Book Launch: Facing Poverty and Marginalisation: Fifty Years of Critical Research in Brazil

Facing Poverty and Marginalisation: Fifty Years of Critical Research in Brazil (co-ed Kontopodis, Magalhaes & Coracini) will be launched next Tuesday 23 May 2017, 4.15-5.00, at the Centre for Critical Psychology and Education, 388 Glossop Road Room, Room 3.02, University of Sheffield.

This book launch is organised as part of the School of Education Research Day
– there will be a reception with drinks and there is no need to reserve a place.

A 30% discount flyer is attached
HERE (which you may use even if you don’t manage to attend the event).

Detailed information on the book is provided here: https://www.peterlang.com/view/product/11424

Posted in Edited Books, events, news

New Issue: Outlines: Critical Practice Studies

We are happy to announce that Outlines Vol. 18, No. 1 is now online

Outlines is an e-journal publication providing a forum for theoretically and empirically informed debates about the relationships between individual subjects, social structures, and historically developed cultural forms of practice.

This issue features the following articles:

Jeppe Oute & Lotte Huniche: Who gets involved with what? A discourse analysis of gender and caregiving in everyday family life with depression

Sverre Raffnsøe: What is Critique? Critical Turns in the Age of Criticism

Kari Bergset: School Involvement: Refugee Parents’ Narrated Contribution to their Children’s Education while Resettled in Norway

Anne Line Wittek, Tone Dyrdal Solbrekke, Kristin Helstad: “You Learn How to Write from Doing the Writing, But You Also Learn the Subject and the Ways of Reasoning”

Enjoy! 

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Manchester BSA Congress Presentation: How and why should children eat healthy? (4 April, 09:00-10:30)

Is eating healthy that black & white as nutrition and policy guidelines usually claim it to be? Michalis Kontopodis’s presentation “How and why should children eat healthy? Ethnographic snapshots into diverse children’s everyday eating practices” draws on materials from his long-term ethnographic and participatory research on everyday eating practices in a variety of settings in Europe and Latin America, such as wealthy preschools, alternative urban allotment gardens, grassroots countryside movements and indigenous communities. By paying close attention to the differences in how and why children eat fruit and vegetables in these settings, Dr Kontopodis will explore how distinct knowledge practices bring together “adults”, “children” and “things” in a variety of material-semiotic entanglements over multiple temporal layers. While biomedical and psycho-pedagogical concerns intermingle with ecological as well as broader societal issues, understandings of the “individual” and the “population” may shift not only from one setting to another but even within the same setting. Such entanglements may entail “healthy” or “diverse” children’s bodies, “individual” habits or preferences, “fresh” fruit, “fancy” cups, “expensive” freezers or “free-range chickens” as well as “public health” guidelines and “agro-ecological” values. How is “childhood” re-configured in this frame? This presentation is part of the special event: “Socio-Material & Posthuman Configurations in Child & Youth Studies: Moving In-Between the Personal & the Collective” (coordinated by M. Kontopodis) taking place at the British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Manchester: 4-6 April 2017. Conference programme: HERE.

Further details & readings: https://mkontopodis.wordpress.com/biopedagogies/

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Experiencing Developmental Crises in Critical Times/ Sheffield EdD Residential Weekend

Most theories of psychological development refer to a crisis that takes place in adolescence due to physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes. Little research has however explored how young people experience this psychological crisis in the context of today’s broader financial, geopolitical and ecological crises. While a crisis indicates a period of intense difficulty, it can also be understood as the turning point when a difficult or important decision must be made – which involves the possibility for the emergence of radical novelty. My lecture at the EdD Residential Weekend at the University of Sheffield (17-18 February, 2017) drew on post-vygotskian and post-structuralist grounds as to

EdD Sheffield 2017

Sheffield EdD Residential Weekend, 2017

explore the challenges and possibilities regarding youth development in this frame. I proposed a differentiation between two modes of human development: development of concrete skills (potential development) and development of new societal relations (virtual development, which is at the same time individual and collective). I also reflected on the significance of this differentiation by exploring research materials from my recent projects with disenfranchised youth in Greece, Germany, US and Brazil. Last but not least, I expanded on the notion of virtual development to consider recent technological developments that enable the multimodal communication and transnational collaboration among young people from diverse linguistic and geographical contexts. The powerpoint presentation is available HERE

