Tecnociência, Sociedade e Ambiente


Group Coordinator: Gonçalo D. Santos (CIAS / Sci-Tech Asia)

The main focus of the Technoscience, Society, and Environment research group is to promote critical analysis and public debate on contemporary issues lying at the intersection between technoscience, society, and environment.

Group activities cover important topics that bring together multiple fields across the sciences and the humanities:

  • Social-Cultural Anthropology
  • Medical Anthropology / Environmental Anthropology
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • Critical Humanities
  • Anthropocene Studies

We live in age of increasing social and environmental uncertainties that are often mediated by developments in technoscience. The term “technoscience” refers to the increasing interwovenness of science and technology in the fabric of the contemporary world. There are today few aspects of everyday life and social space-time that are not shaped by technoscientific developments in artificial intelligence, computer science, genetic medicine, biotechnology, environmental engineering, architectural design, urban planning, among others. At the same time, there are increasing anxieties about the impact of many of these technoscientific developments in society. Starting from the 1960s and 1970s, the emergence of the interdisciplinary field of science, technology, and society (STS) studies has challenged deeply entrenched ideas about the autonomy of science and technology. This focus on the interplay between technoscience, on the one hand, and society and politics, on the other hand, is crucial to make sense of some of the tensions shaping contemporary societies, and it can be productively combined with new trends in environmental studies to initiate a wider discussion on the impact of global technoscientific modernity on local and planetary ecosystems. This group seeks to promote critical analysis and public debate focusing on the larger forces and inequalities shaping contemporary experiences of environmental degradation and struggles of resilience, adaptation, and environmental justice.

The group brings together scholars from the multidisciplinary field of anthropology and more generally the human sciences, encouraging the cross-fertilization of research perspectives from different areas in the humanities, the arts, and the sciences. The group includes researchers and students who are developing fieldwork-based projects in different parts of the world and who are working with diverse human and non-human populations on issues lying at the intersection between technoscience, society, and environment. Research topics include some of the most pressing issues of our time: How is the current global system of economic production and consumption leading to environmental degradation and shrinking levels of biodiversity? How are various human populations around the world affected by increasing anthropogenic environmental uncertainties and forces of climate change? How are globally circulating scientific models of pandemic management keeping societies safe and at what costs? How are algorithms changing the way welfare systems operate and under what kinds of regimes of inequality? How is virtual space, including social media, changing social connections and political deliberation, including the way we communicate and bond with one another? How are processes of automation changing the way labor is organized and knowledge is produced? How should recent developments in genome editing be governed to safeguard human dignity and integrity? What kinds of ethical considerations should be in place in biomedical research involving human remains or human tissue samples? How do the arts, and the built environments created by artists and designers, help us to destabilize common sense and collectively reflect on the way forward? How can we open up dialogues on these topics within an ethical framework of social responsibility?

Putting forward a critique of modernist assumptions that place humanity at the center of the world, the group approaches the unfolding of human sociality and technoscientific modernity in the context of larger shared ecologies and multispecies entanglements. This multispecies approach can be applied at multiple scales, both spatially and temporally. Focusing on multiple spatial scales is a good way to move beyond the limitations of place-specific perspectives and to show how local histories are connected and interwoven in larger fields of interdependence and larger communities of risk and fate. Focusing on multiple temporal scales is a good way to avoid the trap of presentism and to show how present-day developments are linked to larger historical and evolutionary processes. The group has a strong transnational component that brings together researchers and students working on different parts of the world, North and South, East and West. Adopting a transnational perspective on contemporary issues places us in a better position to question prevailing assumptions, to explore new conceptualizations, and to imagine how the world might be otherwise. We want to develop a better understanding of contemporary intersections between technoscience, society, and environment, and we want to foster public discussions that will prove helpful in research as well as in applied developments within academia and civil society in Europe and globally. This amounts to creating a new collaborative approach to the links between technoscience, society, and environment, and in this new collaborative paradigm of knowledge creation, there is plenty of scope for more horizontal and inclusive debates with multiple stakeholders including lay citizens and non-human actors like forests, on the major social and environmental challenges facing contemporary collectives.


Gonçalo D. Santos
Assistant Professor; Group Coordinator
Gonçalo D. SantosAssistant Professor; Group Coordinator

Research Group: Technoscience, Society, and Environment (Group Coordinator)

Institutional Address: Department of Life Sciences

Personal website: https://gdsantos.com/

E-mail: gsantos@uc.pt



Gonçalo D. SANTOS is an Assistant Professor of Socio-Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Life Sciences and a Researcher and Group Coordinator in the Research Center for Anthropology and Health (CIAS) at the University of Coimbra. Prior to joining the University of Coimbra in 2020, he held positions at the London School of Economics, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Chinese Village Life Today (University of Washington Press, 2021) and the co-editor of Transforming Patriarchy (University of Washington Press, 2017). His research explores new approaches to questions of modernity, subjectivity, and social, technological, and ecological transformation, combining the fields of social-cultural anthropology, Asian studies, and science, technology, and society studies. He is the coordinator of the Research Group on “Technoscience, Society, and Environment,” and is the founder and the director of the transnational research network Sci-Tech Asia.


