Contemporary Studies

Contemporary Studies

Human Sciences have for an object the issues of the cultures that nowadays are presented in globalization, being the East and the West homogenized by the economy, by the science and by the technology that accelerate the information and the changes. One of the ways to examine the problem is to consider the increase of mobility throughout the planet and its consequences, such as the transformations in the mechanisms of sociability, in the constitution of identities and in the construction of citizenship. Modern citizenship is built on the basis of a set of assumptions: the homogeneity of social spaces, the language community, the idea of a state-nation and the writing culture. Mobility and migration processes raise important questions about identities: citizenship built on national identities, and related rights to it; the development of nationalisms and the claim of particular issues and closed identities. The theme is justified because these challenges impose the need to think of new ways of coexistence, construction of identities and rights widely wider and democratic. On the other hand, reduction of rights, imposed by globalization and expansion of the prerogatives of big corporations, extends socio-economic and political inequalities and authoritarian political forms. The wide range of problems posed by contemporaneity expresses the specific objectives of studies relevant to the project: clarifying the new configurations acquired by the relations between image and concept, public space and space of intimacy, science and technique; understanding the historical processes of the production of identities and social and social inequalities in the light of the demands respecting human dignity and the right to life; substantial changes in the social settlements in dispute facing market demand requirements; clarifying the functioning mechanisms of phenomena linked to the impersonal character acquired by social relations, with the changes imposed by new technologies and the processes for which the crisis of moral resources of societies in contraposition is given to the formalization of the thought of democracies. promoting and developing the scientific exchange between participants; guaranteeing the performance indicators; the extension of exchange in the field of the doctrine; and, therefore, the presentation of the results of research to the scientific community, in order to strengthen the links among the teams of the institutions concerned.

Research Lines

  • Mobility (Migrations), identities and citizenship

One of the characteristics of the contemporary world is the increase of mobility along the planet; mobility of people, objects and ideas. This increase in mobility has as one of its consequences important transformations in the processes of contemporary sociability, in the constitution of identities and in the construction of citizenship. Modern citizenship was built on a set of assumptions: relatively homogeneous social spaces, the existence of a common language and a political space articulated in the idea of a nation-state, taking the written culture as one of its referents. Representations of literate culture as an instrument of the development of civilization associated the elementary knowledge – writing, reading and counting – to the school institution and the reading practices spread and controlled by this institution. This articulation implied the social valorization of literacy linked to schooling, re-dimensioning the relations between written culture and oral culture, prescribing certain knowledge and practices, for larger groups of society. But it also demanded of the school the institution of specific power exercises, at the heart of which is in submission to impersonal rules. Although dual, the school gained multiple shades, as the demand for participation of the popular classes in schooling was broadened. A whole print culture develops in function of school and school, modeling the imagined communities of nations. The crisis of this set of assumptions, including school and print culture, puts into tension the concepts and categories that were elaborated to think these processes and, therefore, it is necessary to deepen the theoretical reflection to face the contemporary challenges. Mobility and migration processes in Europe and the United States, especially in recent years, have led to important questions about these national identities, with the assimilation, albeit problematic, of migrants with other histories, religions and cultures. Citizenship built on national identities, and the rights attached to them, were also called into question. One of the reactions to these challenges has been the emergence of nationalisms and the demand for locked identities and particularities. In Brazil, as in other Latin American countries, the recent migrations of people from Bolivia, Haiti and Venezuela have raised concern for the government and faced resistance from the population. Present challenges pose the need to think of new ways of coexistence and the construction of identities and rights in a broader and more democratic way. Today, prestigious academic institutions around the world, such as the New School in New York, the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences in France, and others, have research groups that discuss these topics. Also in Brazil this theme has gained prominence in institutional research agendas. The present project seeks to build an international network of researchers to analyze the transformations of contemporary forms of sociability and their consequences in terms of identities and citizenship

  • Inequalities, authoritarianism and rights

Under the impetus of a globalization that reduces rights and increases the prerogatives of large corporations, socioeconomic and political inequalities tend to expand along with the resurgence of authoritarian political forms. These processes are due to the substantial changes in the contested societal configurations, in view of the imperative of meeting the needs of the so- called “markets”. Concomitant with the deepening of differences and the production of gaps between privileges and precariousness, one experiences the increase of access to information and alternative forms of social practices. As never before, there are debates around the body, mechanisms of participation and citizenship, as well as collective and individual rights. Democracy, as sphere of expression and processing of conflicts, has become in the last decades the hegemonic discursive model of political regime. The new socioeconomic and political model has generated many and varied dissatisfactions, as well as diverse resistances and alternative forms to the processes of sociability restructuring. If, on the one hand, the formula of the democratic rule of law suffers from its own limitations in dealing with historical processes of production of inequalities, on the other hand, the demands of respect for human dignity and the right to existence have increasingly modulated social relations. The articulation of inequalities with authoritarian strategies stems from contradictory but extremely functional procedures for the eclipsing of alternative propositions. There would not be, among the various contemporary dispositions, a univocal process. In this sense, it is a matter of interrogating the techniques and technologies of power and their historical formations, which are marked more by the dynamism of ruptures and discontinuities, than by the synergy of the chained route of events and structures. The simultaneous occurrence of several contradictory processes, as well as the varied lags between discourses and practices, raises the understanding of how and why the chain of such events is occurring in different contexts. How to deal with authoritarian structures and inequalities, in order to produce outputs whose starting point was the idea of equality? In other words, how could one try policies to reduce social and economic disparities, under the aegis of respect for differences and experiments in new social ties? In this context, the present research project aims at understanding the modes of production of profound political and social differences, including the various forms of resistance and the creation of new common interests, which intend or oppose the neoliberal paradigm of governing lives. With the proposals of this project, we intend to arrive at formulations about how we could restructure social ties by undoing inequalities without, however, losing the gains and achievements that the contemporary propitiated.

Partner Countries: Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Portugal, United Kingdom

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Javier Amadeo