. economic) that dominant groups use to maintain the status quo? When studying Indian communities. socioeconomic correlates of individual attitudes and behaviour. make use of our sociological imagination. he may be forced t o leave the university. and exercise his intellectual critique o f established or accepted "truths. In some Latin American countries (such as Brazil and Argentina) this process has been notorious in recent years-but 1 d o not think that it is specific t o the southern part of the hemisphere or t o the Western hemisphere a t all. cultural. modernization. Hence the rapid proliferation of "think tanks. "scientific fashion" (which is perhaps as tyrannical in its own way as are women's fashions in theirs). then we must face these new challenges. he can attempt t o offer alternative explanations. acculturation. Social scientific knowledge has long since ceased t o be merely an academic fixture. through the awakening and development of a creative critical conscience. the peasant is not likely to ever read our field report. the accumulation of knowledge may become dangerous in the eyes of those who control the academic or political establishment." and at the same time promote the redistribution of knowledge in the fashion suggested earlier. how much d o we actually know of the bureaucratic and political processes involved? Admittedly. And by tradition we have chosen the path of least resistance. c)Thirdly. the colonized." data banks. political). In the face of this situation. psychological. etc. community monographs. The academic researcher (particularly the younger one) is n o longer able to select his research activity simply by following his intellectual whims. it may-and must-become an instrument for change which. health or nutrition programs at the local level. not insurmountable-difficulties. and other institutional considerations. etc. it has become (and increasingly so) an element of power (economic. While the accumulation of knowledge is an element of power. Nevertheless. social class mobility. university institutes specialising in this or that area. and finally . documentation centers. within the framework of functionalism and behavioralism. how often have we analysed regional political systems? When studying peasant villages. and such a change of focus will encounter enormous-but I hope. His choice is governed by available funding. insofar as both processes are an expression of the prevailing mode of social and economic organization. of the influence of foreign diplomatic missions on national politics. if social science is t o avoid becoming irrelevant to the social change process as it is occurring in the underdeveloped countries. b) Or he can produce knowledge suited to prevailing and established interpretations of society. the downtrodden. the oppressed. This is not easy. how conscious are we of the role and function of the multinational corporation in determining levels of investment. At this point. of ecclesiastical hierarchies. of the role of the mass media. what role d o we attribute t o real estate speculation and economic interest in the development of cities? When addressing ourselves to the rural migrant in the process of industrialization.. It is easier t o walk into a peasant hut than into an executive office. enables the powerless. On the contrary. and in extreme cases he will be obliged t o leave the country or may be imprisoned. technology and employment opportunities? When judging the effects of community development. it does not necessarily always serve to maintain existing power structures. Like all scientific knowledge. I would include under this heading the majority of studies on. become observers. see Fals Borda 1970). explore new theoretical avenues. his contract may not be renewed. clearinghouses. of oppressive educational systems. and our scientist will have diminishing access t o research funds. how frequently have we given attention t o the operation of national market systems? When describing the urban poor. accepting and using in his work the premises upon which are predicated the continuity and stability of existing social systems. But surely such scientific alienation stands in direct contradiction to the role of the intellectual in society as a humanist and a social critic. first t o question. these are difficult areas for the field worker t o get involved in. While such research has contributed considerably t o an accumulation of knowledge in general. or simply of the varied and n~ultiple aspects of repression (physical. h e can take one of three alternatives: a) He can simply continue producing informationlike an assembly line worker produces spare partswithout regard t o its ultimate use. perhaps even participant observers of those institutions and areas of activity which are of significance. of military cliques. besides. it has had little influence on changing prevailing patterns of the uses t o which such knowledge is put and on the distribution of productive knowledge among different social groups. then t o subvert (for emphasis on the positive aspects of subversion. Under these circumstances the accumulation of knowledge follows predetermined patterns over which the individual researcher exercises relatively little control.

This contribution of social science should not be thrown overboard by radical social scientists. the very important role of the social scientist as a teacher. or the "fish in the water" (to use a relevant Chinese metaphor). committed to its goals. and not only in the university. Thus action and research would be joined both in the interests of furthering knowledge and of contributing to change. 4 WINTER 1971 339 . a political party. Not only will activist observation improve scientific understanding of social process as it is actually occurring (and not as it is reconstructed after the fact). And. But despite the advantages of posing research problems at this level. imprisonment and persecution in their pursuit of some of man's most noble ideals. and not his domestication and subservience to established systems of domination. By this I mean the true synthesis between research on. the ability of social scientists to free themselves from narrowly determined perspectives of social class. and the role of the social scientist as teacher. facts and practice. minority group or subculture. hopefully. a labor union. we also have the issue of the direct involvement of social scientists in the application of their knowledge. the comparative perspective so dear to anthropologists and sociologists. is a precious achievement. That this is not idle speculation is clearly demonstrated by the very active commitment of many a social scientist in Latin America's revolutionary movements. between what is actually going on and what they would like to see happen. for the constant interplay between theory. Applied social science is generally held to mean the practice by a qualified social scientist in the interests of an objective not directly determined by himself. Moreover. The moment a social scientist either sells his labor to the highest bidder on the professional market or puts his knowledge at the service of a government. NO. the social change process. for whose benefit. and particularly to those who have met death and suffered torture. but by another group or agency. the social agitator (in the noblest expression of that much maligned term). but it may also help to transform non-research-minded activists or militants into careful observers of their own action. there are large fields of study where this approach simply is not feasible.to modify existing systems. that is. these very revolutionary movements have shown the desperate need for social scientific analysis. a bureaucracy. The vantage point of scientific. And this may be an important contribution to the adequate study of the social movements to which the researcher as an individual is committed. but rather at the level of the political organizer. and participation in. the outside manipulator or the transitory participating visitor (a common breed of applied anthropologist). then he can hardly claim to be simply a neutral observer. The world-wide student revolt against the university and schools in general as systems of domestication should be of particular relevance to social scientists in helping them to "decolonialize" themselves in their own academic environments. Would not some of the errors and tragic mistakes that many of these movements have incurred have been avoided if. One of the principal contributions of social science t o social knowledge has been precisely the development of research techniques and methodology that has enabled individual researchers to distinguish more or less clearly between social fact and social norm. 30. for not every kind of social movement can hope to count a qualified social scientist among its members. they had engaged in some sort of continuing analysis of the social reality that they themselves were helping to shape? Or is this too much to expect from social science as well as from revolutionary movements? I confess that I do not possess a ready-made answer to this question. Next to the important questions of what kind of research. furthermore. it will help to improve the quality of the social action itself. there is the thorny question of perspective and objectivity. Social scientists as teachers can become powerful forces in the decolonialization process at all levels. But personal emotion aside. instead of simply applying theories and schemas mechanistically. that is. We have a responsibility in helping to promote educational systems for the liberation of the human being. an international organization or a revolutionary movement. not-as is so often the casefrom the vantage point of the administrator. with direct consequences for the management of human affairs. May I be permitted to publicly express here my humble admiration and homage to those (social scientists and all the others) who have thus become involved. This leads directly to a consideration of an emerging role of the social researcher which will go beyond the well proven technique of participant observation: the role that I would call of activist observation. of the militant cum observer. This is not of course a standard recipe for anthropology in general. theoretically-grounded observation by trained observers. It is rather an idea for committed social scientists who are interested in certain kinds of social movements not only as observers but perhaps even mainly as participants. He becomes directly involved in the value systems and ideologies of the groups or organizations VOL. There is.

The social scientists involved in these programs have been the first to recognize their limitations. sees private employers and salaried workers as a permanent fixture of the social scene. fundamental or basic education coupled with community development has undergone agonizing reappraisals in various United Nations agencies. When an industrial sociologist adopts the ideology of management (see Baritz 1960 for a pertinent critique) or an applied anthropologist helps t o improve colonial administration or t o incorporate Indians into national societies in Latin America. and about the basic orientations that seem to guide the actions of these organizations. This has been one of their positive results: they have contributed to the development of the radical critique that I have proposed earlier. and the interrelationships between the developed part and the underdeveloped part of the world (see Frank 1969. through its tripartite vision of the world. Many social scientists thus employed have of course become simply cogs in the international bureaucratic machines that they serve. Yet even within this overall . The same apostolic zeal. the characteristics of the development process. this very experience over the last twenty or so years has demonstrated (to those who wish to see) the hollowness of many of these assumptions and the fruitlessness of many of these programs. Not all cases of applied social science are equally clear-cut. but hopes to d o so by strengthening the medium-sized market oriented entrepreneur. Let us briefly analyze only two kinds of situations of particular relevance to underdeveloped countries. that of applied social science in the context of international aid. many of which constitute theoretical misconceptions still widely held in social scientific circles concerning the nature of underdevelopment. has been quietly laid to rest. and within the context of national development. The importance of such considerations in the exercise of applied social science is paramount: the fact that they have been ignored or neglected by applied social scientists (many of whom have considered themselves to be amoral technicians). happy with newly discovered knowledge about human beings. the same basic subservience to and lack of critical appraisal of the international system of domination itself. extreme cases. and Stavenhagen 1968). challenged the basic assumptions upon which such aid has been based. where the moral issues involved are fairly clear and the world scientific community has had ample opportunity to make its feelings known on them. have not.h e works with. The end result is genocide. Though there has not been much publicity about this. Social scientists who work o n various kinds of development programs within the international framework (either bilateral aid projects or those connected with international organizations). then a number of ethical or ideological questions must be faced squarely. Nevertheless. While some of this criticism simply proposes greater efficiency in existing programs. UNIDO does not challenge the role of private enterprise in industrial developn~ent." in the belief that all's to the good and without questioning the deeper implications of their action. or against. The Andean Programme that was widely publicized by several South American governments and international agencies some fifteen years ago (and in which a number of sociologists and anthropologists sharpened their professional teeth). I am personally of the opinion that the difference between social scientists who wittingly contribute t o counterinsurgency programs in Southeast Asia or Camelot-style projects in Latin America and elsewhere. the professional staffs of experts and technicians in a number of international agencies have lately expressed grave doubts and serious criticism about the operations they are involved in. has led the applied social sciences into the quandary in which they find themselves at present. The social scientist must become aware that he has made a choice and it is only in terms of the conscious recognition of the implications of this choice that he can exercise his applied scientific activity. much of it is addressed to the implicit (and sometimes explicit) assumptions regarding the development process. could engage in a little harmless "human engineering. among Peace Corpsmen the Committee of Returned Volunteers has proceeded to demystify the whole operation. and the doctors who experimented on human guinea pigs in Nazi concentration camps is one of degree and not of kind. until recently. In the second half of the twentieth century international technical aid has become something akin to what Christian missionary activity among heathens used t o be earlier. admittedly. the same naivete about economic and political realities. I believe the time is past when innocent social scientists.and of course the international development banks see their own role as complementary to that of the giant multinational corporations. Yet these are. the ILO. others however are engaged in a painstaking process of rethinking and reshaping the basic concepts of multilateral international technical assistance. for. Other cases could be mentioned. It is of course true that the basic tenets upon which rests the international capitalist system are not being questioned by these organizations-thus F A 0 is not only committed to raise agricultural productivity in the world. the same moral justification.

