Urban Boundaries: the dynamic of cultural encounters in community education

  • Pais, Alexandre (Project Participant)

    Project Details


    The Urban Boundaries Project presents itself as a critical ethnographic movement centered in the development of an emancipatory educative policy through participant observation of knowledge in multicultural communities. This movement is the continuation of smaller investigation and intervention projects previously undertaken in two communities of the city of Costa de Caparica, Portugal, which is located on the south margin of the Tejo river – facing the capital Lisbon, and is geographically limited by the ocean and the Fossil Cliffs rock face.

    Populated since the 18th Century, Costa de Caparica presently constitutes one of the largest multicultural centers of Portugal, and it has been evolving around two majors base-communities: fishing and agricultural. The coastal zone of the Caparica municipality is known as Costa, and it was developed by two distinct fishermen crews from Ílhavo and Olhão – located to the north and south of Portugal, respectively. Contrastingly, the land zone located at the base of the Fossil Cliffs is known as Terras da Costa, and it was developed by the agricultural community, being presently occupied by immigrant populations from other Portuguese-speaking countries, gipsy community, and Portuguese migrants.

    The goal of this Project is to make listenable the multicultural voices found in both local communities (Fishing community and Terras da Costa community), through a critical ethnography. This search and comprehension process regarding intra and intercultural dimensions is essential to clarify the educative processes developed inside the local communities, towards the local necessities defined by their members, and also to the “symbolic” recognition of such communities by society as a whole - in order to acknowledge them as being both active and interactive part of the cultural diversity they represent and of the urban hegemony they are geographically included in.

    Both uncommon to the greater society in which they co-habit and embedded in cultural diversity, these two local communities become visible in this project as researchers of their own educative practices and as active constructers of the instruments and resources that fundament the observation methodology here addressed. The intervention of the local communities’ members in symbioses with the dialogical interventions in the field of action defines a participant observation.

    This Project emerges in response to up-to-date reflections regarding cultural encounters within educationally-recognized spaces, in a process of valorization of knowledge that is centered in organization and management of interactive and differentiated learning situations, which are not only facilitated by but mandatory for the new communication and information technologies.

    Therefore, the main design of this Project is enclosed by the perception of the educative action strategies within these two multicultural communities, towards the organization of parameters that support an intercultural education curriculum based on the socio-cultural and economic reality of these communities.

    We hereby suggest the Curriculum Trivium developed by Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, in order to reinforce the absolute citizenship during times of undeniable cultural encounters and confrontations, and to provide surviving instruments to a society where values and ethics are determinant concepts to such reinforcement. A new model of curriculum, based on literacy, materacy, and technoracy:

    (1) highlights the knowledge ongoing within local communities, through surviving instruments in which the diversity and the globalization dimensions converge, pointing out and discussing eventual contradictions; (2) guarantees a global curriculum that maintains cultural diversity, and (3) brings to life expectations of minimizing inequities and violations of human dignity, as a first step towards social justice.

    In this curricular model, curriculum is holistically approached as the educative action strategy that enables an equal domain of the knowledge necessary to active and participative survival - way beyond simply reading, writing, and counting, through a critical perspective over the instruments. As such, this model constitutes a proposal for curricular comprehension through an observation focused on the communicative instruments (literacy), the analytic instruments (materacy), and the material instruments (technoracy).

    Contemplating mutual growth of researchers with little experience in this field, this movement reinforces the coherence of the dynamics of cultural encounters here addressed. New researchers, each in its own new role, weave a net of perspectives, intentions, necessities, actions, and productions that will strengthen the meditative trait of each participant (member of the local communities and members of the scientific community), the recognition of our legal equity, and the understanding of the educational processes that would be hidden in other investigation met.
    Effective start/end date09/01/201209/01/2014