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Political Pedagogy and Art Education With Youth in a Street Situation in Salvador, Brazil: An Ethnographic Evaluation of the Street Education Program of Projeto Ax by Lance A. Arney A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Kevin A. Yelvington, D.Phil. Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D. Roberta Baer, Ph.D. Date of Approval: July 20, 2007 Keywords: urban poverty, citizenship, human rights, Paulo Freire, non-governmental organizations Copyright 2007, Lance A. Arney
To Vladimir Santos Oliveira. Sem voc, h nada.
Acknowledgments I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Kevin Yelvington, Dr. Susan Greenbaum, and Dr. Roberta Baer for their advice, patience, and for making this a better thesis. This work benefited immensely fr om my participation in Dr. Greenbaums seminars on Research Methods and Urban Poverty and Dr. Baers seminars on Contemporary Applied Anthropology an d Anthropology and Development. Dr. Greenbaum and Dr. Baer provided invaluable feedback to my questions and uncertainties regarding research methodology and design. Special thanks go to Dr. Yelvington for his generously given advice, intellectual guidance, and caring attention, and for allowing me to freely tap into his encyclopedic storehouse of anthropological theory and literature, as well as his vast knowledge of the history of anthropology. A very special thanks to the Yelvington-Cruz familyDr. Brbara Cruz, Amanda, and Christinafor always making me feel like family and welcoming me into your hometo me, a home away from home. My thinking about anthropology and education also benefited in many ways from my participation in Dr. Jacqueline Messings seminar on Educational Anthropology. The
sections of this thesis that attempt to understand citizenship and education in Brazil were originally written as a paper for this seminar. My participation in Dr. Michael Angrosinos seminar on Qualitative Methods made me a much better interviewer, observer, and professional stranger. Thanks also go to Dr. Nancy Romero-Daza for providing detailed comments on my initial a pplication to the USF Institutional Review Board and for offering very useful advice on research ethics and IRB issues. Field research for this study was funded in part by a research travel grant from the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (formerly the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program) at the University of South Florida. I owe my knowledge and understanding of da y-to-day street education praxis to Jos Carlos Zeca Mimoso and Moiss Bati sta Santos de Oliveira, and to the street educators with whom I conducted the field research. I thank them for kindly allowing me to accompany them during their work and for patiently responding to my many questions. Many thanks go to the Projeto Ax administrative staff and technical support who gave me permission to do research with the Street Education program and who always received me warmly at the project headquarte rs: Cesare de Florio La Rocca, Presidncia; Marcos Antnio Cndido de Carvalho, Assessoria Tcnica; Marle de Oliveira Macedo, Coordenao de Arteducao; Fernanda Tourinho, Coordenao do Centro de Formao Carlos Vasconcelos; Caubi Nova, tica e Direitos Humanos; e Maria de Lourdes Carneiro e Aparecida Godoni, Apoio Administrativo. Eu gostaria de expressar meus sinceros agradecimentos pela oportunidade de ter pesquisado junto ao Projeto Ax. Sinto-me grato pelo acesso em conhecer a Educao de Rua e tambm por todo o apoio, ateno e contribuies dirigidas a mim e possibilitadas pelo Centro de Formao, em particular
os gerentes da Educao de Rua, Zeca e Moiss. A presena e colaborao deles foram de extrema importncia para meu entendimento acerca da prxis pedaggica desenvolvida pela educao de rua. Parabenizo eles pela dedicao e esforo em realizar um excelente trabalho. Agradeo tambm pelo cuidadoso atendimento de Lourdes e Cida. Elas sempre estiveram disponveis para me receber e auxiliar, alm de serem muito simpticas. A Caubi, obrigado por compartilh ar os conhecimentos, memrias do Ax e o entusiasmo contagiante com que se refere a questes sociais, polticas e ticas, e as perspectivas de contribuies para mudanas na sociedade. Ao Senhor Cesare, meus parabns pela iniciativa, conquistas e muda nas que o Projeto Ax vem promovendo ao longo de quinze anos. Foi um privilgio co nhecer de perto o trabalho social que o legado do empenho investido por seu fundador conseguindo concreti zar suas vises de um mundo mais justo a partir da educao para os menos favorecidos. Eu levo na memria as experincias e o rico aprendizado que o Projeto Ax me revelou. Desejo a continuidade e o progresso do Projeto. Special thanks go to Lilia n Quelle Santos de Queiro z, who helped me finish transcribing the interviews and who proofr ead my transcriptions and painstakingly compared them with the original audio recordings. And last but certainly not least, this work is dedicated to Vladimir Santos Oliveira, eternal companion, indefatiga ble interlocutor, and wellspri ng of passion, inspiration, creativity, and intellectual stimulation. Sem o amor, a vida seria um erro (a parafrasear Nietzsche). Tambm agradeo toda minha famlia brasileira, especialmente Mainha e Jaqueline. Previous versions of sections of this work were presented at the Department of Anthropology Graduate Colloquium, University of South Florida, Tampa, on October 28,
2005; the 27th Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, on February 24, 2006; the 5th Annual College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Research Symposium, University of South Florida, Tampa, on April 21, 2006; and the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Tampa, Florida, March 30, 2007.
Note to the Reader All translations from Portuguese to English are my own, unless otherwise indicated.
i Table of Contents Abstract iii Chapter One: Introduction 1 The Political Economy of Street Youth 1 Projeto Ax 2 Summary of Research Objectives and Justifications 4 Broader Implications and Contributions to Applied Anthropology 9 Summary Chapter Two: Review of the Literature 12 Children and Adolescents in the Streets: Concepts and Numbers Culture, Power, History, and the Anthropological Study of Structural Violence 12 Historical and Political Context of Poverty and Education in Brazil 17 Anthropological Paradigms for Pedagogical Philosophy and Practice 22 Paulo Freire and the Cultural Politics of Popular Education 24 Education Beyond Schooling 32 Citizenship in the Liberal Sense Contrast ed with the New Citizenship and Its Socio-Cultural Construction 34 Social Development and Program Evaluation 41 Summary Chapter Three: Research Methodology, Data Collection, and Analysis 46 Research Objectives 46 Sampling/Inclusion Criteria 53 Research Methods 54 Participant Observation and Informal Conversations 55 Interviews 57 Archival Data 59 Methodological Triangulation 60 Data Storage 61 Data Analysis 61 Summary Chapter Four: Fieldwork Setting 63 Salvador, a City of Violent Inequalities and Afro-Brazilian Cultural Politics 63 Why I Chose to Study Street Education with Projeto Ax 63 Establishing Contact with Projeto Ax 64 Projeto Ax: Mission and Organizational Description 65 The Pedagogical Proposal of Projeto Ax 67 Human Agency and the Possibilities for Transformation through Ax 72
ii Culture, Not Race: The Cultural Politics of Projeto Ax 74 The Defense of Human Rights and the Construction of Citizenship 76 Summary Chapter Five: Data Analysis and Findings 79 An Ethnographic Description of Projeto Axs Street Education 79 From Street Kids to Children and Adolescents in a Street Situation 81 Street Educators Constructing Citizens hip with Children and Adolescents in a Street Situation 86 Street Culture, Ethnographic Methods, and Pedagogical Presence 90 Pedagogical Flirting (Paquera pedaggica) 95 Pedagogical Romance (Namoro pedaggico) 98 Pedagogical Coziness (Aconchego pedaggico) 105 Pedagogy of Desire 106 Discussion of Findings 109 Summary Chapter Six: Conclusions and Recommendations 113 Introduction Restated findings Discussed findings in relation to literature review Recommendations Contributions to anthropology Contributions to applied anthropology Summary References 120
iii Political Pedagogy and Art Education With Youth in a Street Situation in Salvador, Brazil: An Ethnographic Evaluation of the Street Education Program of Projeto Ax Lance A. Arney ABSTRACT Projeto Ax is a non-governmental orga nization that carries out politicalpedagogical work and art education for ch ildren and adolescents living in a street situation in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. I cond ucted an exploratory ethnographic study with Projeto Axs Street Education program in order to observe its day-to-day activities and to conduct a utilization-focused program eval uation (Patton 1997) of its pedagogical praxis. This thesis will describe how ethn ographic fieldwork methods are interwoven with the political-pedagogical approaches of Projeto Axs Street Education program and explain how street educators attempt to cons truct citizenship with participants in the Street Education program. Findings are based on an analysis of data collected during three months of fieldwork, during which I observed the day-to-day activities of the Street Education program and formally interviewed seven street educators. Projeto Axs street educators employ ethnographic fieldwork methods in order to more holistically understand the everyday lives of street youth, as well as the dynamics of street culture that emerge in the particular urban spaces frequented by street youth. The result is an anthropological understanding that serves as the foundation for street education activities, through which street youth are provoked to think critically about their everyday realit y in order to transform it (Freire 1970). The
iv construction of citizenship through Street Education is based on the pedagogy of desire (Carvalho 2000), a psychological-socioc ultural theory of learning developed by the organization specifically for working with youth living in a street situation. Street education and the construction of citizenship begin and happen with the desire of street youth. The content of street education is not fixed or predetermined, but emerges out of a particular street youths desires, need s, and dialogues with street educators. I conclude that, combined with Freireia n-inspired political pedagogy and the pedagogy of desire, the use of ethnographic fieldwork methods by street educators is crucial for Projeto Axs attempts at realizing radical transformations in the lives of street youth. Furthermore, Projeto Axs anthropologi cal approaches to the social and political inclusion of street youth increase the adapta bility of its street pedagogy to the local socio-cultural realities emer gent in other urban spaces.
1 Chapter One Introduction In this chapter, I will provide a brief overview of the themes, issues, contents, and organizational structure of this thesis. The political economy of the production of street youth is placed in a global contex t and seen as an outcome of globalizing capitalism, neoliberal economic policies, and the growth of urban poverty in the developing world. The work of non-governmental organizations are viewed as the result of the dominance of market rules over the diminishing welfare state. Projeto Ax is presented as an innovate response to the phenomenon of street children in that it proposes radical political and educational alte rnatives for the social inclusion of street youth. The research objectives and justifications for conducting an ethnographic study with Projeto Ax are then given, followed by a discussion of the broader implications of this research and its contributions to applie d anthropology. This study is concerned with urban poverty, marginalized youth, and education, and therefore it addresses anthropological issues of enculturation and cultural differences: how human beings are enculturated, socialized, and educated in an ethnically diverse and highly class stratified society such as Brazil, and how cultural and class differences therefore require a critical anthropological understanding of the so ciocultural foundations of learning.
2 The Political Economy of Street Youth 1 Around the globe, urban poverty and misery push millions of children and adolescents into the streets in search of daily survival. In so-called T hird World cities, a lack of urban infrastructure to accommodate sudden increases in population and waves of rural-to-urban migration have resulted in makeshift shanty towns that engulf commerce-driven urban centers as well as the fortified enclaves (Caldeira 2000) of the middle and upper classes. Globalizing capitalism, by increasing income inequality, and neoliberal economic policies, by weakening or eliminating already fragile state social welfare systems, have increased disparit ies between the rich and poor. Income inequality in Brazil, for example, is among the worst in the world (World Bank 2002). The local sprawl of urban poverty and the globalization of structural violence against the poor are the banal realities of the twenty-first century (Farmer 2004, 2005; Davis 2006). The most vulnerable, the children of the poor, are driven from their homes to the streets in order to work, beg, or steal for li fes basic necessities (Mickelson 2000). In this context, the proliferation of non-governmental organizations in many major cities is precariously substituting for a receding state in attending to the needs and welfare of street youth. The founding in 1990 of Projeto Ax in Salvador, Brazil, introduced an innovative strategy (Blanc 1994) for working with children and adolescents in a street situation. The typi cal state response toward street youth has been to capture and remove them from the streets, then return them to their homes 1 Aware of the essentialist implications in using the term street youth, I will at times nonetheless sacrifice ontological accuracy for th e sake of verbal brevity by employing the term street youth rather than children and adolescents in a street situation (the term preferred by Projeto Ax for indicating the situational, social, political, economic, and historic al reasons for children and adolescents being in the street).
3 (from which they may soon leave again) or im prison them in state-run juvenile detention centers (from which they sometimes escape). Projeto Ax created a street education program for carrying out its educational and political work Projeto Axs mission is social inclusion through the construction of ci tizenship: to reinsert street youth into society as citizens, critical thinkers and learners, and agents of social transformation not to simply remove them from the streets (Bianchi dos Reis 2000). While not changing the fundamental political, economic, and social structures that prod uce street youths in the first place, 2 Projeto Ax is designed to make possible radical changes in the lives of children and adolescents in a street situation. Projeto Ax The Ax Center for the Defense and Protection of Children and Adolescents, or Projeto Ax for short, is a non-government al organization that carries out politicalpedagogical work through citizenship and art education for children and adolescents living in a street situation in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. It was founded in 1990 by Cesare de Florio La Rocca, a former UNICEF representa tive in Brazil. The political pedagogy and methodology of Projeto Ax is inspired by Brazilian philosopher of education Paulo Freire (1921-1997), who proposed a pedagogy of the oppressed (2003 ) based on consciousness-raising (2003 , 1971) to provoke people to become critically aware of, and then transform, historically produced configurations of power and politics that constrain human agency and structure human relationshipsespecially relations of domination and oppression that are socially and culturally reproduc ed through schooling. 2 On the political, economic, and social structures that produce street youth in the Americas generally, see Mickelson (2000), and in Brazil specifically, see Moulin and Pereira (2000).
4 Building on Freires work and legacy, Projeto Ax was conceived as a culturebased educational project focusing on cultural expression and the social inclusion of children and adolescents living in a street situ ation in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Its name comes from the Yoruba word ax, which means vital force or creative energy (Bianchi dos Reis 1993). This is significant in that the majority of the population served by Projeto Ax, indeed the majority of the po pulation of Salvador, are Afro-descendents whose ancestors practiced, and whose familie s still practice, the Candombl religion; thus by incorporating ax into its pedagogy, Projeto Ax can have a profound significance for, and impact on, street youth. In Projeto Axs pedagogy, human agency is conceptualized as ax, which in the Candombl religion of Bahia is believed to be the vital principle, the energy that permits everything to exist (La Rocca 2000: 12-13), the energy that flows between all living beings in nature (Bianchi dos Reis 1993: 3). The principal political strategies of Projeto Axs street education program are carried out in the domain of culture through art-education activities (Macedo 2000a, 2000b). Art, aesthetics, play, and the pleasures of cultural creativity are used by Projeto Ax street educators to attract children and adolescents to the program and to provoke them to think critically about society and take actions to transform their place in it. While not changing the fundamental political, economic, and social structures that produce street youth in the first place, Projeto Ax can make radical changes in the individual lives of children and adolescents in a street situation. Projeto Axs street educators employ ethnographic fieldwork methods in order to more holistically understand the everyd ay lives of street youth and the cultural meanings that they attribute to aspects of their world, as well as to understand the dynamics of street culture that emerge in the particular urban spaces frequented by
5 street youth. The result is an anthropologica l understanding that serves as the basis for Freirean-inspired street education consciousne ss raising activities, through which street youth are provoked to think crit ically about their everyday reality in order to transform it (Freire 2003 ). The construction of citizenship through Street Education is based on the pedagogy of desire (Carvalho 2000), a psycho logical-sociocultural theory of learning developed by the organization specifically for working with youth living in a street situation. Street education and the constructi on of citizenship begin and happen with the desire of street youth, who decide how and whenand whetherto leave the street and return to home and school. The content of street education is not fixed or predetermined, but emerges out of a particular street youths desires, needs, and dialogues with street educators. Street educators are agents of social transformation who, through street pedagogy, facilitate the exercise and development of street youths own agency. Summary of Research Objectives and Justifications The topic of this thesis is the social in clusion of marginalized youth in Salvador through the construction of citizenship and cultural expression. The purpose of my research with Projeto Ax was to conduct an exploratory ethnographic study with its Street Education program in order to observe its day-to-day activities and to carry out a utilization-focused program evaluation (Patto n 1997) of its pedagogical praxis. This research was intended to assist Projeto Ax in evaluating and improving its own services, and to gather data about its work in order that other organizations can learn
6 from a generalized set of its best practi ces. By offering recommendations for the improvement of the delivery of Projeto Axs services, this study aspires to positively affect its participant population. Although I do not consider myself a Chri stian, nor do I have any affiliation with any religious organization or institution, I find inspiration in Marxist liberation theology (e.g., Gutirrez 1973), committing myself to the defense of human rights and advocacy of social justice for the poor, especially to the most vulnerable and oppressed among the poor: minority and minoritized children and youth. I hope that this commitment to research as praxis was apparent to Proj eto Ax staff persons (many of them also inspired by liberation theology) with whom I did research and real to the street youth with whom I came into contac t while accompanying Projeto Axs street educators. Before beginning to conduct fieldwork, I had thought that my research would focus more broadly on a macro view of the political, social, and economic realities of Bahian society that produce street youth in the first place. Howe ver, after beginning fieldwork, I realized that the more immediate success of the Street Education of Projeto Ax depends more on the interpersonal interactions and communication between street educators and street youth than on other factors. My research therefore did not explore whether non-governmental organizations or the government itself were working to prevent the social and economic conditions that put children and adolescents into a street situation. Rather, in the expectation that my evaluation would offer ways to improve Projeto Axs Street Education program, my research would attempt to evaluate what street educators were actually doing with the children and adolescents that were already in the streets. Street educators are on the front lines, as it were, at the place of possible entry of street youth into Projet o Axs other programs; therefore, focusing
7 on what street educators are doing with street youth has critical implications and consequences for the work of other educators within Projeto Axs other program units. This research is thus a study of street education methodology and not a study of street youth per se. Besides several important works (Oliveira 2000, 2004; Graciani 2001), substantial research on street education in Brazil has not been published. My research is an attempt to understand the soci o-cultural effects of poverty and misery by listening to what street educators have to say about the phenomenon of children and adolescents in a street situation. By way of a qualitative evaluation of the process of street education, it is also an attempt to understand the day-to-day work and challenges of doing street education. This research was not designed, therefore, to produce a summative, or bottom-line, evaluation of street education. More about these differences in research design will be explained in Chapters 2 and 3. This thesis will describe how ethnogra phic fieldwork methods are interwoven with the political-pedagogical approaches of Projeto Axs Street Education program and explain how street educators attempt to construct citizenship with youth who are in a street situation. Findings are based on an analysis of data collected during three months of fieldwork, during which I observed the da y-to-day activities of the Street Education program and formally interv iewed street educators. This research was consistent with the general goals of applied anthropology, which is the application of anthropological kn owledge to socio-cultural problems in such a way that it succeeds in solving the problems or in redefining the means to their solution. The most important theoretical tool is the anthropological concept of culture. This focus on the historically shared and socially transmitted system of symbolic resources and behaviors that humans use to make the world meaningful is what sets
8 anthropology apart from other social scienc e disciplines. With the concept of culture, anthropology can explain the diversity and relativity of the human experience without resorting to biologically esse ntialist or deterministic notion s of human nature, which are often implicitly or explicitly racist an d sexist. Methodologically, applied anthropology analyzes a problem holistically, examining ma ny factors and variables in a variety of contexts (social, cultural, political, economic, and historical). It utilizes multiple research methods and incorporates multid isciplinary perspectives. Finally, applied anthropology is exploratory and iterative, approaching a problem with open-ended questions and revising the research strategy as the rese arch process unfolds. These are the primary reasons that applied anthropologists are better prepared than other researchers to comprehensively describe and clarify a proble m within a specific socio-cultural context, propose viable solutions or even directly intervene with them, and potentially resolve problems in the human world. This study used a qualitative research design (Creswell 1998). The research was discovery oriented (Guba and Lincoln 1981) and exploratory (Johnson 1998), involving approaches [that] are used to develop hypotheses and more generally to make probes for circumscription, description, and interpretation of less well-understood topics (139). The methods I used for collecting data were participant observation, informal conversational interviews, semi-structured in terviews, and secondary/archival research. More details on research methodology are provided in Chapter 3. Field research for this study took pl ace during the summer of 2005 (May 13August 10, 2005). During that period, I conducted approximately two months of participant observation field research of th e Street Education program of Projeto Ax (resulting in more than 200 double-spaced pages of fiel d notes), and I engaged in
9 extensive informal conversations with nine street educators and two street education supervisors. Toward the end of my fieldwor k, I formally interviewed seven of twelve street educators and one of the two street ed ucation supervisors (resulting in 16.5 hours of recorded interviews and 533 double-spaced pages of interview transcriptions). I also interviewed one of the Training Center staff persons. From August 2005 to March 2006, I transcribed and coded the interviews, coded and analyzed field notes, analyzed primary archival documents, and reviewed pertinent secondary literature. The primary research questions of my study were: How does Projeto Ax put its street pedagogy into practice? More specif ically, how do street educators transform Projeto Axs political-pedagogical proposal into actions that in turn transform the lives of children and adolescents in a street situat ion? Additional related questions were: How does Projeto Ax conceptualize culture? How, through the creation of art and culture, do Projeto Ax street educators teach children and adolescents in a street situation to think critically about their social reality and to investigate their world in order to transform it? How do Projeto Ax educat ors teach citizenship and human rights (especially social and economic rights) to chil dren and adolescents in a street situation? Which strategies of Projeto Ax work best, and how might they be used by other organizations doing similar work in other locations? In order to better understand the significance of this construction of citizenship, I begin Chapter 2 by providing some historical background on political history, poverty, and education in Brazil. In Chapter 3, Proj eto Axs work is contextualized within the history of participatory action research paradigms, popular education, and non-formal education in Brazil and Latin America genera lly (Brando 1981, 1987; Molano 1978), and Projeto Axs work of constructing new citize nship is located within the larger national
10 and historical context of th e redemocratization of Brazil. Chapter 4 describes the fieldwork setting, and Chapter 5 presents fi ndings and an analysis of data collected during fieldwork, describing how political actions are performed by street educators through ethnographic methods and art education activities with street youth. Throughout this thesis, I attempt to sh ow how Projeto Ax occupies a point of convergence between (1) Freirean-based popu lar and non-formal educational projects, whose historical origins precede the military coup of 1964, and (2) the cultural politics and political strategies and tactics of the n ew citizenship social movements (Dagnino 1998) that have accompanied and driven the process of redemocratization, especially since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. Finally, Chapter 6 offers general conclusions and specific recommendations. I conclude that, combined with Freirean political pedagogy of liberation and the pedagogy of desire, the use of ethnographic fieldwork methods by street educators is crucial for Projeto Axs attempts at realizing radical transformations in the lives of street youth. Furthermore, Projeto Axs anthropologi cal approaches to the social and political inclusion of street youth increase the adapta bility of its street pedagogy to the local socio-cultural realities emer gent in other urban spaces. Summary This chapter introduced the broader issues addressed by this study and offered a brief outline of the research design and primary research questions. The field site was identified and justifications were given for why an empirical ethnographic study of the street education methodology of a non-go vernmental organization would yield new
11 knowledge about urgent topics in Anthropology and Education. Additionally, reasons were provided for how ethnographic rese arch methods could contribute to the understanding of a widespread social proble m in the developing world: the exclusion from society of children and adolescents who live in poverty.
