Invitation to International Summer School – Faculty of Letters, University of Porto, Portugal

3rd IS-UP International Summer School

Polycrisis challenges the sociological imagination

25th to 29th June 2024

Faculty of Letters, University of Porto, Portugal

Sérgio Godinho, a Portuguese singer-songwriter, became known, among others, for a song entitled “Liberdade” (Freedom), which has the following lines: “Peace, bread, housing, health, education. There’s only real freedom when there is. Freedom to change and to decide”.

These verses have not lost their relevance: neither peace, nor housing, nor health, nor education, are taken for granted today for the majority of the population, which constrains the margins of freedom. In fact, we live in a time when we realise that history is not a one-way arrow, nor is it a linear, univocal movement of accumulating progress. The regressions are manifold, they are there for all to see and they are making democracies unpopular and weakening them. Thus, the context of polycrisis in which we live underlines the concatenation of various processes of disorder, uncertainty and fear: financial and economic crises, health crises, ongoing environmental catastrophe, crisis of identities, profound social crisis with a visible increase in inequalities, war conflicts, food crisis… The novelty lies in the acceleration and interdependence of today’s societies: complexity, unpredictability, cascade effect, cross-border causality and causal synchronisation between multiple risks. What will happen to this interweaving of crises? What does the future look like? To what extent are the more personal and vivid dimensions articulated with structural and institutional mechanisms? What is the role of the state and public policies in general in mitigating and resolving these phenomena? What about civil society?

One thing is certain, and it’s worth thinking about it particularly hard in this year that marks the 50th anniversary of the Portuguese Revolution: you can’t imitate the ostrich or repeat recipes that have failed. Anything but “business as usual”: let’s therefore broaden our gaze and perfect our tools of analysis. Sociological imagination is not only necessary: it’s urgent.

Target audience:
Anyone (national or international) with a degree and an interest in the topics covered.

Keynote speakers:
Luigi Pelizzoni, University of Pisa
Michael Albert, University of Edinburg

65 euros – workers
50 euros – students
20 euros – unemployed

Registration until 20 April, using the form

Announcement of results: 4th May

More information:

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