NA Reports – Portuguese Sociological Association (APS)
João Teixeira Lopes, APS President
President in 2018: João Teixeira Lopes
Pessoa Colectiva de Utilidade Pública
Av. Prof. Aníbal de Bettencourt, 9 - 1600-189 Lisboa
Tel. +351 21 780 47 38 – Fax +351 21 794 02 74
E-mail: aps [at] aps.pt – www.aps.pt
The Portuguese Sociological Association (APS) is a non-profit association dedicated to:
- Promote the development of Sociology;
- Encourage research, communication and scientific debate;
- Support sociologists’ professional activity;
- Endorse and disseminate Portuguese sociological analysis;
- Sponsor Portuguese sociologists’ integration in the international sociological community;
- Publicise amongst institutions and public opinion the nature, added value, importance and contribution of Sociology;
- Establish relationships with other scientific areas.
“Ethics and Deontology of Sociologists” Meeting, January 2018
On the whole it was built to:
- Encourage internationalisation and comparative work as underlined features to scientific production – this is one of the reasons for our membership in ISA, the International Sociological Association and in ESA, the European Sociological Association.
Specifically it was built to:
- Better understand and intervene in our society – contributing to public policies;
- Stimulate the awareness of multiplicity within sociological perspectives and its theoretical and methodological instruments – respecting sociology’s multi-paradigmatic feature;
- Encourage scientific openness – scientific independence, identity and visibility are not antonymous of trans- or multi-disciplinary relations;
- Endorse different ways of being and making – sociologists and sociology are not and cannot be summed up by a label. We are and act in several but important spheres – from teaching to research, from public administration to private entities.
Established in 1985 and with statutes since 1992 (last revision in 2008), we have grown from 30 members to an association with 2563 associates, making APS one of the biggest national sociological associations in the world. The APS also plays an important role in organising several initiatives such as the national sociological conferences every 4 years. Established in 1988, each congress has been dedicated to a generic theme. It is with an immense delight that we see that both participants as well as communications have been considerable increasing through times. This is one of the indicators of the institutionalisation of Portuguese sociology.
Following its mission, the APS seeks to:
- Reinforce cooperation, communication and initiatives – between and within different institutional fields;
- Promote the internationalisation of Portuguese sociology – intensifying efforts to a joint scientific cooperation (member of the International Sociological Association, the European Sociological Association, and the ReSu);
- Contribute to higher educational and research standards – by a close relationship with Sociology Departments at universities and educational institutes in order to face educational (Bologna) and societal (technocratic) challenges, opportunities and constrains;
- Debate the professionalization of sociologists – questioning sociology as a science and sociology as a profession.
Plenary Session at the “Sociology and Local Intervention Meeting”, April 2017
Report – Research in Sociology in Portugal – 2017
The Portuguese system of research and development has not yet recovered from the deep budget cuts and political discouragements conducted by the government during the “adjustment period” dictated by the Troika (European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).
In 2015, funds for research and development represented only 1.2% of GDP (against 1.6% in 2009). The social sciences were one of the most affected areas of knowledge, which is reflected in the decrease of the number of publications (2015: 2046 publications vs 2014: 2101 publications), something that had not happened since 2009.
The number of researchers, from the social sciences and humanities, in research and development was 9,346 in 2014, compared to 10,983 in 2008, revealing a significant drop resulting from a cut in scholarships and scientific employment in Universities and Polytechnic Institutes.
With the end of the “adjustment period” and a new government, we notice some timid advances in scientific employment (attempting to increase work contracts and reduce precariousness) and the auscultation of the scientific community was promoted, notably in the definition of thematic and innovation research agendas aiming to identify challenges and opportunities and foster the articulation between different actors of the research and innovation system in Portugal, in a long-term perspective. In addition, to identify the country's strengths in each thematic issue, the agendas will allow the identification of areas that are emerging and promising for the Portuguese research and innovation community (http://www.fct.pt/agendastematicas/). Sociology would have a strong presence in the agendas “Urban Science and Cities for the Future”, “Culture and Cultural Patrimony”, “Space, Social Inclusion and Citizenship”, “Work, Robotization and Qualification of Employment in Portugal”, “Tourism, Hospitality And Leisure Management”, among others.
These advances, however, do not seem to us yet sufficient to reverse the backlog.
Regarding the measurement of impact, it is important to mention that the culture of research evaluation in Portugal is still very limited. On the one hand, the care and demands placed on the evaluation in the previous phase (applications for funding, either grants, projects or institutions) are almost completely absent in the aftermost phase (after research). Also, the emphasis is still excessively placed on bibliometric results (resulting publications, impact factors), neglecting the social contribution that research in sociology can bring, dissemination to other publics, and the involvement of stakeholders and citizens.
Furthermore, to foster assessment and audit of research it is central to adopt a perspective focused on the institutional and each project’s contribution rather than the individual contributions to the development of society.
It is urgent to develop reflection on what is meant by impact on society, as well as how to assess and audit that impact, considering, not only quantitative, but also qualitative indicators, and the particularities of each social context.
Thus, the APS suggests that an important initiative would be that ESA, along with ISA, constitute a committee to discuss this issue, in order to reach a common understanding of the topic.