UC Women in Science: Sílvia Portugal

The researcher from the Centre for Social Studies and professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra is the 'UC Women in Science' featured guest for April.

Ana Bartolomeu
Marta Costa
Diana Taborda (EN transl.)
01 april, 2024≈ 2 min read

© UC l Ana Bartolomeu

"I often say that I wanted to be a sociologist since I was a child," says Sílvia Portugal, a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra. Her interest in the field was rooted in her childhood, when she was a student at a school on the outskirts of Lisbon. "The differences between individuals, girls and boys, and social classes really struck me."

Although her academic background is primarily in sociology, from her undergraduate degree to her PhD, Sílvia Portugal sees herself as a "quite interdisciplinary" researcher. She focuses on studying the equality/inequality binomial, albeit addressing "marginal" issues, i.e., those that "are not traditionally addressed by Sociology”.

Her initial research was on social networks (face-to-face and non-digital interaction networks), particularly childcare. Her doctoral thesis was on 'Family support and solidarity networks, with a specific focus on women'. More recently, Sílvia Portugal has been working on issues related to disability and mental health.

Her research work goes hand in hand with her teaching at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra (FEUC).

Watch the interview (click to open YouTube and turn on closed captions [CC] for English subtitles)

Translation and subtitles: Diana Taborda and Karine Paniza

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Short Bio

Silvia Portugal holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Coimbra. She is an associate professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra (FEUC) and a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies (CES). She uses network theory in her research work to discuss the relationships between formal and informal welfare systems. She studies the role of the family in the Portuguese social protection system, with a particular focus on women.

Her recent research interests focus on disability, mental illness, chronicity and care. Published: Citizenship, Public Policy and Social Networks (IUC, 2011); Mental Illness, Institutions and Families. The challenges of deinstitutionalisation in Portugal, with Pedro Hespanha et al. (Almedina, 2012); Families and Social Networks (Almedina, 2014); Experience, Health, Chronicity: a socio-anthropological perspective, with Reni Barsaglini and Lucas Melo (FIOCRUZ/IUC, 2021) and Health reinvented: New perspectives on the medicalisation of life, with Tiago Pires Marques (Almedina, 2021).