Symposium on Inequality and Social Science: Perspectives from Brazil and the UK

20 December 2018

Brazil symposium at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences recently hosted an international gathering of scholars, researchers and post-graduate students from the UK, Brazil, China and Japan.

Contributions were made by leading professors of sociology in Brazil, including Professor Tom Dwyer of Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) who presented reflections on international collaborations with colleagues in Brazil and China.

As editor of the Handbook of the Sociology of Youth in BRICS countries (2018) he outlined several challenges regarding socio-economic stratification and dynamics among youth in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS countries), with several insights regarding higher education.

Professor Celi Scalon, of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, examined the social and economic trajectories of middle income groups in Brazil, and contrasted these with those of China. Professor Soraya Vargas Côrtes, of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, gave an interesting overview of the development of social policy in Brazil over the last 40 years, and where it would be located in an international typology of welfare states.

Professor Sin Yi Cheung from the School of Social Sciences presented on her work on dispersal housing policies as stressors for refugee and asylum seeker mental health in the UK.

Other contributions from the School included Dr Adam Edwards on the security implications of ‘smart cities’, and Professor Paul Chaney on welfare pluralism, rights and representation in Wales and the world beyond.

Professor Alison Brown of the School of Geography and Planning talked about her work on informal economies, and Dr Shailen Nandy discussed how multidimensional poverty could be consistently assessed in a comparative fashion across any or all of the BRICS nations.

Dr Sara Delamont delivered a closing keynote, using the Brazilian dance-martial art of Capoeira as a lens to reflect on past and current dynamics of inequality in Brazil, and also to consider the implications of the new government for researchers and scholars of poverty, inequality and welfare.

Strategic partnership

The symposium coincided with the signing of a strategic partnership between Cardiff University and UNICAMP. The partnership commits the two institutions to collaborating in joint research activities, and staff and student exchange.

The process has already begun, with research proposals already submitted by staff at the School of Social Sciences and UNICAMP to the Global Challenges Research Fund. In bringing together scholars, researchers and students, the symposium enabled participants to network, identify common areas of interest, and forge nascent partnerships which will develop in the years to come.