Posted in events, news

Collaborating on Facebook: Teachers Exchanging Experiences Through Social Networking Sites

cultural-hist-psyJust published by Fernando Rezende da Cunha Júnior, Bert van Oers & Michalis Kontopodis: Our study explores the use of Facebook for educational purposes, as a collaborative online space for enabling communication among teachers from different schools. The article describes how a group of 43 teachers on Facebook, from various schools in the southeast region of Brazil used a group on Facebook as a collaborative space for communicating among each other. On the group, these teachers shared experiences about the use of digital technologies in their secondary education classes. This study is based on Cultural Historical Activity Theory, considering the group on Facebook as a tool for mediating communication. The objective of this study is to explore why and how teachers collaborated with each other on Facebook, and to study how communication among them evolved in the process. We examined the posts on that group from 2012 to 2014, and two questionnaires responded online by the teachers in June 2012 and in December 2013. Our findings suggest that teachers tend to critically collaborate in smaller groups and that further online communication evolved outside the group of teachers, with the creation of smaller groups on Facebook inside their schools. In: Cultural-Historical Psychology 2016. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 290-309. Open access HERE.

Posted in Journal Articles

Research with Transformative Agendas: ISCAR Pre-Conference Workshop in Quebec, August 28 2017

The next ISCAR conference takes place from the 28th of August to the 1st of September 2017 in Québec, Canada. Our pre-conference workshop on “Research with Transformative Agendas: Increasing Equality in Education and Beyond” offers opportunities to critically examine how theory and research can push the boundaries to centrally integrate transformative agendas premised on ideals of equality and social justice. iscarTaking on and expanding upon Vygotsky’s passionate commitment to equality, the directions to be examined are focused on inserting activism into the key considerations about human development and education at the intersection of theory, methodology, research, and practice. This opens up the space for dialogue and collaboration among cultural-historical, sociocultural, and activity scholarship on the one hand, and critical approaches in ethnography, pedagogy, work studies, and Critical Race Theory, on the other. The notions of objectivity, validity, warrants for knowledge, and researchers’ standpoints, as these can be premised on non-neutral ideals of equality and justice, will be explored. The overarching goal is to discuss how to move forward in conducting research that takes on an active role in the world in turmoil and crisis where neutrality is not an option. For further details visit: http://iscar17.ulaval.ca/pages/anna-stetsenko-and-eduardo-vianna

Great thanks to Anna Stetsenko and Eduardo Vianna for setting this up!

Posted in events, news

José at Escola Porto Alegre

José (pseudonym) is there again, as usual poorly dressed. He looks up for a moment when I enter, then returns to his work. His patience has always been remarkable to me. Now again I observe him standing, his whole body turned to the desk, as his hands, gently or firmly as necessary, glide across the pieces of paper, glue, metal cords, scissors, dried leaves, and other materials he works with. He then moves quickly but lightly across the wooden floor, searches through a drawer, and takes what he needs; he does so without looking to me or the others in the room, quickly returning to his work.

José is there almost every day – the work has now progressed, and notebooks with nicely decorated hardcovers have been produced. Marcia, the teacher, remains invisible for most of the time, but she sometimes might help for a moment or two, commenting on or arranging the newly made notebooks. The room is not very well-lit and everything there is old – tables, cupboards, desks, chairs. Even the walls should have been painted a long time ago. Quite a lot of tools and some machinery (to cut or press paper etc.) are lying around, but there is no particular decoration. I am impressed how well he deals with all the tools and materials and like his products very much – hardcovers for books and notebooks in all possible shapes and colors, decorated with ink drawings and dried flowers.

Arts constitute one of the most important subjects at this school, which is based on the principles of communitarian therapy and Freireian pedagogy. José still has to learn mathematics, Portuguese, and history as well as computers, environmental and political education, and other subjects that are decided by the general assembly and taught in thematic project mode. He is a 16-year-old student. Similarly to all other students – who are between 13 and 24 years old – José is offered a basic level of education that correlates more to what in other contexts would be primary school knowledge. About 100 students are registered, and half of them participate regularly.

The school, where we are, is a quite well known school for homeless students in Porto Alegre, Brazil: the Escola Porto Alegre (EPA). The Escola Porto Alegre emerged in the context of educação popular – a broader Brazilian movement for public education for all. This school is in many regards an open school (escola aberta): it is first of all open in the sense that a student is welcome at the school, but is not obliged to stay there; the school is also in many regards open for students who would elsewhere feel marginalized; it is open for the residents of the school’s neighborhood during the afternoon; it is open in the sense of its direct participation in the city’s councils as well its collaborations with many other institutions – even international ones.

