Reinventing Social Emancipation RSE  
Reinvenção da Emancipação Social  Português 

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The objective of this research project is twofold: to contribute to the reinvention of social emancipation; to contribute to the renovation of the social sciences.

1 - The paradigm of social emancipation developed by western modernity is undergoing a deep and final crisis. Social emancipation must, therefore, be reinvented. It must be understood as a form of counter-hegemonic globalization relying on local-global linkages and alliances among social groups around the world which go on resisting social exclusion, exploitation and oppression caused by hegemonic neoliberal globalization. Such struggles result in the development of alternatives to the exclusionary and monolithic logic of global capitalism, that is to say, spaces of democratic participation, non-capitalistic production of goods and services, creation of emancipatory knowledges, post-colonial cultural exchanges, new international solidarities.

2 - The social sciences produced in the core countries from the 19th century onwards have exhausted their capacity for renovation and innovation. As a result, they have ceased to be the conscience of progressive social transformation to become and have rather become devices of legitimation, if not consecration, of the status quo and the social injustices it reproduces.

By creating a network among a considerable number of social scientists working in countries which have been peripheral to the production of hegemonic social scientific knowledge, this project aims at favoring the emergence of a scientific community determined to develop new paradigms of social knowledge, relations among different types of knowledges, and engagement between knowledges and social action.

The project involves six countries:

  • South Africa
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • India
  • Mozambique
  • Portugal

In each countries the following themes were dealt with:

  • Participatory democracy
  • Alternative production systems
  • Emancipatory multiculturalism, justices and citizenships
  • Biodiversity, rival knowledges and intellectual property rights
  • New labor internationalism

To underline the objective of promoting alternative knowledges and rival knowledges, the project includes The Voices of the World. It consists of in-depth interviews of activists and leaders of local initiatives or social movements, not only to collect their views and evaluations about their own social practice, but also to glimpse at their wisdom about the world, society and nature, past and future.

The project started in January 1999 and was concluded in December 2001.

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Centro de Estudos Sociais MacArthur Foundation
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian