Alcides A. Monteiro (UBI)
Fernando Bessa Ribeiro (UMinho)
João Carlos Graça (ISEG-UL)
We live in a complex and multidimensional global environment, predominantly characterized by often 'orthogonal' dimensions of belonging. Both the collective action and the performance of various functions inherent to the sovereignty of the nation state are superlatively hampered. As for debates over modernity, if some admit that 'we are all postmodern', it should also be noted that some of us are, so to speak, more postmodern than others… In other terms, the vexata quaestio of 'inequality among men' continues alive, conditioning us, and it often haunts us in multiple ways.
The often-mentioned condition of isolation/alienation is sometimes enthusiastically experienced through multiple narcissistic expressions; but it is also experienced as nostalgia for the lost 'original community', which nourishes a wide variety of group identity ideologies, aiming for 'verification' or performative validation. From such processes, however, the universalist dimension is usually expunged, thus slipping into a subtle naturalization of the very constitutive fact of inequalities.
These social dynamics are accompanied by various expressions of crisis in the political systems of the richest countries, as well as in the system of international relations. New facts, perceived as uncontrollable, emerge from options officially considered eccentric or even pathological/abnormal, usually labeled as "populism". Without disregarding the enormous diversity of causes and forms of such manifestations, it is inescapable that we are witnessing a growing detachment of entire populations from perceived and sensed political systems, with growing skepticism or even outright opposition. Intrinsically very diverse, populist phenomena have very variable relationships with the media system. This also suggests prudence in their categorization. 'Populist' can be considered either Jair Bolsonaro, positively 'carried' to Brazil's presidency by TV Globo, or Donald Trump, by prevailing contrast harassed by the US media (and, mimetically, by all the countries of the American cultural orbit), but adamantly defended by their hosts of deplorables, who normally consider themselves displaced from the position of domination (or at least comfortable subordination) that they would traditionally enjoy in the United States.
Trump and Bolsonaro are also expressions of the enormous restlessness in international relations, where the 'American century' is seriously in crisis, above all by the consolidation of the Sino-Russian bloc, making a foothold on 'sovereign', indeed enshrined in the UN Charter, against the 'humanitarian' imperial interventionism of the 'exceptional nation' that characterized the immediate post-Cold War period. In fact, the US has in recent decades been able to effectively destroy several other politically organized societies (Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya…) and promote its variety of Kleinstaaterei (Bosnia, Kosovo, Southern Sudan, Kurdistan Iraqi…). In contrast, however, they were unable to transmute this annihilating urge into any dynamic of actually 'creative destruction', facing increasing difficulties even in this strictly destructive endeavor, as suggested by the case of Syria.
At the strictly economic level, if the 'globalist' euphoria of the turn of the century led mainly to several rampant crises and an explosion of hyper-financial capitalism impacting several countries, experiences of more self-centered economic trajectories, moderately autarchic and based on dirigiste state intervention have been able to promote economic growth and widespread improvement in the so-called 'human development' indicators. China is the best example of this dynamic, whose model combines openness to foreign capital, technological appropriation, notably by imitation, and autonomous development that contribute to challenging Western hegemony and US domination of the world.
The communication proposals for this thematic section can be built from different theoretical and methodological approaches, and can be supported by empirical research, namely in non-European contexts. Proposals for communication will also be welcomed, which will come from applied research or action research projects, particularly in the context of professional practice outside academia. In addition to oral communications, posters and visual documents such as short films will be accepted. Proposals received will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (i) clarity of title and consistency of proposal; (ii) explanation of the methodology underlying the investigation, when justified; (iii) relevance and originality of the approach. It will also be a valuation criterion the proximity of the proposal to one of the following themes:
We therefore invite all sociologists, researchers and practitioners, to submit research abstract proposals in the academic and non-academic context in response to our Call.
Posters and visual documents will be accepted as short films or short films focused on projects or interventions. These proposals, notwithstanding the differences between academic and non-academic contexts, should be formulated considering a theoretical framework, objectives, methodologies used, diagnosis, results and conclusions.