12 Chapter Two Review of the Literature This chapter will review scholarly literat ure relevant to the research topics. How street youth have been theoretically conceptu alized in the Brazilian academic literature will be discussed, along with the matter of es timating how many street youth exist. In order to understand causes that put children and adolescents into a street situation, the theoretical literature on the anthropology of structural violence is reviewed, focusing on the intersection of culture, power, and history. The historical and political context of poverty and education in Brazil is outlined. The significance of using anthropological paradigms for pedagogical practices in thes e contexts is explained, followed by background information on Paulo Freire and the cultural politics of popular education in Brazil. Important literature on changes in the conceptualization of citizenship since the ending of Brazils last military dictatorship, and the relevance of these changes for street youth and street education, is analyzed. Fina lly, theoretical unders tandings of the links between cultural expression and social development are offered, followed by a discussion of a methodological framework for doing program evaluations. Children and Adolescents in the Streets: Concepts and Numbers
13 In one of the most recent reviews of Braz ilian academic literature on children and adolescents that live and work in the streets, Rizzini and Butler (2003) trace the history of various terms used to refer to children and adolescents in a street situation, a phenomenon that began generating national and international concern only within the last several decades as urban poverty in Br azil has intensified. During the 1970s, there was a tendency to refer to such children or adolescents as abandoned minors (18), the assumption being that their parents had abandoned them and, without parental custody or care, they wandered the streets in search of necessities for daily survival. During the 1980s, the term street children or street kids gained popularity with the recognition of the longevity and spreading of this phenomenon: street kids had become a permanent fixture in major urban centers, suggesting that there were similar circumstances responsible for producing the same phenomenon in different locations (20). The 1981 release of a major motion pi cture about a group of street kids, the Brazilian film Pixote: The Survival of the Weakest (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco), brought to national and international attention the brutal realities of the street children phenomenon as well as larger social proble ms such as urban poverty, police corruption, the dehumanizing and oppressive conditions of juvenile detention centers (see Levine 1997). The distinction between children of the street (crianas de rua) versus children in the street (crianas na rua) was debated as research and more detailed observation revealed that the numbers of street children had been dramatically overestimated into the millions by UNICEF (1992) and other international organizations. Somehow the unsubstantiated claim that there were seve n million street children in Brazil became repeated throughout the 1980s and 90s in the media and academic literature (Rizzini
14 and Butler 2003: 22-23). While there were many unattended children visible in the streets, most of them were there temporarily, not permanentlyworking in the street part of the day during some days of the week, but then returning home. The actual number of children of the streetthat is, living in the streetswas much smaller, only in the thousands even in Brazils largest cities (see, for example, Rosemberg 2000; Projeto Ax 1993; Governo do Estado do Rio Gran de do Sul 1996). Rosemberg (2000: 119-22) and Hecht (1998: 98-102), among others, pr ovide possible explanations for why the number of street children was exaggerated into the millions: for example, to draw the attention of the international community to the social consequences of urban poverty in the underdeveloped global South (Rosemberg 2000: 118). In 1990 and again in 1993, Projeto Ax conducted extensive field research in an attempt to count the number of children and adolescents in the streets of Salvador, Bahia, and also to map the locations of th e city that were most frequented by such children and adolescents. The 1990 count estimated that there were 12,000 children and adolescents in the streets of Salvador; th e 1993 count estimated the number to have risen to 15,743 (Projeto Ax 1993: 17). For th e 1993 count, it was also calculated that between 83-93% of these children and adolescents returned to their homes daily (23), meaning that only about between 1102-2676 of them were actually living in a street situationthe term preferred by Projeto Ax (see Chapter 5). Projeto Axs 1993 field research also revealed that, at least for the period during which the field research took place, 85.9% of the children and adolescents in the streets of Salvador were males and only 14.1% were females (19). Also, the freq uency distribution for age was: 3.7% were less than five years old, 20.4% were between five and ten, 46.2% were between ten and fifteen, and 29.7% were between fifteen and seventeen. Hence, the numerical
15 majority of street children were actually adolescents. A more recent counting has not been conducted; however, other recent data indicate that the total number of children and adolescents attended to by Projeto Ax during 2004 reached 1,995. It is not clear whether these data can be interpreted to mean that the total number of children and adolescents in a street situation in Salv ador during the mid-2000s has increased, decreased, or remained about the same since the early 1990s. Curiously, official government statistics by the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domiclio estimate that in 2002 the state of Bahia had 400,000 childre n in the street (mostly child laborers), the highest number of any state in Brazil (cited in Vieira 2006). During the 1990s, as postmodernism sought ascendancy in th e social sciences and humanities, interpretivist and relativist approaches to understanding street children focused on deconstructing various social constructions: for example, the social construction of child hood and of the home and the street (Hecht 1998), or, the social construction of street children as children out of place (e.g., Connolly and Ennew 1996; Scheper-Hughes and Hoffman 1994) and therefore a threat to the symbolic order of society (ironically, an expl anation inspired by Mary Douglas structuralfunctionalist theory that dirt is matter out of place, the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements [1979 (1966): 35]). A more grounded deconstructivist approach is taken by Glauser (1990), who reminds us that terms such as street children, children in the street, or children of the street may reflect not the interests of these children, but the interests of organizations, institutions, or governments in relation to these children. Glauser also points to the real-world consequences that follow from the choice of terms and concepts, especially in re gard to public policy and services provided
16 by governmental agencies or non-governmental organizations: a child with serious problems might be deprived of vital institutional care, protection and help only because s/he is conceptually left out of the definiti on which labels children deserving of care within a given society (144). What is therefor e needed are concepts built from deeper understandings of the concrete, everyday realities of children and adolescents in the streets or in a street situat ionconcepts that privilege su ch children and adolescents rights and needs above the theoretical needs of academicians or the organizational needs of governments or NGOs. No matter what children and adolescents in a street situation are called, what is ultimately responsible for their production and reproduction are macro political, economic, and social processes that produce urban poverty and squalor at the local level, resulting in a severe lack of econom ic opportunities and an overproduction of substandard housing in the poorest urban areas that are peripheral to commercial districts and wealthy neighborhoods (Blanc 1994; Mickelson 2000). Under such conditions, some children and adolescents will tend to leave the squalor in search of more attractive urban areas in which they can earn money to support themselves and their families and have a better quality of ev eryday living. For some, even life on the streets in a wealthy or commerc ial area might be better than life in a slum or shanty town without adequate municipal services such as running water, sewage and sanitation, and electricity, and without adequate opportun ities for engaging in leisure and cultural activities. To better see the larger picture of which children and adolescents in a street situation are merely a part, the theoretical lens of an anthropology of structural violence is needed.
17 Culture, Power, History, and the Anthropological Study of Structural Violence The insights of anthropology, wrote Eric Wolf in Europe and the People Without History, have to be rethought in the light of a new, historically oriented political economy by which anthropologists search ou t the causes of the present in the past (1982: ix). Wolf was reacting to the ahistorical, functionalist view of human cultures and societies that had dominated the social sciences in the United States from the end of World War II through the 1960s (see Stoc king 1992: 356-57). In the functionalist paradigm, socio-cultural system s were seen as static, bounded, integrated wholes that functioned to maintain an internal eq uilibrium and cohesiveness through time. Functionalists neglected to consider histor ical change and assumed that human groups were not affected by external influences coming from other socio-cultural systems in the world. Various theoretical paradigms emerged as reactions to, or even outright rejections of, functionalism. Wolf made a programmatic call for an anthropology grounded in history and political economya research paradigm that ought to be endorsed by those who claim to be applied or activist anthropologists. Indeed, the approach in applied ethnographic research that investigates how the history and political economy of a nation, state, or other system exerts direct or indirect domination over the political, economic, social, and cultural expressions of citizens or residents, including minority groups has been classified as a specific research paradigm, the critical paradigm (see Le Compte and Schensul 1999: 45ff). If, as a prerequisite to attempts at effecting social transformations that ameliorate or eliminate structural viol ence, anthropologists are to understand how culture, power, and history intersect to produce structural violence, then the functionalist
18 paradigm ought to be rejected and applied or activist anthropological work ought to be grounded in the critical historical paradigm espoused by Wolf. The concept of structural violence arises out of the larger theoretical debate on structure and agency, or domination and resi stancea central and enduring dispute in social theory over (1) whether social structur es determine or influence individual action, or (2) whether individual agency is responsible for creating and changing social structures and forms, or (3) some complementary combination of (1) and (2). Paul Farmer, in Pathologies of Power, defines structural violence as human suffering structured by historically given (and ofte n economically driven) processes and forces that conspirewhether through routine, ritual, or, as is more commonly the case, the hard surfaces of lifeto constrain agency (2005: 40). The use of history in structural violence is often that of providing ideolo gically self-serving narratives or simply eliminating the inconvenient truths from offi cial accounts of what happened: [e]rasing history is perhaps the most common explan atory sleight-of-hand relied upon by the architects of structural violence. Erasure or distortion of history is part of the process of desocialization necessary for the emergence of hegemonic accounts of what happened and why (2004: 308). The recovery of the history of oppressed people is therefore imperative. Farmers structural violence thus gives explanatory weight to power, political economy, and history, and he masterfully debunks the dominant belief that the results of structural violence are caused by cultural differences in beliefs and behaviors. Farmer contends that culture is often us ed as a smokescreen in explanations of structural violence: The role of cultural boundary lines in enabling, perpetuating, justifying, and interpreting suffering is subordinate to (though well integrated with) the national and international mechanisms [i.e., political economies] that create and deepen
19 inequalities. Culture does not explain suffering; it may at worst furnish an alibi (2005: 48-49). Farmer claims that this abuse of th e culture concept is particularly insidious when used to explain away human rights abuses as being part of their culture or in their naturetheir designating either the victims, or the perpetrators, or both, as may be expedient (48). Essentialist conceptualizations of culture need to be rejected, for besides being theoretically untenable, they can be, and are, frequently employed to justify human rights abuses in the name of cultural relativity. Susan Wright, in a brief overview of the t he politicization of culture, maintains that more recent forthright re-conceptualizations of culture as power and politics are successful in using culture to explain domination, oppression, and, by extension, structural violence. Wright too discards the functionalist idea of culturesmall, bounded, static, trait-defined groups, containing homo genous individualsfor the same reasons as does Wolf and Farmer, and offers persuasive reasons for conceptualizing culture as a contested process of meaning-making (1998: 9). Wright argues that in the politicization of culture, The contest is over the meaning of key terms and concepts and over control of symbols and practices (9 ). The role of culture in justifying or reproducing structural violence is often that of discursive practice, involving the power to define organizing conceptsincluding the meaning of culture itself (13). The influence of Gramsci is apparent here in Wrights analysis of the politicization of culture and the role of ideology in pr oducing hegemonic accounts that [become] so naturalized, taken for granted and true that alternatives are beyond the limits of the thinkable (1998: 9). Doing anthropology is no longer about discovering the authentic culture, and ethnography long ago lost the epistemological navet that merely asking one key informant many question gets the ethnographer the culturally
20 correct answers. Culture is political, as Wrig ht (1998) claims, criticizing anthropologists for accepting their informants version of the lo cal culture as authentic, when in fact it might merely be the preferred version of thos e who happen to be in positions of power to say what the local culture is. The key explanatory concept here is powe r, which is implicated in the very production of knowledge (Foucault 1980) and in the very structuring of political economies in which are situated the institutio ns that maintain the prerogatives of power and knowledge. Eric Wolfs notion of struc tural power is helpful in elucidating the interconnectedness of power, knowledge, and structural violence. Structural power, explains Wolf, is power that structures th e political economy (587), that not only operates within settings or domains but that also organizes and orchestrates the settings themselves, and that specifies the distribution and direction of energy flows (1990: 587, 586). Structural power limits human agency by shap[ing] the social field of action so as to render some kinds of behavior possible, while making others less possible or impossible (587). Anthropologists can no longer do anthropology based on the premise that cultures are isolated groups of people, no r can anthropologists ignore the historical contingencies and dynamics of the political economiesof the local community, region, nation, or world systemwhich contextualize, and in which are situated, the everyday social realities of the people anthropologists study (or better, the people anthropologists learn from anthropologically). Anthropologists need to see in the ethnographically visible the complex intersection of history, culture, and power. Applied and activist anthropologists ought not to be apolitical problem solvers or technical repairpersons of social problems. Applied and activist anthropology needs to be
21 based in critical theory, history, and politi cal economywhat Marcus and Fischer call the world historical political economy para digm, which views cultural situations as always in flux, in a perpetually historically sensit ive state of resistance and accommodation to broader processes of influence that are as much inside as outside the local context (Marcus and Fischer 1999: 78). The unit of analysis ought to be social structures, systems, and processes, not bounded groups In order to understand how culture, history, and power intersect to produce structural violence, anthropologists must begin by ethnographically embedding evidence within the historically given social and economic structures that shape life so dramatically on the edge of life and death (Farmer 2004: 312). It is only in the large r [global] matrix of culture, history, and political economy that the suffering of indi viduals acquires its ow n appropriate context (Farmer 2005: 41). Historical and Political Context of Poverty and Education in Brazil The production of street youth is merely one effect of a combination of political, economic, historical, and socio-cultural factors that have excluded, and continue to exclude, a large percentage of Brazils youth from an adequate schooling experience. Compared with other nations worldwide Brazil has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth and resources, which are concentr ated in the hands of a small elite upper class. The majority of the population lives in poverty and is excluded from meaningful participation in the political arena. Certain geographic regions, such as the Northeast, and the zones of urban poverty known as subrbios and favelas (urban slums and
22 shanty towns), have especially lagged behind the prosperous area s of the country in terms of educational levels and soci o-political development (PNUD 2005). During the last twenty years, since the end of Brazils last military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in 1985, widespread popular concern over the educational plight of the poor has renewe d and greatly expanded. This has been due partly to internal interests (t he realization by politicians, policy planners, and educators that Brazil is failing its population) and partly to external forces (inter national pressure to develop the country in order to be more competitive with the First World). In the educational sector, the methodologies of popular education (Fvero 1983) are becoming popular again, since having been squelched by the military regime when it took power in 1964. Social projects and non-governmental organizations, based in human rights philosophy and democratic liberalism, have proliferated in Brazil in what some describe as a chal lenge to the stateor better, a lack of statein taking care of its own citizens. Such local-level organizations are a grassroots response to the top-down nationalist development strategies used in Brazil prior to and during its most recent military dictatorship (1964-1985). These stra tegies involved technocrats driven by sentiments of nationalism and the desire to modernize Brazil by building large-scale infrastructure and increasing the gross national product and exports. It is worth briefly discussing this history, 3 for the creation of Freireian peda gogy is situated in it, and this history encompasses the social, political, and economic context in which NGOs such as Projeto Ax operate today during Brazils period of redemocratization (Lopez and Stohl 1987). 3 For a more in-depth history of these phenomena, see Burns (1993).
23 In 1964 a military coup ousted President Joo Goulart, a radi cal popular leftist. The military dictatorship instituted a form of government that came to be known by political scientists as bureaucratic authoritarianism (ODonnell 1973). After the Cuban Revolution, the 1964 coup in Brazil is one of the most important coups in Latin American history, for it set a new model for other Latin American countries to follow. The military tried to exclude the masses from having any political power at all, and it was systematic and violent in its attempts to destroy popula r actors and organizations. Strong emphasis was placed on accelerating economic development, and state-led industrialization created economic booms and miracles. Highly -trained economic specialists were put in charge of running the economy, which was internationalized through the welcoming of foreign capital and foreign investment. Beside s producing consumer goods that only the wealthy and the small middle class could affo rd, industrialization during this period concentrated mostly on state construction projects, such as highways, buildings, dams, and other types of large-scale, technology -driven development projects. The alliance built between military and civilian technocrats and foreign capital left out the majority of Brazils population from the benefits of development. Freires pedagogy was initially developed for teaching adult literacy to rural peasants in Northeast Brazil in the late 1950s as part of an agrarian extension program based on modernization theory. Freire (1971) critiqued the assumptions of modernization theory and condemned the extension agents methodology for being culturally invasive and dehumanizing. Agrarian educators trained by Freire, on the other hand, used a form of participant observation fieldwork in order to learn what the peasants already knew and to understand their particular cultural vocabulary and
24 cultural reality. 4 During the early 1960s, amidst a turbulent climate of political unrest and economic crisis, Freire transformed his pedagogy into a social activist program that combined literacy, political education, and conscientizao, or consciousness-raising (1970). More specific information will be given below. Freire saw peasants and the urban poor as people in transition from a traditional to a modernizing worldbut one in which they were being manipulated and oppressed by authoritarian regimes of power, exercised directly through government and police or less directly through public institutions su ch as schools. Freire wanted them to participate in the transition to democracy as human beings and full citizens, and to be free from the historical forces that left them as mere spectators, maneuvered by political myths and ideological state propaganda. Freire himself portrays his philosophy of education as a radical effort to incorporate mo re of the population as active participants in their own society and to empower them with critical reflection and political consciousness (1967). This education as the practice of freedom, as Freire called it, was a form of participatory action research that took place among educators and learners (1967). Soon after the military took power in 1964, Freire was thrown into prison and then deported, his ideas and work deemed a threat to national security by the new bureaucratic authoritarian regime. After the military began the process of transition to democracy fifteen years later in 1979, interest in Freireian methodologies could again be openly incorporated into pedagogical planning. By the midand late-80s, Freirean methods of popular education were being utilized by NGOs and even some state 4 On how the Paulo Freire methodology uses an indu ctive research methodology, participant observation, and the anthropological concepts of culture and cultur al relativity, in order to understand the cultural background of learners, see Brando (1981), especi ally the chapter entitled O ABC do mtodo.
25 educational systems. Freire himself returned to Brazil in 1980. In 1989 he was hired as the Municipal Secretary of Education of the city of So Paulo and put in charge of the education of three-quarters of a million st udents (see OCadiz, Wong, and Torres 1998). Politically, the nation of Brazil began re-d emocratizing after the military stepped down in 1985 and returned the government to civilian rule. Economically, Brazil began a period of rapid industrialization and growth in its southern urban centers, and during the 1990s it instituted neoliberal policies and st ructural adjustments that reduced funding for social welfare services. Promoted as a means to increase national economic growth and general prosperity, neoliberalism actually worsened inequality and slowed growth to single digit percent increases. What is more the historical legacies of colonialism, slavery, and patriarchal politics still hold sway in the countryside and impoverished cities of the North and Northeast. The majority of the population in the Northeast remains poor and socially and politically marginalized. 5 With extreme classism, elitism, and raci sm built into the formal educational system, it is no wonder that the poorer and blacker regions of Brazil have such dismal results on educational measurements when compared to the richer and whiter regions. Very low rates of literacy, very low levels of basic learning, and high drop-out rates correlate with very high levels of unem ployment, crime, violence, and homicides, indicating that a large percentage of Braz ils population is not getting the schooling necessary to prepare them for adult life (INEPN 2001). Oftentimes adolescents and even young children are compelled or forced by their own parents to leave school in order to begin work, usually in the informal economy, in order to provide additional income for 5 On the violence of everyday life in the Northeast of Brazil see Scheper-Hughes (1992).
26 the family. Many youth turn to hustling, prostitution, and drugs, and some abandon their homes and families altogether. For those who do manage to stay in sc hool, racial and class discrimination, combined with a curricular content that lacks relevance to the realities of the poor and non-white, leaves little incentive to become in terested in, or even care about, learning. For instance, history lessons that glorify the extravagant lives of imperial rulers and that relegate blacks to the role of worthless back ground characters do nothing for poor black students self-esteem, not to mention erasing their own cultural history, rich and diverse in African roots (see Guimares de Castro 2001 and Ao Educativa 2002). Since the publication of social historian Gilberto Freyres Casa-grande e senzala (1933), there have been efforts to celebrate Brazils racial democracy and the indigenous and African contributions to national culture, but these endeavors have usually resulted in the appropriation of indigenous and African culture by elite society, not an extension of social, political, or economic power to Indi ans and Afro-Brazilians. The imperial legacy of the elite scholastic culture in Brazil co ntinues to perpetuate a value system in education that is long out of date with cont emporary social realities in Brazil (Fundao Victor Civita 2003). Anthropological Paradigms for Pedagogical Philosophy and Practice Education is mediated through culture and language, and the lack of an anthropological understanding of culture in pedagogical studies results in an incomplete view of human beings, their agency and creative potential. Therefore it is essential that pedagogical practice works within anthropological paradigms. Comprehending education
27 as a cultural phenomenon, pedagogical me thods ought to be directed through the cultural resources of a community, taking in to consideration the communitys level of socio-economic development. Placing education within a cultural framework catalyzes the transformational potential of education, thereby avoiding a reduction of education to the mere transmission of information, valu es, and meanings of an already existing culture, and making possible dramatic contestations, reconstructions, and transformations of the information, values, and meanings themselves through the cultural agency of the learners (Freire 1970, 1973). Education cannot be separated from cultur e, for it is the re sult of cultural practices of social groups, in which the proc esses of teaching and learning reveal the groups particular enculturative practices. In the classroom, individual and group experiences mix together in a space in which students and teachers bring their respective cultural and biographical baggage, establishing a dialogue through which emerge exchanges, negations, and reaffirmations of cultures. Therefore it is crucial to propose pedagogical actions that assist teachers in the careful study of the culture of a people in different spaces, inside and outside schools. Brazil, a nation formed from many cultures in multi-layered histories of interactions and oppositions, is an embarrassm ent of cultural riches, of manifestations of performative and plastic arts that, beyond their aesthetic value, provide a profound understanding of Brazilian history, society, and culture. Yet the elitism of the middle and upper classes, which trace their history and identity to Western Europe and the United States, discriminates against African and Indian cultures, which are often pejoratively referred to as folkloric or merely popular, despite having contributed profound and integral elements to Brazilian national culture and identity (Freyre 1933). Afro-
28 descendants, Indians, and the poor are ill-served by an educational system devised by elites to serve their own class interest s (see Mello 2003). The cultural-artistic manifestations of the non-elite, or the peop le, keep traditions and customs alive, tell stories of struggles and resistan ce, contain records of collective social experiences, and, in piecemeal fashion, present maps of the history of contestations and affirmations of cultural values and meanings. It is imperative that anthropologists work with educators to tap into such cultural resources and assets. Paulo Freire and the Cultural Politics of Popular Education In the United States, the work of Paulo Freire is often misunderstood to be about self-help and individual empowerment, about finding individual solutions to individual problems, especially concerning a lack of se lf-esteem or assertiveness, or difficulties with interpersonal relations in educational settings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. According to Freire, isolated individuals with individual problems do not exist. Every person is a person in the world with other people. People are social beings, and the personal is political. Politics is not a distin ct realm of social life; rather, the political is a dimension of all human affairs. Historical ly dynamic processes of power and politics structure all aspects of everyday human ex istence. Consciousness-raising is not a sudden revelation that occurs within individuals; nor is it something that one person gives to another person. Consciousness-raisin g is a shared social process that takes place through the collective and organized ef forts of people struggling against concrete situations of oppression in their everyday lives. Liberation from oppression begins when,
29 through dialogue, critical reflection, and action, the oppressed realize that the reality of their everyday lives is not natural or just the way things are. Rather, it is the result of complex historical, political, economic, soci al, and cultural processes whose origins and workings may remain outside of common sense understandings even though the everyday effects of such processes may be felt, lived, and experienced as the unchangeable and taken-for-granted realities of everyday life. These processes, Freire tirelessly repeated, are produced and reproduced by and through human practices and, as such, can be changed. What Freire offers is a pedagogy of the oppressed, a political-pedagogical methodology for working in solidarity with oppressed people in ways to empower them to liberate themselves, and their oppressors, from situations of oppressionbut without reproducing or creating new forms of oppr ession in the process of liberation. The pedagogy of the oppressed is political beca use it explicitly problematizes power in human relationships, especially relationship s in which some groups of people have power over other groups of people. The pedagogy of the oppressed thus questions the legitimacy of political relationships, struct ures, and institutions, all of which are often made to seem natural through ideology and culture. The objectiv e of consciousnessraising (2003 ) is to provoke people to become critically aware of, and motivate them to transform, historically produced configurations of powe r and politics that constrain human agency and structure oppr essive human relationshipsespecially relationships of domination and oppression that are socially and culturally reproduced through schooling. Freires pedagogy of the oppressed, or education as the practice of freedom, as he also called it, was born from his work in the educat ional sector but also has relevance to other sectors or areas of human organization.