it is clear that social scientists have contributed something important. social scientists working within a project of international technical assistance for agrarian reform would play a completely different role today in. A certain amount of flexibility is inherent in their nature. peasants. technocratic vermin. and much more important to my mind. socially ignorant architects and other kinds of uncivilized. with limited occupational opportunities in the academic field and in his profession in general. International organizations are not monoliths. as he sees it. This motivation probably led him t o choose the social sciences as a profession in the first place. Our social scientist with applied inclinations is peeved because many of the responsible positions in these programs are occupied. you've got nothing t o teach us" attitude towards foreigners. administrative paper-pushing. 4 WINTER 1971 341 . and there is leeway within their structures for the committed social scientist. but rather. Secondly. community action programs. is the situation of the applied social scientist working within his own country in the Third World. and if taken in isolation their efforts will be minute: but then the role of the applied social scientist. or even by the military government of Peru (which is committed to carrying out a drastic agrarian reform). I would say. he is eager t o exercise his profession to the best of his ability. than in military establishments or intelligence agencies. regional development authorities. So either he accepts defeat and lets social science slowly slip away from him. He knows that all the mistakes and failures that such programs have incurred are due to an inexcusable ignorance of social realities and that a social scientist. In Latin America. with mixed results. will soon be able to show 'em. as I see it. a kindly patron (university professor. etc. Whatever the present status of the policies recomn~encled by ECLA might be. First of all. political and ethical crosscurrents. multivariate statistical analysis and a couple of good operational hypotheses. But very often it is only a visceral consciousness. he is conscious-with so many of his fellow students or professionals-of the causes and nature of his country's underdevelopment and of the functioning of imperialism or neocolonialisn~ as it directly affects his own country's chances for development. For example. the UN's Economic Commission. Yet nationalism has become a powerful force and national ethics. and many others). say. his country's government (whatever its specific political color) is committed to social and economic development as a national goal and has established any number of agencies the declared purpose of which is to bring about such development ( n a t i o n a l planning offices. international aid programs are a far cry from social revolution. The key variable here is the kind of reform that national governments are willing to undertake.framework. Thirdly. for example. NO. Much more complex. it is undeniable that even those who reject them today have been deeply influenced by the social and economic currents of thought generated by the activities of this organization. is an important ingredient in the makeup of Latin American social scientists. monsters with many heads. and of the conflicting interests of the ruling groups (landowners. dependent bourgeoisie. by illiterate politicians. he is motivated by a profound and sincere desire to change things for the better for his country's population with whom he identifies completely. and there is nothing as irritating to a social scientist in a n underdeveloped country as not having any power. is to act t o the best of his ability in terms of his personal ethical commitments. within the institutional framework that he has chosen as his field of action. political in-fighting and general lack of receptivity t o his world-shaking ideas. Within this framework. and despite the fact that in terms of the Third World's development needs international technical aid is simply a drop in the bucket. our well-meaning. Fourthly. or h e stands and tights the system. confronted. as Adams (1968) has shown. has been decisive over the last two decades in shaping what might be called a Latin American consciousness about social and economic underdevelopment and the area's foreign dependence. Furthermore. urban marginals. friend in the government.) and the oppressed masses (Indians. preventive medical and public health services. nondirective open-ended focussed interview schedules. working class). VOL. ambitious social scientist soon becomes enmeshed in bureaucratic red tape. well armed with the latest research designs. ECLA. Somewhat more. Alas. he is never actually given any power. bureaucracy. Of course. or well-connected mother's brother) will surely come up with a not highly paid but challenging proposal: here's your chance to show what you can do. he feels it but does not understand it intellectually. as he often is. He usually finds himself in the maelstrom of conflicting professional. 30. Chile than in a similarly-named program set up by the present regime in Brazil. he becomes conscious of the nature of his own country's class and power structures. like all bureaucracies. This leads at times t o exacerbated nationalism and chauvinism: the "we know it all. narrow-minded doctors. Moreover. and not the philosophy of the international agency.

is great. and when is it "merely reformist"? Among radicals it is common to reject many programs as being "refornlist" (i. from which it is increasingly difficult t o escape. or they will become meaningless technocratic appendages to the implementation of policies over which they exercise no influence whatsoever. is difficult. I d o not think it is an excuse for the committed social scientist to withdraw from professional activity. The role of reforms in society is but an expression of the relations between the various social and political forces at play. of course. that are the result of the organized pressure of the popular masses and that very clearly affect the relative position of opposing social classes in society. . as of their place within the overall process of development and their relationship to other kinds of action. and of land reform in Chile and Peru at present. modifying the bases of the economic and political power of the country's ruling classes. in turn. however. The radical social scientist cannot but approve of them and give them his support. whereas "reformism" as an ideology is certainly counter-revolu tionary. the same mechanisms and the same ideology) has become conservative within Mexico's contemporary social and economic structure. the dilemma of the applied social scientist. And small and large changes are in fact taking place everywhere. This leads us into the burning question of structural transformations. the nationalization of some basic industries or services in dependent countries.e. there are "revolutionary reforms. particularly of the radical type. and it is the dynamic of these relations that will determine whether reforms are reformist or become revolutionary. it is rather a challenge for him t o orient this activity into a meaningful direction. Therefore they should not be judged in isolation. so passionately debated in Latin American circles. seem at first glance to be truly revolutionary when seen within the framework of traditional social structures. What are these "structural" changes? When is social action really revolutionary. many of them. the recognition of the right of workers t o organize and to strike. Under these conditions. Today. truly revolutionary changes. we seem t o be more like the proverbial blind men seeking t o identify the revolutionary elephant by groping around its various extremities. and a closer look at some recent ones will show that they all undergo constant reforms from within. while Mexican agrarian reform was revolutionary at first (up to 1940)." or "avoid the real issues. "Reformist reforms. a number of land distribution programs in Latin American countries. and to demand. they lead to no significant changes but rather tend to strengthen existing systems of exploitation through a process of modernization). the fundamental critique comes rather from the younger generation of social scientists. Thus. Other reforms are more "reformist. This was certainly the case of agrarian reform in Mexico and Bolivia in its early stages. and very frequently from the students. but rather in terms of their interplay with the larger society." in the absence of thoroughgoing social and political revolutions. especially in the rural areas." Finally. even when he knows-or senses-that they "don't go far enough. The Alliance for Progress is one such program. the estatuto da terra in Brazil. the distinction between "reform" and "revolution" becomes of course quite blurred." that is." to contribute to social change at whatever level in countries as needy as these. Those that d o not. and if they tend to redefine problems at all i t is more in operational than in political terms. Thus. On the other hand. While I basically agree with this viewpoint. and whether they are used as such or not depends of course o n very concrete political factors." reforms that reach the nerve-centers of existing systems of domination. all fall within this category. The abolition of serfdom in Russia. The nationalization of the banking system (as in Chile) may be another example. fall into the bureaucratictotalitarian quagmire. Upon closer examination. particularly in Latin America. the same reform (based on the same premises. they attempt to achieve a certain number of important changes which require the adjustment of existing structures without. Revolutionary reforms are springboards for further transformations. While we are all sure that we can recognize the finished product. and.You will notice that I am only half joking when I draw this stereotyped picture. Yet revolutions are never a finished product. those that stand on the myth of having achieved perfection. In truth. I have encountered few applied social scientists who see the situation in this way: they usually accept a given set of policy guidelines from above. are a necessary and inevitable aspect of social development. Whether reforms of a certain kind turn out t o be revolutionary or not is not so much a function of the reforms in themselves. there are certainly reforms whose main purpose and function is t o forestall any kind of deeper change and t o strengthen existing systems. specific reforms of social and economic structures have different meanings in different historical contexts. The urge to "do something.. I shall call them counterrevolutionary reforms. the applied social sciences must constantly redefine their role.

