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Road walkers: problems, challenges anda perpectives for change of road wanderes

Grant number: 21/13434-5
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2022 - November 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:José Sterza Justo
Grantee:José Sterza Justo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Cledione Jacinto de Freitas ; Luciana Codognoto da Silva
Associated scholarship(s):23/03953-0 - Categorization of problems, challenges and possibilities for change reported by road walkers, BP.TT


Highway wanderers: problems, challenges and perspectives for change Nowadays, the human being lives in a condition of great possibilities of circulation, displacement and geographic and psychosocial transience. The experiences of time/space compression are remarkable and, with them, impressions of an expanded, fluid, rapid, mobile and fleeting life, on all planes. The highway wanderers and vagrants live this condition in a very radical way: they roam the highways shoulders making the walk itself a survival strategy, without previously established routes or arrival points. The highway wanderers only temporarily abandon walking along the shoulder and enter cities in situations of extreme need - a serious health problem, for example, while the vagrants live transiting from city to city, taking walks on foot along the highways or on intercity buses, as travel passes provided by the social assistance services of the municipalities. Highway wanderers and vagrants walk along the shoulders at the whim of the contingencies of chance, without any protection, support and minimum guarantees from society or the State. There are several reasons, pointed out by previous researches, for the abandonment of a sedentary life, with geographic and psychosocial fixations, and the desertion for a wandering life, without prolonged ties to certain geographical and psychosocial stable spaces. Extreme economic difficulties, emotional losses that caused intense suffering, such as the death of children, spouses, fathers, mothers or other important family members, romantic disappointments, family disagreements, feelings of intense oppression are some of the reasons they mentioned for the break with life sedentary. Reports of the search for freedom, the desire to "go out into the world" are also commons, as well as to venture out, to get to know other places, to let go of the oppressions coming from the work environment, the family environment, the domestic environment and from other environments that are part of a life settled in a certain geographic and psychosocial territory. For some of them, life on the road, as a wanderer, means the achievement of autonomy and freedom. For others one, it means suffering and a burden imposed by a destiny arising from misfortunes or the will of some divine entity. Part of them reveals that they would abandon the road and return to their previous sedentary life, if possible, while another part says they are satisfied with their wandering life and that they would no longer be able to live any other way. For everyone, it is a difficult life that demands daily toils to get the minimum necessary: food, overnight, clothes, shoes, warm clothes and so on. Nothing is assured in advance. This research will specifically investigate the main difficulties and challenges that the highway wanderers face during their wanderings, as well as the suggestions they make for improvements in these conditions of existence. Considering the results of ongoing research and others already carried out over approximately 30 years, a broad dossier on the life of wanderers and vagrants will be prepared, as a scientific basis for proposing principles, guidelines and basic assistance programs that can guide policies public care and social protection for this population, which is largely neglected by society, the State and science. Following previous researches methodology, the interviews will be conducted with the highway wanderers on the shoulders of the highways they walk on. The semi-structured interviews will be recorded by means of audio and/or video recording or by written reports made a posteriori, depending on the participant's agreement. The results obtained will be analyzed together with others obtained in previous researches, aiming at the preparation of a dossier that can support the proposition of principles and guidelines for the formulation of public policies specifically aimed at this population. (AU)

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