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Faculty of Law and Political Science

Wiebe E. Bijker


"In our current democracies, there is too small a role for citizens"

Wiebe E. Bijker is professor of Technology & Society at the University of Maastricht. He trained as an engineer in Applied Physics at Delft University of Technology, studied philosophy at University of Groningen, and holds a PhD in the Sociology and History of Technology from University of Twente. Bijker helped to create the European master's degree in European Society, Science and Technology (ESST), the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC), and the research master programme Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), and served as their director. He is currently chairman of the Board of the NWO-WOTRO/Science for Global Development research council, and member of the Board of the Rathenau Institute (the Dutch Technology Assessment Institute).

Foto: Flickr/Terremonto (CC)


Experts on social movements see Barcelona as the new global benchmark

Barcelona is the new global benchmark of social movements. "It has become what Porto Alegre was at the start of the century, a reference for anti-globalization movements," argued Marcelo Branco, renowned Brazilian free software activist, who this morning participated in the meeting "The Emergence of Technopolitical Practices 2010-2015" held at the Centre Cívic Pati Llimona and organized by the research group Networks, Movements and Technopolitics of the IN3 at the UOC, the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES) in Brazil and the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) in Mexico, in collaboration with the multidisciplinary research group @DatAnalysis15M. Branco's statement was corroborated by the other speakers, such as Arnau Monterde and Javier Toret (IN3/UOC), Alberto Escorcia (Mexican researcher and blogger), Guiomar Rovira (UAM, Mexico) and Rossana Reguillo (ITESO, Mexico).

Photo: Flickr/Georgie Pauwels (CC)


From smart cities to smart citizens

In 2050, 75% of the world's population will live in urban centres where administration will be vitally important and where large amounts of data will be used to improve cities' efficiency. Some of the ideas highlighted by the experts as important challenges in the transition towards smart cities include letting citizens play an active and critical role in this transformation while making them aware of the risks linked to cybersecurity.

Isber Sabrine - Heritage for Peace


"The lack of security in Syria during the war has enabled a tremendous amount of trafficking in antiquities"

When the Syrian civil war broke out, the archaeologist Isber Sabrine, based in Catalonia, saw an urgent need to protect the heritage of his country from bombings, looting and illicit trade in archaeological and museum pieces. In this interview, Sabrine explains what Heritage for Peace is doing to safeguard the cultural and collective heritage of Syria, a land that has, for centuries, been home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Fergus McNeill


"Desistance believes in a second chance, a third, as many as it takes"

Fergus McNeill is professor of criminology and social work at the University of Glasgow, where he is head of sociology and works in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). He is one of the world's leading authorities on desistance from crime, the process through which people cease and refrain from offending. He recently took part in the 4th Criminology Symposium, an event organized by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) and Catalonia's Centre for Legal Studies (CEFJE), at which various projects and studies on desistance were presented.

In this interview, McNeill, who was a criminal justice social worker before becoming a researcher, offers his views on social responsibility in offender reintegration. He believes that desistance is always possible, although there is no single formula that works in every case.

Photo: Flickr/Ismael Villafranco (CC)


The "Google tax" generates scepticism among experts in intellectual property

The so-called "Google tax", or the proposed amendment by the Spanish government to the law on intellectual property that would affect news aggregators, has generated doubts and scepticism among some experts. They believe that, in the long term and depending on how the text is written, it could have negative effects for users.

Photo: Flickr/M. Gifford (CC)


Technology and marketing applied to the legal profession, the future of law firm management

New forms of less hierarchical administration, legal project management that focuses more on imagination and experience than on predictions, technological tools and apps that facilitate and simplify administrative processes in law firms, these are just some of the inspirational ideas presented at the recent Conference on the Online Legal Profession, an initiative organized by the UOC's Law Department and a pioneering event in Spain, held on 21 February at the University's central site.

Journal of Conflictology


Sovereignty conflicts require root analysis

The latest issue of the Journal of Conflictology (JoC), produced by the UOC's Campus for Peace, looks at sovereignty conflicts such as those in Northern Ireland, Catalonia or Israel and Palestine. The six articles in this new issue analyse all the factors linked to the conflict and set out possible lines of action for their resolution.


Internationalization and collaboration with universities and research centres, key for Josep A. Planell's presidency

Josep A. Planell took over as the new president of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) on Wednesday in a ceremony held at the University's headquarters. Planell stressed that "the UOC has every potential of becoming one of the most effective instruments of ensuring that all the knowledge being amassed in Catalonia can be conveyed to the world" and, consequently, internationalization will be one of the cornerstones of his term in office over the next seven years. To achieve this, he stressed that collaboration with other universities, research centres and institutions will be key.

Author: Flickr/Mobile Edge Laptop Cases (CC)


The UOC to recognize students' professional experience as credits for their degree

Most of the UOC's 60,000 students work, and if they enrol at the University it is either for professional improvement or personal development. To recognize and rate this knowledge gained from professional experience, this semester, the UOC has begun the process to validate their professional experience as credits for their degree. Some 448 bachelor's, master's and postgraduate degree students have already applied.