Arquivo da Categoria: IOSTE XV

Life Narratives contributing to the freedom of knowledge: Urban Boundaries Project


Nuno Vieira – Lusófona University

Mônica Mesquita – Lisbon University


Keywords: Critical Ethnography, Communitarian Education, Life Narratives and Local Knowledge.



A basic principle of consumer societies is the fact that anyone only feels the need of something what is known. The personal and social needs are also governed by this principle, in many cases what arose like a need ends up claimed has a right, The access to the sanitation or piped water are emblematic examples. However, the demand for such rights can only be effective if it is conducted by those who have a narrative capital and owns the knowledge of how work social rules and political power. The claimant will only be successful if he is aware of his rights and if knows how to claim his rights.

The Urban Boundaries Project proposes to understand the characteristics of its members constitutors that come from three different communities: Fishing, Bairro, and Academy Researchers where the two first are inhabitants of the Costa de Caparica, a touristic zone near to Lisbon – Portugal. We built up the analysis of some life narratives (Goodson) of members of these communities. However, in this paper, we bring the critical and collective analysis of voices of one member of each community which are recognized as the leaders of each one. With these narratives, in a critical ethnographic perspective, we open the possibility to access to a level of understanding that would be only accessible to the community members, the emic dimension (Pike).

The exercise to work through this journey, that are the narratives, shows how the freedom of knowledge is linked with the closure of the neoliberal educational system, suggesting that as a social institution, the school system can be itself a social problem in a modern society.


Urban Boundaries project: The dialogue as the core of the question “for all”

Authors: FRANCO, Sílvia (1) MESQUITA, Mônica (2)   




The present paper appears as a need to share the birth process of Urban Boundaries Project. A research born from the love of a group of workers and participants of a communitarian project in Costa da Caparica, a coastal village near Lisbon (Portugal).


In daily activities, this project brought together the educators team, and two of the main communities in the village, though invisible ones (Mesquita, 2008). When this communitarian project ended, a majority number of participants shared the desire to keep united, so the meetings started. First the purpose was to create an association, and after many meetings and changes we all realized we had so much to learn with each other. So the question became: how could we enhance the knowledge of those invisible beings? People with so different backgrounds, and so different educative artefacts and practices to teach.


The goal of this Project is to create a dialogical learning movement between the multicultural voices found in the three communities involved (Fishing Community, Bairro Community, and Academic Community), through a critical ethnography (Thomas, 1993). To achieve our main goal, and some independent but shared goals, we defined three major tasks: Critical Alphabetization, Multiple Cartography, and History of Life.


All researchers (three communities) can and should be involved in all processes, nevertheless our main research focus, at the moment, it’s held in Critical Alphabetization, which will be promoted following Paulo Freire’s method (2008). For whom, education is about pronouncing the world, questioning our place, our relationship with all surrounding, (re)discovering ourselves, and several new possibilities…


Choosing this method, we all accepted an invitation to (re)think the relation man-world in a collective dialogue; we hope will allow us to accomplish the ambition of gathering and enhancing local knowledge in a dialogical movement towards an intercultural education.


Keywords: Critical Ethnography, Communitarian Education, Dialogue, Local Knowledge