Reinventing Educational Spaces, Building Active Citizenship: Two Brazilian Experiences

  • Tristan McCowan
  • Luís Armando Gandin
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 22)

When Leslie Bethell (2000) states that, “Brazil is a democracy of voters, not yet a democracy of citizens”, he is highlighting two significant aspects of the country. Firstly, the fact that all people can vote in Brazil, and nearly all do (it is obligatory for those aged 18–70), is indicative of a range of advances in the twentieth-century that ensured universal formal rights. The Constitution of 1988 and the Statute of the Child and the Adolescent of 1990 form part of an edifice of official guarantees to the people, including that of compulsory education from 7 to 14 years. Ye t the progressive and enlightened nature of much Brazilian legislation and institutional structures is matched by the ineffectiveness and incompleteness of their implementation. Civil rights are generally upheld only in proportion to the wealth of the individuals involved, and the poorest have next to no social rights. In the political sphere, there is formal, but not effective, participation.

In general terms, it is possible to see citizenship as consisting of two strands: the passive, relating to the set of rights that the State guarantees to uphold for the individual, and the active, relating to the participation of the individual in the functioning of the State. The two major paradigms of citizenship — liberal and civic republican — each focus principally on one of these two elements, the former on rights and the latter on active participation (Heater, 1999; Kymlicka, 2002). Ye t it can be argued that citizenship will only be effective if attention is paid to both, with citizens ensured of their civil, political and social rights (in T. H. Marshall's [1950] conception) and taking an active part in decision-making, whether at the local or national level.

Keywords

Migration Europe Expense Defend Aires 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tristan McCowan
  • Luís Armando Gandin
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University Rio Grande do SulBrazil

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