SourcesEmpowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It involves an increase in self-esteem and confidence which enables people to fully develop their personal or collective potential. Thanks to Paulo Freire’s theories on education and the oppressed, developed in Latin America in the 1960s, the concept of empowerment has been widely applied to marginalised groups seeking recognition as full subjects of legal rights. In gender theory, empowerment involves overturning the ages-old mechanism of women’s subordination.
Genealogies of practice
- El coraje del pueblo (“The Courage of the People”) (Bolivia) Jorge Sanjinés/Grupo Ukamau, 1971
A member of the Ukamau Group, formed in the 1960s, Jorge Sanjinés has directed and produced numerous films in support of the struggle of the poor in Bolivia, and upholding the cultural values of indigenous communities. Utilizing some of the actual witnesses and victims, and people involved in the labour movement, in El coraje del pueblo Jorge Sanjinés reenacts the events leading up to a wide massacre of miners by the Bolivian government in 1967, when the authorities tried to prevent a meeting of miners, factory workers and students in support of Che Guevara, who was engaged in guerrilla operations in the Ñancahuazú region in Bolivia at the time.
- Black Panthers (Huey) (Francia / France) Agnes Varda, 1968
Shot in Oakland, California, in the Summer of 1968, the film documents the Black Panthers’ campaign for the release of their leader, Huey Newton, whose trial turned into a political debate seizing America’s attention.