EICOS Program

The EICOS Program – Interdisciplinary Studies of Communities and Social Ecology – consists of a nucleus of teaching and research arrangements of the Institute of Psychology of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ, that brings together different specialists regarding the broad themes of DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENT and COMMUNITIES.

The Laboratory of Clinical Social Psychology, which is at the origin of EICOS Program, was created in 1983 with the objective of establishing the studies of groups, institutions and communities, all in a psycho-social perspective. Already in those times, we advocated the participation of civil society, through the collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). The first assignments were undertaken with the partnership of the Socius Association for Cultural and Community Development and Environmental Research, driven for the realization of research projects, and for the ecological and cultural preservation of communities. Thus, during the period between 1983 and 1989, the questions of social-psychology were tackled from a different angle – from that of social ecology – which ended up leading to the constitution of an effectively interdisciplinary nucleus. Besides this, it became evident that prominence had to be given to the insertion of psycho-social relations into the contemporary cultural scenario, in which the theme of development emerges as a central issue. The "clinical" dimension of the original laboratory was rooted in the psycho-social interventional character of the laboratory; above all, this scope of the research was done with the use of video or the animation of groups and communities.

From this perspective, the EICOS program understands that developmental research necessitates an eminently participative approach, in which the research subjects are included in the production of the results, and, by this manner, become equal actors of the process. With this method, knowledge is produced in partnership with the researched communities and groups and therefore commits social action.

The EICOS’s program’s responsibilities consist of the teaching and research on different levels; since the Scientific Initiation (1) – with the assistance of governmental research supportive organs such as CNPq and FAPERJ, along with the graduate and postgraduate levels.

All of this work allowed EICOS to achieve the first UNESCO Sustainable Development Chair of Latin America, as agreed and signed between UNESCO and the UFRJ (Paris, 1993), with the objective of implanting inter-university cooperative programs between national and foreign centers that are geared towards the social dimension of development with an interdisciplinary character. Since the establishment of the Chair, the EICOS’s program’s activities have maintained a wide amplitude and have involved several international research networks focused in the subject.

Linked with the EICOS program is the Image Laboratory, which develops activities in the scope of participative research with the use of video, meanwhile also supporting psycho-social research through an Image Bank and other technological devices, such as videos and CD-ROMs.

(1) "The Scientific Initiation is a status conferred to undergraduate students who take part at a research project being awarded a scholarship by governmental research supportive organizations."