Semi-Plenary sessions (SPs) discuss the main conference theme from the viewpoint of different fields of research. They promote discussion between speakers, next to that with participants.
SPs are based on proposals made by the ESA Research Networks and the Executive Committee.
SP01: "Yes Means Yes Only With Freedom to Consent" with Katharina Miller and Lidia Puigvert
Organised by the ESA President Marta Soler-Gallart
Sociology related to areas such as gender, language, and violence has provided scientific knowledge that contributes to reducing coercive relationships and to increasing freedom in sexual-affective relationships. Nowadays, and especially after the “me too” aftermath, society faces new challenges that require additional developments for alternative futures. In the area of consent, professionals from different fields, such as law, gender, communication are debating on human interaction that produces consent while defining which are the conditions that coerce.
So far, debates about consent have been focused on verbal language, for example, “no means no,” or “anything less than yes is no”. However, the "no means no" statement is quite erroneous because it is incomplete. "Only yes means yes" is also insufficient because “yes”, is actually “no” when it is not said under conditions of freedom. We need to move towards removing coercive discourse from the “yes” so that it be said in full freedom. This semi-plenary contributes knowledge to advance towards enabling “yes” in full freedom. For that, three conditions are needed: 1) to approach speech acts, power interactions and coercive speech; 2) to address revictimization, which limits consent; 3) to analyse the need to legislate Second Order of Sexual Harassment (SOSH). There is no consent if there are no spaces free of any violence.
The speakers will present most recent results of a new line of research, which places the problem and the solution in communicative acts, rather than only speech acts. They will also tackle institutional power and interactive power, which determine coercive relationships in different spaces, such as companies, artistic career, or academia.
Katharina Miller | European Women Lawyers Association
Legal advances towards free relationships: a view on the pioneer legislation of the Second Order Violence (SOV)
Sexual assault is a problem affecting everyone in different contexts, across countries and cultures. Research in a variety of areas connect sexual violence with the lack of properly addressing consent in intimate relationships. Facing this reality, much consideration has been raised along with the debate on approaching sexual violence also from the legal world. In fact, there are situations that evidence this reality. Gang rapes occurred in different parts of the world place the issue of consent on an unprecedented media and social scale. The challenge consisting on articulating sexual abuse, aggression and rape on the basis of consent, requires the analysis of current legislations while increasing the effort to comprehend victim’s willing on engaging in any sexual encounter. Drawing on this, the first speaker of this semi-plenary contributes knowledge to advance towards enabling an affirmative consent in conditions of fully freedom, from addressing the legal understanding on sexual consent while considering overcoming revictimization and second order violence, which restrict freedom and consent. In this line, Professor Miller will provide a comparative overview of how different EU member states handle second order violence. In fact, the Catalan Parliament recently approved the inclusion in current legislation of the Second Order Violence (SOV) as "the violence, backlash, humiliations and persecutions against the people who support the direct victims of gender violence". As there is not SOV legislation on EU level, she will emphasize from a legal perspective about the importance of legislating consent and SOV to prevent both sexual harassment and revictimization.
Katharina Miller is the President of the European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) and a member of the Commission on European Union Law and International Law of the German Association of Women Jurists (DJB). She holds a degree in Economics and Law (University of Greifswald, 2004 and 2006) and a master's degree in European Union Law (Universities of Luxembourg and Strasbourg, 2007). She is a Non-Executive Member of various corporate boards with extensive legal experience and with expertise in Compliance & Ethics and Women Rights, being a qualified lawyer in Germany and Spain. She is known by the Boards of Directors of the IBEX35 for her impulse in the management of gender diversity in the boards of directors and the economic and social empowerment of women. She is Delegate for Spain and the EU to the W20 and Advisory Board Member for the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law.
Lidia Puigvert | University of Barcelona, Spain
‘Only yes means yes’. From speech acts to communicative acts in consent
Despite strong efforts to address violence against women and the progress achieved so far, gender violence and sexual harassment are still huge challenges of our current society. Facing this reality, some aspects have to be deepen approached. At the basis of consent it raises the analysis of communicative acts (those including non-verbal communication in addition to the verbal speech acts) from the type of language used on people interactions. As language takes place through interactions and gender violence may happen in everyday contexts, specific communicative acts may permit or avoid such situations of violence. The theoretical background, based on women's studies and sociology, departs from Puigvert's conceptual framework on language and gender violence in order to analyse concrete factors which base consent on the intention of the act, while giving voices to survivors and contributing to prevent harassment and abuse. In this line, Dr. Puigvert will provide insights from the sociological perspective by presenting most recent results of a new line of research, which places the problem and the solution in communicative acts, rather than only speech acts. Under this framework, this conference also deepens on the analysis of communicative acts for ensuring consent, focusing on sexual freedom and the context under which consent can neither be asked for nor conceived. Lidia will also tackle institutional power and interactive power, which determine coercive relationships in different spaces, such as companies or academia, while emphasizing on the need to create awareness on the urgent need of achieving free consent without coercion.
