Funds of Perezhivanie: Creating Cracks in the Walls of Oppression

Funds of Perezhivanie: Creating Cracks in the Walls of Oppression

Fernanda Liberali (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil), Larissa Mazuchelli (Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil), Rafael da Silva Tosetti Pejão (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil), Daniela Vendramini-Zanella (University of Sorocaba, Brazil), Valdite Pereira Fuga (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil), and Luciana Modesto-Sarra (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5022-2.ch022
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This chapter discusses the development of funds of perezhivanie in participants of the Brincadas Project, a response to the appalling experiences of COVID-19 in Brazil organized by the Research Group Language in Activities in School Contexts. The project, grounded on critical collaborative research, decolonial studies, and Vygotskian and Freirean's body of works, involves participants' critical, intentional, and engaged actions to individually and collectively recreate ways of “producing life” and research together. The authors focus on two activities for this work: a cine club with the indigenous community Tekoa Pyau and a workshop session on ag(e)ing. Both activities exemplify the development and expansion of participants' funds of perezhivanie while expressing how these resources for “talking back” may significantly impact society.
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This chapter discusses the development of funds of perezhivanie in participants of the Brincadas Project, organized by the Research Group Language in Activities in School Context (Grupo de Pesquisa Linguagem e Atividade em Contexto Escolar, in Portuguese), as a response to the dreadful living conditions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil.

In Brazil, the pandemic crisis has highlighted the necropolitics1 (Mbembe, 2003) of a government that despises its population's death. Among several examples, the authors stress the incitement not to use masks and the contempt for adopting distancing measures; the absence of a national policy for buying vaccines and the government's questioning of their efficacy; the encouragement of medication and treatment without scientific evidence; and the lack of financial support for families in need.

In 2022, for example, around 130,000 families are at risk of being evicted. Between March 2020 and February 2022, more than 27,600 families left their homes, representing a rise of circa 300% in the last two years (Despejo Zero, 2022). Data on food insecurity also indicate the increase in despair of families who cannot feed themselves. Although hunger is a historical problem in Brazil, as is access to housing, in the last two years, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has increased from 10.3 million to 19.1 million (Rede PENSSAN, 2021). In this regard, it is worth noting that in 2019 the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security was terminated by the Bolsonaro Government in the form of a Provisional Measure (PM N. 870, Jan 1, 2019). The return of Brazil to the United Nations Hunger Map is not due only to the recent health crisis, but to the political mechanisms that have been annihilating social advances.

In this terrifying political helplessness and health crisis scenario, the authors highlight the struggling experiences to survive of two population groups—indigenous communities and the ag(e)ing2 population—that live in destitution, suffering from discrimination and systemic violence. The former has been resisting, since the Portuguese colonization, the violence that reduced its population from around 3 million to 250 thousand—currently distributed in only 200 ethnic groups and circa 170 languages. The latter resists being blamed for the “overburden” on the health and pension systems. In the context of the pandemic, besides the health crisis, the indigenous population faces increased hunger and violence in the dispute over land for monoculture and livestock. In turn, the ag(e)ing population was ridiculed and accused of not understanding the gravity of the pandemic. At the same time, their lives were considered disposable by politicians who regard it inconceivable that “now everyone wants to live to 100, 120, 130 years” and doctors who have decided that the lives of older people in Intensive Care Units are not worth the treatment3.

Alongside other initiatives, the Brincadas Project has responded to this reality by offering financial support, education and play, and psychological aid4. As discussed in previous works (Liberali, Mazuchelli & Modesto-Sarra, 2021; Liberali et al., 2021a), the project has involved working with “the disposable lives'' of the deaf, the LGBTQIAP+ community, the quilombolas, the indigenous groups, the migrants, the afro-Brazilians, the ag(e)ing people, women, and people with disability so that they can “talk back” (hooks, 1989) and transform their struggling experiences into potent resources to create cracks (Walsh, 2019) in the walls of oppression. As suggested by hooks (1989), talking back involves raising one's voice to speak as an equal to an authority figure in a daring attitude of disagreement, simply having an unsolicited opinion or speaking out, which may be viewed as an act of courage.

In this chapter, the authors focus on two activities developed in 2021 that exemplify how the participants' critical, voluntary, and engaged actions may foster the expansion of their funds of perezhivanie5, here understood as sets of resources developed from dramatic events (Vygotsky, 1994a) lived with others that can translate into new ways of living and meaning-making (Megale & Liberali, 2020). The first activity was developed with Aldeia Tekoa Pyau, an indigenous community located on the outskirts of São Paulo that suffers from the struggles of living between a rural community and a large city favela. The work with indigenous children, youth, and educators aimed at worshiping their ancestry, traditions, and wisdom and dealing with environmental issues through a cine club on human rights.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Perezhivanie: Usually translated as “lived experience,” the Russian term involves life in transformation and is a prism that refracts the unique combination of social and individual characteristics in the process of development.

Coloniality: A structure of principles and practices that founds modernity and engenders forms of exploration and domination of being, seeing, doing, thinking, feeling, and acting.

Engaged Multiliteracy: An engaged pedagogical instrument based on the works of Freire and Vygotsky that aims to construct more equitable and fair ways of living the world through education.

Cracks: Insurgent stances that challenge, transgress, and crack (fissure) coloniality and its systems of power and oppression.

Brincadas Project: A project designed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the Global Play Brigade, it brings together students, teachers, and researchers from the LACE Research Group that inform and promote online activities, webinars about education, virtual meetings to play with participants of all ages, and psychological and financial support for those in need.

Critical Collaborative Research: The praxis of critically creating zones of mutually and interdependently shared production of meaning to change realities in which participants engage pedagogically to take cognitive and emotional risks to debate concepts, values, ideas, and intervene in an unfair world creatively.

Oppression: It is a type of relationship that de-humanize both the person who is oppressed and who oppresses. It prevents subjects from living their lives fully.

viable Unheard Of: A term that refers to what is unprecedented, not yet clearly known and experienced, but dreamed. When it starts to be perceived, it allows thinking of alternatives to overcome limiting situations experienced in a given context to create the possible.

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