Sociology in Foreign Scientific Fields: An Analysis of the Portuguese Higher Education System

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Catarina EGREJA, CIES / ISCTE-IUL, Portugal
In the last four decades, sociology has gained a lot of importance in the higher education and research level, in Portugal. This growth, along with a gain in reputation, is found not only within the social sciences, but also in other areas of knowledge, fostering multidisciplinary scientific production. At the education level - not the teaching of sociology as a major scientific field, but its mobilization by graduations of other scientific areas in higher education - the intervention is often performed through 'specialized sociologies' with greater approach to the formative area in question.

This proposal is the result of research done within a doctoral project, entitled 'The role of Sociology in multidisciplinary educational and research contexts” (Ref FCT:. SFRH/BD/84515/2012). First, a list of the Portuguese higher education undergraduate programs that provide one or more curricular units in the area of Sociology (concerning the 2013/2014 academic year) was collected, along with a few additional variables, and organized by scientific fields. For instance, a total of 656 undergraduate programs in 95 institutions were found, 22.7% of which in the Health and Welfare field, contrasting with only 0.6% of graduations in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary field. The next aim was to understand how the discipline stands within the general scope of the undergraduate program and what its usefulness is - both planned, and perceived -, so pairs of coordinators / sociology teachers’ were interviewed (in a total of seventeen institutions nationwide) regarding the characterization of the institution, program and discipline; personal characterization; sociology’s presence and assessment in the program; constraints in teaching the discipline; students’ acquired skills expectations and contribution of the discipline to their future employability and job functions; and perspectives on the most and least valued aspects by students. The main conclusions will be presented.