Lídia Puigvert is professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona, and Affiliated member of the Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. She is a feminist author internationally known for her theoretical contribution to dialogic feminism and to the prevention of gender based violence. She is co-author of the book “Women and social transformation” with Judith Butler and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, besides many publications in top-ranked journals such as Violence Against Women or Journal of Mixed Methods Research. She has participated in research funded under the European Commission Framework Programme (FP5, FP6, and FP7) and most recently in the H2020 project PROTON on preventing organized crime and terrorist networks. She is currently leading a competitive study, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, about Sexual Consent in different spaces.
SP02: "Discussing the Effects of the Lockdown: The Expansion of Remote Work and Inequalities in Home Learning" with Alan Felstead and Nicola Pensiero
Organised by RN09 Economic Sociology (Alberto Veira-Ramos) and RN17 Work, Employment and Industrial Relations (Valeria Pulignano)
According to Eurostat, 5.3% of the employed population in the EU worked remotely on a regular basis in 2019. However, the level of implementation of remote work varies greatly between countries, ranging from 14% in the Netherlands and Finland, to 5.2% in Germany. This suggests that there are still important barriers (and reluctance) to implement remote work that, given the new reality imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, could be relaxed. For this reason, we consider 2021 to be an ideal year to organize a semi-plenary session to present the most recent empirical research on remote work, its past and potential future development, and its impact on productivity, work-life balance, social inequalities and future education and training.
A lower presence of workers in the workplace can pose greater difficulties for supervisory tasks, but it can also favour a more efficient use of spaces and the innovation of new forms of coordination and evaluation of task execution. Moreover, greater autonomy and flexibility in the organization of working time can lead to a redistribution of time spent on domestic tasks, or leisure, enabling employees to improve their work-life balance. At the same time, remote work could entail an erosion of workers’ positional power with respect to employers and/or penalize certain individuals such as single parents, particularly women.
Further expansion of remote work will necessarily affect the types of skills that future workers will require. This will provoke the reassessment of education and training programmes and how education is provided.
Alan Felstead | Cardiff University, UK
Homeworking in the UK. Before and During the 2020 Lockdown
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways. One of the biggest changes is where people work. During the presentation new and up-to-date evidence on the scale of the shift of paid work into the home in the UK during lockdown, its impact on the mental well-being and productivity of homeworkers, and the likely prevalence of homeworking after social distancing restrictions are fully lifted will be discussed. The findings will be based on a succession of online surveys of workers carried out towards the end of April, May, June, July, September and November 2020. Each survey questioned a representative sample of 6,000-7,000 workers. Before the pandemic, homeworking in the UK was on a gradual, but slow, upward trajectory. However, it rose dramatically and suddenly in lockdown and has remained high ever since. A similar pattern can be observed in other countries as policy makers have urged those who can to work at home in order to arrest the spread of Covid-19. Homeworking has rocketed as a result. The results of our analysis suggests many workers have got used to – and may even have experienced the benefits of – working at home after a shaky start. In addition, productivity has not been adversely affected by the shift towards homeworking. Furthermore, if those who want to continue working at home in the future are allowed to do so, productivity may be boosted by a sustained increase in the prevalence of homeworking as the strongest performers are those who are keenest to continue to work at home.
Professor Alan Felstead has degrees from the University of Cambridge, the University of Warwick and Imperial College, University of London. He has held positions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford and the University of Leicester. Since 2006, he has been a Research Professor at Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. His research focuses on the quality of work; training, skills and learning; non-standard employment; and the spaces and places of work. Professor Felstead has completed numerous funded research projects (including 16 funded by the Economic and Social Research Council), produced seven books, and written over 220 journal articles, book chapters, research reports and discussion papers. He has generated research income of £9.3 million with grants from, for example, the ESRC, UK government departments, devolved administrations, the European Union and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP).
