XII Young Social Scientists Series

Colliding worlds: Knowledge between research and action

October 12, 2017, 10h00-17h00

Room 1, CES | Alta


José Soeiro | «Between research and action: what could be a politics of the precariat?»
In recent decades, unemployment and precarious work have multiplied in Portugal and in Europe. At the same time, emerged multiple phenomenons of self-activity, forms of identification and mobilization of precarious workers and the constitution of organizations of the precariat with its own agenda and repertoires of action.
In this talk, we will bring forward an interpretation of the process of precarization of labour in Portugal, identifying its main periods, the most common modalities of precarious employment, the distinctive features of precarity in the context of Portuguese society, and the narratives and justification modes that have been activated to legitimize this process.
At the same time, we will explore the possibilities of a public sociology around this issue and consider the exchange between sociological research and political action, taking as an example the recent program to regularize precarity and its relation with a politics of the precaria

Susana Duarte Fonseca | «Conciliating environmental activism and scientific research – Is it possible?»
Almost since the beginning of my career as a researcher I’ve been confronted with the need to conciliate my work as an environmental sociologist and my volunteer activities in the Portuguese environmental movement. One might expect that experience would help to overcome the challenges that regularly appear, but a progressively greater proximity between the areas of work and activism, public exposure, the size of the country, the undervalue attributed to voluntary work, the evaluation system of researchers, peer interpretation, time managing and priority setting have all contribute for a complex daily context. I would therefore like to discuss both personal and structural factors that intertwine the lives of researchers that go beyond science and embrace a broader intervention as citizens.

Daniel Cardoso | «A reflection on excess: Activism, academia and power»
It’s been little more than I year since I completed my PhD, but along my journey (if that metaphor is even fitting), the issues of academia and activism were raised constantly, in several different ways. It pervaded the choice of my research topic, the methodological choices I made, many a debate with my advisors and colleagues, as well as my online presence, my activism, my teaching and even some conference events where the academia/activism debate was the whole topic. In my intervention, I’d like to highlight the ways I felt the activist/academic experience as a continuum, but one that was perceived as a disjunction, where an element would always be in excess of the other.
And so, I want to reflect on excess – on how activism is perceived as being in excess within academia, or leading to excesses (methodological, theoretical, personal) which are an excess of doing; just as academia is perceived as being in excess within activism, an excess of thinking – and on how I sought, with limited success, to question this dichotomy.

Inês Ponte | «Participant Observation and Research Outputs or how I ended up combining research and participants’ agendas»
Unexpected outputs often result from fieldwork. Later stages of the research process are also characterised by a transformative dimension. This presentation deals both with the unexpected and the unpredictable in a research process that includes a long-term engagement with a faraway field.
I will discuss how an 8-month stay at a highland village in Angola in 2012 shaped research outcomes at different levels. I will explore how I used knowledge gathered through participant observation into the making of a literacy booklet, a basket and a film. Through their unique stories of production I will analyse how in all cases, both the participants’ and my agenda appear to have converged in several and unpredictable ways.
Their stories also allow for the discussion of the research’s temporal constraints to understand local responses in the case of such faraway field. In turn, they open up other levels of social impact promoted by these outputs.