30 For Freire, education is never politically neutral and is perhaps forever framed within a libertarian-authoritarian dialectical opposition. Educators and learners must therefore constantly reflect on theory and practice in order to co-construct relationships that mutually liberate, while simultaneous ly guarding against the reproduction of relationships that oppress. Political organizi ng and politicized action for liberation must be pedagogical and work through consciousness-raising, otherwise it risks the danger of reproducing authoritarianism or creating new relationships of oppression between liberators and the liberated. Those who are committed to the liberation of the oppressed must be ever vigilant of simply replacing former oppressors with themselves, as new oppressors; likewise, the oppre ssed must liberate themselves from the psychological or mental framework of the colo nized mind in order not to simply assume power in order to become oppressors themse lves, reproducing oppressive or colonialist relationships by oppressing their former oppr essors or others (see also Fanon 1968 and Memmi 1965, who both influenced Freire). Education as the practice of freedom is praxis. It is neither a doctrine, nor a recipe, nor a depoliticized toolkit of technical solutions, nor a list of sequential steps for achieving permanent empowerment. It is a dynamic process, involving a continuous synthesis, through action and critical reflecti on, of theory and practice. Education as the practice of freedom is praxis that is constantly rethought, revised, and remade in the context of concrete situations or realities. It is a praxis through which the liberation of the oppressed can take place while consciousl y striving to prevent the reproduction of oppression. It is grounded in, and therefore emerges from, the real struggles of real people in concrete situations of oppressi on, and in their questioning the historical, political, economic, and social processes that made their ever yday reality what it is. The
31 pedagogy of the oppressed provokes people into decoding and deconstructing the ideologies, cultural hegemonies, or worldviews that have made their everyday reality seem natural and inevitable. It is a proce ss of investigating the world in order to transform it, to use a phrase of Orlando Fals Borda (1979), another Latin American pioneer of participatory action research and popular education. For Freire, education ought to be the practice of freedom rather than the practice of domination; but before answering the question, So what, precisely, is education? Freire suggests that we must first answer more fundamental questions, such as, What does it mean to be a human being in the wo rld? and What kind of society do we want to live in? To be human according to Freire is to think critically and be self-reflexive, to actively and creatively construct reality: Human beings work and transform the world. They are beings of praxis: of action and of reflection. Humans find themselves marked by the results of their own actions in their relations with the world, and through their actions on it. By acting they transform; by transforming they create a reality which conditions their manner of acting (102). This concept of the human being as a being of praxis is taken from Marxs early philosophical writings (see Fromm 1961). Freire rejects the deterministic class reproduction theory of orthodox Marxism (as an example of such work, see Willis 1977), and instead fuses Marxs humanism with a ph ilosophy of hope taken from liberation theology (see Giroux 1985: xvii). For Freire, hope is not meant to be a substitute for religious consolation, an opiate for the masses, but rather, hope and vision of the future are combined with ongoing forms of critique and a [collective] struggle against objective forces of oppression in order to form the basis for a language of possibility (xvii). This combination of critique, possib ility, and collective action bridges the
32 relationship between agency and structure and situates human action in constraints forged in historical and contemporary practices, while also pointing to the spaces, contradictions, and forms of resistance that raise the possibility for social struggle (xviii). For Freire, culture is what people do and make, a form of production through which human beings exercise agency. All human beings are cultural beings, not just the elite, are culturally creative and re-creative. With this critical understanding of human reality, a rural farmer, for example, living in the arid Northeast of Brazil, would discover that culture is just as much a clay doll made by artists who are his peers as it is the work of a great sculptor, a great painter, a great mystic, or a great philosopher; that culture is the poetry of lettered poets and also the poetry of his own popular songs that culture is all human creation (47). A vers ion of this conceptual ization of culture can be found in Freires earliest writings. Indeed, Freire explicitly declares that a critical understanding of reality requires and begi ns with the anthropological concept of culture (1967: 46), which distinguishes human beings from other animals and from the natural world. It can be argued that anthropological approaches to education have been present in Brazil since the popular cultur e and popular education movements of the 1960s. Indeed, it can also be argued that the methodology of Freireian pedagogy is essentially a form of applied anthropology. Originally designed for teaching literacy to the rural poor in the Northeast of Brazil, Freires method involved ethnographic approaches and applied linguistics. 6 6 See Brando (1981).
33 This methodology has since been revised and adapted to the socio-cultural realities of late 20th-century/early 21st-century Brazil (see OCadiz, Wong, and Torres 1998; Brando 2002, 2003). Freireian pedagogy is anthropological in its elicitation and use of local cultural kn owledge, traditions, and expressions. It is participatory in that it involves learners in the researching of thei r everyday realities rather than relying on academic experts to tell them what their re alities are. An epistemological emphasis on how knowledge is produced replaces the ban king education model (so-called by Freire 1970), in which pre-fabricated content knowledge is merely deposited into passive and empty minds. In the Freireian approach, content emerges through the process of the continuing investigation of reality, critical thinking, and dialogue between educators and learners. During the last fifteen years in Brazil, non-governmental organizations designed to improve education and social development for the urban and rural poor have proliferated. What distinguishes these programs is their politicized focus on culture and citizenship education, with the explicit inte nt to empower their recipients as social agents and participative members of society. Critical Freireian pedagogy is combined with anthropological approaches to the human world and its problems in order to create an educational system that is socially inclus ive and multicultural, rather than exclusive and discriminatory. The core features of such programs can be summarized as follows. They validate the cultures of origin and the everyday life experiences of the students they serve. They use culture workshops to attract youths to community centers where regular classes are also held. Through the cr eation of art and culture, students learn that culture is not owned exclusively by the elite upper class, but rather that the people (o povo, an expression meaning the non-elite) already have culture and a
34 cultural legacy of their own. Cultural learning centers are community-focused and located in the neighborhoods where they are deemed most needed (Traverso 2003). The matter of socio-geographic space is cr ucial, especially in major metropolitan areas such as So Paulo. Most of the favela neighborhoods are literally on the periphery of the city center (where most cultural resources are concentrated), and therefore favela residents do not have easy access to them By building local culture centers in the neediest neighborhoods, culture education is made accessible to the poorest and most marginalized sectors of society. And finally, these projects combat social exclusion through citizenship education. Besides conducting participatory research about their own local realities, students learn about the big ger picture by taking courses on political education and human rights in order that they understand the larger social, economic, and historical contexts in which their local reality is embedded. Social transformation takes place through democracy and the creative imagining of different future life possibilities (Traverso 2003). Cultural centers or culture-based social projects thus challenge prevalent notions about cultural capital. Cultural capital is a concept elaborated by Pierre Bourdieu (1977) as an extension of Marxs concept of econom ic capital. Marx argued that power resides primarily in the control of economic capi tal and the means of economic production. According to Bourdieu, power also resides in the knowledge, ideas, symbols, language, artifacts, behaviors, and models of success that are used by dominant groups to legitimate their status and claims to economic capital. The dominant classs investment in cultural capital, especially through the re wards system of elite educational institutions, helps maintain the ideological hegemony of the established order. Advantages thus
35 accrue to those who adopt the values of the elite class and accumulate enough cultural capital to legitimize their own claims to power and economic capital. The concept of cultural capital fits into a larger theoretical discussion of the primacy of structure or agency. Bourdieu takes the side of structure, arguing that aspiring individuals can rise upward only by gaining cultural capital, thus reproducing and perpetuating the values and ideas of the dominant group, whereas the poor or subaltern, lacking economic capital and access to cultural capital, are stuck at the bottom of the hierarchy. However, Bourdieu fails to explain how the cultural capital of minoritized ethnic or racial groups becomes valued or commodified, and his focus on the institutions of the dominant society neglects the importance of institutions created by subordinate groups. Bourdieu argues that cultural capital is conv erted to economic capital in a single market and standard, thus adding weight to the universalizing assertions of rational choice theory, in which all human action is driven by individual self-interest. But as the popular culture movement and culture-based social pr ojects in Brazil demonstrate, groups of people sharing a common ethnic identity and history can form institutionand community-based allegiances that allow them to collectively accumulate, and then redistribute, economic and cultural wealth. Citizenship in the Liberal Sense Contrasted with the New Citizenship and Its SocioCultural Construction Journalist Gilberto Dimenstein, in an award-winning book on childhood, adolescence, and human rights in Brazil, argu es that Brazilian citizenship, which is
36 guaranteed on paper, does not exist in reality (2004: 11). Dimenstein popularized the term paper citizenship (cidadania de papel) to refer to the contradiction between citizenship as it defined in formal Brazilian law (which does includ e social and economic rights, not just legal rights) and its nonexisten ce in everyday social reality for children and youth living in poverty. According to Dimenstein, citizenship is the right to have rights in relation to the state and other persons, and it involves a sense of duty to the public good as well as the expectation of the protection of a decent standard of living by the government (22). As proof that an enormous number of [these political, social, and economic] guarantees never leave the paper of the Constitution, Dimenstein cites an array of statistical indicators on unemployment, lack of schools, low incomes, migration in search of jobs, malnutrition, and systematic violation of human rights (10-11). Skinny, barefoot street youth in ragged and dirty cl othes are not social anomalies, Dimenstein argues, but rather evidence of a general social collapse in Brazil and the utter scarcity of de facto citizenship throughout the country (28, 10). In addition to the structural violence that politically and economically constitutes various forms of inequality in Brazil, there are social and cultural practices that reproduce these inequalities in everyday social relations among persons. In Cidadania: A questo da cidadania num universo relacional, a frequently-cited essay on citizenship written in the early 1980s, Brazilian anthropo logist Roberto DaMatta used structuralist analysis in an attempt to explain the lack of correspondence between the concept of citizenship as it exists in formal Brazilian na tional law and citizenship as it is actually lived and practiced in Brazilian society (DaMat ta 2000). DaMatta argued that citizens may exist in liberal discourse ut ilized in public and political rh etoric, but political practice operates within another framework: the logi c of [private and informal] relational
37 loyalties which are not committed [to obeying] the legal system (87). DaMatta criticized social scientists for essentializing citizenshi p as something given in human nature and for treating its essence as a strictly juridical an d political issue, failin g to acknowledge that citizenship is a social role or identity constructed in social relationships (66). In liberal discourse, citizenship entails a concept of individuals (citizens as general, universal, abstract entities) who ar e all equal before the law no matter what their other identities (race, family, sex, class, etc.) or relationships to others may be (68). However, in the relational logic of everyday Brazilian society, this form of citizenship does not exist in social practi ce because Brazilian society is not based on individual citizens [subject to the law], but on relations and persons, families and groups of relatives and friends (77) which operate rigorously outside the law and are consciously used and valued as instruments of strategic social navigation, for arriving at power or, in general, for changing ones social position (81). To obey the law is to be a socially anonymous and inferior being, to la ck relations (82). In other words, in the relational universe of Brazilian society, personal relationships and private social networks are privileged over citizens (an individual existing in an eminently public space in relation to the state, the nation, the government) and the rights and obligations which citizenship is supposed to en tail (citizenship as a body of rights and obligations possessed by an individual in re lation to an universal entity called the nation) (67). Indeed, in Brazilian society, to claim that one has rights because one is a citizen is to admit that one does not have relational links to persons in power, that one is an individual without family, friends, or relatives. This meaning of citizen as a socially independent individual is something considered extremely negative, revealing
38 only the solitude of a marginal human being in relation to other members of the community (77). For people who do have conne ctions to persons in positions of power, there is little or no need to claim that one is a citizen in order to have ones rights respected. To claim citizenship is, rather, to negate these informal social relations and to admit that one does not have relations with power (82) and that one exists without connection to prestigious persons or institutions in society (78). To demand rights is socially dangerous, because it is a confro ntation with the system of personalism (82). Ironically, and perhaps what most star kly contrasts the difference between political discourse about citizenship and ever yday social practice, is what happens when a declaration of citizenship is made wh en someone has a confrontation with the authorities or conflict with the government. If one ends up at a police station, for example, ones political and civil rights are left outside (80). The easiest and quickest way out of such situations of conflict or di spute is the ritual of recognition by which one attempts to find someone implicated in the situation who has a personal connection to someone important whom one already knowsand who can get one out of the situation by virtue of their social status and connections. Personalism saves the day in the formal world of impersonal, bureaucratic, and authoritarian governmental institutions and agencies. In light of DaMattas (2000) analysis of citizenship in Brazil, one wonders why anyone, especially the marginalized and their defenders, would want to employ citizenship in political strategies. But DaMa ttas structuralist framework is ahistorical and, besides a few scattered references, DaMatta does not explain the place of the liberal concept of citizenship in the changi ng and emergent political, economic, social, and cultural realities that have historically formed the nation of Brazil. Furthermore, in
39 his discussion of social relations, DaMatta gi ves no importance to ra ce, class, or gender as subjectivities that position, and are positi oned by, persons in social relationships. I reject DaMattas structuralist paradigm, but his points about the social constructedness (and social negation) of citizenship are well taken. The view of citizenship in DaMattas essay, written in the early 1980s, does not take into consideration the social and political movements of DaMattas day and how they defined citizenship or experienced it subjectively; nor could DaMatta predict how the social and political movements would soon construct new citizenship in their struggles against, and efforts to transform, the traditional systems of personalis m, nepotism, and clientelism. Evelina Dagnino (1998) provides just such a re-visioning 7 of citizenship in Brazil. In Culture, Citizenship, and Democr acy: Changing Discourses and Practices of the Latin American Left, Dagnino argues that A fundamental instrument used by social movements in the struggle for democratization in recent times has been the appropriation of the notion of citizenship, which operationalizes their enlarged view of democracy. The origins of the present redefined notion of a new citizenship can be partially found in the concrete experience of social movement s in the late 1970s and 1980s. For urban popular movements, the perception of social needs, carncias, as rights represented a crucial step and a turning point in their struggle. A significant part of this common experience was the elaboration of new identities as subjects, as bearers of rights, as equal citizens. 8 (48) Referencing politics, culture, histor y, power, and economics, Dagninos understanding of the construction of new ci tizenship in Brazil is very useful for my analysis of the construction of citizenship for street youth through Projeto Ax and for situating the work of Projeto Ax within a larger context. 7 This is a reference to the subtitle of the book in which Dagninos essay appears: Cultures of Politics / Politics of Cultures: Re-Visioning Latin American Social Movements (Alvarez, Dagnino, and Escobar 1998). 8 See also Nancy Frasers concept of needs talk (quoted in Hall 1999).
40 Class, race, and gender differences, argues Dagnino, constitute the main bases for a social classification that ha s historically pervaded Brazilian culture, establishing different categories of people hierarchically disposed in their respective places in society (47). Dagnino refers to this as social authoritarianism, or the unequal and hierarchical organization of soci al relations as a whole, of which economic inequality and extreme levels of poverty have been only the most visible aspects (47). In a line of reasoning that converges in pl aces with the structuralist explanations of DaMatta, Dagnino claims that [u]nderneath the apparent cordiality of Brazilian society, the notion of social places constitutes a strict code, very visible and ubiquitous, in the streets and in the homes, in the state and in society, which reproduces inequality in social relations at all levels, underlying soci al practices and structuring an authoritarian culture (48; emphasis in original). Echoin g DaMatta but making class analysis explicit, Dagnino states that to be poor [in Brazil] means not only to endure economic and material deprivation but also to be submitted to cultural rules that convey a complete lack of recognition of poor people as subjects, as bearers of rights (48). In the code of social places, poor people are not citizens. If such is indeed the case, it is to be wondered why the poor and marginalized in Brazil would ever use citizenship as a strate gy in their social, political, and economic struggles. Dagnino advances three main explanations: (1) Social movements have been attempting to advance the process of the redemocratization of Brazil not only in the political sphere, strictly speaking, but in al l spheres of relations. (2) Since the military dictatorship turned power over to democrat ic, civilian rule in 1985, social movements have begun practicing a more extensive and deeper democracy by constructing a new citizenship: the operationalization of this conception of democracy is being
41 carried out through a redefinition of the notion of citizenship and of its core referent, the notion of rights (47). And (3), the post-mili tary dictatorship soci al movements have not called for a rejection of a political system that does not work, but rather have engaged it on a variety of extra-political fronts in orde r to change it. What these social movements are attempting to democratize is the very relational universe described by DaMatta as being based on the logic of informal social relations and private social networks. The historical, political, andmost importantlyso cial significance of the turning point made by these movements cannot be overstated, for their approach represent[s] a rupture with the predominant strategies of political organization of the popular sectors characterized by favoritism, clientelism, and tutelage (49). What is more, the new citizenship of social movements in Brazil compels us to redefine the very notion of citizenship from a classification status automatically ascribed to persons at birth within a gi ven nation-state and entailing ce rtain predefined rights vis-vis the state, to a status intentionally achi eved through political strategies and social activist commitments. To assert the notion of citizenship as a political strategy, writes Dagnino means to emphasize its character as a historical construct that expresses concrete interests and practices not previously defined by a given universal essence. In this sense, its contents an d meanings are not previously defined and limited but constitute a response to the dynamics of real conflicts and the political struggle lived by a particular soci ety at a given historical moment. Such a historical perspective poses a need to distinguish the new citizenship of the 1990s from the liberal tradition that coined this term at the end of the eighteenth century. Emerging as the states response to claims from excluded social actors, the liberal version of citizenship ended up essentializing the co ncept, in spite of the fact that it today performs functions entirely different from those that characterized its origin. (50)
42 This conceptualization and op erationalization of redemocratization and new citizenship as sociocultural processes, rath er than established political in stitution and static political entity, respectively, profoundly empowers social projects that carry out work through the domain of culture. Along with redemocratization and new citizenship, a new cultural politics is born: The new citizenship seeks to implement a strategy of democratic construction, of social transformation, that asserts a constitutive link between culture and politics. Incorporating characteristics of contempo rary societies such as the role of subjectivities, the emergence of social subj ects of a new kind and of rights of a new kind, and the broadening of the political space, this strategy acknowledges and emphasizes the intrinsic character of cultural transformation with respect to the building of democracy. ( 50; emphases in original) At this point the cultural politics of the post-military dictatorship social movements in Brazil converge with the political pedagogy of liberation and social transformation articulated by Paulo Freire prior to the milit ary coup and then during his exile. Projeto Ax is one outcome, among many others, of this convergence, having been politically and institutionally supported by social movements such as the Movimento Nacional de Meninos e Meninas de Rua during its founding (La Rocca 2000: 12) and receiving pedagogical advice directly fr om Paulo Freire himself (11). Social Development and Program Evaluation Development is planned socioeconomi c change resulting in sustainable improvements in human welfare for people living in poverty, oftentimes as the result of having been marginalized and disempowered by political, economic, and social processes. Development involves a particular group or community, who directly
43 participates in development planning and decision-making processes. Although the impetus for development usually comes from outside the group or community, the beneficiaries of a development project ought to decide what changes are to be made based on their own needs and what is impo rtant to them. Additionally, development ought to empower people with skills and ab ilities to direct and manage a development project on their own, without creating a relationship of dependency between them and external planners, funders, resources, and technology. The values of social justicecivil and economic rights, a fair and equitable distribution of wealth and resourcesought to guide development projects and objectives. When Projeto Ax was founded in 1990, it was conceived as a culture-based social development project focusing on cult ural expression, art education, and social inclusion for marginalized children and adoles cents in the streets of Salvador. According to Marsden, Oakley, and Pratt, At the heart of social development efforts is the notion of increasing peoples abilities to more effectively manage their own resources. The results of such efforts will be expected to enhance productive activity and social welfare generally (1994: 11). Furthermore, Social development projects se ek to give support to self-reliant strategies, to promote more ef fective participation, to build local capacity, and to develop skills for more sustainable development. A fundamental issue underpinning this notion of social development is that of empowerment (10). All these characteristics desc ribe Projeto Ax. These principles have proven successful in other social development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Charles David Kleymeyer has edited a volume (1994) of case studies of social development projects funded by the Inter-American Foundation and based on what Kleymeyer calls cultural expression, or the representation in
44 language, symbols, and actions of a particular groups collective heritageits history, aesthetic values, beliefs, observations, de sires, knowledge, wisdom, and opinions (1994a: 3). Kleymeyer points out that in focusing on material and economic deprivation, many development projects fail to take into consideration sociocultural deprivation, be it manifested in spoiled identity, racial discrimination, lack of ethnic autonomy, or alienation from cultural roots (1994b: 17) The link between cultural expression and socioeconomic development ought to be made more explicit. Kleymeyer discusses eight ways that cultural expression can impact development: 1. By strengthening group identity, organization, and community; 2. As an antidote to stigmatized identity and alienation; 3. By teaching and consciousness-raising; 4. By fostering creativity and innovation; 5. As the link to production of ethnic arts and crafts; 6. By maintaining ethnic autonomy and cultural self-determination; 7. By promoting democratic discourse and social mediation; 8. By generating cultural energy. (a dapted from Kleymeyer 1994b: 19-33) Few comprehensive ethnographic studies and evaluations of culture-based social development projects have been published. Kleymeyer (1994), for example, remarks that fewer than 10 percent of the more th an 200 culture-based social development projects funded by the Inter-American Foundation have ever been evaluated. Further study is urgently needed on the impact of cultural expression on social development and the role of non-governmental organizations in generating social development through cultural expression. Many working in the area of development today consider the evaluation of a development project to be part of development itself. Marsden, Oakley, and Pratt, in Measuring the Process: Guidelines for Evaluating Social Development
45 (1994), write that participatory evaluation is not technically distinct from social development (35). This type of evaluation is participatory in that program staff, administration, and participants are directly involved in the evaluation, especially in deciding which components of a program are to be evaluated and why (Patton 1997: 41). Evaluation is important in that, as Kleymeyer concludes, research and evaluation of culture-based social development is requir ed in order to refine existing knowledge about its methods and disseminate the lesson s more widely (1994: 211) so that other organizations can benefit from the lessons offered by successful examples. The last point, is highly appropriate for my research, given that Projeto Ax has been called the most influential and significant program for st reet kids in Latin America by Shine a Light (2005), an international network for organiza tions working with street children in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Other public ations that have ci ted Projeto Ax as a model to be replicated include Traverso (2003, for the Inter-American Development Bank), Szanton Blanc (1994, for UNICEF), Rossatto (2001), and Wong and Balestino (2003). Anthropology is ideally suited to conduc t ethnographic evaluation research. With its concept of culture, a holistic and exploratory approach to understanding human life, multiple and inductive research methods, and a focus on the socially transmitted system of symbolic resources and behaviors that humans use to make the world meaningful, anthropology is better equipped than other disciplines to comprehensively research and evaluate social development projects. The qualitative evaluation component of my research is intended to serve Projeto Ax, a social development project that has been in existence for fifteen years. My internship will be an explor atory ethnographic study that
46 intends (1) to understand and describe the day to day activities and functioning of Projeto Ax in order that other organizations can learn from a generalized set of its best practices; and (2) to conduct a participatory, or utilization-focused (Patton 1997), evaluation of the organization, its polices, and its activities. Summary The implications of various theoretical conceptualizations of street youth were discussed, and an estimate of the number of street youth in Salvador was cited. Structural violence was given as the ultimate cause of children and adolescents ending up in a street situation. Th e significance of the politica l dimensions of education and culture were discussed in the historical cont ext of the economic de velopment of Brazil. Paulo Freires pedagogy of the oppressed wa s considered capable of empowering the agency of the marginalized. The new citizenship social movements are seen to converge with Freirean-based social projects, providin g a foundation in civil and human rights for educational work with marginalized groups. Finally, the role of grassroots cultural expression in such social development projects was highlighted.
47 Chapter Three Research Methodology, Data Collection, and Analysis This chapter will describe the objectives of the study, the criteria used for sampling, and the specific research methods us ed to collect data. It also explains how data were stored and analyzed. Research Objectives The main research objectives of this study were (1) to understand and describe the functioning of Projeto Axs Street Education program through exploratory ethnographic research, and (2) to conduct a utilization-focused program evaluation (Patton 1997) of its pedagogical methodology and day-to-day activities. My responsibility during this fieldwork was to evaluate the effectiveness of Projeto Axs Street Education program in delivering its services to its partic ipants. A potential benefit of this research for Projeto Ax will be recommendations for improving its services. Based on an analysis of data collected during three months of fi eldwork, this thesis will (1) describe how ethnographic fieldwork methods are inte rwoven with the political-pedagogical approaches of Projeto Axs Street Education program and (2) explain how street educators construct citizenship with participants in the Street Education program.
48 I conducted this research under the pa rticipatory action research paradigm, which is a synthesis of critical and interpretivist paradigms. An anthropology based in a critical research paradigm is poised to invest igate inequality and how historical, political, and economic systems or institutions exert control and/or domination over the sociocultural, political, and economic expressions of persons or groups of persons (especially oppressed minorities) in specif ic geo-political cont exts (adapted from LeCompte and Schensul 1999b: 45-47; see al so Kincheloe and McLaren 2005). Critical anthropologists study materi al realities and ideological constructs, challenge the unquestioned privileges of dominant groups and construct counter-hegemonic projects that expose and deconstruct the ideologies of the dominant and ruling classes ideologies that serve to justify and naturalize the oppression and exploitation of dominated groups (see Gramsci 1971). Critical anthropologists work to change unfair or unjust policies by offering critiq ues, counter-proposals, and radical alternatives based on the principles of solidarity and social and economic justice. The interpretivist paradigm, based on a mentalist view of the world, asserts that reality is socially constructed as people interact with one another in specific places. Culture is shared meanings that are created in processes through which individuals negotiate multiple and overlapping identities, values, and interpretations of reality. These constructions and meanings, though situated in particular cultural, social, political, and economic contexts, are not fixed, but can be transformed through changes in discourse, practices, and performances (LeCompte and Schensul 1999b: 48-50). Participatory action research (PAR) is a co nvergence of these paradigms in that it critically investigates reality in order to tran sform it (Fals Borda 1979), requires authentic political commitments by researchers, valu es local culture and local meanings, and
49 recovers the history of oppressed peoples (Fals Borda 1991). Through this research methodology, not only is access to specializ ed knowledge democratized, but by involving communities and participants in the research process itself, the very production of knowledge is democratized. Participatory action research is therefore explicit in positing a dialectical relationship between theory and practice, engaging epistemological questions fundamental to the discipline of anthropology, exposing hidden political agendas of stakeholders, and problematizing power and governance in the contemporary world. PAR is therefore explicit in linking epistemology with politics and positing a dialectal relationship between theory and pr actice (praxis). According to Orlando Fals Borda, who pioneered PAR in Colombia during the 1970s, This experiential methodology implies the acquisition of seri ous and reliable knowle dge upon which to construct power, or counterv ailing power, for the poor, oppressed and exploited groups and social classesthe grassrootsand for their authentic organizations and movements (1991: 3). Critical anthropologi sts doing participatory action research (see Freire 2003; Fals Borda 1979; Fals Borda and Rahman 1991) engage oppressed groups and persons as active participants in re search processes that are political and pedagogical, and through which the oppressed become collectively and personally empowered, are provoked to think critically about the world in which they live, are mobilized to construct networks of social solidarity, and are organized politically to transform the structures and processes that oppress them. For example, instead of doing research on poor people or the poor, a critical anthropologist using PAR would do research with people living in situations of po verty about the social, economic, and political causes of poverty.
