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Family institutional trust in public school

Grant number: 21/06982-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Sergio França Adorno de Abreu
Grantee:Sara Badra de Oliveira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07923-7 - Center of the Study of Violence - NEV/USP, AP.CEPID


The public school is a place of diversity inhabited by people and groups from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural identities and worldviews. This situation may foster plural and democratic experiences as well as conflicts, which need to be handled within a perspective of mutual recognition and democratic learning in order to avoid situations of violence and disrespect for rights of all kinds. From this perspective, it is relevant to investigate school-community relationships including the relationship between school professionals and students' families and their dynamics of partnership and animosity. On the one hand, schools understand it is important to know families´ contexts of life and to engage them in the daily life of schools whilst many families realize the importance of school in their children's lives, which seems to have been strengthened in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, school professionals tend to depict families from minority backgrounds in disrespectful ways and to produce/reproduce inequalities and injustices whilst families attached to conservative and authoritarian ideologies try to control teachers´ work. The traditional predominance of undemocratic management styles, the difficulty in dealing with diversity, the recent conservative wave embodied, for example, in the Escola Sem Partido Movement, all of these hinder the establishment of a cooperative school work that promotes democracy, recognition of differences and respect for human rights making it difficult to achieve a fairer society. Assuming that interpersonal and institutional trust is an essential element that comes together with the development of values and attitudes committed to social justice, human rights and democracy, this project aims to investigating how families trust in public school is built, with a special attention to perceptions and situations of justice/injustice experienced by these citizens in their contacts with school professionals. Such experiences concern, for example, how much families feel that their dignity is respected and their needs are heard and considered. The research draws on theoretical frames related to political and institutional trust (e.g. MOISÉS, 2005), collective trust in the school context (e.g. BRYK & SCHNEIDER, 2002), democratic management and human rights education (e.g. PARO, 2003; CANDAU, 2012), procedural justice (e.g. TYLER, 1990) and/or social justice (e.g. FRASER, 2003; GEWIRTZ, 1998). The methodology has a qualitative character and comprises three steps: 1. bibliographic review, with a view to systematizing how the Brazilian sociological educational literature has approached the theme of school-community relations, focusing on the types of contact between families and professionals and on the expectations of the former in relation to the public school; 2. in-depth study of the mentioned references, aimed to elaborating possible dialogues between them; 3. fieldwork in two public schools. This stage is divided into: a) getting closer to the management teams; b) observation of moments in which professionals and families contact each other (in person and/or by virtual means); c) elaboration of a semi-structured interview script based on the previous steps and application of interviews to families. The criteria of selection are the availability/interest and representativeness of the various socioeconomic backgrounds and the different forms of approach to school reality. Data from fieldwork notes and interviews will be submitted to content analysis. The goals at this stage include describing the new features of school-community relationships steaming from the pandemic as well as identifying families' perceptions on trust and justice. (AU)

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