Of course these processes are occurring by themselves. are doubtful. however. a term which denotes the various government programs directed at the incorporation of backward Indian populations into the mainstream of national life. other newer and perhaps more pitiless forms of economic exploitation? These are some of the questions that a newer generation of indigenistas is asking itself. The guiding hypothesis for indigenistas has been that an accelerated process of directed acculturation or culture change will help break down this caste system. official. But the committed social scientist has an obligation to raise the issues. And if he can. Changes undergone by these societies have been handled as a process of acculturation. It is the ideological premises upon which indigenismo is based which are being questioned. and would like to see a new kind of indigenismo as a powerful dynamic force which will serve not only bureaucratic palliatives to agonizing cultures and downtrodden peasants. but of one kind of science-in-politics versus another. the indigenistas squarely placed the onus of backwardness on the Indian communities themselves. can alter by itself the social forces that are at work. technical assistance. as well as Jaulin 1970) and which will serve as a rallying point for the revolutionary transformation not only of the Indian communities but of the national societies themselves. particularly in Mexico and in Peru. NOTES 1. he cannot remain true to the ethical principles of his science and at the same time refuse to take a stand on the wider ideological and ethical issues of the societal processes in which he is involved as a practitioner. 30. the colonial society) had in fact already integrated the Indians in a system of oppression and exploitation ever since the Conquest. and official indigenistas will hold that they are in fact combating them through enlightened paternalism. 4 WINTER 1971 343 . cooperatives and so forth. Regional systems in which Indians and non-Indians interact have been termed caste systems. 1971. The issues raised in this paper are neither new nor original and the author is conscious of treading on ground that has been broken before. or whether they take place within a traditional setting of large estates. on their supposed isolation. on their culture. (For some of the recent discussion on indigenistas see Bonfd et al.) Is it the role of applied anthropologists in indigenismo to hasten the disappearance of Indian cultures? To impose on them the middle-class urban values of a competitive. And as the case of the indigenismo shows. NO. on their value systems and. The nature of the national society itself was rarely analyzed. (Elsewhere-Stavenhagen 1963-1 have criticised this conception and proposed an alternative interpretation . through official policy. destructive bourgeois society? To sanction. to create new models in place of the ones he is obliged to discard. ironically. The basic goal of indigenismo cannot of course be quarreled with: to improve the living standards of the Indian populations. the accelerated proletarianization or marginalization of Indian populations? To strengthen. educational programs and the like. but which will counter ethnocide as it is currently being practiced in Latin America (see the recent "Declaration of Barbados" signed by eleven anthropologists concerned over this process. Recently such programs have come under heavy attack by radical social scientists. The mechanisms whereby the dominant classes of this national society (and before it. A particularly relevant issue in Latin America at the present time is indigenismo. The same applies to health and nutrition programs. By refusing t o recognize the essential characteristics of the national society to which they belonged (not to mention the nature of the State as an expression of the national class system). it is not a question of science versus politics. And these have to do with the prevailing conceptions about what constitutes the so-called Indian problem and about the nature of the process of national development. for example. Certainly no amount of applied social science. raise the Indian communities t o the level of the surrounding environment and integrate Indians as fully fledged members of the national society.It should be clear. Indian societies in Latin America have been traditionally viewed by anthropologists in terms of a number of cultural criteria which set them off from the so-called national culture. through their action. but particularly since the expansion of capitalist production in agriculture was referred to as historical background but was not considered relevant to the present situation. where a handful of modernizing entrepreneurs are the only ones who are able to take advantage of these innovations. bureaucratic or radical. to take the necessary action. to carry the critique through to its conclusions. Critics. that the role of a sociologist or an anthropologist who participates in programs of diffusion of technical innovations in agriculture will vary radically according to whether these programs are carried out within a far-reaching agrarian reform and are addressed to the peasant beneficiaries of this reform. He sees it rather as a contribution to the VOL. whether romantic. 1970. and Villa Rogers 1969. to ask the embarrassing questions.) We may see by this example that the role of the applied social scientist in national development cannot be neutral. community development. with rigid stratification systems.

(With the participation of Gerald D." Stavenhagen emphasizes the need to expand our research universes up and outward from the local 1970 Subversion and Development: The Case of Latin America. G.. 1969 Custer Died for your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. FRANK. 1966.. hat es recht" again?). COPANS.) SOLARI. Geneva: Foyer John Knox. Yes. VALENTINE. 1970 Pedagogy of the Oppressed. President Nguyen Van Thieu. 1970 La paix blanche: Introduction I'ethnocide. A. 336). SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES SYMPOSIUM 1968 Current Anthropology. Human Organization 29: 303-3 12. R. and among Latin American sociologists the debate between Fals Borda and Solari in the journal Aportes 1968-1971. the undisguised maneuvers throughout this summer (1971) of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker.Quelques reflexions. New York: Herder and Herder. 0 . A. We should all deeply appreciate the relevance and honesty of Dr. social classes)'' (p. C. t o try staging a "democratic" election in South Vietnam-following hard upon the Pentagon Papers' disclosures-should make us ponder the relative explanatory worth of traditional village studies versus the much-derided "conspiratorial approach" t o history. 1968 Ciencia y cornpromiso. Wisconsin DAMNED I F WE DO AND DAMNED I F WE DON'T! SOME DISHEARTENING QUESTIONS. STAVENHAGEN. 1971 DECLARATION O F BARBADOS 1971 Subscribed to by eleven anthropologists at the Symposium on Inter-Ethnic Friction in South America. la objetividad y el compromiso en las ciencias sociales. community t o "global social units and total societies" (p. 1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.. 337). indeed. As put by Chalapathi Rao. Anthropologists as a whole have far too much and for far too long ignored "production organizations" (Udy 1960). power structures and conflict potential between differentially located social groups (i." H U M A N O R G A N I Z A T I O N 344 . Paris: Seuil. Les Temps Modernes 293-294.Seven erroneous theses about Latin America. New York: Avon Books. editor of Lucknow's National Herald and longtime friend and advisor of Prime Minister Nehru: anthropologists want to preserve industrially disadvantaged communities as 'living museun~s. 1968 Le etica y el antrop6logo social en America Latina. (See for example the discussion in Current Anthropology 1968. and the latter's Supreme Court. New York: Monthly Review Press. G. 335) and t o study elites rather than only the "underdogs" (p. America Latina 6:4. "the relationships binding the oppressed and their oppressors" (p. JAULIN. Aportcs 8 . Book review in Current Anthropology (1969) 10:2-3. Aportcs 15. A. BARITZ. P.e. BONFIL. VILLA ROJAS. C. et al. Certainly. 1960 The Servants of Power: History of the Use of Social Science in American Industry. FREIRE. DELORIA. L. Obsessed with "the division of liibor. Mexico: Editoral Nuestro Tiempo.A.) REFERENCES CITED ADAMS. Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. Human Organization 27:65-73. 1970 De eso que llaman antropologia mexicana. Gutorm Gjessing. 1970 "Resistance t o change" and radical peasant mobilization: Foster and Erasmus reconsidered. 1969 En torno a la nueva tendencia ideologica d e antrop6logos e indigenistas. 1963 Clases. 1969 Algunas reflexiones sobre el problema de los valores. 1971 Usos y abusos de la sociologl'a: Una dhplica. New 1967 University Thought 4:4. J. Berreman. Stavenhagen's paper. ERASMUS. Jr. everyone's interests can be reconciled and served by the same social program. HUIZER. 1970 La crisis social y la orientaci6n sociol6gica: Una replica. R. colonialismo y aculturaci6n. It corrects naive assumptions in applied anthropology: all social conflict is evil. Stavenhagen also called upon us to peer downward within the local situation t o probe the "patterns of dominance. JAMES SILVERBERG Milwaukee. He cites the dim view about us held by members of the societies we study. cultural relativism + structural-functionalism = a need to preserve every status q u o (Hegel's "Wer kt. America Indi'gena 29:3. R. 1969 Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution.Great Debate that has taken place in the social sciences in recent years and in which many colleagues from various disciplines and different countries have participated. Kathleen Gough and others. PALS BORDA. America lndigena 28: 1. Aportes 19. Aportes 13. A. Middleton. 336). G. V. S. 1968 Culture and Poverty: Critique and CounterProposals. 1968 Community development and the encogido syndrome.

