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Citizenship Promotion with Knowledge Mediation falls within the investigation line of the Political Science and it aims, through multifaceted observation of the Portuguese reality, to understand how citizens deal with knowledge in various situations, in every place they live.
In principle, every citizen has his own life project from which he reflects his own development in relation to a certain context and the power framework that influence his life and in which he may intervene.
Assuming the methodologically validated principle that active, informed and reflexive citizenship may overcome what power makes in favor or against the social wellbeing, it can be demonstrated that effective citizenīs participation in designing and proposing the solutions affecting them, directly or indirectly, is the touchstone of alternative governance to autocratic power.
In thesis, it is possible to reorient State apparatus to promote, in the adhocratic scope of its structures, knowledge mediators developing citizenīs habilitation to citizenship and orienting communities to social citizenship. This implies the need to root the qualification dynamics in the territorial collectives, expressing themselves both in virtual and geographical territories; and putting this one into the general map of the problems related with public policies.
Focusing the virtual communication which we recognize as the main line in the core of nowadays sociability (Lipovetsky, Giles and Serroy, Jean, 2010), we are assigning it a crucial function in the organizational dynamics of a territory. It requires, however, that the communication may express what role the institutions in the territory may have in relation with the dynamic powers of development, including the emerging power of Citizenship.
Therefore, within the line of investigation related with the concept of social citizenship, cohesion and social capital, we have developed a site http://cidadania-social.fc.ul.pt hosting an action-research process in the qualification and certification of a Human Resources pool. This will lead to the appropriate training of local citizenship mediators in the Knowledge Society context. Next step will be the formalization of a profile resulting from a process of promotion and comparative assessment of observatories that will integrate a network. The reference for this will be the pilot-experience in the municipality of Montijo and the observations collected from the Local Citizen Observatory.
Linking that experience to the investigation of Public policies within local and central administration framework, in exploratory workshops, will be crucial to the development of other citizenīs observatories. Furthermore, this experience may allow the creation, in medium term, of a directory integrating the surviving observatories both in the internet and in the praxis territory from which Citizen Observatory for Portugal, in a Portal form, could emerge.
To approach these matters, the Conference program will be covering the following key topics:
- Citizenship through knowledge mediation improvement
- Digital literacy and citizenship
- Social networks and citizenship
- E-government and public participation
In this context, awareness of mediation indispensability to reinforce participative citizenship will guide us to define a new mediator's profile, methodologically prepared to understand complex problems and stimulate citizenīs participation in the knowledge society.