Plenary session - Lusophony

The last plenary session, which was chaired by John Downing, Vice-President of the IAMCR, had the presence of Moisés de Lemos Martins, José Marques de Melo, Margarita Ledo and Rosental Alves.
The first lecturer, Moisés de Lemos Martins, President of the Portuguese Communication Research Association, introduced the subject “Globalization and lusophone world: implications for citizenship” and centered his presentation on the notion of “lusotropicalismo”. Professor Martins went on to talk about the link between lusophony and new technology by referring to the cyberspace as a new place for lusophony, since the establishment of virtual networks easily allows communication among citizens who think, feel and speak in Portuguese. The scholar then concluded with a remark on the reservation of language, saying its setting on the global (network) communication demands an active fight by the lusophone community.
The President of the Ibero-American Confederation of National and Regional Associations of Communication Sciences, José Marques de Melo, focused the debate on “Citizenship and Communication in the Millennium Crisis: challenges in the academic community in lusophone space”. Considering the academic sphere a “narrow bridge” for lusophone studies and scholars, the lecturer regarded the Anglophonic hegemony as a barrier to the expansion of lusophony on an international scenario. As a way to reverse this situation, professor Melo proposed a consistent action in the global arena by the lusophone community.
Margarita Ledo Andión presented the topic of “Geo-linguistic areas and cultural citizenship”, reporting to the particular case-study of Galicia. The President of the Galician Communication Research Association reinforced the importance of imagined communities, as well as the importance of cultural citizenship. As a result of her studies, professor Andión concluded that lusophony is changing: it is going from a Eurocentric content towards a plural and multicentric place.
The final lecturer, Rosental Alves, showed how the internet and other technologies will impact the space of Portuguese speakers dispersed around the world. Firstly naming the characteristics and advantages of the Digital Revolution by crediting it as a long lasting action with overwhelming effects on society and information circulation, professor Alves compared it to a blossoming ecosystem, saying that the new media empowers citizens across geography and cultures, hence allowing a fast proliferation of information that goes across national borders and finding new ways to bond in innovative manners. Concluding, the director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas predicted that the Internet will help to create a sense of community and identity never before seen by the lusophone population, contrary to the current scenario, where lusophony is dispersed as an “archipelago of distant islands”. United in a true lusophonic community, the “islands” would form a “Continente Digital Lusófono”.

Laura Vilaça, Neuza Alpuim, Eduarda Fernandes and Diana Teixeira

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