They have guns and we have not. Indians. exploitation. and class conflict." (For some exceptions. But the fundamental problems that confront us are not anthropological problems or chemical problems or mathematical problems. In much of the world today we see social categories (conceptual aggregates) becoming militant organized movements (Silverberg 1970:467-468). Perhaps intuitively and implicitly they seek universities with flexible problem-tackling departments that form to cope with such outstanding matters and that are capable of regrouping when new problems press upon us. Nevertheless. may be damned by disheartening dilemmas so long as it entails the commitment of a "revolutionary intellectual" or of "liberal anthropology" as distinct from that of "a real partisan-an intellectual revolutionary" or of "liberation anthropology" (Frank 1968:413. the Colombian priest-sociologist Camilo Torres Restrepo." they have been almost oblivious to the combination of labor or. however. and racism. perhaps it is because they want to face these problems that press so severely upon them (and upon us).) It is a profound deficiency in much of our prehistoric description. When today's students decry their universities' irrelevance. imperialism. but in the situations I refer to the elite have power to harass. R E F E R E N C E S CITED FRANK. I don't think it is paranoia to point out that even the most innocuousseeming item may be made to play a part in some war scenario of the Rand Corporation or the Institutes for Defense Analysis type-e. of course. If I am referring here to the "large fields of study where this approach is simply not feasible". especially of early states.g. 30. and we avoid or are ostracized from elite-controlled publication outlets. no difficulty when the conflicts are so enjoined that the observer-activist or 'neutral". Committed anthropology. There are overwhelming difficulties in studying nascent protests. Mintz and Wolf [I9571 . Inattention to the class-structured organization of work in a system of differential power is a defect in much of our ethnographic description. we should seek to enhance its relevance and utility by deparochializing and de-imperializing it. o r forced departures from countries as a result of our work. we must if our observations are to be sound and our activism effective. students. We insist on our disciplinary identities. he will be hard put to stay in the community-the semi-feudal village. women. (1) Under what circumstances is such research possible? Think of the obstacles in situations where protest is just beginning and a full picture requires research on both sides of the nascent conflict. youth. the mode of production. 4 WINTER 1971 345 . The face-to-face participant observation that is ethnographic research makes activism possible. and inflation. for my own close friend and cornpadre. In the USA alone we see this strikingly among Blacks. a description of village house types is potentially useful in planning the weapons and tactics of their destruction. in fact. These are "interdisciplinary" problems in a sense that has little to do with the lip-service we occasionally and ritually pay to the value of academic cross-fertilization. homosexuals. On this I have ample reason to second Stavenhagen's homage to the many martyred revolutionary social scientists of Latin America. particularly for "peasant communities. are they not precisely the ones we should be studying? There is.. The activist radical scientist will be hard put to establish rapport with the elite to study them. In addition to decolonializing anthropology. Let us also assume an ability to eschew the distortion of "wishful seeing". 1969: 137-145). deelitizing and demystifying our work and yet not radicalizing ourselves out of meaningful social scientific activity-comes smack up against at least two realities from the outset. or oust activist researchers. Even if he gives up direct study of the elite. the factory -they control as an activist observer on behalf of the oppressed." and "social differentiation. NO. unemployment. and Silverberg [I9701 ."specialization. it vitiates any technoeconomic basis for such concepts as "the urban revolution" and "state society" itself. was harassed and ultimately killed as an activist observer. shaping our research through "dialogics" with the people toward whom we are committed. the process of decolonializing anthropology-studying elites. true. see Mintz [I9531 . poverty. The Vietnam war and the danger of a thermonuclear holocaust. the population explosion and pollution. A. 1968 CA Comment on Social Responsibilities Sympo- VOL. (2) How is it possible to feel ethically secure in publishing any empirical description? This question remains even if our research findings result from a mutual learning process with the people to whom we are committed. Let us assume a willingness to face diminished access to research funds. We build up academic departments that have a great deal of vested interest and little intercommunication. G . block.can be on only one side of the barricades: he can join and study the tenant farmers' guerilla band or the landowners' country club. crime. he can't do both. Chicanos. revolutionaries. better.

and anthropologists.. It may be heresay to suggest that perhaps the current low level of funds allocated to the social sciences truly reflects our impact on society. Thus. Moreover. S. Stavenhagen and the groups in need would like to see us have. New York: Social Science Research Council. Current Anthropology 9:412-414. Certainly. R. Stavenhagen suggests we address ourselves. WOLF 1957 Haciendas and plantations in Middle America and the Antilles. UDY. Further. Feldman eds. With the influx of federal money. BARNETT Stanford. 78-91. In Labor Commitment and Social Change in Developing Areas.. foundation) dollars have helped point the way. given certain facts about the nature of anthropology. despite their special knowledge. under the leadership of Melville Herskovits. and neither has been the study of elites.1969 sium. 1953 The folk-urban continuum and the rural proletarian community. anthropology. S. When Dr. doctors are vulnerable to the microbes and viruses they study. V11Ith International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Social and Economic Studies 6:3. New York: Monthly Review Press. J. neither the AAA nor the Society for Applied Anthropology is engaged in the politics of resource allocation.000 fellows of the association (AAA 1971) and in relative ordering there are five sociologists and fifteen psychologists for every one anthropologist. There are less than 2. As Dr." "neighborhood voluntary associations" and "revolutionaries"? With rare exceptions they are not getting training in these areas in the anthropology departments. 138). In large complex societies such as ours. Stavenhagen suggests that anthropologists have neglected the study of "total societies" and that this is a question of "research methodology and adequate theory" it seems to me he leaves out one very important factor. the funds required for the study of a small peasant community do not come anywhere near the resources needed to study a national unit. They are angered that as anthropologists. This is neither surprising nor damning. Vine Deloria. California I have been most stimulated by what has been said by indirection in this article and by what has not been said at all. In Proceedings. that anthropologists in one sense are like doctors. 1970 Class conflict in a caste-structured system. we are an academic discipline. Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution. Japan. The same process can be noted for Soviet studies and we probably can expect shortly a burgeoning of Chinese studies. the lawyers (such as Ralph Nader and his group). Jr. W. SILVERBERG. the development of knowledge of all sorts is controlled through the allocation of resources. The implication of these comments are that we need to raise our eyes from the inward contemplation of our "guilt7' to the larger political issues (and national allocation of resources is politics). MINTZ. more than ninety percent of all anthropologists work in universities (NIH 1969). economists. E. and other politically conscious members of the groups we study are extremely critical of us. with special knowledge of their needs. namely money. This is the crux of my concern over the article. namely. W. Tokyo: Science Council of Japan 3:467-473. Despite their expertise. What makes anthropologists specialists in "activist observation" or "militants cum observers7'? Where does the anthropologist get the expertise to provide practical advice to "labor unions. Stavenhagen notes. First. 1960 Preindustrial forms of organized work. it is evident that federal (and to a lesser extent. American Journal of Sociology 59: 136-143.. are just as subject to cultural and social influences as are their informants. Even when we were invited to participate by one of the former Indian Commissioners (Collier 1963). and not oriented professionally t o the types of problems that Dr. it is still rare for students to get the solid grounding in economics and political science that enables them to become experts in national development. "No social research at all was listed for the Office of Indian Affairs" (p. given the traditional departmental organization in U. Yet. the latter area has been the concern of the sociologists. If we look at such a simple thing as the shifts that have occurred in culture area emphasis in U. MINTZ. Tokyo and Kyoto. even if we all became "activist observers" it is doubtful that we would have the impact that Dr. within our own society. Jr. in terms of numbers. S. and E. CLIFFORD R. and . 1968. Until the post World War I1 period. was the African study center in the country. Northwestern University. we refused t o work for the BIA and in 1969 Beds reported that. Moore and A. S. many other centers were developed over the country and the number of African experts in the discipline grew. universities. S. S. National development problems have not been central to anthropology. we have done nothing for them. H. Indeed. I hasten to add that I am in agreement with what I perceive to be the basic proposition in the article.

R. Denver: Sage Books. L. Anthropologists appear to have a strong bias against such facts. however. involved in some kind of action. I had a chance to experiment with a few of the approaches recommended by Stavenhagen. Maryland: Public Health Service Publication No. The polarized social structure of the country. but partly to the fact that even applied anthropologists.. was able in a 'Western forum to express his views on the role of applied anthropology. I would like to support Stavenhagen by giving briefly some examples in which I participated. 1963 From Every Zenith. were the main obstacles to community development. Stavenhagen's points are well made but it can be expected that among the "established" anthropologists doubts will be raised regarding the effects of some of the approaches proposed by him.political scientists. They led in some cases to better insights and more knowledge than the traditional academic approach did. When I have played a role in community organizations. automatically leads to knowledge about the macro level of the society to which the village belongs. but I have not pretended to myself or to others that I was functioning as an anthropologist. The results strongly confirm that these approaches are not wishful thinking and not even a risky kind of anthropology. Netherlands Too long "Western" anthropologists or "nonWestern" sociologists (as some of them are called in the Netherlands) have exchanged ideas and data mainly amongst themselves in their own circles. very few anthropologists have risked taking the activist anthropology line. I have brought to bear whatever I find useful from my discipline. Does it really lead to scientific knowledge? Does it sufficiently avoid or overcome "subjectivity"? While working for about twelve years in a variety of community and peasant organization efforts or related programmes sponsored by the United Nations or its agencies. Not experimenting by promoting the kind of change VOL. DIVISION OF MANPOWER AND TRAINING PROGRAMS 1969 Sociologists and Anthropologists: Supply and Demand in Educational Institutions and Other Settings. Research can be done in critical applied situations if. Until today. This may partly be due to their own cultural background. Chevy Chase. and (2) the need to develop a corps of anthropologists trained in anthropology as a profession (offering a service) in addition to those now trained as academicians. The surprising thing about a great deal of anthropological research is that such wider implications are not being discovered (or not being published?). a Mexican. as has been noted by others. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH. E. consisting of the large landowner and some of the government officials related to him. there are few centers in this country which provide training in medical anthropology designed to turn out activists capable of modifying medical institutions to better fit the needs of the population served. I could not do research in these situations nor could I scientifically test propositions about structures and behavior. At the high level they consider themselves to belong. only rarely has a scholar from a non-Western country (a developing country) had a chance to make his voice heard.g. publication must wait upon a long cooling-off period. REFERENCES CITED AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION 1971 Annual Report 1970 and Directory 4. In summary. the article touches on two major areas without clear distinction made between them: (1) the need in academically-oriented research t o select problems that are significant to the discipline without being unconsciously or needlessly swayed by the power and social biases of our own society. COLLIER. seem to close their eyes to the political implications. an observation about Stavenhagen's idea that anthropologists have to see the villages they study in their wider social and political context: based on some experience it could even be said that village researchif-combined-with-action if carried out properly and consistently. it immediately became obvious that the local elite. Thus. 1884. First. GERRIT HUIZER The Hague. BEALS. and the "resistance to change" of the upper class were easily discovered as the reasons behind the peasants' distrust and "resistance to change" (Huizer 1964 and 1965). when I studied peasant life in a Central American village as part of an experiment to bring the peasants into organized action. and neither do I find a distinction between the anthropologist functioning as an anthropologist and the anthropologist functioning as a citizen. It seems an important sign of the decolonializing in the social sciences that Rodolfo Stavenhagen. 1969 Politics of Social Research: An Inquiry into the Ethics and Responsibilities of Social Scientists. 30. 4 WINTER 1971 347 . NO. Often. training is assumed and not discussed in the paper. the situation is propitious and members of the studied group become research collaborators. Even on a smaller scale. Chigago: Aldine. J.

