Paulo Freire is the most outstanding popular educator in Brazil. He was one of the founders of a mass movement for adult alphabetisation and created and educational approach based on raising the consciousness (conscientizacao). This working paper analyses the contribution of Freires pedagogy of the oppressed for development studies. The following arguments are presented in six sections: (1) Reading the world is a critical undertaking to understand the reality in which one acts. (2) The world has to be critically explored together with social actors which contribute specific knowledge for a joint process of understanding. Exploration as a genuine human activity and research as a scientific undertaking are much more intertwined than generally assumed. (3) Shaping the world as an act of making history and becoming creator of our own surrounding is not only a practical but also a theoretical challenge. (4) Dialogue from below emphasizes the importance of giving voice to those at the margin of world development. This form of dialogue differs from an approach of mere consensus building by the elite. (5) To side with the oppressed is not only an ethical, but also a rational option for the oppressed and against an oppressive system. (6) The praxis of liberation is no extra activity that can be separated from development studies as a scientific discipline which deals with the periphery. Once more, development studies have to become political.
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