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Cultural Differences Between Favela and Asfalto in Complex Systems Thinking

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Abstract Favela residents in Brazil have been marginalized throughout their history. Nonetheless, the favela environment seems to create conditions conducive to a cognitive orientation that could be advantageous for engaging in complex systems thinking. This study is a preliminary examination of people from different social backgrounds in Rio de Janeiro, both favela (working-class) and asfalto (middle-class) dwellers, and evaluates whether their cognitive orientations might present any markers for the potential of complex systems thinking, including: (1) the ability to see multiple perspectives, and (2) a tendency to focus on relationships. I conducted a mixed methods research study based on in-depth interviews with 89 residents in Rio de Janeiro. The data indicate that favela residents in Rio de Janeiro show markers for systems thinking, appealing to relational information and taking multiple perspectives spontaneously.

Affiliations: 1: Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy Walter Annenberg Hall, 2120 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208 USA

10.1163/15685373-12342089
/content/journals/10.1163/15685373-12342089
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/content/journals/10.1163/15685373-12342089
2013-01-01
2016-12-09

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