Few of the social groups which the social scientist . contrary to strongly held beliefs among traditional anthropologists. And if an anthropologist is lucky enough t o be present when "man takes control. The Revolutionary Potential of Peasants in Latin America. his criticism of radicals. in order for an activist social science to be effective it must be rooted in an organized social movement. Proper questioning and discussion of preliminary data can help the people in a village or region themselves to become more aware of their own problems. More importantly. Thus. Once these grievances were again openly expressed." e. and how h e identifies with the peasants. REFERENCES CITED HUIZER. It seems important to notice in this context that. A quite important proposal by Stavenhagen which may raise doubts among traditional anthropologists is the usefulness of discussing research data with the people who were the object of study.g. DELMOS J . And 1 could not agree with him more when he proposes that the role of the social scientist should become that of an activist observer.that provokes "resistance to change" from above leaves the anthropologist in a rather static situation where many things of interest can be studied. at the occurrence of land grabbing.. done more t o politicize social scientists than vice versa. For all those worried about the increasing use of anthropology for "counterinsurgency" or "establishment sponsored" research t o purposely help the underdog. J O N E S New York. can be used to help the underdog t o achieve a better understanding of his situation and give him means to struggle for improvement. unrest o r revolution. 1965 Evaluating community development at the grassroots: Some observations on methodology. these may be the most effective forms of protest and of defense of the professional ethics of the anthropologists. Insights gained by the researcher about a conflict situation. G. and his comment on the relationship between ideology and reality are all excellent points. Human Organization 29: 303-3 12. be it hidden or overt. America Indigena 25: 3. in an area in Chile. neighborhood voluntary associations. why. This approach is particularly relevant if the research is combined with action. the basic but almost unconscious grievances underlying a refusal of the peasants t o participate in a community development project could be discovered through "identification" (see above) and questioning. in fact. Only rarely are anthropologists present when the static rural society becomes upset or dynamic-peasant movement. 1970 "Resistance to change" and radical peasant mobilization: Foster and Erasmus reconsidered. It can help in the concientiza~aoof the people (the term introduced by Paodo Freire. or serves it. as Stavenhagen has pointed out. Lexington. America Indigena 24:3.p. As long as the anthropologist indicates clearly that. it certainly pays off also from the scientific point of view t o be "on the side of the peasants" in all kinds of situations. the empirical data he finds become "objective" enough t o be also of scientific value. Empathy. it is necessary t o identify as much as possible with the peasants and their Weltanschauung in order t o properly understand their life. peasant mobilization around these grievances could be organized in the context of the project-which was directed to oppose the vested interests of local landlords who had caused the grievances by usurping the best parts of the peasants' communal lands (Huizer forthcoming).-that are actively working to bring about social change. But despite the very positive position taken in this paper an element of elitism emerges which is disturbing. New York I agree very strongly with most of the points made in Stavenhagen's paper. labor unions. sometimes interpreted as meaning "making people more class-conscious") as well as in the gaining of more profound insight by the researcher. Einfuhlung and the phenomenological approach seem t o be t o o rarely applied in anthropology. It is a radical elitism but elitism nevertheless. he seems practically to ignore such facts and their wider implications. Massachusetts: Heath. One has t o try to see the world through their eyes. He only observes "resistance t o change" from below. i. 1964 A community development experience in a Central American village. but where hardly any insights into the potential for dynamic change can be achieved. Such occasions are left to the journalists. The impression of elitism emerges because the author places too much stress on the role of the social scientist as teacher and not enough is said about groups-peasant organizations. etc. But according t o the few experiences I had. The recent political activism of such groups has. His comments on t h e relationship between social science and society. The classical example is that of Charles Erasmus in the 1958 land invasions in Sonora state in Mexico (Huizer 1970).

The social scientist who works with an activist group can perhaps introduce a different perspective but will learn a new perspective in the process. It is unfair to imply that militants are not "careful observers of their own action. It is no longer enough to feed back information about the group being studied. and a host of other critical topics and processes. Lexington. In order for a social scientist to make a contribution to social change in the manner proposed by Stavenhagen. strikes me as a call to chart our future. More specifically. I believe his paper to be in the mainstream of our current dilemma-the conjunction of anthropological past with anthropological future. But the expectation should not be that the social scientist will play a key role in social processes just because he is a social scientist. I am not persuaded that the evidence supports a strategy of guilt. Stavenhagen's concern for the anthropological focus on small-scale. I agree we should study elites. then to subvert. These are valid observations. I agree. 4 WINTER 1971 349 . At issue here are the rights and interests of the latter vis-d-vis the self-serving needs of VOL. This is. JR. the appropriate variables to support the directions we do or do not take should be dissected out through an objective sociology-ofknowledge-type analysis. I suggest further that. in problems supplied by a research population. societies. first to question. Nor am I uncomfortable with the notion that anthropological activity can and should be vested. as willing tools of it. and finally to modify existing systems.works with at the present time are passive. the downtrodden. My interest is strongest where Dr. Stavenhagen's paper-that there are questions to be asked about the subject matter anthropologists have generated. NO. I believe that it is both desirable and necessary for some social scientists to take the activist role which Stavenhagen proposes. We are not used to working with people who are trying to have an impact on the forces influencing their life. The questions which the people are interested in may not have any theoretical importance as defined by the discipline and they may not relate to the problem that the researcher himself is interested in. the only posture that a science can take and remain viable. Stavenhagen. 1 think." The truth is that they observe the impact of their action for a different perspective than a social scientist would. including most "radical" social scientists. It is in the explanation for these conditions that I withhold. or. it is not simply that we concentrate on the "underdog" but that we do this because of his vulnerability to research access. Until this is done we shall not know whether anthropologists have made their choices as products of the "Colonial" (or other) system. either explicitly or through inference and innuendo. that we have ignored elites and their power. In order for the information to be meaningful it must in the first place deal with problems which are of concern to the group in question. Granted the need for change. that anthropologists have studied mainly the "underdog" segments of society. Also. or whether they have responded to variables inherent in the discipline itself. isolated. too. since we are dealing with matters of our history. but setting aside for the moment direction." ART GALLAHER. Thus. 30. Explanations by those of a "radical" bent. This requires a continuous dialogue between the social scientist and the group and implies an equal relationship between researcher and researched. and has produced a theoretical world view far too limited. tend to the view that omissions of the past derived mainly from the willful intent of anthropologists. It is at this point that most social scientists. with explanation of the former justification for the latter. at least partially. Stavenhagen suggests new directions. "the peasant is not likely to ever read our research report. agreement with Dr. draw the line. and they should lead to questions as to why this has been our history and. it must be emphasized that the social scientist can only join with others as a partner in the effort to awaken and develop a critical conscience which will "enable the powerless. Yet our whole approach is geared to working with people who can impose few demands. I share Dr. traditional. he must be willing to conduct research on the types of questions that the group itself is interested in. the colonized. because of the sins of our past. at least temporarily. they should force judgments as to whether these are the trends of our future. the oppressed. including having a say in the type of research which is conducted in their midst." The tenor of the argument. the roles employed to do it. more importantly. Thus. and we should engage the topical and process areas that he suggests. Surely this has influenced the nature of the questions asked by anthropologists. in Stavenhagen's words. Kentucky I am sympathetic to the general thrust of Dr. despite occasional kudos to anthropological contribution. and about the professional practices of applying the science. in the directions suggested.

as for example. others press for an official stance on the reduction of intergroup tensions. and the first genuine test of our maturity. . There is more involved in their argument than statements on general well-being. Texas Stavenhagen claims that the inability of anthropologists to ".a science. or according to Stavenhagen. handle the problems involved in the analysis of total social systems . but also (2) to the fact that change such as pointed out in the discussion of indigenismo has often been treated simply as processes of acculturation. administrators. laymen. We have paid too little attention to the former. and even failure. but is instead traceable to other reference groups. . or should attempt to be all things to all men. so that one knows. choices must be made. This relates to my second concern. I must admit to ambivalence on this critical recommendation. begin to internalize the oft-discussed variant as the only "real" segment of the group. One can realize that the types of problems which have delighted anthropologists to date often required focusing on the most "untouched" elements of the total population." Perhaps the fact that few anthropologists attempt to follow this admonition stems not only from (1) the fear that their informants would be furious over what was written and they would not understand the lofty implications of their findings. such as American Indians or New World Blacks. and as they allow individuals to participate effectively in several differing situations and systems without necessarily losing allegiance to the original community or suffering from a "marginal man" syndrome. not only scientific knowledge about themselves. but also about how their system works. Stavenhagen. VERA GREEN Houston. Dr. Dr. Thus. . can. or vague pronouncements on pluralism and the right to self-determination. The greatest danger which can result from this rather systematic concentration on one segment of the population to the exclusion of others is that subsequent social scientists. we have the anthropologist in a leadership position. for example. however. An increasing segment of those who study man object that the values of "science" per se are n o longer adequate. complicated. and situational selection as they relate to aspects of sociocultural change among Third World and minority peoples (Green 1970). My concerns are two: I doubt that anthropology as a science is. I suggest that there must be some limit to the role of anthropologist." results from their stressing and reifying culture as a concept. During his discussion of the lack of success. It is frequently forgotten that a number of Asian. and potentially decisive issue yet faced by the discipline. that point when the world view is no longer anthropological. the values -hence ethics-to guide the applications of our science. goes the added step and advocates a genuine activist role for the anthropologist. On both counts. Mayer 196 1 . On the first point. Arguments today center on the substantive. but should get involved to bring it off. If scholars were able to release their grip on this concept. or is it the less intellectually intriguing fact that certain related principles are simply forgotten during the period of collection and analysis of data? The existence of alternative solutions is common to all societies. one not only generates the information necessary to facilitate change. and the insistence of many on doing their own thing but having it labeled as anthropology. he . Stavenhagen. Is this the source of the problem. This is probably the most serious. they tend toward fluidity. makes it available to the population studied. and some push for very specific political postures. Mitchell 1966). as though both are not vital for the most complete understanding of sociocultural phenomena. And of course acculturation is seen as unidirectional and final. my dialogue with students today reveals the reluctance of many to be judged professionally. ." What is more difficult to comprehend is why their findings are generally not discussed in terms of other segments within the same societies where such exist. of community development programs. while not slacking the latter. In short. . . protecting sources of information. African and American Indian communities were stratified or at least internally differentiated prior to European contact. advocates an anthropology in the service of the disadvantaged. Stavenhagen also states that the anthropologist should attempt to channel t o oppressed Third World peoples ". Pushed to its extreme in a revolutionary model. and others know. the "elite" as illustrated in his article. the "underdogs. the problems of the organization of diversity are frequently overlooked in favor of the replication of uniformity (Wallace 1960). situationally specific behavior (Bruner l96l). perhaps more of them might be inclined to consider the applicability of such concepts as situational change (Gluckrnan 1966. and I feel the need for specificity of the values which ought to guide one in the role of anthropologist as he intervenes in the affairs of others. and worse-those under study. The latter concepts are multidirectional.

