This paper shows how Ecuadorian critical production can be considered a virtuous case of interaction between autonomy and politicization of the intellectual field. Proposing a reflection based on the Antología del pensamiento crítico ecuatoriano contemporáneo (Anthology of contemporary Ecuadorian critical thought), edited by Gioconda Herrera (2018) and published by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences in the context of its fiftieth anniversary, this paper shows the marked link between critical thought in Ecuador and the institutional development of the social sciences. Important levels of academic professionalization are exhibited without implying a diminishing or limitation of the field’s transformative and contesting role. At the same time, analysis shows that, despite the pluralization of thought—with a corresponding diversification of the social actors of change and themes addressed—Ecuadorian critical thought has remained anchored to debates of concrete reality over time. Thus, contrary to what might be expected, politicization does not hinder the development of the social sciences, nor does professionalization depoliticize it.

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