FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Sociologia, Antropologia, Demografia e Geografia

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Serviço Social e Sociologia [SOC-LVT-Lisboa-4002] visitada em 22/10/2007

Classificação: Fair

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The members of the evaluation panel consider that the CESSS is a very good school for social workers. The members of the unit are clearly practice-oriented, what is very good for people who have to participate in the training of social workers and who define themselves as education-oriented. The quality of their efforts in the field of social work is certainly attested by the numerous demands they receive, mainly from public organizations and from the third sector. They certainly merit recognition for the usefulness of their work in this perspective.
But although during discussions ideas and hopes of becoming engaged in a scientific approach to social work and more generally in scientific projects, it is not clear how members of the unit would be able to develop research paradigms when they are so predominantly involved in daily action and practice and when they recognize that until now, the content of their research has been mainly determined by the demand coming from public organizations and from the third sector. A similar interrogation arises also when one learns that their main focus is the history of social work. This is certainly a key issue (the need to protect one’s heritage and its eventual relevance to different areas approached) but historical learning cannot automatically produce scientific knowledge, especially since Portuguese society is undergoing rapid and deep social change.
During the site visit, it clearly transpired that members of the unit felt the need of a new frame of reference for social work and its meaning. They expressed their will to be not only good practitioners but «practitioners with a capacity of reflexivity: what kind of professional do we want to be? ». If this question must be raised (and is in fact the object of debate in the unit) and if it may represent a first step towards the construction of a scientific project, it is not sufficient as such to developing a scientific perspective properly so called. The evaluators did not see a clear idea concerning the relation between social work, reflexivity, action-orientation and scientific research. Normative statements about the tasks and role of social work do not constitute a sound basis for strictly scientific research. There is also a lack of ideas about the theoretical framework which could be pertinent to Portuguese social conditions and which could lead to future research. The topics of «risk society» and of «reflexive modernity» are proposed as such but apparently without a reflection about their peculiar pertinence for Portugal.

Internationalization appears very limited (participation in a Socrates programme) and publications are not numerous being mainly in Portuguese – a fact which is perfectly comprehensible given the concrete orientation of their work responding to demands coming from civil society.

If until now no real scientific programme is discernable, a certain potential is noticeable among PHD students (previously only a degree programme was operative) and the members of the unit hope that by integrating MA and PHD students in the research programmes, they will be able to develop a scientific project. But this will only prove to be the case if these students have the opportunity to develop research at a critical distance from the concrete demands which dictate the work of the unit. The content of the research seminars could certainly play an important role in this respects but it will depend of the paradigmatic perspective adopted: how will such questions as supervision, non-profit organizations, family relationships, city intervention or social policies be theoretically approached? The perspective risks being more normative than scientific… Hence before CESSS could be considered as a «scientific» research unit, one will have to wait until a clear project is developed which would enable the unit to make use of its potential. It is not enough to declare oneself scientific - a scientific project must first be established.
The group «Social work and society» (4002–2266) work explores five areas: (1) the history of social work (mainly by collecting and organising dispersed documentation), (2) the education and training in SW (ethics, deontology and human rights), (3) the theory and debates in SW (e.g. «reflexivity and SW», «does a post-modern SW exist?»), (4) the domains and practices of SW (e.g. health), and (5) professions and identities (jurisdiction, status, gender,…). Here again the content of these areas as they were described during the site visit did not constitute a genuinely scientific perspective. This content appears essentially descriptive (1, 4, 5) or normative (2,3). There was little or no reference to current changes in the Welfare State or to the impact of globalization which could lend itself to strict sociological analysis.
The group «Social policies and society» (4002–2269) develops 6 lines of research: (1) politics for social inclusion, (2) discrimination and politics of inclusion, (3) public policies and family solidarities, (4) social policies and organisation of the 3rd sector, (5) territory and social policies, (6) the evaluation of policies and social projects. These lines are not always clearly distinguished. No comparative perspective is envisaged. There is no specific reference to the current problematic of analysing public policies.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Social Policies and Society [RG-SOC-LVT-Lisboa-4002-2269]
This group develops 6 lines of research: (1) politics for social inclusion, (2) discrimination and politics of inclusion, (3) public policies and family solidarities, (4) social policies and organisation of the 3rd sector, (5) territory and social policies, (6) the evaluation of policies and social projects. These lines are not always clearly distinguished. No comparative perspective is envisaged. There is no specific reference to the current problematic of analysing public policies.
Social Work and Society [RG-SOC-LVT-Lisboa-4002-2266]
The group’s work explores five areas: (1) the history of social work (mainly by collecting and organising dispersed documentation), (2) the education and training in SW (ethics, deontology and human rights), (3) the theory and debates in SW (e.g. «reflexivity and SW», «does a post-modern SW exist?»), (4) the domains and practices of SW (e.g. health), and (5) professions and identities (jurisdiction, status, gender,…). The content of these areas as described during the site visit did not constitute a genuinely scientific perspective. This content appears essentially descriptive (1, 4, 5) or normative (2,3). There was little or no reference to current changes in the Welfare State or to the impact of globalization which could lend itself to strict sociological analysis.

Comentários da unidade

O CESSS toma o comentário do painel de avaliação à sua candidatura a unidade de I&D como um desafio ao seu projecto de se constituir como uma unidade de referência na investigação em Serviço Social em Portugal e manifesta concordância com a avaliação quer quanto ao facto da actividade de pesquisa desenvolvida ter sido até ao presente dominantemente realizada por solicitação de entidades públicas e do terceiro sector, quer quanto à limitada internacionalização do centro, quer ainda quanto às limitações apontadas às publicações da unidade.
Julga-se no entanto necessário referir aspectos que no comentário dos avaliadores reflectem não ter sido totalmente e/ou adequadamente apreendida a natureza do CESSS e do seu projecto.
1. O CESSS não é uma escola de formação de assistentes sociais (ou trabalhadores sociais) sendo a quase totalidade dos seus membros docentes universitários e investigadores (23, ≈ 70 %);
2. A actividade de investigação do CESSS tem sido até ao presente fortemente determinada pela procura de organismos públicos e organizações do terceiro sector, o que sublinha a relevância social desta actividade, a qual tem permitido igualmente, segundo uma orientação de pesquisa avaliativa, a constituição de um acervo de conhecimento no âmbito da problemática da exclusão social e das políticas sociais activas e de inclusão;
3. O CESSS é um centro de investigação recentemente constituído (2003), devendo a sua existência e projecto ser enquadrados no processo de desenvolvimento académico e científico do serviço social em Portugal (os primeiros programas de doutoramento nesta área iniciaram-se em 2003). Assim, o projecto científico do CESSS é natural e inevitavelmente um projecto em construção e reflecte necessariamente uma dinâmica de construção de massa crítica neste domínio.
Uma visão menos normativa, mais estratégica e contextualizada na área disciplinar teria permitido apontar fragilidades mas igualmente valorizar as potencialidades de um projecto em construção e permitiria dotar o CESSS de mais recursos para aprofundar o seu potencial (pesquisa, internacionalização, formação de doutorandos e mestrandos, divulgação científica) enquanto unidade de I&D em Serviço Social em Portugal, numa área que manifestamente precisa de ser desenvolvida.
O CESSS apresentará, nos termos regulamentares, os seus comentários desenvolvidos, requerendo a reapreciação do seu resultado.