Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Brazilian Landless Workers in Motion

Bénédicte SCHOONBROODT student laureate

°1976 Belgium
Licence in sociology, Université de Liège, Belgium, 2003

Les Paysans sans Terre brésiliens en mouvement

This study has a clear grasp of the notion of self-development that is at the core of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST: the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement. The very fact of being organized in a movement constitutes an essential element of what the student calls “taking their own development in hand”. The relevance of this work lies in the fact that it has been produced at the very moment that globalization is impelling millions of farmers in virtually every part of the world to try and find a solution.
Recourse to a reflective anthropology puts the sympathy Ms Schoonbroodt felt towards the Landless Workers Movement at the service of her scientific research. The same applies to the exploration of participatory observation and visual anthropology, which give a great credibility to the undertaking. The originality of the study lies precisely in this engagement: it is accomplished with enthusiasm, yet without losing sight of the demands of scientific rigour. Accepting the sympathy felt and the risks that it entails, gives an extra authenticity-value and depth to the research.
Her authenticity allows the author to identify the MST’s potential for “self-organization, symbolic production and the construction of an identity” without neglecting the difficult reality and ambiguities experienced by the farmers who make up the social basis of this movement. Ms Schoonbroodt has been able to accurately comprehend the actual role of the MST in the development of the landless Brazilian farmers and its symbolic role in the development of farming families and the land in a wider sense.

report by Prof. Dr. Ferreira da Costa, Mensenbroeders NGO, Leuven, Belgium