Dr Fernando Fernandes
Community Education, School of Education and Social Work
+44 (0)1382 384754
Old Medical School
My first degree is in Geography and I have a Masters in Geography (both at Fluminense Federal University, Brazil); and a PhD in Geography (at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). My professional and academic experience, however, has been always beyond the boundaries of Geography in a permanent dialogue with sociology, social anthropology, media studies, public health, and community learning and development.
I have been working with urban marginality in Brazil for almost two decades. Between 2001 and 2009 I worked at the Observatory of Favelas, Brazilian civil society organisation, where I was responsible for the area of violence and human rights, and later became one of the co-directors. At Observatory of Favelas I developed several research and intervention projects that aimed to produce new concepts and approaches to address issues of local development, violence and human rights. Beyond that, projects that aimed to impact on urban development from the favela (or ‘urban periphery’ in a wider sense) perspective. At Observatory of Favelas I have developed practical experience on development of research and intervention within multi-agency collaborations at local, national, and international levels. At the present, I am still connected to the Observatory of Favelas as Honorary Director. I am also a Trustee (non-executive director) for the Maria and Joao Aleixo Institute – an international think tank organisation created by Observatory of Favelas.
In Brazil, I was also a lecturer in Human Geography in two distinct public universities: Rio de Janeiro State University (2003-2004) and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2004-2006). I also contributed to the Public Security and Citizenship programme run by the Centre for Studies on Public Security and Citizenship (CESeC) at Candido Mendes University (2008-2009).
Moving to new pastures in the UK I had a short passage in 2009 at the London School of Economics where I collaborated in a project on Rio’s favelas. In 2010 I joined the University of Dundee where I worked at the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education. During this period, I taught in the Community Learning and Development programme as well as developing research projects around policing and volunteering in the UK. In 2012, I moved to School of Nursing and Midwifery to assist in the creation of a Centre for Inequalities that unfortunately did not materialise. After a period of collaboration with the Social Dimensions of Health Institute, at the same school, in 2016 I moved back to the renewed School of Education and Social Work, where I reconnected with the Community Learning and Development programme. In the UK, I have always strived to apply my knowledge acquired from my experiences in Brazil here and to establish links between the two countries. As result I have been exploring theoretical and conceptual dialogue between the ‘North’ and ‘South’ in a range of teaching and research projects addressing urban marginality and criminalisation of the poor in both countries.
Alongside the link with Observatory of Favelas/ Maria and Joao Aleixo Institute, I am also an associate for the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.
My area of research relates to what can be called a ‘sociology of practice’. I am interested in the socio-political and cultural conditions and contexts in which practitioners from a diverse range of disciplines work. Most specifically, I am interested in the interactions between practitioners and those who are from marginalised and stigmatised background. In my research I adopt a Bourdieusian theoretical framework as analytical tool to explore issues around practitioner attitudes, social representations, power relations and cultural change.
My research activities reflect my engagement with the field of human rights in the context of community development, with special attention to the role of stereotyping social representations on policy and practice. I have been empirically exploring this in Brazilian favelas, and most recently, with marginalised groups in Scotland. I am interested in the role of stigmatisation and penalisation of the poor on the reinforcement of urban marginality. I am concerned in the mechanisms of socio-symbolic denigration and spatial containment of groups considered to be threatening and undesirable in the urban space. These mechanisms constitute ‘pedagogies of monsterisation’ that underpin the negative othering in neoliberal societies. Most of my experience relates to young people (particularly those in conflict with the law).
My key hypothesis of work is that stigmatisation is a symbolic resource which is used to mobilise public consensus and indifference to justify oppressive practices that can result, for example, in the discriminatory treatment some groups receive in public services (as it is the case of benefit claimants) or, in extreme situations, in the social acceptance of the physical elimination of certain groups (as observed in the case of the death of marginalised youngsters in Brazilian cities). As result I challenge stigmatising practices performed by practitioners and reproduced by social policy, and propose the development of ‘pedagogies of coexistence’ in the city.
I am interested on theories and concepts that consider the tensions between structure and subjects on the make of oppressive as well as emancipatory practices. Most specifically, I am interested in the paradigm of potency as a key reference to develop concepts that can challenge the hegemonic political, academic and aesthetic representations and conceptualizations of marginalised groups and their spaces of existence, survival and resistance.
Most of my work relates to the experiences of stigma, violence and human rights violations experienced by marginalised youth in Brazilian cities. Over the past few years I have been using this conceptual framework to explore the dimensions of symbolic denigration and urban marginality in Scotland and wider ‘Global North’.
Areas of interest:
- Stigma and social representation (stigmatisation, practitioner attitudes towards marginalised groups; impact of social representation of poverty on policy and practice; anti-stigma agency)
- Urban marginality (urban-segregation; urban/community development)
- Youth (children in conflict with the law; youth work; youth agency)
- Violence and Human rights (youth homicides; institutional violence; public security)
- Criminal justice (‘penal-state’ theories; juvenile justice system; policing)
- Latin America and Brazilian urban studies (focus on the militarization of urban security)
- Critical Policy Studies (focus on discourse analysis and its relationship with policy design and policy implementation)
Some examples of areas I have worked:
- Stigmatisation, police violence and human rights violations in Brazilian favelas
- Alternatives to the involvement of young people in drug trafficking gangs in Brazil
- Violence prevention programmes aimed at the youth in Brazil
- Community development interventions with focus on community agency, participatory action research and inter-agency work in Brazil
- Impact of Mega-Sport Events in children rights (Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup)
- Police force training development in Brazil and Scotland
- Destitution in the UK with focus on people affected by homelessness
- Health rights in the juvenile justice system in Europe
- Training and strategies to better prepare practitioners and higher education students to work with marginalised groups in Scotland
- Experience of collaborative work with governments, international agencies (UNICEF, ILO, UNESCO) and grassroots organisations
Teaching and training has always been a very important dimension of my professional engagement. Prior joining the university I was already involved in teaching and training activities. I was a university lecturer in three Brazilian universities and involved on design and delivery of a range of professional development activities addressed to practitioners, social activists, and policy makers. I have also taught at secondary level, being involved in ‘pre-vestibular’ (exam to access universities in Brazil) courses, some of them, based in community organisations and delivered to marginalised youth.
At University of Dundee, I have been involved on design, development, and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. I have extensive postgraduate supervision experience. I have also acted as internal/external examiner for PhD viva and upgrade review as well as convening roles for TMCs and Upgrade Reviews.
Current topics under supervision
- Human rights violations in the Juvenile Justice System in Morocco
- Stigmatisation of Gypsy Travellers in the UK
- Professional development to enhance the teaching and learning of science in Ireland
- One-to-one models of learning within international schools in Malaysia
- Challenges faced by recently qualified social workers in Scotland
- Access to oral public health of immigrants and refugees in Scotland
Past supervised topics
- Social workers discourses and practices towards asylum seekers in the UK
- Challenges faced by migrant farm workers in Scotland
- Social worker attitudes towards health visitor’s views on child neglect in Scotland
- Policing street-children in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Female community leadership in Brazilian favelas
- Policing and human rights in Brazil
- Community development in Scotland
- Community Development in Pakistan
- Depression factors for the elderly in India
- Right to Health in Prisons
- Equality and Diversity in Prisons - the situation of LGBT prisoners
There is also a number of masters supervised dissertations not listed here
English and Scottish prisons are “traumatising, rigid and frequently dangerous places” for LGBT+ inmates, a University of Dundee study has found