Plunging Into Turmoil – EN


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The Political Observatory (PO) are organizing a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on the relation between the social sciences and the current economic crisis.
The 2008 economic and financial crisis marked the beginning of a period of social transformation and uncertainty that continues to characterize present and future social development in unplanned and unexpected ways, frequently with harmful effects. In this context, the social sciences and their role as a tool of knowledge production about human social existence become all the more relevant. On the one hand, as a means for acquiring a better understanding of the character of this rapid and complex social transformation. And, on the other hand, as a way of orientating people and social practice as to how greater collective democratic control can be acquired over the manner and direction of this overall process. This conference intends to provide a space where contributions from different fields of the social sciences can come together in order to address a series of questions that arise from the present period of crisis. In particular, it strives to address two main strains of inquiry. First, how different sociological and theoretical approaches, ranging from political theory and political economy to sociology, might contribute to explaining the crisis, analyse its effects, and identify its potential future paths of development. And second, how the crisis and its effects on human social existence demand a re-thinking of the role of the social sciences in society, and what such a role might or should be. The conference is organized around a set of themes through which these strains of inquiry are addressed:

  • An economic crisis or a social and civilizational crisis?
  • The crisis and democracy and the interplay between capitalism and democracy
  • The crisis and the privatization of the public space
  • The role of the social sciences in society and in crisis prediction, analysis and resolution
  • The impact of the crisis on the social sciences and their future
  • Are or should the social sciences be politically involved on the basis of their understanding of society?
  • Can the social sciences help envisage alternative forms of social, political and economic organization?
  • Are the social sciences still Western-centred?
  • Civilizing and decivilizing processes amidst the crisis.

Scientific Coordination
Isabel David
André Saramago

Executive Coordination
Bruno Gonçalves Bernardes
Marta Ceia
Nuno Lopes
Pedro Sobral
Rui Coelho

Keynote Speaker
Andrew Linklater, Woodrow Wilson Professor in International Politics
Aberystwyth University

Registration Fees

tabela plunging

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Both the lunch and dinner are not included in the registration fee. The fee is paid via bank transfer.
Portuguese account: 0035 2169 00034030330 44
IBAN: PT50 0035 2169 00034030330 44; BIC Swift: CGDIPTPL
Please write the following code when transfering: PTSCCSurname

Any additional queries should be sent to