Ignacio Martín-Baró And The Psychology Of Liberation

Do you know Ignacio Martín-Baró? Find out who this Jesuit was who developed the psychology of liberation.
Ignacio Martín-Baró and the psychology of liberation

Ignacio Martín-Baró is the father of the psychology of liberation. This Jesuit started a new movement that changed the understanding of social psychology. Starting from other liberation movements , Martín-Baró concentrated on researching the connections and problems of people.

It may not be well known outside of America, but it is a key reference in the Americas. His ideas led to schools like community psychology , which focuses on empowering communities, fighting poverty, and defending democracy and sanity.

Ignacio Martín-Baró: his life

Martín-Baró was born in Spain (Valladolid) and joined the Society of Jesus . He was transferred to Central America as a Jesuit. He studied philosophy, theology and psychology and eventually settled in San Salvador, in the Republic of El Salvador.

His doctoral thesis dealt with social attitudes and conflicts in El Salvador. In particular, Martín-Baró wrote about the population density of the lower social classes in this area.

Ignacio was visiting professor at different universities in different countries, but he was most of the time at the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas in San Salvador.

Finally, on November 16, 1989, Ignacio was killed along with other priests by a squad of the Atlacatl Battalion of the Armed Forces of El Salvador on the orders of Colonel René Emilio Ponce. Since then, people have spoken of the  martyrs of the UCA, the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas de San Salvador.


Theology and Philosophy of Liberation

The psychology of liberation is based on three movements that arose before it. These are: the theology of liberation, the philosophy of liberation and the pedagogy of liberation.

Liberation theology suggests focusing on those most in need. Christianity recognizes the oppression and injustice in this area of ​​society and defends the use of human and social sciences.

The philosophy of liberation, for its part, focuses on the creation of knowledge. She argues that most of the knowledge that is studied comes from middle-class western men, i.e. knowledge from other populations is not considered valid.

That is why the philosophy of liberation suggests, through dialogue, to spread the knowledge of those who are ignored.

Pedagogy of Liberation

The teaching of Paulo Freire also forms an important basis for liberation psychology. He developed an educational movement known as the Pedagogy of Liberation.

Education is supposed to contribute to the renewal of the social condition of the individual by viewing the person as a thinking and critical being who reflects on the reality in which he lives.

Thus , the pedagogy of liberation was concerned with educating in both critical and useful thinking, that is, educating in egalitarian values, without the use of indoctrination.

Education not according to the interests of the economy, but according to personal interests. People are taught to understand the world from their experience and critical reflection. These foundations were adopted in the psychology of liberation.

Thinking woman

Martín-Baró: Psychology of Liberation

On this basis, Ignacio Martín-Baró established the so-called psychology of liberation. Your goal is to start with the context and focus on the problems in that environment. 

With these ideas Martín-Baró founded the Instituto Universitario de Opinión pública (IUDOP, dt. ‘University Institute for Public Opinion’). This organization carried out surveys among the population and passed on the data collected.

In this way, Martin-Baró demystified many beliefs, which is known as de-ideologization. Politicians, on the other hand, encountered views contrary to their own, which resulted in Martín-Baró’s assassination.

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