1961 Urbanization and ethnic identity in North Sumatra. He places the blame on ". En este punto es donde yo quisiera afiadir algo: estamos hablando de problemas y acciones politicas. como el mismo lo dice. no seria posible comentar con detalle cada uno de ellos. It becomes evident. cada dia mas acalorada en 10s pai'ses del Tercer Mundo. en la cri'tica intelectual de las "verdades" establecidas o aceptadas. Conservatism and the Process of Urbanization in a South African City. Estoy completamente de acuerdo con Stavenhagen cuando sefiala que el estudio de 10s oprimidos es. that there has been little connection made between the resistance of Third World peoples to anthropological research and the types of points raised by this address. por mi parte. El camino." In my own opinion as a result of experience gained from participating in and studying several such community programs. Capetown: Oxford University Press. como t a m b i h lo apunta Stavenhagen. GLUCKMAN. Es indispensable. 30. P. en ese terreno. MAYER.Coma cumplir con ambos cometidos? La alternativa que Stavenhagen propone a 10s cientificos sociales que decidan hacer "observacion participante" en 10s circulos e instituciones del poder. MITCHELL. REFERENCES CITED BRUNER. 1966 Tribalism in modern British Central Africa. Mexico Los planteamientos que hace Rodolfo Stavenhagen en este trabajo constituyen una contribution substancial a la discusion. sino hacer llegar el resultado de esas investigaciones a las capas explotadas. pero la suma de esos esfuerzos personales y aislados dificilmente provocara una modification substancial en la incidencia de las ciencias sociales en 10s procesos de transformacion social. 1961 Culture and Personality. Human Organization. Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth Monographs (1963). insuficiente. wrong assumptions about the social structures of rural villages and their links to the wider society. sobre como lograr que las ciencias sociales-y. M. WALLACE. ha resultado peligroso para muchos de 10s que han intentado seguirlo. 1970 The confrontation of diversity within the Black community. As their significance seems to be continually overlooked by a number of current anthropologists. 29:267-272. ed. the Colonial Situation. GREEN. resultan sumamente limitadas. V. M. This lack of awareness continues in spite of the fact that more individuals are expressing concern that they are "not wanted" in Third World and minority areas. 1966 Theoretical orientations in African urban studies. Institute of Social and Economic Research. GUILLERMO BONPIL BATALLA Mexico City. J. en si mismo. F.attributes their problems to an inability to mobilize community participation. Rhodes University. New York: Random House. Cada antropologo involucrado en una situacion como la que se plantea. therefore. Banton. . 1961 Townsmen and Tribesmen. y que revela en cierto grado una mentalidad colonialista. c. C. Dada la envergadura de 10s temas que trata Stavenhagen en su apretada sintesis. In Social Change. Volume 4. it is necessary to stress the fact that the bureaucratic structure of such developmental organizations as well as the flagrant personal behavior of the administrative staff weigh equally with the theoretical concerns as factors which prohibit the effective mobility of community participation. ed. Immanuel Wallerstein. consiste en la busqueda de explicaciones alternativas. 4 WINTER 1971 351 . prestar una atencion mayor y aun prioritaria al estudio de 10s grupos opresores y del sistema global de dominacion. American Anthropologist 63:508-521. las posibilidades del individuo aislado. la Antropologia -cumplan una funcion mas dinamica y coherente en 10s procesos de transformacion revolucionaria que exige la problematica economica y social de esos mismos paises. y en la redistribution del conocimiento asi obtenido segun la formula de de-elitization y demystification en la transmision de 10s resul tados. El problema no es solo estudiar a 10s sectores dominantes. Para este problema y o no encuentro otra solucion que la participation del cientifico social en las organizaciones VOL. me limitare a presentar algunas consideraciones que me sugieren ciertas proposiciones cruciales. podra actuar siguiendo-o creyendo seguir-la pauta que Stavenhagen propone. y comunicar 10s resultados a 10s sectores que sufren 10s efectos de la estructura de dominacion. certain of the points raised by Stavenhagen definitely need to be stressed. Me parece necesario subrayar este nexo entre las dos proposiciones del autor: estudiar a 10s grupos que detentan el poder dentro del sistema global. NO. giving the impression that all anthropologists had formerly been welcomed everywhere with open arms. . M. en nuestro caso particular. como el lo indica. A. In The Social Anthropology of Complex Societies. .

politically defined. Me parece que el poder n o lo tendra nunca en tanto cientifico. que n o satisfacen las aspiraciones de muchos cientificos sociales radicales. dentro y fuera del establishment) a1 de las fuerzas organizadas que luchan por el poder para transformar el orden social vigente. their cultures. as Stavenhagen argues here (and I have argued elsewhere . or putschists. and the emotional bonds forged among the warriors are intense-whether on college campuses. MURRAY L. proimperialista o genocida. eso quiero creer-esas organizaciones politicas alcanzaran mayor eficacia en la medida en que hagan uso de 10s resultados de una investigacion cientifica bien orientada. Y aqui'. or urban streets-yet when the battle leads t o the replacement of a Tsar by a Stalin. the terminating of social research would equally terminate the great tradition of Marxism as the heir of the Enlightenment and the revolutionary liberator of mankind. solo el vinculo real con una organizacion poli'tica consecuente puede ofrecerle. pero n o menos real. liberty and science. as it was a declaration that the culture and conduct of the subordinate masses were of equal or greater importance than the posturings of military heroes or the speeches of procounsels. The contention has a radical gloss until the reader reminds himself that most conventional historical research has been devoted to elites. En casos extremos la comunidad cientifica ha dado la alarma cuando alguno de sus miembros. n o l o obtienen por su capacidad cientifica sin0 por aceptar. el canal necesario para que 10s resultados de su investigacion lleguen al public0 que 10s necesita (es decir. la perspectiva adecuada para comprender su propia situation. es que en muchos paises del Tercer Mundo tales organismos poli'ticos son escasos y raquiticos. o bien. En esa perspective debe encuadrarse la frustracion del cienti'fico social aplicado que nunca alcanza a tener poder real. The development of cultural anthropology (as of social history and sociological research) represented a radical reorientation of such historical effort. de l o cual nos habla Stavenhagen. por la otra. (2) Anthropologists and Marxist humanists (in which category I place Stavenhagen) tend sometimes t o be naive about the struggle for power and the conduct of political leaders. pero en las situaciones mas usuales las cosas son menos claras-como lo apunta Stavenhagen-y el an tropologo deseoso de hacer "observacion participante" en 10s altos circulos del poder establecido. In a few areas. T o such conspirators.politicas que mejor expresen sus convicciones. a 10s grupos oprimidos por el sistema que estudia). Kansas ON DEMYTHOLOGIZING THE SLOGANS O F REVOLUTIONARIES. W A X Lawrence. In consequence. Porque estas-repito para finalizarson la condition imprescindible para la descolonizacion real de las ciencias sociales aplicadas. A1 mismo tiempo-al nienos. que esa capacidad cientifica esti puesta al servicio de 10s intereses del propio establishment. What he does not add is that some so-called revolutionists are hostile t o independent inquiry because it would expose their own systems of exploitation and personal aggrandizement. y llevar estos a la practica. corre el riesgo de quedar poco a poco envuelto en las redes del sistema y convertirse en senidor (incluso inconciente) del mismo. they often exhibit an eschatological attitude toward revolution. and a failure t o anticipate the sordid realities of the postrevolutionary political epoch. The open struggle directed against those identified as oppressors ("bad guys") is exhilarating. El poder personal que muchos adquieren dentro del establishment. in mountain fastnesses. when he deals directly with this critique. and dramatic contests. (1) Stavenhagen repeats the contention that anthropologists (and fellow social scientists) should reorient themselves from the study of their oppressors-the elites. Aqui solo caben dos alternativas: o debatirse en la incertidumbre y en las constradicciones que Stavenhagen analiza tan claramente. modes of action. En t d situacion. con o sin ingenuidad. whether radical or repressive. tal c o m o se presenta en muchos paises latinoamericanos): la incidencia politica de las ciencias sociales en la transformation de la sociedad esta en razon directa a la madurez y fortaleza de las organizaciones politicas capaces de convertir 10s conocimientos cientificos en programas de accion. por una parte. Suspiciously often the critique of anthropology (and sociology) for focusing on the oppressed comes from the lips of the conspirators (Bakuninists) who style themselves as "revolutionary" but who are in historical actuality the enemies of reason. o contribuir de manera efectiva a la creacion de las agrupaciones politicas adecuadas. the revolutionary social scientist has exchanged the whip of tyranny with the scorpion of bureaucracy. As Stavenhagen comes close to stating. The space allotted t o m e does not permit a dialectical elaboration but only a simple listing. impli'cita o explicitamente. sin0 e n tanto politico. El problema final. El otro camino es el de ligar el destine personal (y cientifico. social research can only be a species of military intelligence. Stavenhagen's sketch is imprecise. en tanto participante efectivo en una organizacion polftica. llegamos a1 meollo de la cuestion (a1 menos. participa en programas de evidente caricter reaccionario. es decir. Certainly. possibly because of an uncritical acceptance of popular radical rhetoric. m e parece.