50 Most importantly with PAR, stakeholders and communities collaborate with social scientists in designing and conducting th e research, thereby eliminating a formal distinction between the researcher and the researched. PAR therefore breaks with old positivistic models of doing value-free, detached, and objective social science research in which research results are reported to the scientific community without consideration of benefit or meaning for the obj ects of study. PAR is similar to advocacy research, but it takes empowerment a step further by involving people as participants in the research process, from identifying problematic issues, formulating research questions, designing research methodology, collecting data, and analyzing and interpreting results. On a more philosophical le vel, the central epistemological issue raised by advocacy or activist anthropology is the possibility that it might compromise objectivity by positioning the anthropologist in a relationship of inherent partiality toward a particular cause, be it a public policy issue, the interests of a group of people, or some other matter whose crux is usually political or legal in nature. Such a relationship introduces into the data gathering process an uncomfortable degree of subjective bias, which anthropologists, disciplined to abide by scientific standards of validity and reliability, are trained to minimize through soundness and rigor of method. Critics of advocacy anthropology argue that not only is advocacy not a research methodology, but that engaging in advocacy will distort an an thropologists fact-gathering lenses, which are supposed to see human beings and cultures in a holistic context. In short, taking sides affords non-epistemic commitments the opportunity to trump epistemic values. Conducting research with human beings, ho wever, is never neutral or value-free. Beyond the possibility that some paradigms, theories, and methodologies might be
51 practically more useful and productive than others for particular lines of inquiry, political positions are implicated, if not exposed, in the formation, maintenance and termination of research relationships; and ethical decisions are always entailed in the conducting of research, regardless of the chosen methodology. Applied or activist anthropology offers the opportunity to counteract the colonialism of traditional academic research in which data are taken from the study of a target group merely to satisfy theoretical endsresearch in which data run in one direction, from the public to the academy. The elementary questions that ought to orient applied or activist work are questions about the directions in which knowledge flows, where and with whom knowledge is produced, and the purposes for which knowledge is utilized. I position myself politically with th e values of democracy and social justice, viewing the social sciences as disciplines of knowledge to be used to politicize social problems (see Mills 1959) in order to attempt to reduce inequities for those living in situations without rights or privileges. The methodology of participatory action research (Brando 1981, 1987), by which the researcher learns with a group or community through a collaborative process of research de sign and investigation, is the ideal manner by which to analyze socio-cultural issues in volving marginalized communities and their struggles against social and political inequality, and then propose a realizable plan of action with the goal of attaining practical and meaningful results. My research with Projeto Ax was designed as a participatory, or utilizationfocused, program evaluation. Patton (1997) defines program evaluation as the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs to make judgments about the program, improve program effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future programming (23). A utilization-focused program
52 evaluation concerns how real people in the real world apply evaluation findings and experience the evaluation process. [T]he focu s in utilization-focused evaluation is on intended use by intended users (20). Utilization-focused evaluation is responsive, participatory, and focused on process. It is responsive in that it attempts to understand a program from the multiple points of view of its various stakeholders and constituents, primarily a programs staff, administration, and participants (Guba and Lincoln 1981; Stecher and Davis 1987: 3637). Utilization-focused evaluation is participatory in that program staff, administration, and participants are directly involved in th e evaluation, especially in deciding which components of a program are to be evaluated and why (Patton 1997: 41). Finally, utilization-focused evaluation is focused on process, that is, on the internal dynamics and actual operations of a program in an attempt to understand its strengths and weaknesses (206). For the evaluation of social development projects, a process approach is preferred to that of a summative or outcome evaluation, which usually offers a simplistic, bottom-line conclusion that a prog ram was either a success or a failure. But many of Projeto Ax goals, such as empowerment, are not easily subject to quantification or measurement, create benefits that might not be apparent for years, or are in processthat is, they lack terminal achievemen t points (see Fetterman 2001; Fetterman, Kaftarian, and Wandersman 1996; and Fetterman and Wandersman 2005 on empowerment evaluation). Patton (1980) outlines in more detail the steps of the process approach to evaluation. It requires a detailed descriptio n of program operations and an analysis of the processes whereby a program produces the results it does, rather than an analysis
53 of an outcome or product (60). A process approach document[s] the day-to-day reality of the setting or settings under study (60), looking for patterns in the formal and informal activities of the program, as well as for patterns in consequences of these activities (61). For program stakeholders, a process approach is useful for assessing needs and in revealing areas in which programs can be improved as well as highlighting those strengths of the program which should be preserved (61). For people external to a particular program, a proce ss approach is particularly useful for dissemination and replication of programs under conditions where a program has served as a demonstration project or is considered to be a model worthy of replication at other sites (61). Sampling/Inclusion Criteria I attempted to interview all the Street Education program personnel, and I scheduled appointments to meet with each of them. However, prior to my being able to interview all of them, one street educator re signed, another was released after the work contract was not renewed, and the three others were not able to meet with me during the remaining time I had in the field. I fo rmally interviewed seven of twelve street educators and one of the two street education supervisors. I was not able to interview the second street education supervisor becaus e he had to attend to urgent matters that came up at the time we had scheduled to me et. I also interviewed one of the Training Center staff persons. I only interviewed pe rsons who were working as street educators while I was doing fieldwork. Other person s who had previously worked as street educators were, while I was conducting fieldwork, working in other programs or units of
54 Projeto Ax. Since the purpose of the study was to evaluate the current operations of the Street Education program, these former street educators fell outside the parameters of the study proper. Future research on Pr ojeto Axs Street Education could include them in order to learn more about street education from their experiences, as well as to learn about changes to street education methodology and practice during the fifteen years of Projeto Axs existence. Research Methods This study used a qualitative research design (Creswell 1998). The research was discovery oriented (Guba and Lincoln 1981) and exploratory (Johnson 1998), involving approaches [that] are used to develop hypotheses and more generally to make probes for circumscription, description, and interpretation of less well-understood topics (139). The methods I used for collecting data were participant observation, informal conversational interviews, semi-structured in terviews, and secondary/archival research. These research methods used (see below) are the methods most commonly recommended by experts conducting ethnographic qualitative evaluations (Patton 1980, 1997, 2002; Nastasi and Berg 1999; Mars den, Oakley, and Pratt 1994). Based on evaluation guides (Herman, Morris, and Fitz-Gibbon 1987; Stecher and Davis 1987), I developed general research questions about Projeto Ax (its participants, goals, internal organization, history, proc esses) and its purposes. Field research for this study took pl ace during the summer of 2005 (May 17, 2005-July 29, 2005). During that period, I conducted approximately two months of participant observation field research of th e Street Education program of Projeto Ax
55 (resulting in more than 200 double-space d pages of field notes), and I engaged in extensive informal conversations with nine street educators and two street education supervisors. Toward the end of my fieldwork, I formally interviewed seven of the twelve street educators and one of the two street ed ucation supervisors (resulting in 16.5 hours of recorded interviews and 533 double-spaced pages of interview transcriptions). From August 2005 to March 2006, I transcribed and coded the interviews, coded and analyzed field notes, analyzed primary archival do cuments, and reviewed pertinent secondary literature. Participant Observation and Informal Conversations When I arrived in Salvador in early May 2005 to begin doing fieldwork, I met with Projeto Ax staff at the Training Center. After touring Projeto Axs different program components, the Training Center staff and I decided that my field research would focus on the pedagogical practice of the Street Education program. I began accompanying the street educators during their work on a nearly daily basis. Participant observation, a way to collect data in a relatively unstructured manner in naturalistic settings by ethnographers wh o observe and/or take part in the common and uncommon activities of the people being studied (Dewalt, Dewalt, and Wayland 1998: 260; see also Spradley 1980), allowed me to gather data on street educators and street education participants activities in real-life settings during day-to-day routine program operations. Among the advantages of doing participant observation for collecting data are (1) through direct obse rvations the inquirer is better able to understand and capture the context within wh ich people interact, (2) firsthand
56 experience with a setting and the people in the setting allows a inquirer to be open, discovery oriented, and inductive because b y being on-site, the observer has less need to rely on prior conceptua lizations of the setting, and (3) the inquirer has the opportunity to see things that may routinely escape awareness among the people in the setting (Patton 2002: 262). Furthermore, partic ipant observation allows a researcher to compare what people say they do with observations of what they actually dowhich is why participant observation is one of th e hallmarks of the ethnographic method. While doing participant observ ation of street education, I also conducted informal conversations with street educ ators and the Street Educat ion supervisors. Informal conversational interviews as defined by Patton (2002) rel[y] entirely on the spontaneous generation of questions in the natural flow of an interaction, often as part of ongoing participant observ ation fieldwork (342). However, the questions I asked during informal conversations were never entirely spontaneously generated, as I had in mind general topics, which were: program participants; program goals, objectives, and rationale; program organization and administration; program personnel (general questions); program origins and history; program materials and facilities; program activities; concerns about the program; ava ilability of information about the program; and expectations about the evaluation and its audiences. During observations of street educator work, I focused on the following themes: play, pedagogical activities, the political-pe dagogical proposal of Projeto Axs street education program, the didactic-educative resources used by the street educators, and the social construction of meaning among the street educators and the children and adolescents in a street situat ion. I became especially inte rested in investigating how ludic, artistic, and sport activities with childr en and adolescents in a street situation were
57 transformed into political-pedagogical activities by the street educators, for this transformation was supposedly catalyzed through the pedagogy of desire and the pedagogy of liberation. More specific topics for investigation as well as a more focused research design thus emerged by doing partic ipant observation. The principal aspects of street education practice that I observed were: relevant training and education of street educators working conditions in the street the work area or neighborhood things in the street that interfered in the street educators work the street educators use of participant observation the methodology of street education developed by Projeto Ax strategies used to get close to street youth the process of communicating and dialoging with street youth how street educators collect biographical data from the street youth the principal theoretical concepts involved in Projeto Axs Street Education activities with street youth and the planning of activities the relationship of the street educators with the Training Center and the lines of communication between the street youth (and their needs), the street educators, and the Training Center. These points became the basis of questions for formal interviews with street educators. I compared the data I collected from participant observation against data collected in interviews.
58 Interviews Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions with street educators allowed me to get a sense of how they perceived and understood their work. I used the interview guide approach to intervie wing (Patton 2002: 343-44), which involves creating a list of the questions, issues, or topics to be explored. By following the interview guide while asking questions during interviews, the interviews become semistructured (Bernard 1995: 209f). The interview guide was organized by general topics and detailed questions for each topic. I did not always ask the questions in the sequence in which they were listed on the interview guide, but rather moved back and forth with the flow of information and topics as they were given in responses by a particular interviewee. The list of questions served as an interview guide rather than an interview protocol. Because this research was exploratory by design, I worded the interview questions so that they would be as open-ended as possible. The interview questions were open-ended in that they [left] the response open to the discretion of the interviewee and [were] not bounded by alternatives provided by the interviewer or constraints on length of the response (Schensul, Schensul, and LeCompte 1999: 121). The advantages of using open-ended interview questions are that they [allow] the person being interviewed to se lect from among that persons full repertoire of possible responses those that are most salient and [permit] those being interviewed to take whatever direction and use whatever words they want to express what they have to say (Patton 2002: 354). The results were in terviews rich in co ntent, detail, and
59 narrative (as we will see in Chapter 5). I had anticipated that the interviews would each take approximately an hour to an hour and a half. I allowed interviewees to say as much as they wanted to in response to each question. Total length of interviews therefore varied from one hour to nearly four hours. Observations of, and informal conversational interviews with, street educators during street education work helped genera te questions for the interviews. Developing interview questions for street educators after doing two months of fieldwork allowed me to create questions that were ethnographica lly-based. Prior to doing fieldwork, I had prepared program evaluation questions that were adapted from evaluation books and manuals; but after doing general and then focused observations, I was able to create more specific, relevant, and appropriate questions about street education based on firsthand knowledge of street education work. Be fore actually conducting interviews with street educators, I shared th e interview guide with the street education supervisors in order to elicit their comments. One street education supervisor me t with me, offered me feedback, and even went over the questions with me to make sure that the Portuguese grammar and spelling were correct and that the questions were clear. Interviews with street educators were conducted at their place of work, which is to say, in the area of the city in which they worked as street educators. Each individual chose a convenient day and time to meet for the interview. We met at the agreed-upon location, and then we searched for a quiet place to sit, free of noise and distractions (inside a restaurant, for example, or in a common room at a college). Interviewing the street educators at their place of work, in the street, facilitated the interview process. The street educators were in the space where they worked and where thoughts, feelings, actions, and memories of their daily work, would be most vivid.
60 Archival Data To better understand the pedagogical practice of Projeto Axs street education program, I read existing literature (Bianchi dos Reis 2000) and institutional documents (Carvalho 1993; Projeto Ax nd) that describe and explain Projeto Axs Street Education methodology and objectives. I also attended the biweekly meetings (Anlise da Prxis) in which the street educators and their supe rvisors critically analyze street education practice. Methodological Triangulation The use of multiple methods served the research goals of an ethnographic study and program evaluation because they allowe d me to triangulate data and get a better picture of the programs operations from a variety of perspectives and interests (i.e., those of the administrators, supervisors, stre et educators, and street education program participants). Methodological triangulation, or the use of multiple methods to study a single problem or program (Patton 2002, referring to Denzin 1978), allowed me to compare (1) what I observed and witnessed in the field with (2) what the street educators said they were doing in practice and (3) the political-pedagogical proposal of Projeto Axes Street Education program. By using multiple methods and a triangulation approach, I was able to achieve a more holistic view of the pedagogical praxis of street educators than would have been possible from merely one or two methods of data collection. Triangulation was therefore valuable for evaluating the street education
61 program, assessing stakeholders perception s of its effectiveness, and discovering inconsistencies in findings Data Storage Field notes were handwritten in Portug uese during observations of street educators work. As soon as possible after each period of observation, field notes were then entered into a Microsoft Word document for easier search capabilities and later coding. Field notes were left in chronologica l order, but while I entered them into Word, I elaborated them with more details and preliminary analyses. A different Word document was created for recording my own personal reflections on my fieldwork experiences so that I could keep such writings separate from descriptive field notes. My personal reflections journal wa s also written in Portuguese in order to more faithfully record my thoughts and feelings as being stimulated in a Portuguese-speaking social environment. Interviews were conducted in Portuguese and recorded with a digital audio recorder. All interviews were fully transcribed in Portuguese. Data Analysis From August 2005 through July 2006, I transcribed and translated interviews, coded interviews, coded and analyzed field notes, re-analyzed primary literature, and reviewed pertinent secondary literature. Data were analyzed using Wolcotts methods for description, analysis, and interpretation (Wolcott 1994). This involved (1) writing descriptions of settings, activities, and ev ents; (2) making initial codes while reading
62 interview transcriptions, notes, and program documents; and (3) analyzing and interpreting themes and patterned regularities. I used an inductive approach for generating codes and analyzing them (LeCompte and Schensul 1999a). For analyzing activities in field settings, I used the me thod proposed by Lofland et al. (2006) for categorizing human activities and interactio ns. I used content analysis (Bernard 1995: 339f; Bernard and Ryan 1998: 611f) for institutional documents and program statements. Summary Based within a participatory action research paradigm, the study used a utilization-focused qualitative re search design in order to make the study useful to the organization with which the study was conduc ted. Participant observation and informal conversations were used to collect data about the day-to-day practice of street education. Interviews were used to gain a de eper understanding of how individual street educators viewed their own work. Abstract knowledge about street education methodology was acquired by reading organizational documents archived in the organizations library. Data were analyzed through description, analysis, and interpretation.
63 Chapter Four Fieldwork Setting This chapter describes the fieldwork setting: the city of Salvador and the nongovernmental organization with which the research was conducted. Why the street education program was selected for study is explained, as well as how the researcher made contact with the organization. The organizations unique pedagogical proposal is discussed in detail, including sections on the use of Freirean pedagogy to empower human agency and make collective social transformations, the significance of the organizations politicized understanding of cu lture, the explicitness of antiracism in the organizations educational work with street youth and Salvadoran society, and the legal and conceptual underpinnings for the defense of the human rights of street youth and the construction of their citizenship. Salvador, a City of Violent Inequalities and Afro-Brazilian Cultural Politics Projeto Ax is located in Salvador, the ca pital of the state of Bahia. Founded in 1549, Salvador is now, with close to 2.5 millio n people, the third largest city in Brazil and the largest metropolitan area in the Northeast region of Brazil. The majority of people in this region are of African descent, their ancestors having been forcefully taken from western Africa and brought to Brazil as slaves. The Northeast is known for its extreme
64 poverty, perennial lack of employment, high illiteracy rates among adults and children, banality of everyday violence (Espinheira 2004; Scheper-Hughes 1992), and social and political exclusion of black and poor persons. Geographically, Salvador sits on a short peninsula that juts out from the mainland at an angle in a southwesterly direction. The southern and southeastern sides of the peninsula are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, providing miles of beautiful and easilyaccessible beaches. The western and northwestern sides of the city are bordered by the largest bay in Brazil, the very deep Bay of All Saints (Baa de Todos os Santos), providing a harbor and docking for cargo and passenger ships. Upper and middle class neighborhoods such as Vitoria, Graa, and Barra occupy the hilly, southwestern tip of the peninsula, and upper and middle class neighborhoods such as Pituba occupy areas of the flatter southeastern side. The city Center, primarily a commercial, retail, and services area, is located in what is known as the Upper City (a Cidade Alta), an area near the northwestern side of the peninsula that, due to geography, has a much higher elevation than an adjacent area to the west known as the Lower City (a Cidade Baixa), whose elevation is close to sea level and which sits on the northwestern side of the peninsula bordering the Bay of All Saints. The Lower City, besides containing several historic and tourist attractions such as th e Mercado Modelo, is mainly a business and commerce district that becomes emptied of people in the evening and on weekends. Also part of the Upper City is Pelourinho, a historic district famous for its colonial architecture, tourist attractions and shops, and Afro-Brazilian cultural and political organizations that frequently stage public pe rformances in Pelourinhos streets and main plazas. Pelourinho means little whipping post in Po rtuguese, indicating the pole to which African slaves were tied while they were being beaten in public. Thus, the
65 affirmative presence, expression, and celebrat ion of Afro-Brazilian people and culture in Pelourinho today exemplifies the historical endurance of Afro-Bra zilian ethnicities and the strength of Afro-Brazilian people and thei r allies in overcoming the horrors of slavery (not abolished until 1888) and contesting the dominance of whites and Europeanand North American-derived cultural forms. In Casa grande e senzala, first published in 1933, Brazilain social historian Gilberto Freyre famously argued that a long hi story of racial intermarriage in Brazil had resulted in a racial democracy and an enriched national culture that was a mix of Indian, African, and European elements. The belief that Brazil was a racial democracy quickly became part of Brazilian national identity. However, seven decades of uninterrupted racial inequality later, racial democracy is now generally understood to be part of the ideology of the ruling classes, meant to mystify social relations in a country with extreme racial inequality. Afro-Brazilian cult ural and political resistance to whites in Brazil has a long history (Kraay 1998; Butler 1998), often overshadowed in more recent memory by the militancy of Afro-Brazilian or Bl ack political activism that grew out of the social movements of the 1970s. Kim Butler (1998) argues that the struggles of African descendants for selfdetermination in Brazil have historically been based on European and African cultural differences rather than on race per se. White Europeans had very negative attitudes toward African culture, and, although greatly outnumbered by Africans in places such as Bahia, By the time of abolition [in 1888], wh ites feared not rebellion but, rather, the possibility that Afro-Brazilian culture would become dominant (171) The use of public space, and the political power gained by the visibility and pr esence of collective AfroBrazilian cultural expression in public places goes back centuries: The public streets and
66 plazas of Salvador became the battleground of the culture wars of the post-abolition era in the 1890s, and Salvadors white elites took steps to rid the city of what they perceived to be excessive displays of Afri can culture (171). While So Paulo is often considered the political center for Afro-Braz ilians, and Salvador is often considered the cultural center of Afro-Brazilians, in Salvador, the historical development of AfroBrazilian culture and identity was shaped in the political context of culture wars. Indeed, the activities of Afro-Bahians were extremely important in redefining the social identity of persons of African descent by reversing the national trend toward marginalization of Afro-Brazilian culture. They impressed their cultural stamp on mainstream Bahian society, albeit with the st igma of low culture or primitive folklore. They chose cultural confrontation over a bid for political power, which remained in the hands of a white minority (14). Edward Telles agrees that the powerful expressionthrough music, rhythms, dances, foods, physical sensuality, attitudes, social collectivism, and spiritual beliefs and religious practices such as the spirit-possession religion Candomblof Afro-Brazilian ethnic identity found in Salvador are much less common among Blacks in other metropolitan areas of Brazil (2004: 212). Telles asserts that urban space is the critical variable, claiming the residential segregation of Salvador by race and class correlations, an environment which residentially isolates the worlds of many African Brazilians in Salvador from whites (213), is largely responsible for the maintenance of ethnic identification based on race. However, Telles does not recognize the strong political dimension of Afro-Brazilian ethnic identity s een by Butler, arguing instead that Blacks in Salvador have made a trade-off. While they are granted nearly free run of the cultural realm, in which Afro-Brazilian culture domina tes and is widely and openly celebrated
67 even by white elites, it is in exchange for relinquishing claims to economic and political power, which continue[s] to be monopolized by a small white elite (213). Embodying the extremes of wealth and poverty characteristic of Brazil generally, Salvadors elite and wealthy are concentrated in the upper and middle class neighborhoods mentioned above, and the lower and poverty classes of the population (the numerical majority of the population) are sprawled throughout the remaining areas of the city. Forms of residential housing are the most conspicuous indicators of the relative wealth or poverty of a neighborhood. The wealthy tend to live in impressive multi-level or high-rise apartment buildings, protected by locked gates and private security guards. In comparison with poor neighborhoods, wealthy neighborhoods, whose residents tend to be whiter phenotypically, ar e kept much cleaner, and public areas such as streets, parks, and plazas are better care d for by municipal services. Housing in lower and poverty class neighborhoods ranges from older, nondescript apartment buildings to perpetually unfinished cement and cinderblock houses to drab, dilapidated structures or even, in the poorest areas, small shacks ma de from mud and sticks or simply boards and corrugated tin roofing. The residents of poorer neighborhoods are phenotypically black or dark skinned, and, in contrast to wealthy neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods appear to be constantly neglected by m unicipal services and urban planning and development. Poor neighborhoods look dirty and depressing, sometimes with raw sewage running down often unp aved streets and trash left strewn about and uncollected in public areas. Why I Chose to Study Street Education with Projeto Ax
68 My research interests intersect urban povert y, the politics of education and social development, youth participatory action research and social justice, and political organization and social activism through art education and cultural expression. I wanted to learn how NGOs in Salvador were using art education and cultural expression in political and pedagogical strategies to realiz e social transformations among marginalized youth living in extreme situations of poverty and misery. I chose to study Projeto Ax because of its trajectory of success, its longevity as an organization, and for its audacious pedagogical actions with a segment of the population usually abused or simply left unattended by the state. 9 World famous, Projeto Ax has been called the most influential and significant program for street kids in Latin America by Shine a Light, an international network for organiza tions working with street youth in Latin American and Caribbean countries (Shine a Light 2005). 10 I saw Projeto Ax as a fantastic model fo r catalyzing education through culture, and I wanted to learn first-hand how it puts its pedagogy into practice, especially how its Street Education proposal is transformed into political-pedagogical actions that have the potential to transform the lives of childre n and adolescents in a street situation. As an anthropologist, what initially fascinated me most about Projeto Axs Street Education was the use of ethnographic methods by street educators. I never actually heard any of Projeto Axs street educators say that they were doing ethnography; nevertheless, they employ ethnographic research methods in or der to learn about the culture of street youth and the culture of the street, the areas frequented by children and adolescents 9 On Projeto Axs successes, see Morin (2000), A quietude da terra, vida co tidiana, arte contempornea e Projeto Ax / The Quiet in the Land, Everyday Life, Contemporary Art and Projecto Ax, a bilingual English and Portuguese book, beautifully produced an d lavishly illustrated with photographs. 10 Other publications that have cited Projeto Ax as a model to be replicated include Traverso (2003, for the Inter-American Development Bank), Szanton Blanc (1994, for UNICEF), Rossatto (2001), and Wong and Balestino (2003).
