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.