Suggested reading: Activism is not well regarded by Portuguese society, complain activists from several generations

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Professor Guya Accornero (CIES-Iscte) contributed in an interview with the Lusa news agency, published in the Público newspaper, to the discussion about activism in Portugal and how it is viewed by Portuguese society. In the interview, Guya pointed out that there is a division in Portuguese society when it comes to participation, where only a few people take part in various areas, and that “generally the people who participate the most take part in all arenas, i.e. elections, trade unions, demonstrations, associations”, she commented.   

Talking about the actions carried out by environmental movements such as Climáximo, which she doesn’t consider particularly radical, Guya Accornero, a professor and researcher at CIES-Iscte who specializes in social movements, recalled that “disruptive” actions, such as occupations or blocking public roads, are not new from a historical point of view and that “somewhat surreal” actions by the Situationists in the 1960s and other symbolic actions by the student movement in May 68 were already practiced. The professor also highlighted the pedagogical role of social movements, which have an in-depth discourse on society’s problems, building alternative knowledg.

Accornero disagrees with the idea that the Portuguese are less engaged in one than other peoples, demonstrating that Portugal has more associations, and more people involved in them, than Spain in comparative terms. The professor also believes that protest cycles can repoliticize civil society, bringing innovations to the repertoire of social movements, especially with regard to digital. Finally, Guya points out that in recent years there has been “a resurgence of social movements, of activism” by young people, linked to environmental issues, the rights of LGBTI people, anti-racism, among others, stressing that “we’ve been saying for years that young people don’t give a damn, they’re individualists, but now they’re mobilized, they’re demanding things that are fair. That’s very good”.