The simplification of complex social phenomena has led to a broad debate on the growing polarization of contemporary societies. Marking the trends of social transformation that we are currently witnessing, polarization has taken over the intellectual debate as well as commercial, political, and ideological agendas. A renewed and keen sociological perspective thus becomes a fundamental condition to analyse and confront society’s growing fragmentation on crucial issues for the collective future of humanity.
The contradictory and fracturing outlooks of a world that is at times unipolar, bipolar, multipolar, or even characterized by emerging polarities, constitute the initial challenge for sociological debate in the various domains around which the APS is organized as a scientific and professional society.
If the poles that assert themselves and are consolidated in social stratification dramatically reflect social inequalities that reveal growing gaps between the richest and the poorest, the most and the least educated, or that show the entrenchment of the middle classes, inviting bipolar interpretations, what new dynamics allow us to face a society of broadening and apparently insurmountable chasms?
The challenges that polarization brings to sociology now extend to crucial domains of social processes and action, reaching, among others, the arenas of consumption, religions, identities, sexuality, childhood, culture, and science. In this context, the digitization of society and the economy creates and emphasizes dynamics of polarization, while simultaneously opening up new possibilities. Beyond the general impact on social interactions and practices, to what extent are the new social media a factor that promotes expressions of polarization?
Is the modification of work and employment relations effected by the platform economy an additional factor of exclusion from the labour market or of disqualification for increasingly precarious routine occupations? What opportunities does it offer and who benefits from them? How and to what extent does the polarization of jobs threaten and force us to rethink mechanisms of social action and public policies?
At the territorial level, where phenomena related to tourism, migrations, and sports become apparent, urban polarization accentuates trends of concentration in central places and gives rise to new challenges both for centralities and peripheries. In this context, what is the role and what forms of articulation between central and local policies can contribute to addressing exclusions and inequalities of a territorial nature?
If the pandemic created and widened rifts, if it pulverized the universe of emotions, in what other domains has it aggravated polarization? What consequences did it have on trust in the institutions and organizations that, in the areas of health, education, justice, and administration, are the backbone of the societies in which we live? What is the repercussion of the security policies that it ended up legitimizing?
The Portuguese Congress of Sociology will be an in-person and virtual moment of meeting for professional colleagues working in research or in the field, where sharing and discussing concepts, theories, methodologies, and practices in/of sociology might sow new answers to the challenges we face.
We would be very happy to have the participation of sociologists who work in non-academic contexts and who can bring their perspective "from the field" that complements the perspective of academic research. Collaboration between academic sociology and intervention sociology is crucial to knowing and acting in the polarized societies in which we live.
We call on everyone’s participation in this crucial and long-awaited meeting of Portuguese-speaking sociology!
To discuss whether the polarization of society has led us to a point of no return is one of the objectives of the XII Portuguese Congress of Sociology, titled Polarized Societies? Challenges for Sociology, which will take place between April 4 and 6, 2023, and is organized by the APS and the local commission of the sociology group of FEUC, CES, CMC, and CIM.
Abstract submission until December 4, 2022.
The XII Congress will be held in person, with the option of online sessions for presentations from the Thematic Sections/Areas.
When submitting your proposal, you must specify whether your participation will be in person or online. The programme will thus feature both in-person and online sessions.
Presenters who choose the in-person option can also attend any online sessions they wish.
Presenters who choose the online option will have access to all other online sessions.