Nicola Pensiero | Southampton University, UK
Inequalities in Home Learning During the Pandemic
The spring of 2020 saw a widespread and prolonged closure of schools across the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The transition to distance schooling is likely to exacerbate inequalities by socio-economic groups due to both the socio-economic gap in the volume of schoolwork completed and to the relative ability of parents to support children’s learning. Using data from Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, we found that children in the most advantaged families, where both parents work regularly from home, the main parent is in a ‘service class’ and the children have their own computer spent on average 2.8 hours per day on school work for primary and 3.8 per day for secondary pupils. More disadvantaged children in families where the main parent is not in a service class occupation, where the child has to share a computer with other family members and either parent does not work regularly from home, the hours spent per day on schoolwork are 2.3 for primary and 2.6 for secondary education. We estimate the educational loss to be more pronounced for children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds than for other children.
Nicola Pensiero is a lecturer in quantitative education and social science at Southampton University School of Education. Previously he worked at UCL Institute of Education, where he joined in 2013 after completing his PhD at the European University Institute. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with a good record of leading externally funded education research projects. His expertise lies in the use of analytical and choice-based approaches in studying social phenomena such as education programme effectiveness, comparative analysis of the effectiveness of education system characteristics, inequality in educational attainment, school segregation and income inequality. His current research includes studies on the role of individual decision-making mechanisms in shaping educational inequality by social origins and school segregation. He is also conducting a cross-national study on the effect of upper secondary education system characteristics on skills levels and inequality.
SP03: "Alternative Futures Beyond Neoliberalism: Inside and Outside of the European Union" with Toni Haastrup and Angela Wigger
Organised by RN06 Critical Political Economy (David Bailey) and RN32 Political Sociology (Pauline Cullen)
The global pandemic has revealed the inherent structural, material and embodied violence of neoliberal capitalism. We need alternative futures. The EU and its member states have responded with a form of crisis management that may have delivered reprieve for some, but has also exacerbated inequalities. This requires not only scholarly scrutiny but also alternative solutions able to attract political support from various constituencies. This semi-plenary focuses especially on the EU in order to consider how its role as an internal and external actor affords, or prevents, an alternative future.
1) Inside the EU
The political economy of the EU has systematically (re)produced a debt-driven model of neoliberal growth. The recent EU industrial policy, the Covid-19 rescue package, and the massive liquidity injections of the ECB into financial markets are each a case in point. These initiatives have reinforced class, gender, racial, and geographic inequalities across the EU. They are creating a potential for further contestation of the process and institutions of the EU, forcing progressives to think of alternatives to supranational integration without a retreat to nationalism.
2) Outside the EU
Through its colonial history, and contemporary external relations, the institutions and processes of European integration are implicated in global racialized and gendered hierarchies which underpin deep-rooted global inequalities. Analysing the EU’s foreign, security and development policy in a period of crises raises questions about the EU’s efforts to resolve its own credibility crisis and the ambiguities, tensions and contradictions that characterise its role as a global actor.
Toni Haastrup | University of Stirling, UK
Re-narrating Africa-EU Relations in a Time of Crises
In the wake of multiple crises, including a global pandemic, and new social movements that call into question global power hierarchies, reflecting on the unequal relationship between African and the European Union merits considered attention now. It is still the case that so-called EU-Africa relations are steeped in the colonial patterns of interactions. Yet even the critiques of EU practices as found in the literature on “EU-Africa relations” has tended to reproduce this hierarchy for a variety of reasons. Consequently, so-called EU-Africa relations is also manifested in the insistence on certain ‘patterns of knowledge production and meaning’.
Invariably then, both the study and practice of Africa’s relations with the EU have had a detrimental impact on both the exercise of African agency and how we know Africa in the interregional relationship. The co-constitutive nature of the study and practice of Africa’s relationship with the EU is one that this discussion aims to explore. I am motivated by the desire to re-narrate the so-called ‘EU-Africa relations’ through decolonial lenses in order to claim back African and as a way to challenge the dominant ways of knowing and doing EU External Relations. In so doing, I want to contribute to transforming the relationship between the EU and African actors, specifically, while offering a broader critique on the EU’s external relations practices.
Toni Haastrup is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK. Her research interests are broadly in the area of Global Governance of Security, particularly the practices of the African and European Unions. Her research uses critical feminist lenses to understand the foreign policy practices of both institutions, and she has published widely in this area. Additionally, Haastrup teaches on themes of European security, contemporary global security challenges, crisis in Europe and feminist international politics. She is currently joint Editor in Chief of JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, and an occasional media commentator.
