"Fierce" students - gender, affirmative actions and cognitive justice in the Brazilian public university

Jacira da Silva Barbosa (UFBA/CAPES/MEC)

July 20, 2018, 16h00

Room 2, CES | Alta


Although discourses contrary to the policy of reserving vacancies in public universities still persist in the Brazilian context, the advances achieved with the expansion of access to higher education are notorious. This has supported the expansion of new actions in the country, for example, the 2012 law, which determines the reserve of 50% of vacancies in Federal Institutions of Higher Education for students of popular origin. The adoption of affirmative action policies, which encompass ethnic-racial, socioeconomic and school origin, is one of the factors that has favoured the increase in the female population in the universities of Brazil.

This seminar will discuss the results of a research with black and poor students who entered the public university via affirmative action policy. The research context is the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), which belongs to the group of the first Brazilian institutions to implement an affirmative action programme since 2005.

This study is part of the Abdias do Nascimento Academic Development Programme (CAPES / MEC), whose commitment seeks to analyse the effects of the expansion of higher education in Brazil, with the objective of evaluating the degree to which effective democratisation is being built and that can sustain not only social justice but, above all, a commitment to cognitive justice, a concept of interest in this research. The research has as background the postcolonial studies that debate the importance of the construction of a new scientific paradigm, open to epistemologies subalternised by the colonial optic, especially in the countries of the South. From the narrative of the students academic trajectories, it becomes possible to know and reflect on the contradictions experienced in the university environment, the difficulties related to the processes of permanence and “student affiliation” and, above all, the determination and the strength they have developed in order to conquer their space in a context characterized by a normative model that presents difficulties in responding to the social demands that are presented by the contemporary society.

Bio note

Jacira da Silva Barbosa is a psychologist, teacher and doctoral student in Developmental Psychology (UFBA), in a doctoral internship at  CES by the Academic Development Program Abdias do Nascimento (CAPES / MEC). Social worker working in the area of public health in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Specialist in Systemic Family Therapy, develops research projects in the area of gender, family, particularly matrifocal family configurations and with university students coming from these groups. She is a member of the Observatory of Student Life (OVE), an interdisciplinary group that develops research on student life and culture and university. She has published articles in the areas of matrifocal family, student trajectories, subject and subjectivity.

Under the ALICE programme - Epistemologies of the South