Participatory Action Research in Action: An Interview with Marcos Guevara Berger

Blog by Lonnie Rowell, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Participatory action research (PAR) has long been at the leading edge of knowledge democratization efforts. Tracing its origins to “relationships forged between social movements and politically progressive intellectuals in the Third World and the margins of the developed world in the 1960s and 1970s” (Rappaport, 2020, xvii), PAR continues to link localized and intensely interactive research initiatives with efforts to transform institutions, social practices, and the values upon which such practices are based (Fine, 2018). In its orientation towards creating a more just world, PAR generates and regenerates, again and again, a fusion of people’s knowledge and the knowledge associated with academic inquiry, all expressed through some form of participatory initiative. The roots of PAR are deep in Latin America, with dedicated activist-scholars found in nearly every country.

The article linked below regards an interview with a deeply committed Participatory Action Research activist-scholar in Costa Rica. Dr. Marcos Guevara Berger, anthropologist and Professor at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), worked with U.S. Civil Rights Lawyer Alan Levine on a multi-year PAR based project on investigating the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Costa Rica. The interview was conducted in 2016 and is now being published through the efforts of members of the PARCEO Team. PARCEO is a resource and education center in the U.S. with deep connections to participatory action research in North and South America.

Dr. Guevara Berger had a highly productive and noteworthy career in the spirit of PAR’s roots in Latin America. Sadly, he passed away in January 2021. Social Publishers Foundation joins with the condolences expressed by UCR and its Schools of Anthropology and Law for his family and friends. 

Please see the article written by Krysta Williams, Donna Nevel and Chloe Villalobos,


Fine, M. (2018). Just research in contentious times: Widening the methodological imagination. New York: Teachers College Press.

Rappaport, J. (2020). Cowards don’t make history: Orlando Fals Borda and the origins of participatory action research. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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