Pontifical Catholical University of Campinas, Brazil
Thesis: Psychology and participatory processes in school: student ́s agency
Research supervisor: Dr. Raquel Souza Lobo Guzzo

Developing a doctoral thesis that deals with the participation of students in public schools from a critical reference of Psychology in Brazil has been configured as a great challenge in the present day. In addition to the material problems arising from the rise to power of people who have significantly reduced investment in the field of education, there is an ideological problem involving the questioning of scientific knowledge as valid for reading current problems.
Added to this, there is an intrinsic challenge in the issue of student participation, given that if in the ideas´ field it may be desirable, in everyday school practices there is a great deal of fears on the part of teachers and managers: what if students unite against us? How could we give students the possibility to make choices and propose solutions to everyday problems in school life if, in many cases, even adults can´t solve them? Psychology itself in its hegemonic meanings contributes to the understanding of children as less able people, and therefore, things must be ready for them.
We find in the foundations of Cultural-Historical Psychology, in Activity Theory and in its “daughter” the German Critical Psychology a way to lay the foundations and construct an opposing thesis: it is necessary to promote participatory spaces for people to develop agency – as well as the necessary elements to act democratically. Thus, we observe that the ISCAR Summer University proposal meets the needs that we have identified in our research, as we dedicate ourselves to the study German Critical Psychology as a proposal to develop this tradition, questions arise about how to relate and unify the system of concepts to better understand the development of agency in participatory processes.
Due to the political scenario and the persecutions that he suffered, Holzkamp makes his contributions in a slightly confusing, but with a lot of potential way. Hence, participation in ISCAR and the possibility of deepening the knowledge and discussing with colleagues could elucidate questions such as: could it be possible to draw a parallel between Holzkamp´s concept of subjective reasons for action and the concept of perezhivanie? In addition, since interdisciplinary research is the theme chosen for this ISCAR edition, we understand that discussions can help us develop elements for the
analysis of participation – a sociology category – from a psychological perspective, that is, to construct theoretically how the creation of participatory situations can be configured as social situations of development that reorganize the psychic system, expanding the consciousness as a whole and developing different psychological functions.
More than ever, it is necessary to clearly delineate these issues, as there is a strong current in our country pointing to the militarization of educational practices, by betting on authoritarian practices to discipline and develop citizens. By demonstrating the importance of participation for psychosocial development, psychology could provide “weapons” much more effective than the weapons so much defended by our government, the ones made to kill, not to educate.