Fostering sustainability in Brazilian agrarian reform: insights from assentamentos and ecovillages

Fostering sustainability in Brazilian agrarian reform: insights from assentamentos and ecovillages

This is a preliminary version of the multimedia and interactive version of a master thesis made by Bruno Paschoal, Caio Werneck and Javier Guillot for the MPP (Master of Public Policy) program of the Hertie School of Governance, in Berlin. A short abstract is below:

We conducted a constructivist qualitative research project, designed as an instrumental collective case study, in order to discover potential ways to foster sustainability in agrarian-reform settlements (assentamentos) in Brazil. We visited twelve communities—six assentamentos and six ecovillages—in May-October 2014 and gathered data through interviews, observations and documents produced by other sources. Inspired by the so-called “Gioia Method” and grounded theory, we followed a research strategy characterized by a constant process of interaction with the data, involving the use of qualitative data analysis (QDA) software. In the process, one broad research question —‘how can sustainability in assentamentos be fostered?’— was broken down into two: ‘which are salient challenges to fostering sustainability in assentamentos?’ and ‘which insights for addressing those challenges may be obtained from existing assentamentos and ecovillages?’.

The synthesized results were three clusters of challenges—moving towards sustainable production, building infrastructure for sustainability and creating attractive conditions for the youth; two elements for the design of potential solutions—improving access, use and dissemination of sustainability know-how and enabling cooperative collective dynamics; and four insights that can serve as input in the design of policies and governance arrangements to foster sustainability in agrarian reform: (i) the power of example can be an effective means for the transition to more sustainable practices; (ii) building a common vision among assentados can support the maintenance of cooperative collective dynamics; (iii) more room for experimentation can strengthen sustainability know-how; and (iv) collective initiatives can prevent isolation in rural communities by acting as touchpoints with the external world and bringing exchange opportunities for assentados.

This current version in Scalar intends to explore an innovative way to communicate the research outputs and share the whole "research-map" with readers. Therefore, the original thesis text was complemented with hyperlinks to documents, books collected, interviews videos and communities photos. The text is all in English, however some of those documents and videos are still in Portuguese. We still do not have one version fully available in either of those languages (working on it!).

You can use the visual below in order to navigate the text. The figure below was created in order to visually present the research and here act as a map to navigate the different sections and materials. In the end of each section, you will find a button to move to the next section or come back to the last. In order to come back to this index page, click on the title of the thesis in the header of each page. Enjoy your journey and, if you would like, write us to give us our feedback: 

And here a more traditional way to navigate:>>> Start | Introduction