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The primary research assignment for this semester, will comprise an individual research paper/project focused around Marcelo Diversi’s article on street children and Nike; the article addresses the topics of sport, culture, and advertising as they relate to issues of life in contemporary America, Brazil and beyond. Specific topics: (1) Show your understanding of Ideology and Hegemony; what stories (narratives and discourses) can be found about street kids in Brazilian Society? (2) Divesi’s decide to use the short story genre to (re) present the kids in his work. What are his arguments for this? P.p. 375-6 (3) On page 383 Diversi uses Paulo Freire’s (1970) seminal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, what is his intention? What is the link between an American corporation and the street kids in Brazil? (4)What is (are) Diversi’s ultimate goal with his article? Does he succeed?Engage in a dialogue with Marcelo. Be creative! It is perfectly allowable to reflect upon your own experience for inspiration. In fact, much of interpretive research (and I would say all research) has it genesis in the experience of the researcher or the reader. Maybe you had an experience (or know about other stories) that relates with Diversi’s stories. Reflect upon that experience, describe it if it helps you clarify your understand of the article. How could street kids believe they can be more than just “little criminals” when they are treated as little criminals so many times a day? How can they believe that they are not inherently vicious when they are treated with hatred by the population and with violence by the police? How can they try to become fuller human beings, as I naively thought at first, when they are often treated as inferior even by those who want to help? At best, it is irresponsible to expect that kids in such obscene health, social, and economic conditions overcome their predicament alone. To redefine the self, to reject the prescribed self- image and learn to respect and admire oneself not for what one is not (lacking the symbols associated with high social status) but for what one is requires social encounters that create conditions for positive feedback and support. Thus, the importance of sensitizing the population to the street children’s condition in the hopes that new and more liberating cultural plots be laid out as alternatives. (p.387) After all, these kids are not much different from the well-to-do citizens when we look beyond superficial external characteristics. Most of us share, to some degree, a hunger for materialistic consumption, for the authentic, for symbols and commodities that project the images associated with the current standards of success. Just Do It! The street kids’ dreams of commodities are only different from ours in that they do not take place in comfortable mattresses, automatic cars, jet planes, or climate-controlled rooms. As superficial as these desires may be, in the end, I dare say we are all looking for the same things: acceptance, acknowledgement, respect, and self-worth. Humanization. In their desperate search, the kids observe, learn, and master the web of symbols that seem to make one “more human” before society’s eyes. Although well-to-do citizens might view these kids’ desire of Nikes as yet another expression of incorrigible stupidity (“The poor devils don’t even have food, for Christ’s sake!”), for the kids, understanding the meanings of these symbols, the symbols of the “more human,” may be an unconscious way of pursuing appraisal, recognition, and acknowledgement so scarce in their street life. Perhaps beneath the desire for Nikes, there lies a most human desire for life with dignity.(pp 387-8)


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