Praxis, resistance, and health as seen in social and oral histories

Margarita Pulido Navarro, Ricardo Cuéllar Romero


The purpose of this article is to consider the role that oral history can play in recovering the processes that the working class has used to further develop work carried on within the context of a Marxist “sociology based on “class consciousness.”
The result is the possibility of a narration that can be separated from “oral histories” and which allows for events, vital experiences, memories, ways of developing, and differing lifestyles. This type of oral history permits us to take the first – and foundational – step in developing a class consciousness that would be centered precisely in what some have called “the sphere of private life” while others simply refer to it as “daily life”. Such a narration that can be separated from oral histories, where events, vital experiences, memories, lifestyles, means of living, allowing us to unearth that first and functional step in developing a class consciousness, that is to be aware of one’s self. This is a work still in the process of developing. In other words, we can place it in the world of daily praxis, of common sense, of utility; of that which is not explained to us, but which places us in our living conditions, and then places us within the world. Finally, it incorporates health and disease in the processes previously mentioned in the elaboration of class status.
What we, in particular, want to do, is to go beyond a simplistic, immediate understanding and to develop a subjectivity which recognizes the need to develop a different type of subjectivity as well as to learn how to develop alternate and alternative forms of consciousness.
How do such alternative understandings develop within the contradictions of a capitalist social structure? How can we create a praxis of resistance, open, collective, and organized so as to go beyond current hegemonic practices. This challenge considers work in terms that are hegemonic and alienating. Alternative understandings would go beyond seeing work as a simple activity involving manipulation in function of the reproduction of capital, In the words of Georges Navel.”: There is a sadness of the working class which can only be cured by political participation. Key words: Praxis, Resistance, Health.

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Editorial Offices:

Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, New York, 10461

Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)/Latin American Social Medicine Association:
ALAMES, Southern Cone Region, Cassinoni 1440 – 802, CP 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay.
ALAMES, Mexico Region, San Jerónimo 70 – 1, Col. La Otra Banda, CP 01090, México, D.F.