69 in a street situation. Indeed, it could be ar gued that Projeto Axs Street Education is a form of anthropological participatory action research. The main argument of this thesis is that ethnographic research methods, combined with Freireian pedagogy and the pedagogy of desire, are fundamental an d instrumental for the success of the pedagogical praxis of Projeto Axs Street Education program. Establishing Contact with Projeto Ax I was already familiar with Projeto Ax prior to conducting fieldwork (from May 17, 2005 to July 29, 2005). I had already vi sited the Projeto Ax headquarters on two occasions, spoken with program coordinators, visited Projeto Axs library and archives, and communicated via e-mail with the coordinator of the Projeto Ax Training Center (Centro de Formao do Projeto Ax). I also obtained formal, written permission from Projeto Ax to conduct research with their staff. Such permission was a prerequisite for receiving approval from the University of So uth Floridas Institutional Review Board (IRB) to do research with human subjects. IRB approval was granted on May 13, 2005 (see Appendix [IRB approval letter]). Projeto Ax: Mission and Organizational Description Projeto Ax is a rights-based social project designed specifically for the inheritors of this brutal legacy. Its primary objective is to create other life paths for marginalized children living in the streets by liberating them from their socio-historical destiny as non-citizens and passive victims (Macedo 2000: 47-58). The ultimate goal of Projeto Ax
70 is, in the words of its founder, Cesare de Fl orio La Rocca, to provide the best education to the poorest citizens. The official instit utional mission of Projeto Ax is defined as follows: To benefit the most vulnerable segment within the poorest sector of the populationchildren and adolescents deprived of their rightsand to contribute to the construction of new methodologies and political articulation with other programs and projects geared toward the promotion of human rights (Projeto Ax n.d.). The most vulnerable of the poor are considered by Projeto Ax to be children and adolescents living in a street situation in Salvador, and it is with them that the organization creates processual learning oppo rtunities through politicized art education. Projeto Ax attempts to accomplish this wo rk primarily through education as the practice of freedom, to use Freires term: offering to street youth an education that is rooted in local cultural beliefs, practices, and activities, that liberates subjectivity and desire through artistic and ae sthetic expression, and that strives for the social inclusion of street youth through the construction of citizenship and defense of human rights. More on this below. The headquarters of Projeto Ax are loca ted in downtown Salvador (a Cidade Baixa) on three upper stories of an office building. The headquarters contain administrative offices, a library and document archives, a small classroom with television and video for program participants, and conference rooms for meetings and the professional development of personnel. So me walls are decorated with photographs of Projeto Ax staff working with street youth; other walls have bulletin boards with internal memoranda and newspaper clippings of recent stories about Projeto Axs work and accomplishments as well as journalistic pieces about poverty, urban violence, child
71 labor, education, and other subjects related to the civil and human rights of children and adolescents. Projeto Ax also has two cultural workshops or Educational Units (Undidades Educativas) in which its participants learn and practice artistic and cultural activities (painting, dance, music, theater, plastic arts, clothing design, hair styling, etc.). One Educational Unit is located in Pelourinho; the other is located in the Lower City, within short walking distance from the project headqu arters. Both Units have many large studio workshops, which have an abundance of ar t materials, and spacious rooms used for dance and music classes. Each Unit also ha s its own cafeteria and kitchen for providing Ax youth with meals (breakfast and lunch). Many of the inside walls of the Educational Units have murals painted by Ax youth, and examples of other kinds of artistic creations (t-shirt designs, drawings, constructed objects, etc.), usually with an AfroBrazilian cultural theme, adorn rooms and hall ways. Adjacent to the Educational Unit in Pelourinho, Projeto Ax also operates a comme rcial store in which the artistic products (in particular, a Projeto Ax-themed line of clothing) of Ax youth are sold. Most of the work of the Street Education personnel takes place in the streets of the city or in public plazas where street youth are likely to gather. While I was conducting fieldwork, Projeto Ax street educ ators were working in seven different areas of Salvador and metropolitan region, includ ing Barra and Pituba (two of the wealthier neighborhoods mentioned above), Comrcio (the commercial district area of the Lower City), Piedade (a central plaza in the city center), and Itapu (a popular, beachfront neighborhood on the Atlantic coast frequented by tourists). Street youth tend to be drawn to these areas because, being the we althier neighborhoods, commercial areas through which many people circulate, or touristy streets and beaches with outdoor
72 restaurants, it is more likely that in these areas street youth will come across people (such as foreign tourists or sympathetic middl e and upper class locals) who are willing to give them money and food. Street educators may encounter street youth wandering the streets, sleeping on sidewalks or storefront steps, juggling sticks for stopped cars at street intersections, or playing on the beach and in the plazas of these areas. During Projeto Axs fifteen-year existence, nearly 14,000 children and adolescents have participated in its progra m (Projeto Ax 2006). Currently Projeto Ax assists about 1500 children and adolescents (between the ages of 5 and 21) on a yearly basis (Projeto Ax 2006). A recent summary re port on Projeto Ax indicated that it had a staff of 220 persons (Laczynski and Lopes da Cunha Soares 1999). This staff (and Projeto Axs external consultants) consists of educators, sociologists, social workers, artists, lawyers, psychologists, doctors, and political scientists. Such a multidisciplinary staff allows Projeto Ax to attend to the needs of street youth from a variety of angles and to alter specific project goals to meet the desires of specific groups of beneficiaries. Furthermore, Projeto Ax has also formed pa rtnerships with governmental organs, such as municipal and state Secretaries of Educat ion and Social Action, in order to effect changes in public policy and to integrate it s political-pedagogical programs into the curriculum of the public school system of Salvador. During the period that I conducted fieldwork (May-August 2005), there were nine persons working as street educators, two persons working as assistants to the street educators, and two persons working as Street Education supervisors. The ages of the Street Education personnel ranged from early twenties to late forties, with the majority being in their midto late-twenties and early thirties. Eight of the personnel were female, five were male. The Street Ed ucation supervisors had both been working
73 for Projeto Ax in other capacities for the previous eight years; they had started working as supervisors of the Street Education program toward the end of 2004. Nearly all of the street educators had been hired recently un der a six month probationary contract, which came under review for renewal during the pe riod I was doing fieldwork. Most of the personnel therefore had about five months of experience working in the streets as street educators prior to the point at which I began doing fieldwork in May 2005. One of the assistants had about three months of experience, and the other had about six months. All of the street educators, including the assistants, had one forty hour week of professional development provided by Projeto Ax staff and involving seminars, workshops, readings, and presen tations on street youth and the history of Projeto Ax, its pedagogy, street education methodology and praxis, and general organizational mission and strategies. After this initial week-long formation period, on the job professional development continued throug h bi-weekly encounters during which all street educators and the street educatio n supervisors meet to solve problems, collectively and critically analyze their own work, reflect on relevant issues and day-today experiences in the street, and offer each other advice based on their practice of street education in particular areas of the city with particular children and adolescents. Therefore, professional development is an ongoing, continuous process involving structured time for critical reflection, lively debate, and theoretical and methodological enrichment. Previous work experience and educational credentials of the street educators are as follows: a licensed social worker; a licen sed social worker with two years prior work experience in the area of the civil and human rights of children and adolescents for the Ministrio Pblico (the branch of governme nt in Brazil that defends law and order and
74 prosecutes criminal offenders); a licensed soci al worker with previous work experience with juvenile offenders and at-risk youth for the Fundao Estadual da Criana e do Adolescente (a governmental social assistance foundation for child ren and adolescents), as well as three years work experience with juvenile offenders in the Ministrio Pblico; a sociologist; two persons with degrees in educ ation; an artist with a college degree in visual arts; and another licensed social worker. One of the Street Education supervisors had a degree in the philosophy of education; the other had a degree in visual arts. One of the assistants to the street educators ha d a high school education; the other had not yet completed the high school diploma. Both of the street education assistants themselves had been in street situations during their childhood or adolescence; both had entered Projeto Ax and participated in its programs for several years before being hired as street education assistants. The Pedagogical Proposal of Projeto Ax The political pedagogy of Projeto Ax is inspired by Brazilian philosopher of education Paulo Freire (1921-1997), who pr oposed a pedagogy of the oppressed (2003 ) based on consciousness-rais ing (2003 , 1971) to provoke people to become critically aware of, and then transf orm, historically produced configurations of power and politics that constrain human ag ency and structure human relationships especially relations of domination and oppression that are socially and culturally reproduced through schooling. Projeto Ax builds on Freires radical work and legacy, and has designed a Freirean pedagogical proposal for working with children and adolescents living in extreme poverty in Salvador. Freire was consulted by Projeto Axs
75 founders when they were designing the organizations pedagogical proposal. Freire dedicated his last book, Pedagogia da autonomia, in part to the boys and girls of Projeto Ax (Freire 1997). Projeto Axs approach to working with children and adolescents in a street situation is considered an innovative st rategy (Szanton Blanc 1994). The typical state response toward street youth has been to capture and remove them from the streets, then return them to their homes (from whic h they may soon leave again) or imprison them in state-run juvenile detention cent ers (from which they sometimes escape). Projeto Ax created a street education program for carrying out its educational and political work in the streetstreet here being used as a metaphor for public urban areas, be they sidewalks, squares, plazas, alleyways, outdoor snac k-shop areas, and so on. Thus, instead of forcing street youth into a locked detention ce nter or into school buildings, Projeto Axs Street Education brings education to where street youth are. Spaces are created for education to take place outside of schools and beyond the dominant ideologies of schooling. The street pedagogy of Projeto Ax is realized through the presence of street educators in the streetsin the public spaces throughout the city of Salvador most frequented by children and adolescents in a street situation. The daily practice of street pedagogy demonstrates that education is possibl e in the street, and the fact of its being practiced in the street, in full public view, is itself a political strategy: not to hide from society the existence of poverty and misery that the society itself produces. The public presence of Projeto Axs street educators is therefore political as well as pedagogical. Rather than hiding street youth from the public eye, as many residents of Salvador would like them to do, Projeto Axs Street Education draws public attention to street
76 youth, demonstrating that the fact that youth are in a street situation is a public issue, not the private problem of individual street youths. Street educators often dialogue with passers-by about the work of Projeto Ax, attempting to combat prejudice against street youth and inform the public about the historical, social, political, and economic factors that create street youth in the first place. Projeto Axs mission is social inclusion th rough active citizenship: to reinsert street youth into society as citizens, critical thinkers and learners, and agents of social transformation, not to simply remove them from the streets (Bianchi dos Reis 2000). Projeto Ax is not a charitable organizati on, and its street educators do not give anything, neither food nor money, to street youth. Following Freire and others, Projeto Axs political pedagogy contains a critique of assistencialismo, or the mere giving of welfare assistance in the form of material goods or financial handoutswhich often results in the creation of a patron-client dependency relationship. Projeto Axs street educators employ ethnographic fieldwork methods in order to more holistically understand the everyd ay lives of street youth and the cultural meanings that they attribute to aspects of their world, as well as to understand the dynamics of street culture that emerge in the particular urban spaces frequented by street youth. By The result is an anthropological understanding that serves as the basis for Freirean-inspired street education consciousness raising activities, through which street youth are provoked to think critically about their everyday reality in order to transform it (Freire 2003 ). By being in the streets with street yout h, street educators begin to learn about the everyday lives and concrete realities of st reet youth: (1) what street youth do in a given area: for example, how they play, how they manage to survive and meet lifes
77 basic necessities, whom they interact with and for what purposes; (2) and the meanings they create there: for example, the meanings they give to particular areas or spaces, the meanings they give to the people and things in these areas, the meanings they give to their own activities, actions, and experiences. Thus for street educators, street educatio n is itself a process of learning about individual children and adolescents in a street situation so that street educators can construct with them an individualized pedagogical relationship. The pedagogy of Projeto Ax is therefore customized to the subjectivity of each street youth, his or her own life, life history, sociocultural background, and pr esent circumstances. The content of street education is not fixed or predetermined, but emerges out of a particular street youths desires, needs, and dialog ues with street educators. The process of street education takes places through a two-way, dialogic relationship between educators and learners: st reet educators are also learners, learning from street youth, just as street youth are also educators, educating the street educators. The practice of active listening on the part of street educators takes priority, however, in street education di alogues, for it is through hear ing the voice of street youth that street educators learn about street youths desires and their own perspectives for improving their situation. The process of street youth expressing their desire is encouraged through artistic and play activities, which also motivate them to develop their talents and skills through the exploration of multiple intelligences. The very act of listening is itself an act of validation: street educators recognizing the value and potential residing in youth who are not in herently worthless, but whose growth and development are limited by their situation of living in the street.
78 In addition to Freirean dialogical methods, Projeto Axs work is based on the pedagogy of desire, a didactic strategy and psychological-sociocultural theory of learning developed by the organization spec ifically for working with youth living in a street situation (Carvalho 1992, 2000). The de sires of street youth are fundamental to the work of Projeto Ax. Street pedagogy and the construction of citizenship only begin and happen with the desire of the street youth. Street youth decide when to participate in activities, when to enter Projeto Ax, and when to leave the street and return to home and school. Street educat ors show street youth that ot her possibilities exist, but it is up to street youth to decide to pursue those possibilities. Street youth have the liberty to leave an activity or involvement with Pr ojeto Ax whenever they so desire. Street educators are agents of social transformati on who, through street pedagogy, motivate the exercise and development of street youths own agency. As one of the street education supervisors declared during a meeting with street educators, The pedagogical-educative act has to consider the creation of new citizens. The construction of citizenship is made po ssible through the methodology and politicalpedagogy of Projeto Ax. The process of street educators and street youth coconstructing citizenship begins with the desire s and subjectivity of the individual child or adolescent in a street situation, but the result is an intersubjective construction between street educators and street youth (Car valho 2000: 104). Street pedagogy and relationships between street educators and street youth are democratized as much as possible. Street youth participate in the selection and planning of street education activities, as well as in the construction of rules and commitments. Projeto Ax may not succeed in changing the fundamental political, economic, and social structures that produce street youths in the first placeand it would be
79 unrealistic to expect a single NGO to be capa ble of such an accomplishment. Projeto Ax is designed, however, to make possible radical changes in the lives of children and adolescents in a street situation and to rais e consciousness in Brazilian society about the urgency and gravity of the situation of street youth and the larger processes that are responsible for producing them. As I will argue throughout Chapter 5, street educators use of ethnographic methods, combined with Freireian pedagogy and the pedagogy of desire, is essential to the success of Projeto Ax in realizing transformations in the lives of street youth. Human Agency and the Possibilities for Transformation through Ax Projeto Axs name comes from the Yoruba word ax, which means vital force or creative energy (Bianchi dos Reis 1993). In Projeto Axs pedagogy, human agency is conceptualized as ax, which in the Candombl religion of Bahia is believed to be the vital principle, the energy that permits everything to exist (La Rocca 2000: 12-13), the energy that flows between all living beings in nature (Bianchi dos Re is 1993: 3). This is significant in that the majority of street yo uth in Salvador, indeed the majority of the population of Salvador, are Afro-descenden ts whose ancestors practiced, and whose descendants stil l practice, the Candombl religion. Thus by incorporating ax into its pedagogy, Projeto Ax can have a profound significance for, and impact on, street youth. Ana Maria Bianchi dos Reis, an anthropologist and consultant to Projeto Ax, writes, In the Candombl terreiros, which recreate in the African culture in Bahia the presence of the gods in the life and spirit of human beings, there is a material and
80 sacred essence, formed by mineral, vegetal, and animal substances, which is planted, just like a seed, in excavations made in the floor of the shanty at the time of its foundation (3). The phrase planting ax (plantar o ax or plantando ax) is used to signify implanting in the ground be neath the temple the sacred force of ax, which thereafter will grow and develop itself through the [Candombl] rituals and participation of the temples members (3). In this religious context, Bianchi dos Reis suggests that participating in Projeto Ax is like passing through a rite of passage (3 ). Projeto Ax as a rite of passage is an apt metaphor, given the anthropological understanding of rites of passage as ritualized experiences that move participants from one st atus (or state or place) to another and, in so doing, empower them with strength and energy (Van Gannep 1960; Turner 1969). In this sense, it can be saidi ndeed, as is proclaimed in the title of an edited volume detailing Projeto Axs pedagogy (2000)that the pedagogical proposal of Projeto Ax plants ax in children and adolescents in a street situation. In the separation stage of the rite of passage, misery compels youths to leave home, school, and community to live in the streets, becoming the most marginalized and excluded in society. In the liminality stage, street youth enter Projeto Ax and draw power from the comunitas (Turner 1969) they experience with other street youth who are going through the same ordeals. Finally, when street youth decide that they are ready to leave Projeto Ax, they enter the incorporation stage, in which they re-enter society with a new status: a human being with agency and rights, a citizen, a learner. In unpacking Projeto Axs conceptualization of agency, we must also include the influence of cultural anthropology and Fr eireand, through Freire, the influence of liberation theology as well as the concept of human being taken from Marxs early
81 philosophic writings. There may not be one si ngle source for Projeto Axs theorization of culture, but the anthropological concept of culturea historically constituted, socially learned and shared system of symbolic resour ces and practices that people use to make the world meaningfulis generally the sense in which culture is used in Projeto Axs discourses. Culture, Not Race: The Cultur al Politics of Projeto Ax The principal anthropological and political strategies of Projeto Ax are carried out in the domain of culture through art-education activities (Macedo 2000a, 2000b). This is significant in that Projeto Ax attemp ts to arrive at a critical anthropological understanding of the phenomenon of street youth that does not resort to racial essentialism or determinism, which in Brazilian society is commonly used in negative ways to account for the low social status of Black persons. Projeto Ax does not employ race as a theoretical concept in its pedagogy nor does it use race uncritically in its political discourse. Projeto Ax works throug h culture, or better, cultural processes. Art, aesthetics, play, and the pleasures of cultural creativity are used by Projeto Ax street educators to attract children and adolescents to the program, to awaken their interest in learning, and to incite them to think critically about society and take actions to transform their place in it. The learning content of this pedagogy of desire is based in the relevant socio-cultural historical realitie s of street youth, not in the ideals of elite national society. Art and culture are used no t as a means to educate marginalized youth, but as education itself (La Rocca 2000); that is, through art and culture street youth investigate their own social realitie s and the problems of their world.
82 Hence through co-constructed learning activities, which take place in the streets or in cultural workshops, street youth can master the concepts an d practices necessary to re-appropriate, re-value, and reproduce their local, indigenous culture. Projeto Ax creates spaces with street youth in which they can realize their own identity and subjectivity, freely and without compulsion (Macedo 2000: 71). This creation of cultural learning spaces is crucial because street youth may lack the discipline necessary to succeed in the regimented, rigid structures of the public school system. Through Projeto Ax, street youth learn that culture is a realm in which social power relations are expressed, even if those relations are masked by culture (cf. Gramsci 1971). Therefore by creating new cultural and political spacesor by entering the cultural and political spaces dominated by elitesand then recreating or changing cultural symbols, street youth challeng e elite ownership of cultural capital. Such contestation becomes a method for re-entering society and gaining visibility, deconstructing the naturalness of racial discrimination and class-based social inequality, and building positive self-estee m through the celebration of Afro-Brazilian culture, history, and symbols (68). Beyond provoking street youth into the realization that their circumstances are the result of historical, political, economic, and social factorsand hence not natural or unchangeab leProjeto Ax empowers street youth to confront and overcome the fatalism of the vict ims role elite society has assigned them. Street youth are transformed by Projeto Axs citizenship education into active citizens that in turn transform their own world (74). The Defense of Human Rights and the Construction of Citizenship
83 According to Projeto Ax, its political-pedagogical praxis makes possible the social reinsertion of street youth in their relations with family, society, and government their repositioning from a marginalized position to one of social inclusion as active citizens. The construction of citizenship made possible through Projeto Axs politicalpedagogical praxis involves not only politica l consciousness-raising of street youth (for example, that they are individuals with rights and duties in relation to the state, not clients desperately waiting on powerful patron s to give them favors), but also social consciousness-raising and transf ormations in social relationships and expectations (for example, that street youth have rights and duti es in relation to other citizens in society). Citizenship is thus constructed and exercised through relations with the institutions of the government and with othe r citizen persons. This illustrates another way in which such a construction of citi zenship is different from citizenship as traditionally understood in liberal philosophy. According to Dagnino, The new citizenship is a project for a new sociability: not only an incorporation in to the political system in a strict sense, but a more egalitarian format for social relations at all levels, including new rules for living together in society (1998: 52; emphasis in original). This project entails the broadening of the scope of the new citizenship, the meaning of which is far from limited to the formal and legal acquisition of a set of rights and therefore to the political-judicial system (52; emphasis in original). The construction of citizenship as the pr actice of a new sociability involves the transformation of identities and subjectivities, as well as the rejection of the notion that citizenship is an essence or status that one does or does not have. Projeto Axs street educators provoke children and adolescents in a street situation to cr itically deconstruct the social labels or stigmatized identities th ey may have received and internalized from
84 society. Thus, a street youth may abandon the identity of pivete (a pejorative word meaning child thief) and the social stigma and subjectivity of marginalization, exclusion, and worthlessness it may entail. Through the processes of street education offered by Projeto Axs street educators, street youth can investigate the historical, social, political, economic, and social reasons for their being in a street situation in the first place. Then, through political-pedagogical praxis, street youth can learn about citizenship and construct it as a new subjectivity, a learned social role, a way of being in the world with other individuals. In this respect, Projeto Ax has been largely responsible for changing the representational discourse of street youth fr om the static and ahistorical term street kids to the more politically (and ontologically) correct term children and adolescents in a street situation. More on this in Chapter 5. Through citizenship education, based on Brazils Child and Adolescent Statute of 1990, street youth learn that they are not worthless, bothersome, or dangerous objects with less rights because they are minors under the law, but, in fact, that they have rights and special protections because they are minors and citizens. As citizens in the legal, political sense, they are equal in the eyes of the law to all other citizens; and as citizens in the social sense, they have the right to be treated equally, regardless of who they know or do not know, whether or not they have personal relations with important persons, and whether or not they have their own private social networks with the powerful. The practice of citizenship entails the protection and defense of rightsand the poor and marginalized in Brazil need thei r legal protections to be actively enforced by the law, as well as their citizenship to be respected and defended, especially when
85 they lack personal relations (which usually occur in the form of a patron-client relationship) with persons in positions of power. In Chapter 2, the question was posed as to why anyone in Brazil would want to use citizenship as a political or social st rategy to have ones rights respected and defended, if claiming citizenship in Brazilian so ciety ironically reveals an inferior social status, the status of a marginalized person. In the construction of the new citizenship, the concept of citizenship is appropriated by street educators and street youth and reconstructed as a form of agency and a pr actice of resistance that challenges the power of the privileged to put and keep the marginalized in their place (recalling Dagninos emphasis on the impo rtance of social place in Brazilian societys system of social authoritarianism). Again, this new citizenship is being constructed in and through society-wide social practices, not merely in formal legalpolitical spheres and discourses. Projeto Axs political-pedagogical praxis is part of a la rger movement toward social and political transformation whose strategy demands (1) a process of social learning, of constructing new kinds of social relations, implying, obviou sly, the establishment of citizens as active social subjects (Dagnino 1998: 52), and (2) for society as a whole to learn to live on different terms with these emergent citizens, who refuse to remain in the places that were socially and culturally defined for them (52). Summary Some of the urban characteristics of the city of Salvador were described. The organizational mission and the pedagogical proposal and specific objectives of the street
86 education program were presented. Reasons fo r incorporating local Afro-Brazilian culture into the organizations work were provided, and the significance of citizenship education for street youth and a rights-based approach for working with them was explained.