Angela Wigger | Radboud University, Netherlands
A World Awash With Cash and the Zombification of the Economy in Pandemic Times
Political responses to the C-19 pandemic in the European Union (EU) but also beyond have consisted of various corporate rescue packages and massive state aid as part of a broader revival of industrial policy, as well as unseen levels of quantitative easing by central banks. The talk will embed these measures into the context of the ‘Wall of Money’ searching for yield and the continued debt-led accumulation patterns that have prevailed during more than thirty years of neoliberal capitalism. The crises responses at EU-level have so far not led to investments in the production sphere. Instead, corporations are building up debt to finance share buy backs, make dividend payments to shareholders, or conduct mergers and acquisitions. In many industrial sectors, such activities exceed greenfield investments or investments in R&D. We seem to find ourselves in a phase of capitalism that Karl Marx described almost 170 years ago as a phase where everybody is seized with a sort of craze for making profit without producing. What will be identified as ‘the zombification of the economy’ is reinforcing class, gender, racial, and geographic divisions not only in Europe but also beyond. In this context, the invocation of the 2017 ‘White Paper on the Future of Europe’ that the hard-earned human dignity, freedom and democracy in Europe can never be relinquished, appears as a mere platitude. The talk will not only discredit, de-legitimize and politicize the crisis management from a critical political economy perspective, but also sketch the contours of a progressive alternative.
Angela Wigger is Associate Professor Global Political Economy at Radboud University, the Netherlands. Her research is theoretically anchored in historical materialism and anarchism, and focuses on debt-led accumulation in capitalist crises, shadow banking, crises responses in the field of competition and industrial policy, and prefigurative forms of resistance. She has co-authored The Politics of European Competition Regulation: A Critical Political Economy Perspective (Routledge, 2011), and published widely in New Political Economy, New Political Science, Review of International Political Economy, Journal of Common Market Studies, Economy and Society, Globalizations, and Capital & Class, Journal of International Relations and Development, or Geoforum. She has been a board member of the Critical Political Economy Research Network (RN06), where she acted as chair from 2017-2019. She forms part of the supervisory board of the Research Centre on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), the EuromemoGroup, and the journals Capital & Class and Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.
SP04: "Social Research and Social Justice in the Study of Migration Towards Southern Europe" with Marcello Maneri and Claudia Finotelli
Organised by RN27 Regional Network Southern European Societies and RN35 Sociology of Migration
The semi-plenary aims to offer a critical update on recent trends and research developments related to migration towards southern Europe. The focus on this strategic geographical and socioeconomic region of Europe remains important due to the fact that it enables researchers and policymakers understand and reflect upon the needs and claims of the newly arriving populations, while also exemplify and discuss research findings and governance issues that articulate social justice and moral obligations towards these populations.
Against the domination of the human security approach that points towards the alleged threats and risks attached to migration that seems to be preferred by most of politicians, social scientists are obliged to deconstruct the suggested narratives and misconceptions and bring to the fore evidence that supports a sober scientific approach to migration along with the condemnation of an emerging “sociology of racism”. Moreover, this semi-plenary seeks to unveil and denounce the links between the narratives of migratory events and media languages and national legislations used in the attempt to govern integration processes in the name of sustaining different market economies.
The basic intention of the organizers is to re-introduce the scientific and policy discussions aiming at prioritizing migrant integration, in response to new public discourses connected to securitizing migration, by reconnecting migration and social justice in European countries. It seems that the major challenge implied by this topic is to allow for different identities and cultural backgrounds be represented in the performance of the European social construction.
Claudia Finotelli | Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Intra-EU Mobility and Welfare: The European North-South Divide Revisited (again)
The rhetoric on a North-South divide has been present in a good deal of the European recent migration history. The idea that many asylum seekers in Northern European countries proceed from less attractive (and generous) Southern European countries or that regularisations in Southern Europe trigger new flows of unwanted migrants towards Northern Europe came up every so often in the political debate. Since the 1990s, Southern European countries have certainly improved their regulation frameworks and migration control capacity over time whereas only few would deny that irregular migration is a reality in both Southern and Northern European countries. This notwithstanding, the recent ‘migration crisis’ has shown that Southern European countries still have troubles in shaking off their reputation as ‘transit countries’ with porous borders and unattractive asylum systems. Moreover, the post-recession intra-EU mobility from Southern Europe to Northern European countries has revived the idea of a welfare-migration nexus between Southern and Northern Europe where Southern European workers started to be perceived as a welfare burden in some EU countries. But what about the non-labour-motivated mobility from Northern European countries in Southern Europe? To what extent can it represent a welfare burden for Southern European countries? I will answer these questions by discussing to what extend the idea of a North-South divide still seems to bias the public perception of Southern European migration countries and how it can be further reviewed by reversing the traditional North-South perspective on the welfare impact of intra-EU mobility.
