Different voices in research and time, main topics of the 3rd PhD Seminar 201-2017

Rita Ribeiro and Joaquim Paulo Serra were the keynote speakers of the third session of the PhD Seminars 2016-2017, was held on April 21st, in the Social Sciences Institute of the University of Minho.

“Listening to the voices: narrating, interpreting, rescuing” was the title of the intervention put forwards by Rita Ribeiro. The researcher, who holds a PhD in sociology and a master’s degree in anthropology, is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, and a member CECS directive board. She develops research in the field of sociology of culture, dealing with various research tools and how the multiplicity of voices can make a theory and “integrate the contradictions of reality in the way of doing science”. She said that the investigator should also assume his own voice, once as she evidenced, “writing means thinking”.

Joaquim Paulo Serra addressed the topic “The problem of time in research”, stressing out that this is “a problem that we all have, not only in research”. He managed to observe how time was regarded throughout history, since Saint Augustine and Galileo. And quoting Stefan Hawking (A History of Time), he questioned what would exist ahead of time, before the Big Bang, to let air that time may also come to an end. He is a Full Professor at the University of Beira Interior at the Department of Communication and Arts and researcher at the R&D unit Labcom.IFP – Communication, Philosophy and Humanities, who is also President of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and scientific coordinator of Labcom.IFP, UBI, and President of the Portuguese Association of Communication Sciences (Sopcom).

“The triangulation of data in time, for example, in which one looks for the data of today and intersect with those resulting from investigations already carried out”, he argued. Serra gave examples of ongoing research in doctoral theses. He referred to the conceptual aspect of time, stressing that in the different perspectives, one cannot be said to be one better than another, since all result from philosophical reflections. And he pointed out the aspects of prediction, predictability and conceptualization in the Social Sciences and in the so-called Exact Sciences, in order to refer to the uncertainty of contemporaneity: “as society studies itself, social systems change themselves”. And he illustrates with a recent case: “who could predict that in the US Donald Trump would win the presidential elections?”

Organized by the CECS and the Department of Communication Sciences of the University of Minho, these seminars aim to improve students’ methodological skills, promote reflexivity in orientation practices, and exchange experiences among the various protagonists present in a doctoral process. The next seminar is scheduled for May 26 with Emília Araújo (CECS) and Filipa Subtil (ESCS).