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Assessing Grassroots Engineering Applications in Brazil

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Cristiano Cordeiro Cruz Aeronautics Technological Institute Orcid 16x16

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I currently develop a post-doctorate research at the Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA) with a scholarship from FAPESP (#2018/20563-3). I hold a PhD degree in Philosophy (University of São Paulo, 2017), a bachelor degree in Philosophy (Jesuit Faculty of Philosophy and Theology, 2008), a master degree in Electrical Engineering (University of Campinas, 2002), and a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering (University of Campinas, 1999). My research area encompasses philosophy of technology and of engineering and engineering education. I am now studying grassroots engineering (GE) and social/solidarity technology (ST), as well as engineering education, focusing, on one hand, on the ethical-political, aesthetics, and epistemic aspects that both characterize and make GE and ST possible, and, on the other hand, on the challenges the engineering education must face in order to train/develop the capabilities or skills engineers must possess so to be able of doing GE and producing ST. The work I currently develop at ITA is related to the conception and institutionalization of a minor in engaged engineering.

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In Brazil, service learning or community service is an integral part of every university’s fundamental duties, along with teaching and researching. The type of learning or service to be provided, however, depends on the hermeneutics applied, which can either lead to community empowerment and socio-technical change or to mere paternalism.

In the early 2000’s, during the two terms of Lula as president of Brazil, many community service/ service learning teams were established and institutionalized, linked to engineering courses and faculty members. From the conjugation of the social technology and solidarity economy movements, some of these teams developed a form of engineering practice that is now called grassroots engineering.

In this manuscript, along with a brief recall of the most important facts concerning the emergence of Brazilian grassroots engineering (GE), I will: 1) present three of the GE’s current leading teams; 2) discuss some of the theoretical and methodological basis of GE; 3) analyze some of the impacts of GE on both supported community and involved students; 4) highlight the main aspects of the formation process provided to students; and 5) discuss some potentialities and limitations of GE.

For doing so, I will draw on different GE teams’ publications, interviews with some leading grassroots engineers, and my personal perception as a member of the GE network, Repos.

Cruz, C. C. (2020, June), Assessing Grassroots Engineering Applications in Brazil Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34176

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