87 Chapter Five Data Analysis and Findings This chapter provides an analysis of the data that were collected during fieldwork. An ethnographic description of th e pedagogical work of the organizations Street Education program is attempted through the presentation of selected observations recorded in field notes and exce rpts from interviews with street educators. The stages of the Street Education praxis are described as well as how the street educators themselves use ethnographic methods in their own work in order to enrich their understanding of the everyday realities of street youth. An Ethnographic Description of Projeto Axs Street Education What follows is a composite description of Projeto Axs street pedagogy, based on data analysis of three months of fieldwork and reconstructed mostly from conversations and interviews wit h street educators and their supervisors, as well as from field notes of my own observations of St reet Education. In order to protect the anonymity of individual street educators, I will use the generic category street educator to refer to any of the street educators I observed or interviewed. I have chosen to do this instead of creating pseudonyms because I am not necessarily attempting, at least in the analysis here, to provide a nuanced portrayal of each
88 particular street educators ideas about street education, but, rather, a generalized Projeto Ax street educators view of street education. Hence the composite nature of this section. This section is therefore largely an explanation of street education according to the Projeto Ax street educators: how the street educators perceive street education, what they understand it to be, and how they, in their own words, represent what it is they are doing. I will attempt to describe the phases of Street Education and the pedagogical approaches that underlie them, in the process explaining how ethnographic fieldwork methods are used by street educators in combination with the theoretical concepts behind Street Education. Projeto Axs Street Education is praxis: Street Education practice informs Street Educatio n theory, which is continually subject to reflection and revision, thus resulting in a revised and evermore re flective practice. One of my main objectives in this section is to show how (1) the methods used by street educators and (2) the political pedagogy of liberation and citizenship education are linked through (3) the pedagogy of desire, desire being the core concept in all of Projeto Axs work. From Street Kids to Children and Adolescents in a Street Situation Preliminary to, and ongoing with, the work of street education pedagogy is the deconstruction of the social construction s treet kids, and the reconceptualization of street kids as children and adolescents in a street situation. As discussed in Chapter 2, street kid (menino de rua in Portuguese) is generally considered a pejorative and stigmatizing term. Common sense misunderstan dings of the origins of street kids can
89 range from, among other stereotypes, conceptions of them as anti-social, incorrigible child thieves (pivetes), born criminals that are starting their careers early, to pitiable abandoned minors (menores abandonados), to naturally-occurring entities in the urban landscape, (meninos de rua). These concepts mask the social, economic, and political processes that produce and reproduce poverty and put children and adolescents into a street situation. The results of complex social, economic, an d political processes become essentialized as characteristics or traits of individuals, and reductionist stereotypes become reified as supposedly real categori es of persons. The effects of structural violence thus become, in common sense misu nderstandings, blame-the-victim causes: society is not responsible for street kids or what happens to them, because they are in the street because they want to be there. The formation of street educators begi ns with a deconstruction of popular stereotypes of street kids, as well as an examination of prejudice toward street kids. Street educators learn about the social, economic, and political processes that exclude large numbers of the population from meaningful membership in society, one outcome of which is children and adolescents being driven into a street situation. Street educators then use critical dialogues to communicate these understandings to others they encounter in the street or in everyday life in general. Thus, the reconceptualization of street kids as children and adolescents in a street situation is something that street educators in preparation do prior to beginn ing work, and then afterwards they attempt to instigate this same reconceptualization in the minds of others. During my interviews with street educators, I asked them about the differences between the terms street kid, community kid, and a kid in a street situation. One street educator responded:
90 Even after the Statute of the Child and Adolescent itself, the term street kid was still used and is used even today, isn t it?, by most people for [referring to] kids who are in the street. And people do not question where these street kids came from, that these kids have an origin. These kids were not born in the street. They have not lived the whole time in the street. So in fact they are in a street situation. They are in a situation of social and personal risk being in the street. But they do have some reference, they do have a family, they have come from some place. We know that all these kids that are in the street have some family reference, whether its the father or the mother, or its the grandfather, grandmother, uncle or some other relative. They are not street kids in this sense, because even those that have lived in the street one year, two years, three years, however much time its been, they have some reference, they have some place that they can go to, even if the father or mother does not accept or want them. But they have someone. They have origins in some place. Therefore they are not street kids, because when people talk about street kids, it gives the impression, it implies that these kids were born there, that they have always been part of reality, when in the truth they havent. What Projeto Ax refers to as community kids are those kids who are, who generally live in communities in the mo re lower class neighborhoods, in the peripheral areas, in deprived neighborhoods. These are poor kids from poor families. Kids that go to the street in or der to sell something, they go to sell peanuts or candy, or stickers, anything that can serve to support them and their families. And as such they are kids who go to the streets just to sell stuff but then always return home. These kids usua lly do not use any type of psychoactive substance. They do not sniff glue, they do not smoke marijuana, they do not use anything. They dont steal. They only go to the street with the goal of making an additional financial contribution to the family. Therefore theyre called community kids, because theyre in the street only for a while. Generally theyre kids who go to school, that study, and that always go home, that never sleep in the street. But kids in a street situation are the ones who are there, that in some cases here have lost contact with their family, theyve lost their reference. Or they only go back home once a month or once a year or only at special times, Christmas, So Joo, New Years, or some other holiday. But the biggest reference for them is precisely the street itself. They know they have a family, they know they have a mother that they go to see once in a while, but for now theyre there in the street. So Ax regards such kids as ki ds in a street situation and considers the term street kids to always be pejo rative. The term street kids does not allow people the possibility to perceive or consider that that kid is there temporarily, not permanently. When street kid is used, there is something definitive about itthat that kid is there [permanently], hes not going to change. End of story. But a kid in a street situation is passing through a situation.
91 Street educators thus challenge the dominant discourse about street kids, deconstructing the concept and using the language of possibility to allow for social transformation. Another street educator argues that children and adolescents in a street situation is an even broader concept, includ ing the community kids referred to above: There is also the question whether community kids are not also in a street situation. There are those who say that they arent, right?, that kids who are in a street situation are the ones who sleep in the street. But I dont think so. I think that the community kids who are here [in this area of the city], that are there in the street doing whateverjuggling, anythingthey are also in a street situation. The only difference that I find is in the amount of time that they stay in the street. There are those kids who remain in the street longer, they sleep there, and so on. They make the street their home, their dwelling, right? And there are those who only use the street as a way to help support the family. The work Projeto Ax does with children and adolescents in a street situation is fundamentally different from the response the state and social assistance programs have hadand in many ways, continue to havetoward street youth. As stated in the Introduction to this thesis, the typical state response toward street youth has been to capture and remove street youth from the streets, then return them to their homes, or imprison them in state-run juvenile detent ion centers (which were created in 1964 by the military dictatorship). So cial assistance and charitable organizations dole out food and clothes as a way to help street youth meet basic survival needs in their present situation. Such assistance reinforces the pr actical viability of living in the street and does not challenge street youth to consider the possibility of changing their situation. These responses treat street youth as objects without rights or human agency, as a problem to be cured or ameliorated, or as helpless victims in need of being saved or rescued. To the state and the middle and up per classes, street youth are unsightly human garbage to be cleaned from the street, dangerous or potential criminals that
92 threaten public safety and social order. To social workers and charities, street youth are objects of pity, passive recipients of others notions of help. Projeto Ax takes a critical stance toward assistencialismo, or assistance-ism in En glish, as evidenced by the following street educators comments: And there are also those that make charitable contributions, I am giving to charity. So they give clothes, food, money, and they often do this on a daily basis. So this interferes a lot with our work because at the same time that the population demands more effective action on the part of education, to get these kids off the street, it thinks that such a solution has to be immediate. An instant solution, like, Lets remove them. Lets catch take them and take them somewhere, but get them out of here. I want them out of here. I want to rid myself of this problem. But they dont realize what the problem really is, and this is why we [street educators] have so much work, becaus e we have to do political work as well with these people raise their consciousness and tell them, Look, you want these kids out of here, the kids bothering you by being in your way all day long. But you dont realize that by you bringing them breakfast every morning and bringing them clothes one day and giving them change on another day that theyre never going to go away from here? Because they have it better here than in their own house, where they dont have breakfast and lunch every day or any time they want it. They dont have anyone who gives them money every day. They dont have any of these things, and here at least theyre getting some attention when you stop and worry ab out getting some food or clothes that you can bring to them. This [assistencialismo] makes it difficult. In Projeto Ax, children and adolescents in a street situation are desiring, learning human beings with individual subjectivities and the right to participate in society as active citizensnot objects to be controlled, managed, or manipulated. Street youth are not forced or coerced into a relati onship of control and domination by Projeto Axs street educators, nor do Projeto Axs street educators give or offer any form of assistancenot even foodto children and adoles cents living in a street situation. Street educators explain to street youth that they are in the streets in a pedagogical role, not to give things to street youth. I asked street educators how they explain their role as street educators to street youth.
93 Its as if youre there showing those kids that are in the street that they have other paths, you know? That youre there available for them whenever they need you, whenever they want to get out of there, that situation in which theyve found themselves, you know? And were there to offer them guidance, to help in whatever way necessary. You know? And any kind of guidance, even when it isnt directly about leaving the street, you know? It could be about anything. Life, things that happen to them, relationships, the issue of sexual abuse. Were always talking about these issues, about all these issues. I think that [to be a street educator] is to say, I am here, you know? Available to show you other paths if you want. The role of street educators is to provoke in street youth a critical reflection on their everyday, concrete reality in order to transform it: It is to transform, to search for transformation so that this individual thats there, marginalized [kept out of society], at the margin of anything, really, nevertheless inserts himself in the entire process of ci tizenship, you know? Its in this way, like, to show like this, Look, youre important. Youve got to believe in yourself, you know? And that Im here to get you to think a little about this, you know? To reflect a little bit about this [situation youre in]. Because at times they are living, like, in such a complicated routine. Theyre there, having to work all day in order to be able to eat, and at times they dont even manage to do that. Street Educators Constructing Citizenship with Children and Adolescents in a Street Situation I asked street educators about the general objectives of street education, in relation to youths in a street situation. The majority of street educators emphasized that the objectives of street education are processual and that the effects of their politicalpedagogical work with street youth might not be perceptible for a very long time. I think the overall objectiv e is to do such that the kid makes his or her own changes through the pedagogical and educative work. With time, the changes come, right? Because they dont happen from one day to the next. Its a process,
94 isnt it? Nobody changes overnight. Theyre going to realize what is better for them. You know? And so they themselves make their own changesthey themselves, without anybody telling them what to do. Because I think that children dont like to be told what to do, especially ones that are in the street. Right? Because isnt that precisely why they go to the street? In order not to have to do anything, to not have anyone telling them what to do? I think that the overall objective is ex actly this, for example, to form bonds [vnculos] is an overall objective. Right? Why spend the whole time like that making a bond with a kid? We never say anything, like, were going to work on this today, but were not going to wo rk on it anymore tomorrow. Because everything depends on [a street educator ] having a good bond, right? Everything depends on [a street educator] being there present with the kid. So for me this is a general objective that is always just that, an objective. It is not a specific objective that you have one day but not another, you know? The general objective is for [a street educator] to be there, having entered into the everyday dynamics of the kid and to always be searching for his transformation to citizenship. You know? So that is the overall objective, to always be present, with any activity that we do, independent of anything. I would say that in general, the obje ctive of street education is, beyond awakening in these kids their own desire to construct a new life project, to rescue with these kids their own lost citizenshipor in many instances not so much lost as wrecked. It is to construct with these kids or to rescue with them their self-esteem. And I say construction because many times this self-esteem of theirs is so shattered, its so trampled that they do not have any self-esteem at all. Many times they see themselvesthey self-label themselves and label others that reflect their own image of themselves as pivete [child thief]. They always refer to other kids like that: A pivete went to do something. A pivete was smelling glue. A pivete was , just like other people do, right?, this other part of society that also refers to them as pivetes, as street kids. When one is referring to another, he says, we who are street kids. So, thats how they self-label themselves. Therefore our work, street educ ation, has as one of its objectives to do this rescuing of self-esteem, to co nstruct with them a permanent citizenship in reality and in fact. For they realize th at while being a citizen they know that they have rights, but we get them to re alize that they not only have to have rights, that they have duties, obligations to fulfill. In Projeto Axs work, street youth are active participants in the processes of their education: the construction of kno wledge emerging from their own everyday reality, the raising of their critical consciousness, and the development of their capacity to define their own rights and needs and to transform their own social reality. Projeto
95 Ax and street youth co-construct citizenship from the ground up. During my interviews with street educators, I asked th em to define citizenship: To me, citizenship is an individual having conditions to enjoy life with dignity. Right? A set of duties that you have and also a set of rights. Civil laws, the right toeverything: the right to come and go at will, the right to leisure, the right to have food, the right toto have a dignified life itself. Right? Of being respected, and also to respect others. This to me is citizenship. To have the space to be a citizen, to be there, participating in things, and not being at the margin of everything, you know? Therefore it is through these everyday situations that we [as street educators] problematize this, the question of rights, that these kids really have the right to come and go. They ask us, If I did not rob anyone, if I did not do anything, why are the police going to remove me from here? Why are the police going to arrest me? The police really cant prevent you from going into or out of your house, to go out in the street. The police cannot prevent you from asking for donations from someone. They cant. Giving a donation is not a crime, is it? I tell them that this is not in the constitution, its not in anything. And so one kid said, Come here, auntie. Is there a law that forbids us from asking for a donation? No. It doesnt exist. And so its through all these, these conversations, these, these questionings of theirs, of little thingst his is how we really problematize the question of citizenship. Not in a formal wa y, telling them, look, Citizenship is the rights and duties of all citizens, you know? Your full rights In full enjoyment of your civil, social, and political rights, and so on because theyre not going to understand. Theyre going to say, What are you talking about? I dont get it. Theyre going to look at you in the face and say, I didnt understand anything you said. But when, in a situation such as this, you know?, in which you show them about the question of the right to a clean environment not only for them but for other people, right?, for their ow n group, for their own community. When they arrive in the plaza and do an activity with you, and you tell them that they have to preserve thekeep the plaza clean because its a public place, that they cant throw paper on the ground. [T]o have the right to a healthy, clean, and pleasant environment is the right of everyone. In this way, were discussing citizenship with them, right? And so its in this way, through these situations themselves, everyday situations, that we problematize and are always bringing up the question the citizenship with them. Neither Projeto Ax nor its street educators give citizenship to street youth. Projeto Ax makes possible the realization of the construction of street youths citizenship. Through critical dialogue that emerges between street educators and street
96 youthcritical dialogue based on reflecti ng on and analyzing the day to day lived experiences of street youthstreet educators and street youth can co-construct citizenship. This continuous pedagogical process is manifested through the critical analysis of real situations and experiences in the everyday lives of street youths. It is not the case that suddenly a street youth just is a citizen in essence because abstract information about citizenship has been deposited into their minds. I asked street educators directly how their work contributes to the construction of the citizenship of youths in a street situation. It depends a lot on the situation. It depends on the activity that you are doing. For example, a situation can come up in which you can work with citizenship in this way. A situation in Pituba in which the kidsthe police were attacking the kids in the dark, that is, [the police were] hidden by the night. You know? And the police were ordering them every minute to get out of the neighborhood, that they didnt ever want them in their territory. You know that happens? Thats how it is. Its part of it. Its a small piece, but its part of it. Its the right of any human being to come and go. Is the kid going to hide himself because hes in the street? In order not to bother the neighborhood? What is a right? What is his obligation? Hm? What are his rights? The police are beating him and so onis this allowed? He needs to know what his rights arewhat his rights really are. How can he also attempt to achieve citi zenship, you know? How can he achieve this? Right? Is it by living the whole time the way that hes living? Or is it attempting to grow? Isnt it? Its also attempting to think about oneself, the future, thinking about others. The question of ethics enters. Its thinking about rights. Its thinking about society. Its thinking about many questions, right? Its very vast. One can work with this in various ways. What I am saying is this: its not a little question. I dont know, theres many ways, and its very relative. It depends on the activity, it depends on the situation. Citizenship is something very broad. You know? Citizenship is educating for life. You are raising consciousnessits working with political consciousness in a way, you know, thats adapted to their lives. Street Culture, Ethnographic Methods, and Pedagogical Presence
97 The street pedagogy of Projeto Ax is realized through the presence of street educators in the streetsin the public spaces throughout the city of Salvador most frequented by children and adolescents in a street situation. While I was conducting my fieldwork, Projeto Axs street educators, who always work in teams of two, were present in seven different areas of the city. As explained to me by one of the street education supervisors, the public presence of Projeto Axs street educators is pedagogical and political. The daily 11 practice of street pedagogy demonstrates that education is possible in the street, and the fact of its being practiced in the street is itself a political strategy: not to hide from society the existence of poverty and misery, which society itself produces. Street educators often dialogue with passers-by about the work of Projeto Ax, attempting to combat prejudice against street youth and inform the public about the historical, social, political, an d economic factors that create street youth in the first place. During Projeto Axs fifteen years of work, one of the street education supervisors proudly told me, the government and society had become more conscious of the effects of poverty and of the social problems with which Projeto Ax works. Each area in which street educators work has a different cultural dynamic. In any given moment of the day, it is never certain what, in general, may happen in a particular area or whether, more specifically, street youth will be present or will eventually appear. Street educators therefore need to learn about the citys urban dynamics and understand the culture of a particular area or space. Street or urban space is not merely a physical place; nor is it the case that every urban space is the same or that street youth permanently remain in any specific street or urban space. Street youth usually 11 Formerly Projeto Ax had nocturnal street education, but due to concern for the personal safety of street educators, the nocturnal street education program wa s terminated. Currently street educators work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
98 frequent the areas that are most advantageous to themselves and their daily survival: areas or places that have many interesting diversions, opportunities for earning money and getting food, and many people circulating, who are often the very sources of donations of money and food. Street culture (ideas, values, beliefs, and social practices referenced to peoples doings in the street) emerges through innumerable passing encounters with countless passers-by: retired pe rsons, tourists, military police, delivery boys, street vendors, shoppers, other children playing in the street, adolescents on their way to, or returning from, school, and myriad other persons. Street educators and street youth often form casual acquaintanceships or friendships with persons such as shopowners or restaurant personnel who are us ually permanent fixtures in a given area: We do not arrive in the street in orde r to count the number of kids, to record their names, their ages, and to take this to [Projeto Axs educational] units. Our work isnt this. The first two weeks in an area, two weeks is just for passive observation. My concern is to become aware of everything around, to be worried about a certain group. Who is that white guy who always appears at a certain hour, talking with the kids and then leaving? After he leaves the kids are happy. Who are those police that pass by every day at a certain hour, who sometimes beat up the kids, which calls attention [from others], and who sometimes arrest them? Who are those storekeepers who feel annoyed when the kids are in front of their stores? And who, the following day, arrive with bags and more bags or even with lunchboxes, asking the kids to eat, but eat somewhere else, to have lunch, but to have lunch somewhere far aw ay from the store in order not to hurt its good business. My concern is with th e security guards who are civil police in one shirt, but in another are offering a service to the storekeepers, in fact protecting them. Beyond the dynamics of the street, the street youth have their own dynamics. The street educators themselves must circulate through their designated area looking for children or adolescents in a street situation. Some days the area has many of them, other days none. Sometimes the same street youth are present day after day; at other times different street youth, or different gr oups of street youth, appear each day.
99 Through ethnographic methods and by being in the streets with street youth, street educators begin to learn about the concrete re alities of street youth and the culture that emerge in the quotidian context of a particul ar area. This involves an inductive process of exploratory research in order to learn abou t what street youth do in a give area (for example, how they play, how they manage to survive and meet lifes basic necessities, who they interact with and for what purposes) and about the meanings they create there (for example, the meanings they give to particular areas or spaces, the meanings they give to the people and things in these areas, the meanings they give to their own activities, actions, and experiences). The first moment, Lance, we [street ed ucators] actuallyparticipationthe participant observation that Im referring to is the moment during which [a street educator] has to get to know all these people about which I was speaking, that I cited [earlier]. You actually learn about the places where these kids sleep, who they talk to, what they busy themselves with, how many times they use drugs, use drugs in one day. How do they get money for drugs? Once you have all this registered in two weeks, you begin to approach them little by little. You start to introduce yourself. Do you know why? Beca use the street educator always thinks that hes the only one who is observin g. But he also, he was really being observed during those two weeks by police, security guards, passers-by, by the kids themselves. He was also observed. I m seated here at this table here with you, and I know all these people who are around here. If some stranger arrives here, I will tell you. You know why? Because I have already observed, I have already taken notes about all of this here. The guard that is there every day. The guy who does general service work, who takes care of the grass, the square. That other guy is a little suspicious. I still dont know him, but every day he always stops over there in a white car, gets out, crosses th e street, and goes around the gates of the square, and then leaves. Who is that person? By learning about, and learning with, street youth in the context of the street, street educators gain knowle dge of aspects of street youths everyday reality and worldview, and how street youth interpret their own everyday experiences and actions. I
100 asked street educators about the importance of observing street youth in the context of their everyday lives. As Ive told you many times, Lance, stre et education is like this: as a job its incomparable. I dont know if this word is correct, adequate, but its incomparable because it is different from any other type of job that Ive ever heard of. Not only because of the dynamics of the street itself, but for what we can learn with the kids. That is, its on e of the jobs in which you have more contact with reality, with social reality. If youre in an institution, taking care of kids in an institution, it is never the sa me as being part of their daily lives, to be understanding their daily lives, to be living it with them. To be living their morning, afternoon, and night, their day-to-day lives. There is no other type of work that can get any closer to you, th at can get any closer to any human being who is in the target population, which in our case are kids in a street situation, than the work of street education. So its like this, the experience is very good because you get to the bottom of things in this way. Every dynamic, you know? Of the boys, the girls, of life, the quotidian, reality, what they do in order to live, up close. Right? Its very up close, isnt it? Between quotation marks. Thats how it is. This very rich experience that makes you grow, rethink, doesnt it?, all yourall your questions, everything that you have actually lived at the professional level. You know? Working in the street has advantages and disadvantages, doesnt it? I always think the advantages are like this: with a kid whos in the street, its always better for you to work with whatever is close to him, isnt it? If you take a kid whos not accustomed to being inside of four walls, in an institution, and so on, you know?, thatstheres that question: children like the street because they feel free, they feel, dont they?, that they have the most freedom in the street. So if you go and tell them, Lets go inside to a closed space where you have to stay in there. That whole thing. Its not very interesting for them, at least not during the first few days, right? Later on after youve already formed a bond and have already worked with them for some time, you can try to do this, take them to [one of Projeto Axs educational units], or something like that. Its already different because theyve already gotten used to you, theyre already more accustomed to the work, to the [pedagogic al] proposal of [Projeto Ax], arent they? But at the beginning its very diffic ult. So, what is g ood about working in the street is that youre working there together along side the kid without him having to go to some other place, some other space to which hes not accustomed, right?, doing activities, or some such thing. And also youre close, the kid can talk with you there in the street, he can do activities with you, and at the same time can do the things that he doesjuggling or whatever it is, you know? So its great. Thats how it is. Even better if you also use things from their everyday lives in activities, right? To see what fun things, games, you can put together, that you can develop there with them in such a way as to be closer to
101 their own lives, right? Even with things there in the street itself, from the space itself where they circulate. Thats one advantage. The street educators take notes about what they observe happening in the streets, about their encounters and conversations with the street youths and the activities they do with them. Street educators work in pairs and thus can compare notes and observations. They periodically write sh ort reports that summarize the patterns and particularities of street youths in specific areas, attempting to contextualize the details of particular street youths and their situations within a larger framework. I asked street educators why it was important to keep notebooks of field observations and why the street education supervisors re quested periodic reports on the areas in which the teams of street educators work. I find that this way you have a more systematized notion of the profile [of the area], you know? When you put [some of the information] in tables like that, youre allowing yourself to visualize [it] in that way, and to make comparisons with other periods, you know? Thats the importance, I think. And also, the importance for them, for the institution [P rojeto Ax], is to have [you] report back, right?, on what youre doing and on what, on what it is that is happening in the area so that in that way they can know what it is that s going on, right? Youre working with how many kids? And Who are these kids, you know? So, in that way its as if you were giving to the institution a [view of any defining factors (um parmetro)] about the kids youre work ing with, because they [the street education supervisor s and their superiors] are not present the whole time observing this. Pedagogical Flirting (Paquera pedaggica) Projeto Axs street pedagogy begins with what the organization calls pedagogical flirting (paquera pedaggica), a way of approaching street youths. When street educators encounter street youths, th ey initially remain at a distance, merely
102 observing the street youths and what they do in the streets. This also allows the street youths to become aware of the presence of the street educators. In this way, the street educators learn about street youths th rough naturalistic observation, through observation of the street youths in the context of their day to day lives. They take notes on what they see the street youths doing and what they may hear them saying. when I was participating in this phase of observation, I had the notion that I was watching them, but they were not seeing me. So like when youre watching a person and that person does not see you, it seems likeI have the impression that Im seeing who that person really is. You know? So its like that, it allows us to have a real notion of the kids, to have a notion of, of the space itself, the activity of the kids, of the social actors, and how that area really was. So, I thought that was very important, us being there, only looking, only watching, participating only, lets say, like that without messing with anything, without affecting anything. The importance of observation at a distance is that you truly see what it is that can be of interest for that kid. And besides that, youtheres a group of kids like that over there. To them, youre someone new. And until you prove otherwise, you could sometimes signify a threat. What did you come here to do with the group, right? The group at times is sotheyre, theyre, I dont know, so well organized at times. Like, they always keep a lookout; they look out for each other. Theyre close-knit. And you show up, to them you are a threat. What did you come to do with them, you know? What are you up to? What do you want? Because theres the whole matter of the Conselho Tutelar, the Juizado [juvenile court], which makes them worry. In Salv ador, the Juizado is a huge deal. You know? So they get really worried. Who are you? What did you come here to do, you know? These questions. So, the importance of observation is that youre truly observing what can interest a kid. Right? What he is doing there? What is he up to? Who is he playing with? What can I use in order to be able to go up there next to him in a way that is not, notyou know, that I dont become a threat, something bad to him, you know? I think that observation, the importance of observation is also that youre observing all the dynamics, youre knowing the space better and the kid whos there in it, you know? How does he enter this space? You know? How does he treat people who pass by in the street? You know? What is the, like, the degree of, I dont know, of interference that he has on the people who are around him, his own colleagues, the other kids who are there. I think that all of this is important in this way, with observation.