Considering the overwhelming and exploitative impact of the military and business. I am sympathetic to Stavenhagen's VOL. Monograph No. and I in turn tried to secure a modest financial support so I could visit their community and serve for some months as a resource person. None of the foundations (federal or private) that I approached was willing to provide this assistance. but with my blessing. But it is naive to accept their criticisms of anthropological work as an accurate statement of the facts. tribal council.. Jr. F. When I spoke with Deloria about his accusations in this incident. M. One of Deloria's illustrative cases (1969) concerns the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Sioux. NIMNICHT 1970 Who Should Control Indian Education? Berkeley. and opportunity to present the case for their peoples to the U. Stavenhagen refers to Vine Deloria. In 1962-1963. and of these most were devoted to physical anthropology. and Dumont 1964) contained a list of recommendations. (Supplement. Volume 11. the greater proportion of these scholars was critical of imperial practices. DUMONT. V. Indeed." as has since been regarded as its theoretical weakness and political failing. 1964 Formal education in an American Indian community. NO. Now the Indians have Deloria and many other leaders who should be and are most eloquent spokesmen for the interests of particular Indian groups. both from within the Bureau of Indian Affairs and from opposing factions within the reservation. BAYNE. National Congress of American Indians) who is struggling t o dislodge anthropologists from the role which they acquired by default of being spokesmen for Indian peoples (because in earlier years there were few Indians who had the sophistication. However. (4) Lest the foregoing be dismissed as the carping of a researcher who requires an unrealistic moral purity of political leaders. to visualize these men as having been serious contributors to the maintenance of European empires is ridiculous. most of the work in sociocultural anthropology was essentially "antiquarian. archaeology. V. The Society for the Study of Social Problems.) NANCIE L. In Custer Died for Your Sins. providing the Sioux were themselves willing to make the change and assume the responsibility. WAX. Number 4. and R. he evaded the issue. Moreover. fluency. GONZALEZ Iowa City. I headed a research team of Indians and whites which studied the encounter of Sioux children with federal schools of the Pine Ridge Reservation. our report helped to generate a strong movement for local control. In general. and the recipients included the tribal officers. WAX. Our monographic report (Wax. Under the circumstances. I do not think Deloria's conduct is a manifestation of his personal irresponsibility. When nationalist and revolutionary spokesmen now single out anthropologists for special critical attack. Sherif.. Until World War I1 there were only a few thousand anthropologists in the entire world. 4 WINTER 1971 353 . H. voiced the notion of assuming control of their own school system.Iowa I found this paper very provocative and valuable for the issues it raises concerning the future role of social science. and the Sioux believed this and discarded the project. and responded with another denunciation of anthropologists. he says. the reformist social scientists oriented about "community development" are naive in failing to grasp the larger picture. L. and G. McKINLEY. In one local community. Fifty copies of that report were sent by us t o the reservation. S. of which the primary was that. He is playing the part of a political leader (formerly Executive Director. without my assistance. Bayne and Nimnicht). McKinley.. Wax. Sherif and C. W. the immediate effects of anthropologists-whether positive or negative -can only have been trivial. eds. M. but are not these revolutionary social scientists even more naive in failing to grasp the realities of power? (3) Anthropologists are indulging themselves in a form of elitism (or delusions of grandeur) when they exaggerate their role in affairs of empire. 30. the control of the schools should be in their hands. and later corresponded with him. At several points the leaders of the movement appealed to me for assistance. In Interdisciplinary Relations in the Social Sciences.1969). M. S. and to his critical attack upon the exploitation of American Indians by anthropologists. R. Chicago: Aldine. public). 1969 Myth and interrelationship in social science: Illustrated through anthropology and sociology. let me narrate briefly one incident in which I have been involved. The realities are completely the reverse. L. my suspicions are aroused. R E F E R E N C E S CITED DELORIA. Calif: Far West Laboratory for Educational R e search and Development. New York: Avon. 1969 Anthropologists and other friends. whose people had. Social Problems. Jr. WAX. Jr. That movement encountered much opposition. and linguistics. and local leaders. Even so. explains Deloria. this movement for Indian control of schools is continuing (cf. 1. anthropologists-names and dates unspecifiedinstructed the Sioux that they were not competent to operate their own schools.

and from what perspectives. by whom? That is the question. primitives. be justified in working for agencies such as the United States CIA. Of much more importance. However. which by definition have the power to stop much of the research itself. but for their colonial capitalist rules at home and abroad. Stavenhagen has made a good case for increasing the amount of research done on elites. tribal organizations.position and will here deal only with a few items which seem to me to be particularly thorny.) is probably not too valuable to "the natives" themselves. usually turn out to support the status quo. Nevertheless. since the anthropologist or other social scientist rarely attacks problems of special concern to the people being studied. What. Chile Anthropology of whom. discussed with. Of course. I suggest that if we find ourselves recognizing and accepting the commitments we have probably had in us all along. he should have specified that this must be only information on how others see them. especially in the early phases of such a movement." Most of the present literature on peasants (urban migrants. I should like to start by referring to Stavenhagen's final paragraph. applied to whom. is to have scientific information about the "others"-that is. in bourgeois-legitimated orthodoxy. for what purpose. to carry the critique through to its conclusions. to create new models in place of the ones he is obliged to discard. Ideologies often prefer not to use the "facts. "It depends on who did the study. separating social fact and social norm may be unacceptable to the True Believer and detrimental to his ultimate goals. But the committed social scientist has an obligation to raise the issues. and to return to my introductory idea. for whom. though perhaps with suggestions for reforms which nevertheless tend only to reinforce the basic structure of the existing society. anthropology and other social sciences have traditionally been of the people and applied to the people. ANDRE GUNDER FRANK Santiago." I heartily endorse his recognition that social science is unlikely to be the force which saves (or destroys) the world. in which he states. to take the necessary action. On the other hand. the Russian KBG. and by these rulers or their hired action anthropologists the better to govern the oppressed people. and used by peasant organizations?" the answer must be. can never be completely objective anyway. although he has not told us yet how we are going to manage this when such studies may in the long run be damaging to those sectors. it may still be of some value in a rapidly changing world. this is an issue about which much is being said today. then. Yet. etc. The other side of the same coin suggests that the social scientists committed to supporting the status quo may. Any kind of social movement designed to change the existing structure for the benefit of some particular social group must have an ideology. "Certainly n o amount of applied social science . "Can books about peasants be brought to the attention of. or it may appear to them to be simply untrue. it must be obvious that if the social scientist himself becomes committed to the aims and goals of the movement he is studying. When Stavenhagen makes a plea that such nonelite groups could benefit from having scientific information about themselves. I mean that it is either not relevant. Stavenhagen H U M A N O R G A N I Z A T I O N 354 . Finally. which raises its ugly head in a variety of areas including the selection of a research topic. By this. no matter how hard it tries. "applied" implies commitment on the part of the scientist to something or someone. there is another problem related to the matter of making data available to the people themselves. to ask the embarrassing questions. the question of making data available to the people being studied raises some rather interesting problems. And if he can. he runs the risk of falling into the same trap as the "establishment" social scientist whose analyses." That is. The question is to whom and t o what? Stavenhagen several times chastizes the social scientist for ethnocentrism. it will not necessarily be detrimental to social science as some have feared. however well-meaning. . a challenging of positions and models and a more realistic recognition that social science. comprises commitment? One might argue that the adjective. and there have been some strides forward in the direction of "people-directed" or "people-initiated" research. the elites themselves. Stavenhagen has scientifically and morally posed and answered that. can alter by itself the social forces that are at work. etc. as Stavenhagen suggests. The idea that science might lead one to engage in revolutionary activities will probably come as something of a shock even to those who have thought themselves to be "relatively" objective in their views. the theoretical perspective with which one attacks problems. . if Stavenhagen's final paragraph be taken at face value as a recommendation. It may in fact stimulate healthy debate. and the final analyses and/or recommendations-which too often turn out to support the aims and goals of whomever it is that is paying the bill. When Stavenhagen says. In courageously saying so before the Society for Applied Anthropology.

