The Higher School of Education and Social Sciences of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and CICS.NOVA.IPLeiria invite intercultural mediators, educators, community intervention professionals, researchers, social scientists, social workers, social educators, animators and other social actors to debate the theme: Territories, Municipalities, Networks and Partnerships.
Intercultural Mediation in Social Intervention starts from an active listening and aims at a dialoguing practice between the main community actors, be they municipalities, local development associations, Schools, IPSS, health services, among others, valuing community work “with the other ”, rather than a community intervention just “for the other”, thus promoting a genuine and participatory partnership in building communities that are economically and socially inclusive, promoting diversity, sustainability and social justice. This commitment to intercultural mediation is based on a community involvement strategy geared towards the ability to transform citizens into agents of change.
This Conference will seek to reflect on the complexity of networks and partnerships, developed within territories, municipalities, which create spaces for true interaction, rather than coexistence, which are facilitators of local initiatives, promoters of empowerment and accessibility to community participation processes, thus influencing social policies at local, regional or national level.
The theme of the conference – “Territories, Municipalities, Networks and Partnerships: Intercultural Mediation and Social Intervention” – will be open to the participation of a wide range of professionals and researchers, allowing submissions of papers related to investigations, projects, initiatives and/or experiences.
Within the scope of ontology, three structuring coordinates of groups and organizations are usually identified: space, time and identity.
In a world in great transformation, where the Network Society (Castells, 2002) extends its tentacles from several “tops” and in the domain of several areas, to work together diverse interests and common objectives, it cannot be inferred that the space and time have collapsed. What is observed is that, in contemporary conditions, these variables go through intense processes of decontextualization, destructuring, recontextualization and reorganization in order to work on matters of translocal scope. Undoubtedly, technological, media and communication processes stand out in this problem, which are at the heart of these reorganizations, and also as accelerators and intensifiers of new logics of reorganization of work on a territory that reconfigures, expands, models , unites, grows, but always in a plastic way and with scarce physical borders, which are also very flexible.
The Network Society, in line with Manuel Castells (2002), bases sociabilities in a virtual dimension, only possible and greatly enhanced by cutting-edge technologies linked to Communication. This new and necessary social organization goes far beyond the spatiotemporal axes that are already well compressed, to recall Marshall MacLuhan. We read newspapers on the Internet, but we can interact, make comments. We are connected, but also disconnected. The Argentine anthropologist Néstor García Canclini (2004) describes this well in his book Diferentes, Desiguais e Desconectados: Mapas da Interculturalidade, an interdisciplinary work that develops analyzes of Bourdieu and Geertz, linking sociology, anthropology, communication and the social work.
In the various daily routines, we socialize with subjects we may or may not know. This Network Society takes advantage of the potential of communication that the Internet offers to share feelings, ideas, knowledge, information, concepts, among others, but it can also enhance the development and collaboration in projects, joint work, various social interventions (Lévy , 1999) in territories that become more liquid (Bauman, 2000).
What happens in networking is a decontextualization of the “tops” of cultures, increasingly based on the social mega-subject itself and not on the national territory or culture. From this heterotopia, heterogenesis and cultural fluidity, recontextualized and shared by the subjects themselves, results in cultural destabilization and a new cognitive ecology, and new identities of an atopic nature. But this time, the «destructuring» of meaning is accompanied by its «restructuring» (Cuche, 2003, p. 108).
And this restructuring requires listening, involvement and participation by all. Therefore, it implies Intercultural Mediation that is carried out in a concerted way, in a network, with all the social partners and their territories. In the words of Carlos Giménez (1997, as cited in Vieira & Araújo, 2018), Intercultural Mediation corresponds to a process that contributes to improving communication, relationships and intercultural integration between people or groups present in a territory, and belonging to one or more cultures. It is a work through an intervention that encompasses three fundamental aspects: facilitating communication; foster social cohesion; and promoting autonomy and social insertion oriented towards building a new common framework for coexistence. (p. 127)
Community Mediation therefore emerges as the corollary of intercultural mediation, since it is about applying it to a community, real or virtual, that inhabits a certain territory or that shares the same interests (Vieira & Araújo, 2018).
On November 23rd and 24th 2023, work and networking experiences will be discussed. Potentialities, synergies, but also difficulties and even failures, as well as community/intercultural mediation processes, will be discussed in four thematic tables (in addition to free communications), for two days, two each day:
- Municipal Territories and Community Mediation;
- Social Action, Networks, Partnerships and Community Development;
- Territorialization of Educational Policies: the case of TEIP;
- Networks in Higher Education.