Critical discourse analysis and ethnography : the crisis in the national street children's movement in Brazil
This paper is the result of a research study aimed at investigating the crisis in the National Street Children's Movement in the Federal District, Brasília, Brazil. This crisis as well as its consequences on juvenile protagonism, the Movement's main focus, were proven empirically and confirmed in ethnographic data. In conducting this study, ethnographic methods were used to generate and collect data. The methods used were participant-observation, field-notes, focus interviews, focus groups and recordings of meetings. Participant-observation was carried out at the Movement's headquarters in Brasilia as well as at the Movement's branches in Brasilia's satellite cities from April 2005 up to the close of the branches' activities in December, 2005.  Observations were recorded as field notes in a research diary. Two focal group meetings were held in April, 2006. Both groups included young people who during their childhood and/or adolescence had taken part in the Movement and still maintained links to the institution. Four focus interviews were conducted with the Federal District Movement's members between October, 2006 and February, 2007. Two young protagonists - branch leaders - and two Movement educators participated in the interviews. Two meetings were taped. The first was recorded in March 2006 and the second in March 2007. Theoretical and epistemological references were based upon the interdisciplinary articulation between Critical Discourse Analysis (van Leeuwen, 1997; Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999; Fairclough, 2003; Blommaert, 2005) and Critical Realism (Bhaskar, 1989; Sayer, 2000; Archer, 2000). In analyzing the data, Critical Discourse Analysis categories such as interdiscursivity, modality, cohesion, metaphor and representation of social actors were used. In keeping with the presuppositions in explanatory criticism in Critical Realism, results of the analyses indicate that there are some discursive causes for the Movement's crisis. The main generative mechanisms that explain the problem and highlighted in the data are contradictions in identity and identification construction regarding the constitution of the 'girl-educator' position; hierarchical social relations resistant to transformation; the social legitimating of the crisis in the Movement's struggle; adherence to immobility discourse in social structures; the lack of symbolic resources linked to discourse and the naturalization of the incapacity to transform this; the absence of legitimate spaces for role transition in the institution. The analyses allow therefore for reflecting upon the National Street Children's Movement crisis and its consequences on youth protagonism and hence consider some of the discursive causes for this crisis and its effects upon the institution.