Claudia Finotelli holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Münster (Germany) and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Sociology of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her research interests cover the areas of migration control and citizenship with a special focus on Southern Europe. With MariaCaterina La Barbera, she is PI of the Research Project “The subjective dimension of citizenship: conceptions, juridical practice and individual strategies in Italy and in Spain” (CIVITES) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2020-2023). She is currently editing together with Irene Ponzo a book for Springer on migration control logics and strategies in Europe.
Marcello Maneri | University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
A paradigm of siege. External and internal bordering in the manufacture of cultural and "racial" difference
The many policies and activities for the contrast of “illegal immigration” seem inspired by a “paradigm of siege”. This metaphor – sustained by powerful iconic representations – conveys the idea of an ongoing external threat to the stability of the European economic and social system. The daily management of the European Southern border based on the securitisation of territorial sovereignty is a social ordering practice based on associations and dis-associations. This boundary-making process involves the formation of identities and the definition of in-groups and out-groups. So, European security policies at the external borders, and their regime of visibility, create the lenses we use to think and talk about difference.
What kind of difference is being produced and reproduced by these bordering practices? The discourse that makes sense of the post-national, pan-European belonging, made possible by the Schengen bordering, often puts at the centre the concepts of integration and cultural compatibility as conditions to preserve European civilisation and identity. However, this discourse on culture, customs, and values is what we can see on the surface. Still, other less confessable boundaries—inherited from the colonial past and revolving around an implicit idea of whiteness—are being renovated as well. An analysis of images accompanying news about the “refugee crisis” shows Europe’s unconfessed racial views.
Marcello Maneri is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Milano Bicocca where he teaches Media and Cultural sociology. His research focuses on the media and power, especially on news about migration, on racism, public discourse on crime and security, moral panics. With Ann Morning, he is currently publishing a book for Russell-Sage on the notions of cultural and biological difference of descent-based groups in Italy and the United States.
SP05: "The Future of Gender Equality in Post-Pandemic Societies" with Anna Rosińska and Beáta Nagy
organised by RN33 Women’s and Gender Studies
Covid-19 is a new disease and still too poorly understood to allow us to assess its ultimate impact on gendered structures and practices. The pandemic is revealing and widening gaps between rich and poor, black and white, men and women. Gendered perspectives, theories and empirical analysis are in high demand in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impact the pandemic has on individuals and its complex consequences on social reproduction, labour markets, new private/public dynamics and quality of life in general. This semi-plenary will encourage debates about consequences and risks the epidemic has on women’s lives: gendered divisions of care and housework, how ‘lockdowns’ intensify private domestic and care responsibilities, risks for frontline healthcare workers in the Covid-19 response. Will contemporary patterns that have worked in favour of improving gender equality be reversed? What kind of sociology, feminist research and gender studies will be valuable in crafting a response to new risks related to the progress towards gender equality, especially in health, education, and gender-based violence?
Fighting the virus requires cooperation, sociological imagination and a forward-looking perspective. We must look beyond the current crisis and re-image our future in the post-Covid-19 world. Gender-specific knowledge can help develop institutions able to cope with different risks, implement a gender-sensitive approach in the responses to the pandemic and in the recovery phase, and increase society's resilience.
Anna Rosińska | Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Centered On Care. Dispatches From Domestic Workers During The Pandemic
The pandemic has had an unequal impact on women, both in the labor force and at home. This paper offers a lesson from the perspective of a predominantly female labor sector that has been at the heart of COVID-19 response: care and domestic work. The pandemic has exacerbated and exposed many of the problems that have troubled societies before – from gender to class inequalities to racism. Domestic workers, most of whom are women and working-class, oftentimes of color and/or migrants, found themselves again at the intersection of multiple exclusions from both the everyday and emergency safety nets. Moreover, domestic workers experience the paradox of essential work: being frontline and fundamental yet unprotected and, in the end, ‘disposable’ (Chang 2000).
Domestic and care work during the pandemic offers an important lesson in the ethics of care— interdependencies become even more visible; however, they very often lack the principle of care necessary to build the caring democracy: ‘justice, equality, and freedom for all’ (Tronto 2011), and, above all, reciprocity.
