Writing for Research in Brazilian Schools: The Landless Workers Movement's Education of the Countryside

Ana Maria Doll Ghelere Portas, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis, “Writing for Research in Brazilian Schools: The Landless Workers Movement’s Education of the Countryside,” examines pedagogical practices of rural areas in Brazil. More specifically, I analyze writing practices of high school students in public schools co-governed by the state and the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), a grassroots social movement that has fought for agrarian reform in Brazil for over 40 years. I analyze research papers developed in the social movement's research program: autobiographies written by students in their first year of high school and research papers written in the two final years. My analysis looks for connections between the students’ identity and authority in writing and the MST's pedagogy and ideology. My research examines how students’ writings incorporate the MST ideological framework, implementing the Movement’s pedagogy and advancing their agenda for agrarian reform and social justice. I examine how these writings welcome competing ideological forces but at the same time circumscribe students’ thinking into the MST principles, suggesting the movement's educational program (named Education of the Countryside) is also a political training for young MST activists. In that sense, my larger research questions are: What kind of individual authority do these research papers show, as students’ research are circumscribed in a prescribed collective discourse? These questions about individual and collective lead to others that are more connected to the movement’s pedagogy and ideology: What do the genres chosen by this program tell us about what counts as knowledge and research under this approach and particular context? What’s unique about students’ research topics in relation to MST’s ideology and political agenda? And finally, I address issues of citizenship and democracy in critical pedagogies like this: how do genre and language reflect rural individuals’ attempts to see themselves as producers of knowledge, challenging rural populations’ historical status in relation to access and production of scientific knowledge? To what extent does this research program help rural populations regain citizenship and participation in the democracy? And how do the Movement’s pedagogical practices challenge or confirm other practices and concepts of popular education?

Subject Area

Education|Latin American Studies|Pedagogy

Recommended Citation

Doll Ghelere Portas, Ana Maria, "Writing for Research in Brazilian Schools: The Landless Workers Movement's Education of the Countryside" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29253309.