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McGill University

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


This study explores the implementation of MST’s pedagogy of conscientização (conscientization) within Acampamento (camp) Luiz Carlos in order to better understand the role that dialogue plays in raising the collective consciousness of peasants newly engaged in the occupation of the land. The approach I took to understanding this process was heavily influenced by Paulo Freire’s works on literacy and revolution, as well as James Scott’s theories of the quotidian resistance of peasants and other subordinate groups. Due to his theories and the subsequent realities encountered in the field, the focus of the study was expanded to include a better understanding of the physical and social space of the camp and how this was fought for through daily resistance to the hegemonic encroachment of Brazilian popular society.

In order to carry out this research I entered the field in order to live, sleep, eat, and struggle side by side with the families in the legal limbo of the occupation camp, engaging in observation-participation in order to gain insights into the reality of their lives, particularly the quotidian discourses of the entire group. I observed and participated in the daily work of the camp, attended the meetings and the assemblies in which the members debated and planned for their future by holding classes that ranged from the history of the MST to how to properly cultivate Cashew farms. I was also witness to the struggles and hardship that faced these men and woman daily in their struggle to maintain the camp and continue to fight for the land. I supplemented these observations with 10 interviews conducted with members of the MST militancy, the general coordinator of the camp and 6 general members of the camp to see how the specific lived histories of each individual impacted this process of conscientização.


Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change


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