Yet, given the prominence that care has recently gained (Fine, Tronto 2020), in a way, the pandemic offers a chance to reinterpret the established order. In the United States, social movements have incessantly navigated the paradoxes of ‘essential work’ in order to gain recognition, acquire necessary protections, access the vaccines, while avoiding the pitfalls of ‘disposable workers’ framing (Rosińska, Pellerito 2021). In the words of representatives of the Central Eastern European initiative E.A.S.T., “We strike because we refuse to be considered essential only to be exploited and oppressed!” (https://www.transnational-strike.info/2021/01/25/essential-strike-manif…). This paper shares the findings from the research study of domestic workers and their movements in the US and Europe to reimagine a more just and equitable society centered on care.
Anna Rosinska is a sociologist of care and domestic work. She is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She has studied paid domestic and care work in Italy, Poland, and the United States, working at the University of Warsaw and as a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (2018-2020). Author of the book ‘(U)sługi domowe’ about domestic work in post-war Poland (2016, Wydawnictwo UMK, under Anna Kordasiewicz). With A.Radziwinowiczówna and W.Kloc-Nowak she co-authored the book „Ethnomorality of care. Migrants and their aging parents” (2018, Routledge). Her current project is ‘Intersections of class and ethnicity in paid domestic and care work in Italy and in the USA’ (2018-2022). She runs a Facebook page about domestic work. She is interested in social relationships, reproducing, perpetuating and constructing inequalities, the intersectional perspective and workers’ activism of marginalized groups on the job market.
Beáta Nagy | Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
"I am Lucky, Because my Husband Helps me a Lot": Gender (In)equality in Home Office
The quarantine, confined upon us by the COVID-19 outbreak, created a unique, three-month-long, laboratory-like situation in which we could investigate gender roles. Full-time working parents who switched to home office, were in a unique position to renegotiate the division of housework, childcare, or the supervision of school-related tasks. This paper intends to explore what happened to the gendered division of unpaid work, when all kinds of productive and reproductive tasks were moved inside the home. To answer this question, we interviewed 52 mothers in two countries, Hungary and Romania, who lived in dual-earner families with children under the age 14, and worked full-time. Results show that despite the unusual situation, most parents followed the usual pattern. Even though they were unhappy with the workload, most women did not mind the division itself. During the quarantine, they suffered from permanent tiredness, as well as felt limited to carry out their paid work satisfactorily. Research findings deliver evidence for the deeply rooted gender beliefs regarding the division of unpaid work, particularly if these duties are connected to childcare and education. Results contain implications for the post-pandemic gender relations and also for the preconditions of the fair gender division of labour.
Beáta Nagy, PhD is professor at the Institute of Communication and Sociology at Corvinus University of Budapest. Her main research field is gender and work. She is the co-director of the Gender and Cultural Centre at her university, and board member of the European Consortium for Sociological Research (ECSR).
She has published articles in both Hungarian and English journals, such as Gender in Management: An International Journal; Gender, Work and Organization. Beáta published a book on the lack of female students in IT and technology in 2015. She has recently co-edited a special issue on ‘Work-life balance/imbalance: individual, organizational and social experiences’ for the journal Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics, and a special issue on ‘Leveraging cooperation for gender equality in management’ for the journal European Management Review.
Her latest research dealt with the work-life balance, and also with the time teenagers and their parents spend together with special attention to digital technology. The present qualitative research investigated the situation of mothers during the COVID-19 quarantine In Hungary and in Romania in cooperation with Réka Geambasu, Orsolya Gergely and Nikolett Somogyi.
SP06: "Sociology Transforming Science and Society" with Emilia Aiello, Sari Hanafi and Vicenç Navarro
Organised by the Local Organising Committee members Teresa Sordé (Chair) and Luis Recuenco
During the Covid-19 pandemic, citizens know to what extent their lives fully depend on scientific advancements. Amidst democratic revolutions, people’s will to self-govern themselves lead to the Social Sciences (SS) foundation with the main purpose of making all human lives more flourishing. Sociology played a key role to address the core problems affecting citizens. However, throughout the years, Sociology has been to some extent deeply affected by a bureaucratization process, deviating its original purpose to respond to citizens’ claims to provide scientific evidence to better support societies’ self-management. Frequently the word Sociology has been used as a resource to reinforce ideological or political standpoints, instead for contributing with the sociological developments to the objectives of the humanity. Consequently, Sociology does not play a central role in the key issues affecting humanity, even when it could have done so. Taking the recent pandemic example, most of the prevention measures or key debates are located within the core issues of Sociology, however, sociologists’ voices or contributions are not perceived as being crucial. There is an urgent need to decolonize the Sociology domain from being a battlefield between political forces, and to restore its independence and universal nature, providing the needed expert knowledge to satisfy citizens' claims. This way, it will be possible for Sociology to recover the initial purpose and regain our central role in society, without depending on who is in power to be fully considered and heard.