the former cannot accept any revolutionary measures of the latter.himself sets out on one of the new paths he advocates inasmuch-or insofar-as his denunciation itself amounts to an untraditional study of the rulers instead of the ruled. worker and community organizations. we believe. Is not that precisely the experience of the social scientist working in his own country in the miscalled Third World-whose plight concerns Stavenhagen-and is not the plight precisely defined by the dilemma of either becoming the local fifth column quisling of this scientific peace corps or fighting them daily in the ideological and political war they wage inside their universities. as Stavenhagen has stressed. may well turn out to be no more than further penetration of the people in-and by-the old direction: like the indigenismo and community development programs that Stavenhagen rightfully criticizes.that is co-opting the native leadership and their institutions at the grass roots (as Philip Selsnick advocated on the basis of his TVA study) and buying the human capital for a fifth column within the people ranks. While the anthropologist or other social scientist is one who sells his labor-and his soul-to the highest capitalist bidder. The answer is no. what does inviting Don Simpatico to dialogue with the neocolonialist scientist amount to? It amounts to financing. even if it be through reform. we may ask. little good for the people is likely to derive from his anthropology. Does not then Don Simpatico's applications of anthropology constitute anthropology by and for the people. NO. and popular movements? More important than asking anthropology of whom applied to whom. theories are even less so. which Stavenhagen rather mentions in passing instead of making the applied anthropological actor the principal object-or subject-of our meta-applied anthropology. Although even scientific facts are not "objective" (since. only militancy in a revolutionary organization and the application of anthropology and other social sciences guided by and tested in the praxis of such revolutionary militancy can assure that anthropology and social science will be applied in the people's struggle for a government of the people. for the people. Adams (Current Anthropology in press) as Director of the Ford Foundation in Buenos Aires. as urged by Stavenhagen. their selection for ascertainment and dissemination is value-laden). providing. if Don Simpatico is institutionally co-opted to help the people's enemies govern. by the people. is the question. translation of professional jargon into popular language and channeling of the social scientist's research conclusions to Don Simpatico in San Miguel. and herein Stavenhagen and the present writer perhaps disagree. where the distinction between reformist and revolutionary change or anthropology is at any moment. Anthropology and other social science is more likely to be for the people if it is applied by the people. for the people.) Another of the new directions advocated by Stavenhagen. The question is rather one of the distinctions between a reformist and revolutionary organization. or taking over the institutional facilities as well as the language and subject matter of this dialogue. It is also the purpose and practice of the International Institute of Labour Studies of the United Nations International Labour Organization in Geneva (which currently employs Stavenhagen). despite its new appearances. by the people. among others. (Inasmuch as the SAA itself invited Stavenhagen to so address it. between social democratic and socialist parties in most of the world today. 4 WINTER 1971 355 . We are beginning to recognize. And most importantly. STEVEN POLGAR Chapel Hill. is currently also advocated and applied. anthropology for whom and by whom? Indeed. regardless of whether this science is of the people and applied t o them to mobilize them or whether it is science of their enemies applied to them by the people who combat them. And therefore also. irrespective of what kind he applies. While the latter can support some reformist measures of the former. Those who VOL. North Carolina Among the many excellent ideas Stavenhagen has put forward his positive use of "self-fulfilling prophecy" particularly strikes me. as Stavenhagen poses it. if nothing else. Therein he wages valiant battle on the ideological front insofar as his message reaches out to the people or at least to some of the colonializing applied anthropologists whom it may help take conscious stock of the question. 30. only revolutionary socialist organizations can really advance government of the people. Similarly the question is not. that to propound a theory about society is a political act. To go one step further and participate in the application of that theory requires a new self-concept among anthropologists. the class of anthropological activist for and by whom anthropology is applied is more likely to determine the kind of anthropology he practices than the other way around. we may suspect that Stavenhagen's aims nonetheless are perhaps not perceived as overly dangerous or that they respond to a felt need to engage in a little reformism such as that about whose consequences Stavenhagen also speculates. by Richard N. And certainly the for whom that troubles Stavenhagen will be determined principally by the by whom. For this reason.

to the various issues raised therein and I am grateful to my colleagues who felt that these were sufficiently important to deserve their attention. While I do not feel it necessary to restate my position. Let me begin by replying to my negative. Barnett. even if they are not explicit. there are different ways to study the oppressed." it seems only fair to ask that the criteria whereby these problems and needs are determined be made explicit.have practiced applied anthropology. Those of us who are sympathetic to this approach can therefore-as a minimum-do one thing: collect money. Likewise. but increasingly has. and Gallaher asks for a clear limit between what he calls the anthropological world view and that of other reference groups. Stavenhagen mentions the risks involved in doing this new kind of anthropology. Gallaher and Wax represent fairly faithfully the traditional approach which the radical social scientists are increasingly taking to task. neither the social scientist's participation nor some unaccounted variable can be validly proposed as alternative explanations of the results. as well as to those who express their criticism. And in order to escape from this contradiction we may legitimately ask why the professional associations should not engage in the politics of resource allocation. Hence. Those. however. RODOLFO STAVENHAGEN being swayed by the power and social biases of our own society. liberty and science (as Professor Wax curiously suggests) in order to call a spade a spade and recognize that social research not only can. Allocating the money would be done by a board with Third World anthropologists in the majority. Please write to me if you want to contribute. Cecil Rhodes and Teddy Roosevelt look quite different according to which side of empire-building one happens to be on. or have a project that might be supported. as Polgar rightly states when referring to the propounding of theories. The points made by Professors Barnett. critics. Barnett. for example. I would agree. and certainly applied anthropology) does constitute a political act. So. have usually done so in the employ of some group. Royalties assigned to the fund might be one source of money. or when Gallaher opposes the rights and interests of a researched population t o the supposedly "self-serving needs of a science. But one of my points was precisely that such a distinction is illusory. the converse however does hold. While I certainly do not mean to imply that every political act engaged in by an anthropologist is anthropology. Thus. there are different ways to study elites-and even the posturings of military heroes. have some ideas on how to run the operation. if gentle. the action will be successful. I propose that we start a fund to underwrite research of this kind. And if several actions based on the theory (and its interpretations) are successful. quite rightly recognizes that the development of knowledge is controlled through the allocation of resources and that the professional associations are not engaged in the politics of resource allocation. who have acquired policy-making power within a group or organization have felt that they must abandon their self-concept as scientists. The theories of social change that such employers have are usually firmly held. The contradiction here is self-evident. on the other hand. regrets that he does not find in my paper a proper distinction between the anthropologist qua anthropologist and the anthropologist qua citizen. The practice of social and cultural anthropology (at least in most cases. What Stavenhagen's activist observer can hopefully do is to see his theories tested directly-without waiting for his book to be published and then possibly read by some receptive activist. when Barnett pleads for the need in academically-oriented research to select problems that are significant to the discipline without . and one does not have to be a conspiratorial enemy of reason. are they not precisely letting the "self-serving needs" of the science be determined by the "power and social biases" of the society (vide establishment)? Similarly unconvincing is Murray Wax's contention that the study of elites would signify a return to "conventional" research from which cultural anthropology has allegedly made a radical departure. become "a species of military intelli- The comments on my paper address themselves. from different points of view. the common complaint of the applied social scientist that he is being used as a mere technican. As Professor Wax surely does not ignore. as Stavenhagen also points out. To test out the validity of such interpretations in the crucible of action is. also doing science. By not doing so. If the theory and its reinterpretation are scientifically sound. including loss of financial support. some of the points raised require discussion. But the interpretation of theory in the light of specific situations is a scientific activity. both to those who give me their enthusiastic or guarded approval.

that the dialogue between the social scientists and the people they study must necessarily lead to the latter's co-optation into the system of their oppressors. then it is only by what social scientists as individuals do. Thus I do not believe. This. let me add) regardless of what a handful of social scientists decide to do. But it is equally clear that it may lead to increased social and political awareness of both the social scientists and the people involved. But if social science has anything to contribute to this process." What country has Professor Wax been living in? Yet of course he is quite right in chiding radicals for their naivete about the realities of power and their often eschatological attitude toward revolution. like other groups. And if this process is to continue then the radical debate must be carried out at all possible levels. I hold. with Frank. in international organizations or within the staid and respectable professional organizations of the academic disciplines. whether it be with Don Simpatico.gence. is what has been occurring in the applied social sciences. have always borne particular social responsibilities. As we all know. Social scientists have indeed been known to acquire such awareness in the course of their scientific activity. That such dialogue may be used for manipulative ends is undeniable. political organization for revolutionary social change will continue (fortunately. And on this I must insist again that radical social scientists should be careful not to radicalize themselves out of meaningful social scientific activity altogether. But social scientists are also free human beings and. I can only suggest that in order that the whip of tyranny not turn into the scorpion of bureaucracy-as he seems to fear-we maintain our faith in the lion-like strength and the eagle-eyed vigilance of the popular masses. but can also be scientifically rewarding as Huizer demonstrates. That scholars are able to act according to their conscience and not only to their social roles needs no reiteration here. The difficulties involved in such kind of research are of course great. On the other hand. as intellectuals. have played social roles determined by historically given structures. despite my advice to fellow radicals to do precisely that. to detach themselves from the establishment and to use their knowledge and scientific tools in the fashion suggested in my paper. Finally. in the university. 30. It is probably due to my not having been as much involved in "activist research" as I should have. is. as Polgar. Gunder Frank will surely allow me to mention his own intellectual development as a case in point. 4 WINTER 1971 357 . Let me now turn briefly to some of the points raised by the other commentators. much more than simply a personal commitment which can conveniently be kept apart from one's "science" or scholarly activities. There can be no question of "guilt" on that level. political militancy. The problem becomes critical when the definition of the social role enters into contradiction with the ethical values ostensibly held by the dominant culture which defines these roles. in today's world where the lines of social struggle are fairly clearly drawn. Yet even to suggest that this approach can be extended to each and every kind of social research would be sheer nonsense. to which both Professors Barnett and Gallaher refer. VOL. Anthropologists. Silverberg and others acknowledge. a word on anthropological guilt. and has led to the issues we are debating. as Bonfil and Frank suggest. NO. I plead guilty to Jones' accusation of "radical elitism" and do in fact feel uncomfortable about it.