Environment, Territory and Society
Environment, Territory and Society
The ETS Research Group (ETS RG) hosts sociologists, geographers, urban planners, anthropologists, demographers, among others. The group practices interdisciplinary and critical analyses of the social, territorial and governance dynamics underlying socio-ecological challenges and possible transition and transformative pathways to a more just and sustainable society. It also often hosts guest-researchers from universities abroad, as well as actively participating in ULisboa's knowledge transfer platforms: Colleges (College F3, Food Farming Forestry of ULisboa). ETS' open science and public engagement tool – OBSERVA (Environment, Territory and Society Observatory) targets different audiences.
The Environment, Territory and Society RG's main objective is to develop inter-and-trans-disciplinary research and critical analysis of the dynamics, social, territorial and governance underlying socio-ecological challenges and the transition paths to more just and sustainable societies. It brings together researchers with backgrounds in sociology, geography, planning, anthropology and history, among others.
The four main lines of research are:
- ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, with a focus on social representations, socio-ecological and political implications of environmental dynamics, as well as on processes of mitigation and adaptation to climate change at local and regional scales. Involvement of stakeholders and communities is promoted in order to foster processes of social learning and self-organization in matters such as climate and coastal vulnerability, water and waste management, sea and biodiversity, public health and lifestyles, as well as the use of natural resources and socio-environmental equity. It also addresses the social and cultural aspects of energy: uses, acceptance of technologies, energy poverty, transformative energy practices.
- FOOD, focusing on food security, sustainable consumption and production, urban food planning and agro-food practices. The researchers address innovative perspectives on: food insecurity and poverty centred on access and consumption; design and implementation of sustainable food strategies in urban areas and their interconnections with surrounding food basins and rural areas; historical processes of agro-food practices and their impacts on resources and ecosystems. Our research is interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, bringing together a diversity of perspectives from the social and human sciences, health and life sciences, and from pluralistic theoretical and methodological approaches. Several elements of GIATS are part of ICSFoodhub (hub website).
- URBAN TRANSITIONS, ‘Urban’: we study the diverse set of socio-economic and socio-ecological processes, practices and problems linked to the relentless expansion and reconfigurations of human (and non-human) geographies; ‘Transitions’: we explore the present of urbanisation with a normative tension aimed at thinking, envisioning and shaping more just, inclusive and sustainable futures. Our research is intrinsically interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, striving to ensure an open, diverse and interconnected view of problems and solutions (hub website).
- PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT WITH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: the social sciences are in a privileged position to bridge the gap between academic research and society at large. Understanding what the public needs and expects from research and technological development, and how researchers and engineers can better serve these needs and expectations, is crucial. As distrust in science and technology grows, with clear impacts on efforts to address life-threatening challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, or public health risks, exploring ways of fruitfully engaging citizens with science and technology is vital. Inclusion of all social groups in deliberative processes of a techno-scientific nature is paramount. Sub-topics: Social studies of science and technology; Environmental risks and scientific controversies; Zoonotic and foodborne diseases; Scientific culture, science communication and engagement; Interdisciplinarity in sustainability science;
Research in the ATS RG is often done in collaboration with researchers from other scientific areas outside the social sciences and in international partnerships. Projects funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology and the European Commission, as well as several other public and private entities, both for profit and non-profit, are being developed.
The RG ETS is involved in several ICS advanced training courses, with emphasis on the Doctoral Program in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies, the Doctoral Program in Sociology: Knowledge for Open and Inclusive Societies, the Doctoral Program in Development Studies, and the Doctoral Programme in Sustainability, as well as Summer and Winter Schools. The GI has an important dissemination tool, OBSERVA Observatory of Environment, Territory and Society, which promotes training actions and seminars on policies and publish policy and research briefs and a blog, as well as a range of other knowledge dissemination activities to stakeholders and non-academic stakeholders (central and local government, schools, NGOs, companies, etc.)