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Facing Poverty and Marginalization

Fifty Years of Critical Research in Brazil


Edited By Michalis Kontopodis, Maria Cecília Camargo Magalhães and Maria José Coracini

A long history of poverty, discrimination, colonialism and struggle for social justice has provided, over the last fifty years, the context for the development of a vast amount of critical scholarship targeting marginalization in Brazil: Freireian pedagogics, theology of liberation, critical sociology, anthropology and ethnomathematics, critical social psychology and discourse analysis. Most of this scholarship has unfortunately been accessible only to the Portuguese-speaking readership. This volume presents, for the first time to an international audience, the novel understandings of critical research that have emerged in this frame. While Brazil is entering a new phase of socio-economic and political turmoil, distinguished representatives of the various critical research traditions from all over Brazil explore the voices and practices of those who are usually hardly heard: the helpless, the mentally ill, the landless, the homeless, the voiceless youth, delinquents, indigenous people, the powerless. The volume proposes original theoretical tools and arguments that can inspire social-scientific discussions on facing poverty and marginalization not only with regard to Brazil, but also other parts of the world. It is the first book of its kind in English and a unique tool for undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and specialists across the social sciences.

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7. In-Famous Cyberhomelessness: The “Homeless” Writer Tião Nicomedes


Following fifteen years of supposedly unrestricted civilian access, the euphoria of claiming that the internet is the latest technological development has ceased. The benefits and losses arising from cyber interaction have divided its interpreters. For those who delight in it, it is a new outer space, containing all of the possibilities of pleasant exploration and progressive change. For others, it is a new outer space containing all of the possible dangers the unknown offers. For sure, the internet is an element of everyday life for most citizens in Brazil while at the same time the discourse of digital inclusion constitutes one of the premises for the success of capitalism in its global phase.

Extending digital inclusion to the doubly “infamous” – the latter being the term used by Foucault (1977) to describe individuals who both do not have fame and committed a vile act – extending it to the “homeless,” is such a distant idea that it sounds as ironic as giving “brioche to the people when in lack of bread”. Interestingly enough, various media – not only in Brazil but in other parts of the world, too – proclaim that some “homeless” people spend part of their days in cyber cafes. Such claims spark an interest in understanding what kind of use “homeless” people would make of the internet. The subsequent observation that they use it not just for the purpose of having fun, as one might suspect, but rather to participate in social networks, is what triggered this...

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