Emilia Aiello | Harvard Kennedy School, USA
Sociological Responses To The Pandemic And Their Takeaways For A Post-COVID19 Society
Societal challenges across Europe such as access to social protection, adequate working conditions or food security for those at risk have worsened by the crises unleashed by COVID-19, evidencing the cracks of our system but also offering a unique opportunity to act. In record-time, the presence of science in lay people’s daily life gained unprecedented importance. Health sciences have been at the forefront of the crisis, contributing to a way out of the health emergency. However, a mid-term and long-term way out of the economic, societal and political crises will require a broader approach and collaboration between all societal and political actors, namely policy-makers, scientists, and civil society. Amid this context, sociologists in Europe can play a key role, offering theoretical and methodological tools to capture, analyse and work with the publics to offer transformative alternatives. Although part of the expert knowledge from sociological research is still trapped at the Ivory Tower, other has proven to have great social impact, and serve as the basis to inform policy and actions welcomed by both policy-makers and end-users. In this sense, knowledge co-creation is not solely a criterion posed by research programmes such as Horizon Europe to democratise knowledge, but also claimed by end-users. Examples of successful collaborations between sociologists and those working at the grassroots can be identified. I will discuss how European Sociology is already serving as a forum where accurate societal analyses are developed and ambitious ideas co-created and implemented, thus helping those in positions of leadership and decision-making.
Emilia Aiello, PhD, is EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Post-doctoral fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, at the Harvard Kennedy School, and at the Department of Sociology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She is also research affiliate of the UAB Group of Ethnic Studies and Migration (GEDIME), and member of the Community of Researchers on Excellence for All (CREA). Emilia’s research interests are focused on how the most vulnerable social groups organize at the grassroots level to overcome inequalities and gain social and political power. Her scientific and personal concern also focuses on uncovering the ways to maximize the social impact of all types of scientific research, better connecting scientific interests and outputs to societal needs. She collaborates with the Spanish organization “Ciencia en el Parlamento”, and with the Drom Kotar Mestipen Roma Association of Women.
Sari Hanafi | American University of Beirut, Lebanon and President of the International Sociological Association
Sociology as a Vocation: Weber against Weber
Max Weber has two famous lectures about the academic field in its relationship to the other field: one on science as a vocation in 1917 and the other ‘‘Politics as a Vocation’’ in January 1919. Even with a span of two years one cannot understand the former without connecting it to the second. I will show that Max Weber contradict his own sociology and his descriptive science guided by Wertfreiheit contain within it “smuggled in” prescriptions about how institutional matters ought to be arranged and about how one ought to confront the realities described. Also I will use Bruno Latour to show that Science and politics has the same vocation. In this talk I have proceed as following:
- What are the major messages of Weber “Science as a vocation”?
- What are Institutional, political and cultural circumstances that bore upon Weber to write his piece?
- If his position is justified in that time, is it still valid for 21st c.?
- If his lecture is about sociology of vocation what about sociology as a vocation?
Sari Hanafi is currently a Professor of Sociology, Director of Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies and Chair of the Islamic Studies program at the American University of Beirut. He is the President of the International Sociological Association. Recently he created the “Portal for Social impact of scientific research in/on the Arab World” (Athar). He was the Vice President of the board of the Arab Council of Social Science. He is as well editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of Sociology (Arabic) Among his recent books are: The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East, Knowledge Production in the Arab World: The Impossible Promise. (with R. Arvanitis). He is the winner of 2014 Abdelhamid Shouman Award and 2015 Kuwait Award for social science. In 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) of the National University of San Marcos (the first and the leading university in Lima- Peru – established in 1551). (His website: https://sites.aub.edu.lb/sarihanafi/)
Vicenç Navarro | Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
The failure of academic social science on both sides of the north Atlantic in explaining and helping to change the world
The Academic Social Science has a major crisis of credibility on both sides of the North Atlantic that parallels and accompanies the crisis of legitimacy of representative democratic institutions in both continents (also in multinational European Institutions such as the European Union, whose popularity has been in decline considerably). Academic Social Science has been unable to explain, predict, and contribute to resolve those political crises. At most, they have been able to analyse some specific protest and liberation movements (based on different forms of exploitation), but without relating them to the overall crisis of legitimacy of political regimes dominant in both sides of the Atlantic since the 80s.
