The theme of the 3rd OBSERVARE International Conference presupposes a reading of international relations that goes beyond the mere relationship between sovereign states or the interplay of forces between the dominant powers. As is well known, many of the processes that are underway in the world system are literally transnational. The designation BEYOND BORDERS expresses precisely the aim to explore the phenomena that crisscross the areas of jurisdiction of classical sovereignty, phenomena that globalization has greatly intensified.
In spite of the multitudinous nature of these processes, one cannot forget that they always involve people – even in their singularity – as individual subjects, which require humanizing the understanding of globalized realities. But the timeliness of population flows in its collective dimension also points to the need to carefully study the demographic problems, the issues concerning settlement, migratory flows and, in general, population movements.
Even when one considers the intangible nature of many of the processes, or of their transposition into virtual reality, the truth is that their roots are still immersed in the concrete areas where human activities are located. Nonetheless, there are new spaces that are redefining themselves in the current situation, such as the economic areas of production and exchange of goods and services, or the spaces that constitute security subsystems, connected by flexible networks, often outside traditional borders. Thus, a new and innovative landscape in world politics is forming, coexisting problematically with the conventional world map.
Meanwhile, is the announced ‘end of ideologies’ confirmed or, on the contrary, do ideas continue to influence or even govern the course of events? In times of uncertainty – and in the year that coincides with the centenary of the October Revolution of 1917 – are mental frames of reference weakened or, conversely, is there a crystallization of the dominant modes of thought? What is the impact on the international situation of ideologies as diverse as Marxism, neoliberalism or religious beliefs?
The succession of these matters justifies the subtitle: PEOPLE, SPACES, IDEAS. The work of the Conference is structured around these three terms – all of them considered "beyond borders” – both in its plenary sessions and thematic panels. It is a Conference open to Portuguese and foreign academic communities, with the ambition of advancing the scientific knowledge in this sensitive area of international relations.