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Seminar analyzes the experience of public space in modernity

by Richard Meckien - published May 27, 2014 04:35 PM - - last modified May 27, 2014 06:11 PM

The IEA-USP will hold the second meeting of the cycle of seminars “In Search of Lost Meaning: Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Science and Transcendence” on May 29, at 3 pm, in the Congregation Room of USP’s Institute of International Relations (IRI). The theme is “The Individual and Public Space”.

Among the issues to be addressed at the event there are:

  • How does the individual live in the context of modernity? What is their place in public space and in politics?
  • What aspirations, hopes and frustrations does modern life raise?
  • How do individuals negotiate social pressures?
  • What new forms of domination does the contemporary Western culture generate?


The exhibitor will be Danilo Martuccelli, a professor at the Faculté des Sciences Humaines e Sociales of the Université Paris Descartes, and member of the Centre de Recherche sur le Liens Sociaux (CERLIS) at the same institution. The debaters will be Maria Alice Rezende de Carvalho, a professor at the department of social sciences of the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), and Vera da Silva Telles, a professor at USP’s Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH). Moderation will be in charge of sociologist Bernardo Sorj, visiting professor at the IEA-USP and coordinator of the cycle of seminars.

The event will be broadcast live on the web.

Related material

First seminar

Photos of the first seminar


The cycle “In Search of Lost Meaning: Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Science and Transcendence”, coordinated by Sorj, is planned to have four meetings. The goal is to address the changes caused by the decline of the great political ideologies and to discuss the production of meaning in this new sociocultural context.

According to Sorj, the everyday is invaded by the immediate concerns of success, status and consumption, by media that convey a flood of information that deplete themselves and social ties transferred to social networks, where quantity replaces density.

"We live in a world where technology permeates every angle of our lives, but we do not understand its knowledge bases. Communication is ubiquitous, but its content is shallow. The sense of time evaporates along the immediacy of the present and the insecurity of the future. The pursuit of individual happiness has evacuated of collective life and handed into the hands of therapists and drugs.", says the sociologist.

Focusing on this panorama of transformations, the cycle of events addresses some key issues:

  • What is the role of university and scientific knowledge in this new world?
  • Is there a new meeting point between natural and human sciences?
  • Is there space for a dialogue between scientific knowledge producers and other areas that reflect on human condition?
  • How can local and global interact and produce new cultural syntheses?