Where José slept the night before is an open question: according to his teachers and his own narrations, he does not have a family, he does not have a home, and he does not currently belong to a certain gang or some other group that would provide him with food and security. When the school doors open for students, he goes quickly through the schoolyard to the rooms at the right to take a shower.

José has just received the amount of 50 Reais for the notebooks he sold through the school last month. He must still collect cans and other recyclable materials from the streets and sell them to supplement his income. I am not sure what his expenses are. He does not have a home and cannot afford a mobile phone; he gets food at the school, as well as some used clothes or other things that might be donated to the school from the neighborhood. Drug-dealing for male students and prostitution for the female ones are quite common activities among the students of this school – but not for José, who is very enthusiastic about the paper cover construction and is slowly creating a network of clients for his paper products. Perhaps some day he will earn his whole living with it.

But before that it will be night again, the school (home?) will be closed, and the night is hard. I continue to observe how he cuts the paper, he looks like so concentrated, intense moments of silence pass by…

More details & stories on Sept, 15, 9.00-11.00, SS 10.05 BERA Innovative Session “Youth in Movement in Contemporary Brazil: Moving Stories of José, Carlos, Raquel, and Werá Mirim” – Storytellers : Ali Messer, University of Roehampton & Dr Michalis Kontopodis, University of Sheffield

See also the recently printed book: Kontopodis, M., Magalhaes, M. C., & Coracini, M. J. (Eds.). (2016). Facing poverty and marginalization: 50 years of critical research in Brazil. Bern, Oxford and New York: Peter Lang.

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Exploring Youth in Contemporary Brazil at BERA Annual Conference 2016, Leeds, 15 Sept 9.00-11.00, SS 10.05

peter_lang_coverAs Brazil enters a new phase of socio-economic and political turmoil, Dr. Michalis Kontopodis, will explore four everyday life scenes from contexts of youngsters involved in a variety of social and political movements in contemporary Brazil in an “innovative” storytelling session at BERA Annual Conference 2016 in Leeds. Playing with the word “movement” Dr. Kontopodis, who has recently been appointed director of the MSc in Psychology and Education at the University of Sheffield, will introduce the term youth in movement to refer to youth as constituted by and constitutive of broader social movements and transformations as well as to the “moving”, i.e. emotionally touching, aspects that their stories entail. At the same time, Dr. Kontopodis will provide broader, relevant information with regards to Brazil’s ongoing urban and rural youth and social movements and their educational dimensions. Michalis Kontopodis is currently launching a whole relevant book series with Peter Lang:  “(Post) Critical Global Studies” – the first volume has just been printed and will be presented at the BERA Conference: Facing Poverty & Marginalization: 50 Years of Critical Research in Brazil (edited in collaboration with M.J. Coracini & C. Magalhaes).

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Youth Development in Critical Times: Doing Collective Pasts & Futures

How to conceptualise youth development in critical times? What is the role of memory and imagination in doing development? My presentation at the South & Central European ISCAR Conference: “Cultural-Historical, Activity and Sociocultural Research at Times of the Contemporary Crisis: Implications for Education and Human Development” which took place at the University of Crete, Rethymnon in Crete, Greece (June 16-19, 2016) addressed these issues – the powerpoint slides are available here & your feedback will be appreciated: Kontopodis_Crete2016B

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Invited talk by M. Kontopodis in Oxford: Experiencing developmental crises in critical times

Let me kindly invite the readers of this blog to my talk on June 08, 2016 17:00 – 18:30 in Seminar Room G, School of Education at the University of Oxford on “Experiencing developmental crises in critical times: from realising potential futures to actualising virtual possibilities?”.

Summary: Most theories of psychological development refer to a crisis taking place in adolescence due to physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes. Little research has however explored how young people experience this psychological crisis in the context of today’s broader financial, socio-political and ecological crises. While a crisis indicates a period of intense difficulty, it can also be understood as the turning point when a difficult or important decision must be made – which involves the possibility for the emergence of radical novelty. Drawing on post-Vygotskian and post-structuralist grounds I aspire to explore in my presentation the challenges and possibilities for youth development in this frame. I will propose a differentiation between two modes of human development: development of concrete skills (potential development) and development of new societal relations (virtual development, which is at the same time individual and collective). I will reflect on the significance of this differentiation by exploring research materials from my recent projects with disenfranchised youth in Greece, Germany, US and Brazil. Last but not least, I will expand on the notion of virtual development to consider recent technological developments that enable the multimodal communication and transnational collaboration among young people from diverse linguistic and geographical contexts.

See also here: http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/research/osat/events/

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