Contemporary Social Problems

Ficha de unidade curricular - Ano letivo 2022/2023

Code: OP0079
Acronym: PSC
Section/Department: Social Sciences and Education
Semester/Trimester: 1st Semester
Acronym Curricular Years ECTS
Teaching weeks: 15
Weekly workload:
Hours/week T TP P PL L TC E OT OT/PL TPL O S
Type of classes
Head: Carlos José das Neves Moreira Cardoso da Cruz
Lectures: Ana Ramos Alcântara

Teaching language


Intended learning outcomes (Knowledges, skills and competencies to be developed by the students)

- Understands the complexity of today's world and the challenges that mankind faces a context of hegemonic globalization.
- Features the economic crisis, demographic and cultural and examines the main points of view about the contemporary social problems arising.
- Examines the identity processes, marked by increasing mobility and interaction of lifestyles in urban spaces.
- Identifies and discusses the problems of population explosion, aging and migration.
- Describes and evaluates problems such as racism, xenophobia, fundamentalism and human rights abuses.
- Equates education as a social problem in permanent reconfiguration.
- Articulates and manages the knowledge of the various social sciences and humanities as sources of knowledge relevant to their professional area.


Identification of Contemporary Social Problems (PSC) in Portugal / Europe /World
Economic, demographic and cultural crisis
The Social Sciences relation to PSC
Anthropology: Migration SN. Integration of minorities and phenomena of racism and xenophobia
Political Science: International terrorism policy. Hegemonic. The crisis of democracy: the abstention
Demography: Population explosion vs demographic aging. Family crisis
Economics: Economic and financial crisis. Unemployment. Consumerism and debt
Geography: Fires and land planning. Natural resources and poverty in the world. Desertification of the countryside and metropolis
History: Clash of Civilizations
Social Psychology: Hybrid identities in multicultural societies
Sociology: Drug trafficking. Insecurity and urban violence. Youth cultures and marginality
Educational / Citizenship Implications
(In)visibility of PSC programs and textbooks in B.E.
Teaching-learning strategies focused on problem solving and problem situations.



Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the UC intended learning outcomes

New challenges present themselves to contemporary societies. In a globalized world, social problems are increasingly fewer locations. In the view of a global citizenship, the problems of others are also ours. These challenges must be problematized and addressed from different perspectives: political, cultural, economic, sociological, anthropological, geographic.
Addressing contemporary social issues requires analysis and reflection, to identify some of its causes and try to solve (or mitigate their adverse consequences). The (re)solution, in many cases, implies availability, civic engagement and new forms of cooperation.
It is not possible (nor necessary) an exhaustive approach (trans-disciplinary) of all social problems, for time limits and didactic reasons, we selected some of the most significant, those with educational implications in the future work of the teachers (there is openness to other proposals from students).

Teaching methodologies

The different themes and contents are organized into theoretical, theoretical-practical and "seminars" with the use of multimedia. The methods used will address include:
- Documentary and empirical research;
- Critical thinking texts of the daily press;
- Organization and promotion of debates in the classroom;
- Cooperation with the community legend.
The activities desk and empirical research and stimulating seminar classes, are given special focus on monitoring tutorial. Students are encouraged to develop independent research activities around social issues of particular interest and cooperation with scientific and professional bodies, outside the school.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's intended learning outcomes

First, each group of students choose a contemporary social problem (CSP) for a detailed analytical study that should be taken into account (i) its manifestations in Portugal and at least one other country, (ii) the in/visibility of CSP a) Curriculum Guidelines and Basic Education Syllabus, b) in two textbooks of primary school (1st and/or 2 cycles), (iii) the implications of a) social and b) education under the CSP in question.
In a second step, the group presents its work to other research colleagues by facilitating a class, which is a privileged space for the debate / contradictory.
It aims to encourage teamwork and knowledge sharing peer teaching rehearsing the stimulation of long duration (3 hrs). This does not preclude the implementation of individual activities: research, national and international press, the material on the contemporary social problem selected for study and analysis.
In order to ensure, both work continuity, made hard through only one class per week (3hrs), and a constant and up-to-date sharing of educational resources, the use of the computer platform moodle has proven to be an indispensable tool in the learning process and the cohesion of the in-class group.

Assessment methodologies and evidences

Students are to be continuously assessed. The final mark takes into account the following parameters: (i) Attendance and relevance of class participation - 15%, (ii) Participation in class activities - 45%, (iii) Research work - 40%.

Attendance system

It is advisable to consult the Regulation of Academic Activities and Guidelines for the Evaluation of Student Achievement of the Polytechnic Institut of Setúbal.


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