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CES em CENA 61

Editorial

Further to a scientific reorganization which defined the centre's five thematic research lines, and attentive to pressing structural changes, the Strategic Analysis Meeting, which took place on June 25th, 2022, discussed the challenges facing a critical research centre such as CES. These challenges included previously identified themes concerning the way research, training and outreach are organized, themes that emerged with renewed prominence or took on different contours in light of developments triggered by the Pandemic and the War in Ukraine. The five challenges identified were: new international order, crises and extremisms; environmental crisis: challenges and alternatives; digitalization of life and research; responsibility and ethics in research: approaches and practices; and the humanities and arts in contemporary times.

Five discussion groups were organized to reflect on each theme and identify possible scientific or operative implications for CES. The discussions were broad and participatory and their conclusions were later presented and discussed in plenary, with contributions from the recently created Thematic Lines. Following this analysis, memos were produced to record the main conclusions and further promote the debate in the future. Additionally, a document was produced by the Director Emeritus, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, and shared with the community at CES, raising a series of very relevant questions to give continuity to the debate.
Based on the centre’s strong tradition of reflection on non-hegemonic epistemologies, this long-accumulated experience was taken as a starting point to develop and include new themes in the critical analysis of a constantly changing reality. It has become clear that the instability caused by the war in Ukraine is exacerbating crises, generating extremism and promoting inequality, discrimination and violence. It was noted that environmental issues acquire a renewed emphasis in this context, increasing the need to encourage synergies between researchers in the development of comprehensive and innovative research to overcome anthropocentric visions. It also became clear that spaces for sharing and discussing challenges to scientific practice, or the inclusion of ethical guidelines in the various stages of scientific research beyond the mere application of regulatory frameworks, are urgently needed. Likewise, there is an urgent need to critically monitor the generalized use of digital media by the community at CES and also by society in general, as well as in relations between citizens and the State, as new democracy threatening risks of surveillance and social control are foreseen. Finally, the humanities and the arts need to stand as a form of counter-hegemonic thought and therefore as a guarantee of epistemic and methodological diversity within and beyond CES.

Finally, it was agreed that this reflection needed to be continued, with the PSB accepting the challenge, either within its planned activities or in support of initiatives set up for this purpose.

Ana Cordeiro Santos, Ana Raquel Matos, Fernando Fontes, Marta Araújo, and Paulo Providência
Presidency of the Scientific Board

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