top of page

Thematic Sections

The Thematic Sections are an essential part of EcPol's activity, gathering members with common thematic interests around areas identified as priorities by EcPol's members. The Thematic Sections promote various initiatives, meetings, and academic debates within their sphere of action and play a fundamental role in the preparation and development of the EcPol's activity plan, with emphasis on the Annual Meeting.

Philosophy and History of Political Economy

Filosofia e História da Economia Política


Pedro Teixeira:

Jorge Bateira:

This thematic section aims to contribute to the necessary epistemological, theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary broadening of political economy analyses. It seeks to do so by deepening the debate about the merits and the best way to put into practice inter and transdisciplinary approaches in the study of economic phenomena. To this end, it draws on contributions from the philosophy of social sciences and history of political economy. In this sense, the section promotes critical analyses of the assumptions, theories, and methods mobilized in the analysis of economic phenomena and pays particular attention to the discussion of ontological foundations in theoretical construction, as well as of central concepts of political economy such as rationality, market, institution, and values.


The objectives of this thematic section are: i) To contribute to reflexive research in political economy; ii) To deepen the knowledge of canonical authors in political economy studies; iii) To promote the knowledge of historical evolution in its specificity and systemic complexity; iv) To promote reflection on interdisciplinarity in the field of political economy; v) To promote socially responsible and ethical behaviour of social scientists.

The activities to be developed within the framework of this thematic section are expected to result from the interests and initiative of EcPol members.

Economia Política do Território

Political Economy of the Territory


Pedro Marques -

Paulo Miguel Madeira -

Territory - conceptualized beyond the simple spatial jurisdiction of the state - is not merely a geographical and geopolitical definition; when conceptualized from the practices of production and reproduction of space and the relationships that are established in it, it becomes a fundamental reference of the organization of society and the state, as well as of collective action and public policies. The political economy of territory pays attention to the structural role of the production of territory and how it is present in the articulation between institutions and actors and in the formation of existing policy frameworks, including the relationship with external institutions relevant to development. In a multi-scalar and multi-level perspective, the political economy of territory considers the variable geometry of relationships between small places, cities, macro-regions, the nation-state, and international relations, with attention to how different institutional architectures affect different spaces, social groups, actors, institutions, and public policies. In this thematic section, besides theorizing the relevance of the territory as a subject of political economy, the peculiarity of the Portuguese context is also considered, that is, its territorial problems, as well as its deep asymmetries (centres/peripheries; urban/rural; coastal/interior...) and its relevance for political processes and deliberations about the national society.

Political Economy of Public Policies

Economia Política das Políticas Públicas


João Paiva Silva –

State action is one of the central elements of contemporary societies. The public policies upon which this action takes place have important implications on the way of life and well-being of all those touched by them. The thematic section 'Political Economy of Public Policies' proposes to promote understanding on how these policies are formed, considering that this does not occur in a vacuum, but rather in a context of constant interaction between agents and structures, where powers, interests, values, and ideas play a fundamental role.


In practical terms, it is proposed that, within the scope of this section, research on theoretical and empirical domains is fostered, with special emphasis on the Portuguese case, through the promotion of sessions to discuss potential or actual papers and projects. Given the interest of the theme for society in general, the section also proposes to hold open discussion/debate sessions on important public policies, involving not only academics, but also the actors most directly involved in shaping them. It is envisioned that, should sufficient critical mass be formed in this area, EcPol could play an active institutional role with the relevant actors.

Work, Social Protection and Inequalities


Alexandre Mergulhão -

João Loureiro -

This thematic section aims to promote research and public debate on three areas - labour, social protection, and inequalities - that are already well established in the social sciences. It aims to stimulate original contributions through:

1. a multidisciplinary approach (economics, sociology, law, political science);

2. covering simultaneously the three areas, since their connection is insufficiently explored; 

3. providing an analytical framework that allows not only for a better understanding of the world we live in, but also an outline for a desirable future by designing appropriate policies;

4. contributing analytically within the framework of the digital and ecological transitions.


In recent decades, the world of work has undergone profound transformations that have affected both the conditions of employment and the division of labour within societies, the organization of work within productive organizations, and the valuation/recognition of work. The consequence has been not only an increase in inequalities, but also a tendency towards economic, social, and cultural polarization, which, because it is insufficiently identified, runs the risk of being "naturalized" and considered as being ineluctable. The degradation of public social protection provision, associated with the current phase of globalization and financialization of capitalism, has reinforced these trends.


Now, the digital transition potentiates a prodigious intensification of these transformations, threatening to exacerbate inequalities and social polarization, phenomena that are already compromising the functioning and continuity of democracy. It is thus urgent to analyse and anticipate the impact of digital technologies on the world of work to control and properly guide the digital transition.

At the same time, the ecological transition provides a unique opportunity to profoundly transform the value system of contemporary societies, to move away from the cult of money and consumption. Many work activities, essential for social and environmental sustainability, have been undervalued and must be recognized and dignified. Like the digital transition, the ecological transition must be prepared and properly guided.

Trabalho, Proteção Social e Desigualdades

Comparative Political Economy


Paulo Marques -

João Carvalho -

The thematic section “Comparative Political Economy” aims to stimulate the debate on the comparative study of capitalism in Portugal. Within this scope, particular emphasis is given to national institutions that contribute to the existence of different models of capitalism, namely: legislation, the model of welfare state, the system of industrial relations, the system of innovation, the political system, among others. This section motivates reflection on the most controversial international topics in this field, such as, for example, the perspective of growth models, the process of financialization, or the dualization of employment and social protection. This section adopts a theoretically pluralistic perspective. What distinguishes this section from other sections of the Portuguese Association for Political Economy is the emphasis on the comparative study of capitalism, where institutions at the national scale are of central importance. Comparative Political Economy is an interdisciplinary field, where contributions from Economics, Political Science, and Sociology are highlighted. In this way, it counters the tendency of sub-specialization of the social sciences. This section is aligned with the objectives of the Portuguese Association for Political Economy, namely those of promoting interdisciplinarity. In turn, the importance given to the role of national institutions also corresponds to the aims of the Association, namely those related to the study of economics as a substantive reality.

Economia Política Comparada

Political Economy of Science and Technology


José Luís Garcia -

Irina Castro -

The Thematic Section (TS) “Political Economy of Science and Technology” has three strategic objectives: (i) to promote the epistemological, methodological and ethical broadening of current analyses on science and technology in their intersection with political economy; (ii) analyse and critically address the theoretical, methodological and historical elements of the relationships between science, technology and the capitalist economy, with particular emphasis on the current situation of growing interpenetration between research and innovation policies and the industrial sphere; and (iii) develop a critical debate on science, technology and innovation policies and their future goals, considering climate urgency and the fight against social inequalities in their various dimensions.


The Thematic Section (TS) will thus encourage a critical view of the assumptions that guide much of the analysis of phenomena associated with science and technology. The TS will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, driven by both an externalist and an internalist vision, to broaden the understanding of science and technology as a human, social, cognitive and productive practice. This perspective will deepen knowledge about the social and economic conditions of scientific work and innovation processes.

Economia Política da Ciência e Tecnologia
bottom of page