Inspired by the intersections of critical pedagogy and liberation theology in Latin America during the 70s and 80s, coyuntura links research, analysis, reflection, action, and community empowerment by encouraging participants to name, define, and narrate their struggles as well as act on the problems that impact them in the current conjuncture, or what Gustavo Castro calls the “amplified present.” As a collective, horizontal practice of knowledge production, coyuntura seeks to expose the competing strategies of opposing forces composed of key agents, projects, networks, and alliances. As an approach to analysis, coyuntura draws heavily on the major theoretical advances of various “marxisms” and “post-marxisms” to illuminate the intersections between structural and cultural forces operating in economic, political, social, and cultural contexts over time. As a space of epistemological rupture, coyuntura refers to a gathering convened for the purpose of producing new knowledges by exposing the epistemological obstacles or the taken for granted views, attitudes, values, and concepts present in the group that undermine an agreed plan of action. Making a collective’s diverse, complex, and situated cognitive and social resources available often requires not only exposing the “common sense” but also revealing the sedimented technological expertise that obtains in any group. The epistemological obstacle(s), or those taken-for-granted concepts, can prevent a group or collective from listening to one another, arriving at a shared analysis, and constructing new tools to solve local, immediate problems.

We draw on coyuntura as both a popular education approach and a strategy of analysis to underscore the importance of acknowledging the epistemological dimensions of reflection and action spaces. Our goal is not to privilege coyuntura as the exclusive approach to analysis, only to suggest that analytical frameworks, both pre-existing and emergent, must be addressed in research, reflection, and action spaces.