103 Naturalistic observation provides street ed ucators with a more holistic view of the everyday, lived reality of street youth. The objective of pedagogic flirting is for street educators to initiate pedagogic dialogue with street youths. For example, street educators might approach a street youth and ask a question about what the street youth is doing. In many instances, however, it is the street youth who approaches the street educators, for street youth are also observin g the street educators. By doing naturalistic observation, and thus by the mere fact of maintaining a continual, non-threatening presence in the proximity of street youth, st reet educators initiate the building of trust without violently intruding into street youth s space, creating the possibility for dialogue. Well, the first thing, the first step is, I think, observation. One has to come to know the area. After knowing the area, through which youre already walking, observing, the kids are going to realize that youre there every day and that youre looking around this street. Theyre going to be curious to know who you are, arent they? Because theyre going to see you. Youthe kid is going to see that perhaps youre looking at him or at the others who are in the area, right? Theyre going to be curious, perhaps theyre going to come up to you and ask, Who are you? Why are you watching me? Thats a moment in which you can go up to them and explain, talk about the Ax Project, talk about your work, and, I dont know, create a bond with them. Actually, I dont approach them [the kids]. What I do is, I let them notice me. I let them notice and I just stay there. And so I would say to [the other street educator], This really is like flirting. Because we stayed over here and the kids stayed over there, each one looking at the other, me looking at the kid, the kid looking at me. And its like that situation, isnt it? Who goes first, you know? Will I go there or will he come here? And I always let them come to me. They would come up like this, Whats up, auntie? Because it was more difficult for me to go up to them and say, Hey, kid. How are you? Im from Ax, you know? I thought that would be pathetic, kind of embarrassing. So, they would come up to me. I always let them approach me, and it wa s like, Auntie, are you from Ax? Like, Are you from Ax? Yes, I am. When the street youth realizes that the street educators are types of adults who do not intend to exploit or abuse them, but who have a pedagogical role and an identity
104 as educators, the process of pedagogic dial ogue and establishing ties between street youth and street educators begins. Another strategy for initiating dialogue with the street youths is for the street educators to play games, such as dominoes, in order to offer street youths the opportunity to participate in ludic activities with the street educators. I feel that they come up to me more than I go up to them, you know? Theres the question, I think, of kindness itself, isnt there? Im someone whos always smiling, very expressive. I almost think th at those kids come up to me because I seem like a mom, a mother. I have a stro ng maternal side, but I think that this also happens with others, other educators, in different ways, but it also happens. And so its like this, when I feel that the child does not come close, but that it wants to, I try to find out if it wants to do work with us. Because we work with art-education and this is what really ge ts their attention. Because we work with games, we work with drawing, with painting, you know, everything that is colorful and such, you know? And theres something about creativity itself, you know, that they just like to sit there and be creative. And many times theyll stop going after earning money, to rake in, as they say, money for the day, you know, and just stay here. And after they finish they say, Gee, today I didnt even earn money. Today I didnt you know? But it was so much fun that they just stayed here. But anyway, the way of approaching them could be just as much them coming to you, which is usually what happens. Or if that doesnt happen at all, then we go up to them, you know? But when they come up to us, theyre wanting to know if, Auntie, do you have drawing paper for me too? Could you get me colored pencils? Or Can I play dominoes? Can I play with this toy?, you know? And they come up to us. Others are more closed. They might even have become this way a result of the violence itself in the street, watching you, observing you to see if they really can go up to you. And so there it is. This is what Im saying, that given the way I am, I find that through this observation, they end up believing a littl e in me, in this period of their lives, you know, to play, to play, you know, in play itself. So thats it. And this makes the relationshipthis bond will now become stronger or not depending on some other factors. Pedagogical Romance (Namoro pedaggico)
105 The next phase of street education is called pedagogical romance (namoro pedaggico). The purpose of pedagogic romance is to know and understand the lives and life histories of the street youths more deeply and intimately. The street educators stay in the street, circulating near the st reet youths, providing what is known as pedagogical presence. To be present near the street youth from day to day, slowly becoming a part of their everyday lives, helps street educators to construct bonds (vnculos) with street youth. As one street educat or told me, constructing a bond is dayto-day life; that is, unless street educat ors empathize with and become part of the everyday life of street youth through demo nstration of pedagogical presence, street educators will never form a pedagogical bond with street youth. The bond, it, yes, it goes on being constructed each day, you know. For example, you meet a kid, by you being there every day, present, you know, always being there with him. If hes walking [down th e street], and you go to talk with him, find out how he is, how his weekend was. Theres a way for you to go and get closer, to get him to feel free, to get hi m to talk. Thats it, talking. And you, suddenly youre there in the circle, playing games with him, and hes there already feeling freer, suddenly telling you hi s life story. So I think that the bond is everyday life, each day that you spend [with him]. And youre always there present, close to the kid, lis tening to him, because you have to listen to him, you know?, [in order] to hear about his pr oblems. And each day that youre doing these things, I think that its going to help to strengthen, help strengthen the bond. Even if this kid is a quiet kid, little by little hes going to feel free. You know? Because if you play games with him, hes going to become, you know, maybe be a little embarrassed, but hes gradually going to feel freer. Hes going to tell you about his life story, you know? Who knows, even ask you to help him, you know, solve one of his problems. Thats it. I think that its everyday life itself. The construction of the bond, I think that its everyday life. You always being there present and listening to him. Pedagogical romance involves the use of participant observat ion, conversations and informal interviews, life history, and social network analysis. At this point, the street educators begin to participate more intimately in the everyday lives of street youths. The
106 desires of street youth become known to street educators through active listening. Through conversations and interviews, the street educators listen to the voices of the street youths, attempting to understand the meanings that the street youths give to their own actions and activities, and to the pe ople, places, and things in their world. The street educators also begin to learn about each street youths particular life history, learning where they came from, what the conditions and circumstances were like at home, and how the child or adolescent ended up in a street situation. Mapping the street youths social networks allows the street educators to learn about the street youths families, extended kinship networks, and friends and acquaintances in the street. All this information is vitally important for th e pedagogical practice of street educators, who attempt as much as possible to base their work on the biographical background and present-day situation of each particular street youth. When one arrives at this stage, its the moment at which we, in the Ax Project, we call pedagogical romance. Its the moment in which the educator, the educator starts to understand, to definitively know the kid. The educator starts to have a rough sketch of the kid, gets to know the neighborhood, the locality where this boy lives, who his family is, what his family does, if his family maintains itself, how, in what way. What it was that really brought him to the street. Its the moment at which we go to talk with the parents. I asked street educators about the import ance of dialoguing with street youth during the phase of pedagogical romance. Its fundamental. If you dont dialogue with the kid and realize what he wants, what it is that hes thinking, nothing is going to happen. Simply nothing is going to happen. The kid is going to leave you twiddling your thumbs and go play, go talk with someone else and not give you any attention. You need to attract his attention, but its also necessary to listen to him a lot, to talk to him a lot. Why doesnt he want to do anything? Why doesnt he want to look at me? Why isnt he in the mood? Why doesnt he want to do anything? Whats going on with him? Was he fighting with the group? He went to see his family and this affected
107 him somehow? What is happening? So yo u need to be dialoguing at every moment in order to find out how to always be strengthening this bond, you know? Dialogue is everything. If you dont dialogue, you dont get close to them. Its that simple. The importance of dialoguing is that yo ure trulyI think education is in that there, do you understand? In dialogue. Because when you hear, youre hearing that the expecabout expectations, right? What it is that the kid thinks about life. About how things work there in the city, right? Understanding thisI think everyone grows. I think that for the educator herself theres also a great amount of growth. One learns a lot with the kids also, right? One learns way too much this way. I think that this dialogue is wh at provides a support for everything else to happen. In order for everything else to happen. Our work is based on this dialogue, its how were going to see what can be done. You know? What cant be done. Right? Getting to really know the kid this way. With this dialogue, everything else happens. During pedagogical romance, street educators also attempt to learn about the life history of each street youth. I asked st reet educators why it is important to learn about a street youths life history and what they do to elicit such information. Oh, I think that its everything. You only get to really know a human being in this way. With a child, mainly from, you know, from its references. Why is this child here in the street? You know? And so I discovered that with many children [in a street situation], and I think that this happens with the majority of them, that its because they were thrown out of their own home in some way or other, but it was always violent. What is important to learn about them? Their life history, I think. In order to know why theyre in the street. I think its important because there are, there are cases of kids like this that are so, so shocking, you know? How they come to end up in the street. Sometimes there is no reason. But many times there is a reason that theyre in the street. You know? Perhaps because his father beat him. Perhaps because his father burned him. And so he became fed up. So its interesting for us to know these histories in order to be able to know how were going to get somewhere with these ki ds. How are wewhat subject are we going to use to be able to make them feel freer with us? I think its, its everyday life itself, Lanc e. Each day is one more day, and each day youre going to know about more things. Sometimes they tell you. Sometimes you hear it from people in their own network. With a family visit, a family visit helps a lot too, doesnt it? Because at ti mes the kid tells you a story, and when you arrive at the house the mother tells you another story. And then youre like,
108 gee, who do I believe? The mother or the boy? But this is how stories are [laughs], and all of this is part of it, its the life of the boy. And so thats the way it is. You go on gradually constructing, brick by brick. Each day you learn more information, and you go on linking it wit h what you already heard before. But its contact with the boy himself, its the everyday contact, or every three days, whenever he shows up, its the contact itse lf with him thats going to make this relationship form. Pedagogical romance is a process of cons tructing a pedagogical relationship with street youths, of building bonds and links. It is a process that can take days, weeks, or even months. Street educators spend much ti me waiting, observin g, and simply being available to listen to the street youths and give them attention. Pedagogical patience (Freire 1987) is theref ore crucial, for it opens the door s to possibilities that would not exist without the patience of the street educators. During pedagogical romance, street educators co-construct planned activities wi th the street youths, dialogue with them about the possibilities of new subjectivities and life projects, and discuss the prospect of the street youths entering Projeto Ax. I asked street educators about the process of constructing a bond with street youth and for more details about what it means to create a bond (criar um vnculo). we have to realize that this relati on through a bond has to be nurtured, nurtured, nurtured, and nurtured through what? Precisely through this presence, this pedagogical presence, to be making oneself really present, not only through these activitiessitting, doing, painting, designing, doingbut to be at least going by the kid and saying, Good day. Hey, whats up? How was your day? How was last night? What did you do? What are you doing now? Are you going to want to do an activity later? Look, I m going to be over there. And if he says, No, I dont want to do that now. Im going to make my meal money. Im going to make some money to buy drugs. Ok, but if you want to later, Im going to be over there and we can do it, and so on. The bond is something therefore extremely importantthat the learner [educando] constructs this bond with the proposal of entering Projeto Ax, you know? The kid constructs the bond with the possibility of transforming its reality and then entering Ax. And not [constructing the bond] with the [street]
109 educator, right? And so they [Projeto Axs pedagogues] believe that in fact the bond with the [street] educator is something misrepresentative of the proposal of Ax because its going to cause harm [pause] In what way? [Voicing the words of an imagined street youth:] Well, I want to stay [in Projeto Ax], but after he [the street educator] leaves, I m not going to want anything anymore. The work of the [street] educators isnt this. However, Lance, if you think about it from the other side, in order to analyz e these things, a kid like this in a street situation, when we arrive in the area [of the city where the street youth are circulating], many times they wont even look at us in the face. There are many different reactions, arent there? One of my first experiences was this type of experience, you know? [The street youth] thinking we were something else and resorting to aggression against us. So thats how it is: its very difficult for us to construct this bond. Or for any person to construct a bond like that [snaps fingers], overnight. Its something that was constructed. And Im going to say this again, we are working with people, isnt that right? So its like this, its the same from me to him as it is from him to me. Its normal to develop feelings for that person because the first thing accomplished is not the bond with the proposal of Ax, because first we do to tal observation, without even talking with them, not making any type of interference or even interaction with themor integration, its better to say. Then, after that moment, after almost a month of being in that process, after that comes participant observation, talking with them, but we dont just show up, like, Hey! Im from Projeto Ax. Here I am! Its not like that. Its something that wefor example, the other street educator and I find it better not to introduce ourselves right away because they were a group that was fed-uptoo distrustful. And so we prefer to start a friendship, to construct, to play, be there all day, so that later, much later, we begin to speak, you know, of Ax, beginning with their own doubts. Thats when we started to speak, they asked questions, and we started to speak. We prefer this type of methodology. But even so, this does not awaken in them, from one day to the next, the question of going to Ax or not. Therefore, the bond of the learner [educando], of a kid in a street, is with the [street] educator first. Even though this is not what one wants, but it is wit h the [street] educator. The kid begins to like for you being there every day, giving him attention, talking with him, worrying about him. And he develops this feeling. So with time, we [pause]. But this is not something like this [snaps fingers]. Its like I keep saying, something constructed that takes different amounts of time. It could take one month, one day, one week, one year. Theres no ideal time, is there? Its, its like I told you. Actually, firs t its winning over their confidence and sympathy, which is friendship. Because, if they dont consider you, if theres not friendshipI dont know if friendship is the right word, but anyway, not having a certain fondness for you, theyre not going to want you close to them. Right? Theyre always going to leave, theyre not going to give you attention. Therefore, you have to attract them in some way, you know? And so, as I told you, we started, I kept talking, even asking about their lives, they asked about mine, and I told them about my life too so that they would realize that I did not only want to know about them, I put my life on the table also. I did this again and again
110 and again. And we started to talk. And then, generally they liked to play something or always told a joke, and I started to play matchsticks with them. They played matchsticks, marbles, ro cks, the game of marbles. Throwing marblesIm not sure if you already hear d about this. And so, things that we perceive that they were making, that they liked, we started to play with them, to have fun with them, to talk with them, you know? [Inaudible] asking about everyday life, in the proportion that we were doing this, we were becoming a little closer to them. With each day we become closer to their everyday life, closer to their own history. And them closer to us. And them already knowing who we were, knowing a bit about us. Street educators are aware that the methodology of Projeto Axs street pedagogy, involving pedagogical patience and presence, is very different from the actions of the police or government agencies that grab street youth and forcibly remove them from the street. The process of constr ucting a bond with a street youth has, however, its own difficulties. Because our intention [is] not to catch them, to remove them [from the street], but not to make anything happen [during the phases of pedagogical flirting and romance]. At that moment, that moment [is about] being there with them, you know? Its like that that the bond goes on growing. You try to find, you know, some way. Theres always going to be ones that for some reason dont like you. So, at the beginning it is super important for you to know why, what it is that you can do to change. You know? Try to talk with them, try to show that you are simple, equal to them, that thats not why were there in the street with them [to take them and remove them], that we are different, and so on. In some way, not saying this, you know, but conversing like this in a good way, sitting on the ground together with them. If they sit down on the beach, wherever it is they sit, sitting together with them. [The importance of constructing] bonds with the kids, right? Thats why were always out looking for the kids every day. What are they doing? You know? We try to be there present, close, talking, trying to find out about their lives, about what theyve done. Hey, whats up? What did you do last night? And they tell us, where they went, at times they tell things, they really tell things, that they committed robberies. Were involved with dr ugs. All of these issues. And we talk about this. We reflect on this a little. And all this is going to make them feel that, feel that the person [the street educator] is trustworthy, that they can trust us. You know? That they can talk, that were not going to, I dont know, denounce them or do anything like that, you know? Our role is more like this. Its not to be police. The issue is precisely education itself. To succeed in getting them to be
111 able to reflect on whats happening with them, whats occurring to them, you know? And if they want this, to continue like this for the rest of their lives. You know? And at times they say that thats what they want. Theyre not really very worried about themselves. And your role is even more challenging like that. You have to find some way to cause them to be bothered with their lives, you know? For them to quit thinking that Its fine for me. Its alright. Its good the way it is. You know? Quit feeling accommodated like that. Because at times someone is so inserted in a process thats soof such vast misery, that they start to think, This is life. It really is. They dont ha ve another life. They dont have a way to search for something else, you know? They really dont. This is my life and its always going to be like this. And you [as a street educator], your role is to make them feel uncomfortable, to be there instigating them, showing them, Whats going on here? If your life is this way now, are you going to want it to continue like this? You know? Therere other ways. You dont want to search for some other way? You know? I think its like this, I think that a bond is formed in this way. At times its difficult. At times you thought you already had a bond, and then things happen and you say, What?! I thought he already really had a bond with me, that we already had a good bond that But at times things also happen that make them annoyed, and they dont wantand then they dont hear you, they dont want to talk anymore, you know? For one reason or another. And so, you have to always be renewing this bond, you know? Always renewing it, always finding out how to fortify these bonds. Street educators only reach a deep level of involvement and participation in the lives of the street youth through careful and patient work. As with anthropologists and those who participate in their research as informants, it is through the ethnographic methods described above that the street educators demonstrate empathy and build rapport and trusting relationships with street youths. 12 It is also during pedagogical romance that street youth will invite the street educators to visit their home and family. Pedagogical Coziness (Aconchego pedaggico) Once a street youth decides to enter Projeto Ax, the next phase of street education, called pedagogical coziness (aconchego pedaggico), begins. The street 12 On the importance of rapport and trusting relati onships in ethnographic research, see Dewalt, Dewalt, and Wayland (1998: 267-70) and Spradley (1979: 78-83).
112 youth is welcomed by Projeto Ax and can at tend any of the several educational units and participate in any of the art education programs offered, but under the agreement (between the street youth and Projeto Ax) that the street youth will also return to school and family. Street educators accompany the entrance of street youth into the education units of Projeto Ax, as well as support their return to home and formal schooling. Critical dialoguing continues in Projeto Axs educational units with its art educators. Once that this kid is going to be guided toward a[n educational] unit [of Projeto Ax], the educator who is in the unit has to know everything about this boy. What for? Because the reference educator, the day-to-day educator, takes note of everything, be it life history, be it daily notes, even the family visit [from] which comes the history of the kids family, so that the educator [in the educational unit] can obtain a greater knowledge about the life history of this kid. So that when this kid can be escorted [to one of Projeto Axs educational units] tomorrow or sometime later, whenever he [decides] to come, if he gets involved in any type of conflict, the educator there [in the unit] can have the ingredients to be able to contain this kid or to assure that this kid continues in the institution and can trust him. The way I see it, doing street education is like this. Its you reformulating all this and taking it to the [educational] unit. Doing street education is not catching a kid in the street and grabbing and steering [him] to [the educational] unit to do activities, part icipate in activities in the [educational] unit, and [then] this kid ends up having nothing to do and goes back to the street. Because this kid does not have fixed housing. He sleeps in the street. To do the work of street education is to wo rk going back. To do the work of street education is to work going back, going back, going back, return to school, return to family. Pedagogy of Desire The construction of citizenship through Street Education is based on the pedagogy of desire (Carvalho 1992, 2000), a psychological-sociocultural theory of learning developed by the organization spec ifically for working with youth living in a
113 street situation. The desires of street youth are fundamental to the work of Projeto Ax. Street pedagogy and the construction of citizenship only begin and happen with the desire of the street kids. The content of stre et education is not supposed to be fixed or predetermined, but ought to emerge out of a particular street youths desires, needs, and dialogues with street educators. Street youth decide when to participate in activities, when to enter Projeto Ax, and when to leave the street and return to home and school. Street educators show the street youth that other possibilities in life exist besides being in the street, but it is up to street youth to decide to pursue these possibilities. Street youth have the liberty to leave an activity or their involvement with Projeto Ax whenever they so desire. The pedagogy of Projeto Ax is therefore customized to the subjectivity of each street youth, his or her own life, life history, sociocultural background, and present circumstances. During my interviews with street educator s, I asked them what the importance of street youths desire is in street education. Its fundamental. Without desire, nothin g happens. Without desire, everything could go wrong. Because, truly, if every institution that worked with this [population] realized the importance of the kids desire, their work would be different. Because nothing might happen if the kid doesnt want it to, you know?, if the kid doesnt manage to realize what he wants. Because at times he wants something but doesnt realize what he wants, you know? At times the kid, the kid might really want something, but doesnt realize what it wants. Right? His life, his dynamics, are so, you know, so different that he doesnt realize that one day he might come to want that something. And so, desire is fundamental for unleashing the work, you know? That is, when the kid really wants to, then yes, we can talk about the proposal of entering Projeto Ax, to perform some activity, to doto stop doing activities in the street and do activities at the institution. Right? Desire is the point of departure, I think. I dont know if its the point of departure. Its the point of departure for the kid to enter Ax. In this sense. I think that to win over desire therefore he lps in this process until the kid realizes what he really wants, if he really wa nts, you know, another life, another life project for himself. This is the objective of every street educator.
114 Without this [the kids own desire], I think that nothing will happen. Because, this is how I see it: when youre there in the classroom, the professors are there in, in the classroom giving lesson to the kids. Theres that whole question of, that thing about being surrounded by four wall s, [inaudible], the teacher closes the door, and then it becomes that situation. But even with this I think that there has to be desire, because I think that children or anybody only learns when they are themselves interested in learning someth ing, you know? I think its like this not only with children, I think its like this with adults too. We, when were not interested in something, we dont want to learn. Right? We dont want to learn. It simply doesnt interest me, so I dont want to know about it, you know? There are other things that interest me, and Im not going to waste my time with something else. You know? I think that since this happens with us, it happens with the children also. So, if a kid doesnt desire something, theres no way. Theres no way at all. Thats why I say that when we plan something that the kid doesnt want to do, theres no use for you even being there, you know, because he doesnt have any interest in doing it. They might even do it because at times they like you, they dont want you to be annoyed because they dont want to do it, so they hang around. But later if yo u ask what they did, what they made, what they participated in, and they don t even know what to say it was. They didnt get anything out of it. At times the desire of the kid, or rather, at times our desire is not the desire of the kid. Were thereat times its like, youre so bold in wanting to help that kid and at times that kid isntyou know, they dont want to be helped. But at times they dont see themselves in a situation to be helped. They dont see it themselves, right? Its like, lets say, ge ez, he needs to leave [the street]. So when I think that its thereit isnt that the way isits like the way would be to really doits not that hes extending his hand to you, that hes asking for you to help. But even so, that youre doing what gets him to see himself in a process thats not, lets say, thats not, thats not making him grow, thats not making him be a citizen, right? And starting from this desire of his to become a citizen, to be a citizen, that its like he is a citizen but he doesnt know that he is a citizen, and its starting from this desire. I think that it starts with the desire of the kid and not your desire as an educator. Beginning with him you can do something. I would sayI would even go a lot further: I think that you do somethingany human being, I thinkbecause first of all you desire to do it, right? I desire to leave this sameness, I desire to go to college, I desire to work. And not very differently from this, a kid also has desire s. So now its this process, its this interacting with this child and how you, howthis way, how youre going to interact with him and how youre going to process this, right? Working with what the kid desires is the way that youre going to set this in motion, right? And so, when we talk about the [Ax] project, and we bring the kid to one of the units and we show them the possibilities [that are offered there], you know? And there in the unit itself when theyor even when they say something like, Gee, auntie, I have a dream! You know? This is a de sire. Do you dream about being just any old person? They say, Gee, I want to be a capoerista! I want to be a
115 policeman! I want to play in a band! I want to sing! You know? And so you, understanding these desires from the po ssibilities that Ax can give them, you can direct, bring them to one of the units for them to actually get to know the unit and really see if they themselves become enchanted with something. And from this enchantment which is already work that you did with your words, by talking with them, in your interaction with them you already succeeded in passing these things on to them. Working with the desire of street youth is the heart of Projeto Axs street education program, and therefore it is all the more important that street educators find out what the desires of street youths are. Beyond the ethnographic methods discussed above, the street educators also emphasized the importance of acti ve listening (versus passive hearing) to the voices of street youth. During interviews, I asked street educators how they know what a street youth desires to do. We can find out through a variety of ways. It depends on the situation and it depends on the kid. You can simply ask. And if he doesnt express this directly, you can try on various occasions until you end up finding out. Or you can observe. Or you can do both. Observe, ask. That is, whats more, in order for you to carry out something, you need to know. You cant consider any type of activity if you dont know, or if you havent yet gott en to realize, or at least approximate, what they like. Furthermore, this is what observation serves for. Because observation is taking place the entire time. Its a constant thing. You have to be observing the entire time what makes up the biggest part of the kids life. What makes him smile? You have to look at their gestures, right, the expression on their faces. All of this is part of it, is nt it? Geez, if youre there developing an activity, how are they feeling? Are they happy? Are they glad? Are they smiling? Are they feeling relieved? Or are they feeling tense? Do they look bored? If they dont end up expressing this, you can simply ask, and then they answer. Discussion of Findings Street education is thus a process of learning about individual children and adolescents in a street situation so that street educators can construct with them an
116 individualized pedagogical relationship. The pedagogy of Projeto Ax is therefore customized to the subjectivity of each street youth, his or her own life, life history, sociocultural background, and present circumstances. It is the use of ethnographic methods that allows street educators to learn about and understand the everyday lives of street youths and the dynamics of street culture at such a profound and intimate level. 13 If street educators did not use these methods, their understanding of individual street youths and the patterns of street yout h culture would be very superficial indeed. In Projeto Axs pedagogical praxis, the language of possibility and the pedagogy of liberation are put into practice. Accord ing to Projeto Axs pedagogy of desire, everything begins and ends with the stre et youths own desires; but in street pedagogical praxis, the agency of street youth is potentialized through the work of the street educators who, among other actions, show and offer street youth the possibility of being in other spaces, of taking other path s, of constructing a new life project. By demonstrating to street youth that there exis t other types of adults, who do not want to abuse or exploit them, the possibility for forming a pedagogical and affective bond between street educators and street youth is formed. Through the process of street education, the bonds that a street youth may initially form with particular street educator s are transferred to the pedagogical proposal of Projeto Ax: the possibility of realizing on es own dreams and desires, of constructing new subjectivitiesnot adapting oneself to society as it is, but transforming ones own social reality through education as the pr actice of freedom (Freire 1967). Street educators, through critical dialogue with st reet youth, problematize street youths situation of being in the street. Street educators provoke street youth into becoming 13 Spradley (1979) states, Rather than studying people, ethnography means learning from people (3; emphasis in original).