Research Interests:

Social-Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies (China), Environment Studies, and Science, Technology, and Society Studies


Selected Projects:

Research Project: Women and Birth in Transition: The Politics of Childbirth Medicalization in Reform China, 1978-present (Co-PI, with Jun Zhang, funded by Research Grants Council of Hong Kong)

Research Project: Shifting Regimes of Reproductive Labor in East Asia, 1900s-2000s (Co-PI, with Jacob Eyferth and Suzanne Gottschang)

Research Project: Perceptions of Environmental Degradation and Climate Change in Traditional Fishing Communities (PI, funded by the “Verão com Ciência 2021” Initiative, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia)

Research Project: “Culture and Society” (Research Group Member, Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues, Georgetown University)

Curatorial Project: “Pluralizing the Anthropocene: Reenvisioning the Future of the Planet in the 21st Century” (Curator, supported by Research Center for Anthropology and Health, Serralves Foundation, Centre for Functional Ecology, Sci-Tech Asia)

Curatorial Project: “UrbanAct: Cities, Environment, and Activism in the 21st Century” (Curator, funded by the “Promoção da Cultura Científica 2021” Initiative, Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, University of Coimbra)


Selected Publications:

Santos, Gonçalo. 2021 (In Press). ” The Polyphony of Nature.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory

Santos, Gonçalo. 2021. Chinese Village Life Today. Building Families in an Age of Transition. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 320 pages.

Santos, Gonçalo. 2020. “Birthing Stories and Techno-Moral Change across Generations. Coping with Hospital Births and High-Tech Medicalization in rural South China, 1960s-2010s.” Technology and Culture 61 (2): 581-616

Santos, Gonçalo, and Suzanne Gottschang. 2020. “Rethinking Reproductive Technologies and Modernities in Time and Space.” Technology and Culture 61 (2): 549-558

Santos, Gonçalo (江绍龙) and Stevan Harrell (郝瑞). 2019. ”21世纪中国家庭的权力构成形态. ‘男权家长制’作为一种分析框架 (Changing Power Configurations in 21st century Chinese Families. Using Patriarchy as an Analytical Category).” Zhongguo Xueshu中国学术 41: 79-124.

Santos, Gonçalo, and Stevan Harrell (eds). 2017. Transforming Patriarchy. Chinese Families in the Twenty-First Century. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 312 pages

Santos, Gonçalo. 2016. “On Intimate Choices and Troubles in Rural South China.” Modern Asian Studies 50 (4): 1298-1326.






Catarina Casanova
Associated Professor
Catarina CasanovaAssociated Professor

Research group: Past Cultures and Populations


Institutional Address:

ISCSP, Campus Universitário do Alto da Ajuda, Rua Almerindo Lessa, 1300-663 Lisboa

Email: ccasanova2009@gmail.com


Research interests:

My research areas are on primate behaviour, ecology and conservation. I also conduct research on human/non-human interface (animal studies) and multi-species ethnography.


Personal URL:






Cláudia Umbelino
Assistant Professor
Cláudia UmbelinoAssistant Professor
Research group: Past Cultures and Populations

Institutional Address:
Departamento de Ciências da Vida da Universidade de Coimbra
Phone number: +351 239 240 729
Email: umbelino@antrop.uc.pt
Research interests:
  • Paleodiets
  • Osteology
  • Prehistory
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Paleopathology
  • Physical Anthropology
  • Excavation
  • Anthropology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Skeletal Biology
  • Human Evolution
  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Taphonomy
  • Dental Anthropology
  • Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Odontology
  • Archaeological Chemistry
Personal URL:
Cristina Padez
CIAS Coordinator; Group Coordinator; Senior Lecture
Cristina PadezCIAS Coordinator; Group Coordinator; Senior Lecture


Research group: Human Biology, Health and Society (Group Coordinator)CPadez

Institutional Address: Department of Life Sciences

E-mail: cpadez@antrop.uc.pt

Phone number: + 351 239 240721


Research interests:

Childhood obesity and their association with social, familiar and environmental factos.

Socioeconomic status and Sedendary behaviors and their association with childhood obesity.


Ongoing Projects:

Inequalities in childhood obesity: the impacto f the socioeconomic crisis in Portugal

from 2009 to 2015 (PTDC/DPT-SAP/1520/2014)


Personal URL






Curriculum Vitae


Luís Quintais
Assistant Professor
Luís QuintaisAssistant Professor

Research Group: Technoscience, Society, and Environment

Institutional Address:

CIAS, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra

Personal website:




Research interests:

Transdisciplinary studies; culture, cognition and emotion; relations between anthropology, art and literature; contemporary art; representations of Japanese culture; social studies of science and technology; modernity

Other areas of interest: Anthropology of biomedicine and biotechnologies; critical neuroscience; psychiatric knowledge

Manuela Alvarez
Assistant Professor
Manuela AlvarezAssistant Professor


Research group: Genes, Populations and Disease


Institutional Address:

Departamento de Ciências da Vida
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia
Universidade de Coimbra
Calçada Martim de Freitas
3000-456 Coimbra





Research interests: 

Genetics of Human Populations, Human Population Dynamics and Evolution.


Personal URL


ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0336-2299



Vítor Matos
Researcher; Group Coordinator
Vítor MatosResearcher; Group Coordinator


Research group: Past Cultures and Populations (Group Coordinator) VMatos


Institutional Address: Department of Life Sciences

E-mail: vmatos@antrop.uc.pt


Personal URL:






ResearcherID: F-3921-2010

Scopus Author ID: 13606806600

Researchers (PhD Students)

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