This article looks at the experience of the Colombian sociologist Orlando Fals Borda in the 1960s, seeking to explore the most relevant issues that would come to define his intellectual career. The first section covers the period when Fals Borda’s intellectual engagement centered on theories of modernization as well as developmental policies adopted by the government. The second section gives an account of the years in which the sociologist gradually abandoned those approaches and began a new intellectual career guided by an autonomous and politically radical perspective.

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