117 uncomfortable with their adaptation to a life on the street and stimulate their desire to want a different life. Art education is processual learning wh ose content emerges from the biography and everyday experiences of individual street youths. The form through which this content will be expressed is chosen by the street youth, not the street educators, who offer possibilities (games, drawing, design, singing, story telling, etc). This points to another way in which citizenship is construc ted through street pedagogy: street youth democratically participate in the planning of future activities and in the construction of commitments to participate in them. Co-con structing rules and obligations related to activities with street educators allows street youth to practice ethics and citizenship as a form of sociability, for as a citizen one lives according to rules and duties to which other citizens are likewise committed. Summary The phases of Street Education and the pedagogical approaches that underlie them were described, in the process explai ning how ethnographic fieldwork methods are used by street educators in combination wi th the theoretical concepts behind Street Education. The methods used by Projeto Axs street educators and the political pedagogy of liberation and citizenship education are linked through the pedagogy of desire. Desire is they the core concept in all of Projeto Axs work. If a street youth does not desire to participate in street education activities, street education cannot take place, for it is not imposed on street youth.
118 Chapter Six Conclusions and Recommendations This chapter will present a summary of the main findings of this study, discuss the findings in relation to the literature, make recommendations an d offer questions for further research, and identify some of the contributions made to the disciplines of anthropology and applied anthropology. Summary of Findings Education Beyond Schooling Projeto Ax occupies a point of convergence between (1) Freireian-based popular and non-formal educational proj ects whose historical origins precede the military coup of 1964 and (2) the cultural politics and politi cal strategies of the new citizenship social movements that have arisen with the redemocr atization of Brazil. During the last two decades, non-governmental organizations designed to improve education and social development for the urban and rural poor in Brazil have proliferated. What distinguishes these programs is their politicized focus on culture and citizenship education, with the explicit intent to empower their recipients as social agents and participating members of society. Critical Freireian pedagogy is comb ined with anthropologica l approaches to the
119 human world and its problems in order to create an educational system that is socially inclusive and multicultural, rather than exclusive and discriminatory. By validating the cultures of origin and the everyday life experiences of the populations they serve, and by offering spaces in which their participants can create art and culture, these projects bridge culture with education, ci tizenship, and social justice. Ethnographic methods, combined with Freireian pedagogy and the pedagogy of desire (Carvalho 1993, 2000), are fundamental and instrumental in Projeto Axs pedagogical praxis. Ethnography is an induct ive research process, based on trusting relationships, empathy, and rapport-building, in which the researcher observes and participates in the day to day lives of a gr oup of people in order to learn about their culture (Dewalt, Dewalt, and Wayland 1998; Spradley 1979). Projeto Axs street educators employ ethnographic fieldwork methods in a series of progressive stages in order to more holistically understand the everyday lives and culture of street youth, as well as the dynamics of the street culture that emerge in the particular urban spaces frequented by street youth. Observing street youth doing art education activities and dialoging with them about their work while they are doing it enables the street educators to learn more personally and deeply about the desires, needs, histories, individual characteristics, and self-knowle dge of street youth. The result is an anthropological understanding that serves as the basis for political-pedagogical and art education activities, through which street youth are provoked to think critically about their everyday reality in order to transform it. Ethnographic methods are therefore fundamental in Projeto Axs attempts at realizing radical transformations in the lives of street youth and supporting them in returning to home and school.
120 Discuss Findings in Relation to Literature Review Projeto Axs pedagogy presupposes that the work to be done is the work of constructing the citizenship of street yout h (Carvalho 1993: 104). The construction of citizenship is different from attempting to save or rescue the citizenship of street youth, because it is doubtful that street youth, th eir parents, or marginalized persons in Brazil in general, ever had real citizenship begin with (104), given the social authoritarianism (Dagnino 1998) that structures inequalities an d excludes the poor and marginalized from membership in Brazilian society. The work of Projeto Ax, inspired by Freires pedagogy of liberation, is a process of creating, of ge nerating, of constructing citizenship through a political pedagogy that offers these youths that are in the street an instrument for reading this reality, in order that they not on ly can comprehend this reality in which they are living, in which they are inserted, but also intervene in this reality (Carvalho 1993: 104). Citizenship education as a practice of liberation is a social, cultural, and political relationship constructed through actions, pr actices, consciousnessraising, and problemposing education about rights and duties (see Freire 1970). Projeto Ax co-constructs with street youth citizenship from below, in the sense described by Dagnino: The new citizenship requires the constitution of active social subjects (political agents), defining what they consider to be their rights and st ruggling for their recognition. In this sense, it is a strategy of the noncitizens, of the ex cluded, to secure a citizenship from below (1998: 51). Theoretical literature on the anthropology of structural violence, especially at the intersection of culture, power, and histor y, was helpful for an understanding of the structural causes that put children and adolescents into a street situation within the
121 particular historical and political context of the simultaneous economic development and impoverishment of Brazil. The significance of using anthropological paradigms for pedagogical practices in such contexts is made clear by considering the example of Paulo Freire and the cultural politics of po pular education in Brazil. As witnessed by street educators, Freires pedagogy of the oppressed is capable of empowering the agency of the marginalized. The importance of critically analyzing how street youth have been, and still are, theoretically conceptualiz ed in Brazilian society, and how changes in the conceptualization of citizenship since the en ding of Brazils last military dictatorship are still relevant to street education as it is practiced today, as the findings in Chapter Five testify. Social-political projects such as Projeto Ax challenge received notions about schooling and where learning can, and ought, to take place (Gohn 2005), calling into question the dominant research paradigms and trends in educational anthropology in the United States and how they have framed and delimited possible fields of inquiry (see for example Levinson et al. 2000). In Brazil the lines have been drawn differently, due primarily to the influence of Freire. Projeto Ax employs cultural expression in order to promote social development among youth living in extreme situations of poverty in Salvador. While Projeto Ax cannot single-handedly restructure the institut ions of Brazilian society, it has succeeded in assisting thousands of street youth in returning to home and school. Until major changes take place in Brazils own political and economic systems, and in the world system (Wallerstein 1974; Harvey 1989) that has greatly contributed toward structuring severe poverty in Brazil in the first place, major urban centers such as Salvador will need Projeto Ax-style NGOs to meet the immediate needs of children and adolescents living in extreme poverty.
122 Contributions to Anthropology Anthropology as a discipline produces knowledge about human differences and similarities. An expansive discipline, it studies human beings cross-culturally, comparatively, historically, and holistically, and emphasizes the relativity inherent in multiple points of view. Anthropology can zoom in or zoom out, illuminating human life at the community level or revealing how proce sses at the global level are affecting local activities and practices. Anthropology has traditionally studied processes of enculturation and socialization among and between human groups, exposing the cultural universals, generalities, and particularities to be found in these processes. Anthropological research methodologies, especially empirically-based ethnographic field research, offer powerful ways to qualitatively and quantitatively study phenomena in the field of education, be they formal or non-formal educational programs, school policies, classroom teaching techniques, or the in terconnections between school s, families, and communities. This study addresses urgent social problems in Brazil related to poverty and education, and has implications for educatio nal policy. An ethnogra phic description of the Street Education program of Projeto Ax is presented here, and results of a utilization-focused program evaluation, with recommendations for the improvement of the delivery of its services of the program have been presented to Projeto Ax. Beyond its immediate use to Projeto Ax, this study contributes empirical research to theoretical discussions in Anthropology, Latin American studies, and Educat ion, specifically discussions pertaining to social and community development, critical social theory and
123 critical pedagogy, human rights and social justice, and politics of culture and cultural representation. Ethnographic analysis of Projeto Axs Street Education program and its activities has yielded results not merely of theoretical interest, but useful for culturebased social development projects in other impoverished urban areas. My fieldwork with Projeto Ax gave me the opportunity to witness firsthand how ethnographic methods are among the keys to the success of its street pedagogy. I explored how the concept of culture is used by Projeto Ax and how play and artistic activities with street youth are transformed into political-pedagogical activities by street educators. Through art education, cultural wo rkshops, and citizenship education, Projeto Ax defends the human rights of street youth and works for their inclusion into society. In future research, I intend to explore how Projeto Axs combination of pedagogical and ethnographic methods can be merged with participatory action research and adapted to larger-scale social development projects among the urban poor in Salvador. One of the strengths that I as an anthropo logist was able bring to this research was the use of multiple methods and a triang ulation approach. By comparing (1) what I observed and witnessed in the field (data co llected from naturalistic observation) with (2) what the street educators perceived th emselves to be doin g in practice (data collected from interviews with the street ed ucators) and (3) my own understanding of the political-pedagogical proposal of Projet o Axes Street Education program (amplified by interviews conducted with the street education managers and by readings of institutional documents), I was able to achieve a much more comprehensive view of the pedagogical praxis of street educators than would have been achievable from merely one or two methods of data collection.
124 Contributions to Applied Anthropology Applied anthropologists have great po tential for realizing meaningful and enduring social transformations for marginalized persons and groups by studying communities, the social structures that pattern their practices, the institutions that administer their resources, and the ways in wh ich relevant stakeholders politicize culture to resist or solidify power. Anthropology is particularly well-equipped with the necessary methodological, theoretical, and critical tools for exposing social injustices and deconstructing oppressive social realitie s (Marcus and Fischer 1999); and, given the disciplines central concern with meanings and values, applied anthropologists are better able than other researchers to effectively engage programs and policy by analyzing the relation between the program or policy process and the systems of values of various stakeholders. An anthropology based in a critical research paradigm is poised to investigate inequality and how historical, political, an d economic systems or institutions exert control and/or domination over the sociocultural, political, and economic expressions of persons or groups of persons (especially oppressed minorities) in specific geo-political contexts (LeCompte and Schensul 1999b: 45 -47). Critical anthro pologists must study material realities and ideological construc ts, challenge the unquestioned privileges of dominant groups (class privilege white privilege, male priv ilege, etc.), and construct counter-hegemonic projects that expose and deconstruct the ideologies of the dominant and ruling classesideologies that serve to justify and naturalize the oppression and exploitation of dominated groups.
125 Critical anthropologists ought also to work to change unfair or unjust practices by offering critiques, counter-proposals, and radical alternatives based on the principles of solidarity and social and economic justice. For example, instead of doing research on poor people or the poor, critical anthropologists ought to do research with people living in situations of poverty about the social economic, and political causes of poverty. Critical anthropologists ought to engage oppressed groups and persons as active participants in research proc esses that are political and pedagogical, and through which the oppressed become personally empowered, are provoked to think critically about the world in which they live, are mobilized to cons truct networks of social solidarity, and are organized politically to transform the structures and processes that oppress them. Furthermore, anthropology has much to learn, theoretically and methodologically, from social projects that use culture and ethnographic methods in their day-to-day work. Collaborative research with social projects work ing in the area of education is especially promising. The interdisciplinary intersecti on of anthropology and education has the synergizing potential to create new knowledge through a cross-fertilization of respective disciplinary foci, research methodologies, and accumulated bodies of knowledge. Working closely with educators, anthropologists can study in greater depth how human beings are enculturated, socialized, and school ed through the institutions of education, increasing their comprehension of pedagogical theory, didactic strategies, and knowledge of educational institutions, legisl ation, and policies. Working more directly with anthropologists, educators can have grea ter access to a vast knowledge base about human cultural differences and, through applications of empirically-based ethnographic field research methods, generate anthropological understandings of the sociocultural
126 foundations of learning and the intercon nections between sch ools, families, and communities. The public policy arena is one of the area s in which anthropology can be put into action by drawing on the disciplines known strengths for holistic analysis and social criticism, and by effecting positive social change through policy and program evaluation. In preparation for this research, I found that the most productive approach to studying policy and program evaluation was the anthropology of policy paradigm (Shore and Wright 1997), which provides a set of strategies for making anthropology vital to the analysis of problems in social domains that involve the interaction of local communities with state governmental entities and inst itutions, national and international nongovernmental organizations, and migratory discursive practices. Recommendations and Further Questions One of my principle findings was that the single most important activity that street educators can do with stre et youth is to transform ludic, artistic, or sport activities into political-pedagogical activities. While some street educators actively engaged the attention of, and dialogued with, street youth, other street educators I observed seemed to lacking in enthusiasm and were not very active in gett ing street youth involved in doing pedagogical activities. The majority of persons working as street educators while I conducted my research had been trained as social workers. I thought that this compromised the mission of Projeto Ax in that these particular street educators tended to see the street youth as cases and to see their own role as that of assisting the street youth in navigating their ways thro ugh the bureaucracies of social assistance
127 programs in order to receive services and benefits. Such a view of the work of street education compromises the missi on of Projeto Axs Street Education program, whose principal objective is to do art education and political-pedagogical work in the streets, with the entrance of the street youth into Projeto Ax as only one possible outcome of that work. I also found that a few of the street educators did not work well with spontaneity in the dynamic of the street. Street youth come and go at will and are constantly distracted by what is going on in the street at any given moment; these dynamics require that a street educator have various options ready in order not to lose the moment. A few street educators did not take very seriously the artistic and pedagogical activities they were supposed to develop in collaboration with the street youth. These educators thought that such activities were simply for diversion or to attract the street youth into a conversation about entering Projeto Ax. Additionally, during nearly three months of naturalistic observations of street education, I did not witness many examples of art education, which is supposed to be one of the main activities of street education and indeed the claim to fame of Projeto Ax. Most of the time I observed the street educators using art activities as a way to o ccupy the street youth while they collected biographical information, told them about Proj eto Ax, or offered to take them to visit Projeto Axs educational units. I recommended to the Street Education supervisors that they reevaluate the selection process for hiring street educators and to take into consideration the following points before making a decision about hiring a job candidate: an evaluation of the position of the job applicant in relation to so cial questions, education, art education, and childrens education; whether the applicant was already po liticized or concerned with
128 social questions prior to working for Projeto Ax; and whether the applicant is disposed to work in the street and work with children and adolescents in a street situation. The last point is crucial because being in the st reet all day long can be very unpredictable and physically and mentally demanding. One of my roles as an ethnographic evaluator and outside observer during fieldwork was to continually encourage critical reflection on theory, methodology, and practice among Street Education program staff by periodically offering preliminary analyses of data collection. In a certain se nse, such provocations are unavoidable, for by entering the social dynamics of real people, a researcher-evaluator cannot pretend to be objectively examining social reality under a microscope. More generally, merely by entering the field, every anthropologist becomes part of the emergent social reality to which the term the field refers. Merely by being there, an anthropologist changes social reality, affects the dynamics of the relationships among persons, and provokes positive expectations as well as anxieties. Formalizing the relationships created by the presence of a professional stranger (Agar 1996) through the more predictable role of evaluator, was, I hope, a way of increasing po sitive expectations rather than heightening anxieties. Due to the brevity of the period (three months) for which I was able to do fieldwork, there were many research questions that I was unable to explore in depth. Additional time in the field will be necessary for further research. How does Projeto Ax function internally (administratively) and extern ally (in relation to its beneficiaries, local communities, and government entities and in stitutions)? In what specific ways has Projeto Ax changed or impacted public policy? What are some of the important
129 economic, legal, cultural and moral implicatio ns of Projeto Axs work, and what types of relationships does it establish between individuals, groups, and resources? There are also many questions concerned with the production of knowledge and the flow of data. Is Projeto Ax constructing knowledge with children and adolescents in a street situation? After constructing and pr oducing knowledge with street youth, what do street educators do with th is knowledge? What do street youth do with it? Is this knowledge conserved? How? As inheritance? As popular knowledge? Does some group or someone take possession of this knowledge as their own property? Is the question of intellectual property taken into consideration? Will this knowledge be used in the design or content of pedagogical curriculum in side Projeto Axs educational units? At the theoretical level, investigation of these questions depends on how the principal concepts are defined. What is knowledge? Are there different types of knowledge? If so, how are they distinguis hed? Is local knowledge for example, different from other types of knowledge? There are other philosophical and epistemological questions that are relevant here. How do we know what we know? Is knowledge discovered out there in the wo rld? Is knowledge something constructed in discourses and dialogues (the social construction of knowledge and reality)? Do we construct new knowledge or reconstruct kn owledge that already exists? Beyond the philosophical foundations for a definition of knowledge, the methodological design and choice of research methods for investigatin g these questions involve crucial decisions before any (re)construction and collection of knowledge and data can begin. It is of paramount importance to critically evalua te how relationships are negotiated and established between researchers and the people (e.g., street youth, local communities, neighborhoods) with whom th e research is conducted.
130 If Projeto Ax, or some other social project, is going to construct knowledge with street youth, or with members of the communities from which the street youth come, how will this process take place? How wil l the research methodology influence the results of the research (the production of knowledge)? How does language (in itself a social construction) structure knowledge, understanding, and meaning? How do the relations between the researcher and the community influence the construction of knowledge? Do multiple perspectives and multiple visions of the world require multiple knowledges? How, for example, could such a study become or be linked to a socioeconomic development project that could alter or change the political-economic structures responsible for producing poverty and misery in the communities in question? The example of Projeto Ax is instructive here on a number of levels. Perhaps it ought to be considered a visionary model of what schooling could be like for all youth, not just street youth, in impoverished urban areas. Social projects working on education and social development need to expand their institutional mission from a focus on effecting transformations in individuals to transformation in public policies and institutional practices. For example, usin g qualitative research methods such as biography, oral history, interviews, naturalistic observation, and archival research, social projects can work with local communities to ca talogue and describe the existing funds of popular cultural knowledge that are located in the memories and cultural practices of the communitys residents (cf. Gonz lez, Moll, and Amanti 2005). Then, in collaboration with local educators, this knowledge could be transformed into scholarship that can be incorporated into pedagogical proposals and policies, as well as form the content knowledge of educationa l curricula in the communitys own schools. Beyond recognizing the value of the local culture and cultural roots of the community,
131 this research would utilize the creative cultural power inherent in the community in order to promote social development through cultural expression (Kleymeyer 1994). Furthermore, in collaboration with local commu nity leaders and scholars, this research would produce curricular content that is relevant and meaningful to the community itself. Summary Education, through structured learning environments, ought to prepare human beings to participate meaningfully, intelligentl y, and creatively in society. Education as a discipline trains educators, educational re searchers, administrators, leaders, and counselors in the art and science of effective teaching practices, resu lting in the personal and professional development of human beings and the production of critical thinkers and life-long learners. The egalitarian ideals of democracy call for equal access to, and equity in the provision of, public services, bu t educational opportunities in specific social contexts are mediated by the culture, history, and political economy of the larger society. The work of educators is therefore formidable and far-reaching, for they are not only responsible for the educational experiences of individual learners, but they must respond, often with scarce or limited resource s, to local, regional, national, and global demands to produce better students at the highest standards of excellence. What is more, with fast-paced advances in technology, industry, and commerce and freer circulation of ideas, cultures, and traditions, education in the twenty-first century needs to prepare human beings to be global citizens.
132 In Brazil, whether elite society will ever learn to live with its new citizens is a complex question that only the future can answer, but in the meantime social movements, organizations, and projects are combining citizenship education and pedagogies of liberation to construct new citi zens through cultural politics. Such social movements in general and organizations such as Projeto Ax in particular are creating new spaces (or appropriating old ones) fo r articulating and realizing the social transformations necessary for the redemocratization of Brazil and the construction of a new citizenship. In education, these spaces of social transformation are often created outside formal schools and schoolingand therefore outside the reproductive field of schools. Even so, if such informal or non -formal educational projects hope to achieve lasting, institutional change, they will need to engage the government and formal public school system through cultural politics and demand much-needed changes in public policy. Projeto Ax may not succeed in changi ng the fundamental political, economic, and social structures that produce street youths in the first placeand it would be unrealistic to expect a single NGO to be capa ble of such an accomplishment. Projeto Ax is designed, however, to make possible radical changes in the lives of children and adolescents in a street situation and to rais e consciousness in Brazilian society about the urgency and gravity of the situation of street youth and the larger processes that are responsible for producing them.
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Arney, Lance A.
Political pedagogy and art education with youth in a street situation in Salvador, Brazil :
b an ethnographic evaluation of the Street Education Program of Projeto Ax
h [electronic resource] /
by Lance A. Arney.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: Projeto Ax is a non-governmental organization that carries out political-pedagogical work and art education for children and adolescents living in a street situation in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
I conducted an exploratory ethnographic study with Projeto Ax's Street Education program in order to observe its day-to-day activities and to conduct a utilization-focused program evaluation (Patton 1997) of its pedagogical praxis.
This thesis will describe how ethnographic fieldwork methods are interwoven with the political-pedagogical approaches of Projeto Ax's Street Education program and explain how street educators attempt to construct citizenship with participants
in the Street Education program. Findings are based on an analysis of data collected during three months of fieldwork, during which I observed the day-to-day activities of the Street Education program and formally interviewed seven street educators.Projeto Ax's street educators employ ethnographic fieldwork methods in order to more holistically understand the everyday lives of street youth, as well as the dynamics of "street culture" that emerge in the particular
urban spaces frequented by street youth. The result is an anthropological understanding that serves as the foundation for street education activities, through which street youth are provoked to think critically about their everyday reality in
order to transform it (Freire 1970). The construction of citizenship through Street Education is based on the "pedagogy of desire" (Carvalho 2000), a psychological-sociocultural theory of learning developed by the organization specifically for
working with youth living in a street situation. Street education and the construction of citizenship begin and happen with the desire of street youth.The content of street education is not fixed or predetermined, but emerges out of a particular street youth's desires, needs, and dialogues with street educators. I conclude that, combined with Freireian-inspired political
pedagogy and the pedagogy of desire, the use of ethnographic fieldwork methods by street educators is crucial for Projeto Ax's attempts at realizing radical transformations in the lives of street youth. Furthermore, Projeto Ax's anthropological
approaches to the social and political inclusion of street youth increase the adaptability of its street pedagogy to the local socio-cultural realities emergent in other urban spaces.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 159 pages.
Advisor: Kevin A. Yelvington, D.Phil.
x Applied Anthropology
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.