The University Curriculum and the Ecology of Knowledges towards building a Planetary Citizenship


  • Silvia Elizabeth Moraes Federal University of Ceará
  • Ludmila Almeida Freire State University of Minas Gerais



curriculum theory, postcolonialism, floating signifier


This paper presents results of the project Global citizenship as an inter/transdisciplinary theme in the university curriculum. The first part of the research was made with student-teachers at the Federal University of Ceará (2008-2012). To broaden our perspective on the topic, a second part was dedicated to analyze how other countries deal with this issue in their university curricula. For this purpose, Moraes spent 2013 at the Institute of Education, University of London (Capes, Estágio Senior) and Freire went to the Centre of Social Studies, University of Coimbra (Capes, Doctoral Internship, 2013-2014) to become acquainted with Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s Ecology of Knowledges. In Brazil, the concept evolved from global to planetary throughout our study. Portuguese has two words for knowledge: conhecimento and saber. The first one may refer to a more formal knowledge, as from the academic sciences. Saber is a contextualized knowledge, related to social demands, to the life-world (Habermas) where traditions, culture and sciences meet. Some Brazilian institutions are engaged in an epistemic and pedagogical experimentation that promotes dialogue between the academic world and the world of indigenous and African matrixes. We assume the university as a discursive context for building a Planetary Citizenship and the ecology of knowledge stands as the main category to support our reflection. This citizenship is conceived as a floating signifier that is articulated in a variety of concrete projects proposed by different groups. Planetary citizenship is the transdisciplinary theme that gives coherence to those projects; it is their ’saber organizador’.

Author Biographies

Silvia Elizabeth Moraes, Federal University of Ceará

Departamento Teoria e Prática, Professor Adjunto

Ludmila Almeida Freire, State University of Minas Gerais

Departamento de Administração Educacional