Research Unit

Within the scope of its object and aims, since 1996, CEPESE hosts a Research Unit in the area of History and other Social and Human Sciences, under the rules established by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

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As a Research Unit, CEPESE brings together over a hundred researchers from different Portuguese higher education institutions, as well as several PhD students, hosting research fellows, offering all the necessary material and research support, including privileged access to our library, scientific guidance of junior researchers and access to equipment and facilities.

CEPESE also welcomes foreign researchers who are carrying out research in the scope of master's, doctoral and post-doctoral studies. Thus, any national or foreign researcher wanting to develop his/her research project in Portugal may contact CEPESE in order to obtain all the necessary information.

The R&D Unit is regularly evaluated by the FCT, by means of international experts. In the last evaluation (2014/2015), CPEESE was awarded a “Very Good” rating.

From 2018 to 2022, CEPESE’s Research Unit, currently under evaluation, is thematically structured in four Research Groups:


Portugal in Europe and the World: Migration and Foreign Relations

This RG seeks to analyse Portugal's relations with Europe and the World, in particular with the European Union and Brazil, in order to understand in what ways the Portuguese State has maximized its own values and interests with regard to other states and external actors. To this end, it studies Portugal's foreign policy in its various aspects – economic, political, cultural, diplomatic and social – to apprehend the most relevant aspects of its international insertion, its relative importance in the global definition of strategic guidelines and the contexts in which they developed.

This RG is also developing a new field of studies crossing History, International Relations and Political Science, in particular in the area of European Studies, addressing aspects such as the crisis in the euro zone, Brexit, democracy in the European Union, EU relations with Latin America and Africa, international cooperation and the export of the European model of State and Nation.

Finally, the RG will continue to study the major international migrations that have occurred between Southern Europe and South America from the 19th century to the present, strengthening REMESSAS international research network. It also intends to collect data on emigrants from Portugal to Brazil from other geographic areas of Portugal; create new databases related to this theme; scan documentary sources and continue the series of international seminars on this subject, with over ten editions already carried out.


Powers, Elites and Social Relations

This RG aims at pursuing studies on the relationship between powers (in a broad sense), political and economic elites and social relations in the Portuguese context, from the Middle Ages to the present time.

As for the most distant period, its objectives are to prepare a global history of military orders in Portugal; gather all documentation on the Order of the Temple and publish its cartulary, a fundamental instrument for the history of Portugal and of Europe; to continue the Militarium Ordinum Analecta collection; to participate in a project on the construction of the cohesion of multi-ethnic societies in the 12th century and another on women’s letters in medieval Europe (both with foreign partners); to study the medieval Portuguese nobility and to publish the General Inquiries of D. Dinis (1301, 1303-1304 and 1307-1311).

With regard to the Portuguese elites, the RG will focus on the study of local and national political elites, and business elites in the north of Portugal, aiming at building a complete database of these personalities, which at the same time serves to support research work; to develop new studies on prosopography, elite theories, social inequality and relations between elites and democracy; create reading seminars and an original collection on elites, available online; and hold an International Seminar on Elites, with the presence of national and foreign specialists

Also within its framework, it aims at building a Digital Chorographic Dictionary for the 21st century, with data on municipalities (demography, election results, human geography, and historical, artistic and cultural information), as well as an online database with all editions of the Portuguese Official Gazette published during the Constitutional Monarchy.


Organizations, Tourism and Heritage

Benefiting from the multidisciplinary training of its researchers (Tourism, History, Management, Economics), this RG seeks to intertwine two main dimensions: Tourism and Heritage with Organisations and Management. Reflecting the current importance of the tourism sector and the organisational framework, its general objectives are the production of innovative scientific studies on tourism, from a historical, patrimonial, cultural, economic and managerial perspective, as well as on organisations in a broad sense, regardless their nature (public/private, profit/non-profit) or activity, prioritizing their present and/or past socioeconomic relevance. Both axis prioritize the northern region of Portugal.

More specifically, the study of Organizations seeks to understand their changes, development, sustainability and interaction with the social construction process. To this end, a digital Observatory will aim at researching and divulging economic and business dynamics of different municipalities, characterizing local companies, their evolution, contextual variables affecting them, and factors of competitiveness. In this scope, a research on the History of Accounting in Portugal is also foreseen, in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of this science at the service of organizations, as well as a project on the associations established in the 19th and 20th centuries in Portugal, in order to understand their action and relevance.

The Tourism and Heritage component presents as its strategic core the accomplishment of an integrative project, "Routes of Memory", whose objective is to develop research based on historical, artistic, cultural, sociological, anthropological, economic and managerial views, providing a set of knowledge-acquisition tools to incentive an innovative attitude in the tourism value chain through cultural heritage enhancement, promotion, sustainability and tourism competitiveness of the peninsular north-western region.


Wellbeing, Health and Aging

The general objectives of the RG "Wellbeing, Health and Ageing" are to research and characterize wellbeing and health trajectories and to contribute to the knowledge and development of intervention strategies, focusing on vulnerable groups emerging in the current Portuguese socio-economic and demographic configuration. Three themes deserve particular attention: population ageing (a challenge shared by contemporary societies), the prevalence of mental illness (epidemiological studies show that psychiatric disorders affect over a fifth of the Portuguese population), and education strategies.

Based on a broad theoretical framework, with contributions from sociology, psychology, social service, education sciences and demography, this RG aims at: i) contributing to the knowledge of health and wellbeing trajectories of the Portuguese population; ii) contributing to the development of integrated intervention strategies; iii) identifying the knowledge and skills required for the creation of multidisciplinary teams designed to intervene with individuals and families with identified risks; iv) contributing to the development of social policies, explicitly or implicitly directed towards these groups; (v) offering specialized training to groups and organizations providing care.

Besides studies on specific issues, the RG covers three main research projects: "Personal Social Networks of Portuguese Elderly" and "Evaluation and Intervention in Families at Risk" (already in progress) and "Reconceptualization Movement in Social Service in Latin America and International Interlocutions: Contestatory Movements in the Iberian and North American Social Service in period 1960/1980 " (new project). It is also being defined a research project of historical and anthropological nature, based on the analysis of the documentary collection of a centennial psychiatric institution, to contribute to the knowledge of the evolution of psychiatry in Portugal.