Towards a Democratic and Emancipatory University: Feminist Popular Extension and New Relations Between University and Society in Brazil

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:50 AM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Lívia GIMENES DIAS DA FONSECA , Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
Diego NEPOMUCENO NARDI , Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
Renata Cristina DE FARIA GONÇALVES COSTA , Universidade de Brasília, Brazil
Popular Extension is a key element for comprehending the relationship between society and universities in Latin America. By making possible a close collaboration between universities and social movements, Popular Extension is a valuable tool for pursuing the construction of a contextualized university capable of opening its walls to the social reality that surrounds it. However, little has been researched regarding the outcomes of this practice on building a real alternative to the hegemonic models of university and rationality. Recognizing the centrality of Popular Extension for universities and community development practice in Latin America, the paper looks upon the experience of the Popular Extension Project “Popular Legal Promoters” on coping with gender based violence in the outskirts of Brasília, Brazil. Established jointly by feminist movements, the University of Brasília and the Brazilian Public Minister, the project is based on a freirean approach to popular education on human rights focused on the formation of community leaders able to engage themselves on tackling gender based violence within their communities. By resorting to collected data regarding the project implementation and outcomes, we argue that Popular Extension Projects can be an important tool not only for coping with social issues, such as gender violence, but can also be the founding point for the emergence of an alternative toward an emancipatory and democratic University, marked by a production and circulation of knowledge where the surrounding community becomes an active agent of this process and a constitutive element of University itself, which assumes a more contextualized role as an important stakeholder on participatory development practices.