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Title: Enacting citizenship : a study of three educational initiatives in Brazil
Author: McCowan, Tristan
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The centrality of education in fonning citizens has in recent years become a prominent concern among theorists and practitioners alike. However, the literature on the subject often fails to acknowledge the complexity both of the diverse ends of citizenship and of the educational means to achieve them. This study explores these issues in three contrasting initiatives in Brazil: the Landless Movement, which promotes a conception of citizenship based on the workers' collective struggle for justice; the Plural School, which aims to democratise the school system based on an ideal of social inclusion; and Voter of the Future, aiming to promote political participation via established structures of liberal democracy. Empirical data on the three initiatives was collected in the form of documents, classroom observations and interviews with coordinators, teachers and students. The study analyses the differences between the conceptual schemes of the three initiatives, the ways these translate into pedagogical programmes, the facilitators and constraints on implementation and the effects on students. A theory of 'curricular transposition' is developed, in order to explore the processes through which normative ideals are materialised in educational programmes, and to explain the problematic 'leaps' between the ideal and the real, and between ends and means. Key elements for citizenship learning identified in the case studies are the participation of pupils and teachers in the design and implementation of the programmes, the use of dialogical pedagogy, the existence of democratic management structures in schools, and of opportunities for pupils to engage in political action in the wider society. The notion of 'seamless enactment' is proposed to refer to this enhancement of political learning through the full participation of teachers and students and harmonisation of ends and means. Finally, wider implications for the role of education in developing political agency are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available