The role of autonomy and reciprocity in everyday learning practices. An ethnographic study in Mbya Guarani communities (Argentina)

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
Poster in a Structured Poster Session (SPS)
Tuesday Aug 29   01:30 PM to 03:30 PM (2 hours)
The aim of this paper is to examine the ideas of reciprocity, respect, autonomy, and interdependence of lives and the impact of these on children's development and health. It is based on ethnographic research conducted in two Mbya Guarani communities (Argentina). Although some cultural analyses still use simplistic dualisms such as collectivism vs. individualism or interdependence vs. autonomy, a balance between individual and collective goals and values is noticeable in many Indigenous communities. Mbya Guarani perspectives on children's growth and development emphasize the balance between interdependence and autonomy as complementary values. Daily attitudes and practices promoting autonomy and reciprocity are key for children for learning to inhabiting the forest, which implies to interact with its human and non-human inhabitants. Moreover, these values are linked to children's wellbeing and health. Using an ecological approach of human development, I describe Mbya perspectives on children's “growth” (crecimiento) and development, providing examples of environmentally relevant skills to grow up in the forest; including learning how to walk in it and developing understanding (entendimiento). These make possible children’s integration in community endeavors through their active participation and collaboration in daily activities in the framework of multi-aged groups of people.
Universidad Nacional de La Plata