The University of Arizona

Taking research with its roots: restructuring schools in the Brazilian landless workers' movement upon the principles of a political ecology of education

David Meek


How does education mediate the relationship between the co-production of environmental knowledge, and the social reproduction of an alternative society? This article draws upon a political ecology of education framework to analyze how schools advance alternative land management strategies and forms of environmental knowledge. Schools catering to grassroots movements can actualize their emancipatory objectives by institutionalizing hybridized conceptions of educational space-time. This article focuses on a vocational high school in a settlement of the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement. It analyzes a document known as a 'political pedagogical project' (PPP) which details the identity of the school and how it sees itself as a tool for social and environmental justice. Through an analysis of this PPP, my article explores how the school seeks to educate students to critically reflect upon the relationships between political economic processes and landscape change. The PPP also encourages students to be active participants in the development of a regional agroecological science, and cooperative material relations. From a political ecology of education perspective, activist schools are important sites for the coproduction of environmental knowledge and material relations. They have the potential to help students learn critically about the linkages between power, political economy, and land management.

Keywords: Landless Workers Movement; political ecology of education; hybridity, political pedagogical project, agroecology

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