This explains the lack of proposals for alternative political regimes that could enable different movements of liberation to construct political spaces with a common strategy to change those regimes. A country could have many social movements in defence of minorities, women, better environment, among many others, and still have very few political, social, and labour rights for each group, as it happens in the United States, where each social group competes with others for political and media attention. A major deficit of dominant social science is the limited attention paid to the elements of transversality that can relate to different forms of exploitation helping to establish joint strategy that could facilitate the change of those regimes. The big atomisation among the different protest movements explains the weakness of each one. Diversity is not the problem. The absence of transversality is the problem.
Dr Vicente Navarro is professor of Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore and is also Emeritus Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, he is also the Founding Director of the JHU-UPF Public Policy Center. He has published more than 40 books, translated into different languages, as well as having published more than 400 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals. He is one of the most frequently cited scholars in the Scientific International Literature. He has been advisor to many international agencies such as the UN, ILO and many governments in developed and developing countries. His area of work is on political economy and social science, focusing very much on the economic, political, and social determinants of quality of life on both sides of the North Atlantic.
SP07: "Public Spaces after Covid-19: Building Alternative Knowledges for the Future" with Luisa Bravo, Heitor Frúgoli and Gisela Redondo-Sama
Organised by the ESA Vice-President and Chair of the Conference Committee Lígia Ferro
Public spaces, and especially in cities, are sites of serendipity, where encountering the other, the unknown, is a permanent possibility. Social actors in public spaces are always at the centre of diversity, facing an unexpected world. Dealing with the unexpected is a very relevant feature of urban sociability. In pandemic times the uses of public space are more and more restricted and the fear of the other will affect somehow the practices and representations of public spaces. How do we use the public spaces after Covid-19? What are the forms of coping with social distancing? How sociabilities have transformed/are transforming and how can we envision alternatives to social encounters and exchange in public spaces? What are the impacts of restrictions for social interaction in public spaces especially for groups such as, for instance, the elder, the children and the homeless? How classic private spaces became more public during the pandemic? Three experts working at an international and interdisciplinary level, bringing diverse contributions from Sociology, Anthropology and Urban Design, will discuss together at this joint session and point some answers to these questions. The debate is urgent and this semi-plenary session will help us to rethink on alternative futures for public spaces.
Luisa Bravo | University of Florence, Italy
Evaluation on spatial, socio-cultural and economic concerns across Europe
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the fundamental role of public space in our cities, not just for social life but also in regards of the functioning of the economic urban system. The imposed lockdown, to prevent the widespread of the contagion at the global level, combined with physical distancing and health restrictions, significantly impacted on public urban life while reinforcing existing inequalities, at many different levels, accelerating the process of social exclusion of minorities and disadvantaged and marginalized groups. Youth, older persons and persons with disabilities experienced isolation, frustration and loneliness, with a significant raise of helplessness and fear. Women were hit harder than men and many lost their jobs. From being a health emergency, the pandemic soon became an economic crisis.
We are now aware that in the ‘next normal’ the shared civic space will no longer be as we know it: the pandemic has put at the forefront some urban models, such as the car-free city or the 15-minute city, aimed at re-organizing priorities around the human scale, and it has established the 1,5 meter society as a new form of safe physical co-existence, while moving many social interactions on the cyberspace and on multiple virtual platforms. This health and economic crisis will permanently change the way humans will interact in the public domain in the post-COVID 19 city.
Luisa Bravo is Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at the University of Florence in Italy and Guest Researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Centre for the Future of Places in Sweden. She has more than 15-years experience in the professional field as urban planner and designer with a specific focus on public space. Her expertise is grounded in extensive academic postdoctoral research and teaching in Italy and Europe, the United States, Middle East, Asia and Australia.
With her non-profit organization City Space Architecture, that she founded in 2013 she has organized and curated international conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions aimed at promoting public space culture, through an interdisciplinary approach, involving art and architecture. Luisa is the Founder and Editor in Chief of 'The Journal of Public Space', the first, international, interdisciplinary, academic, open access journal entirely dedicated to public space, that she established through City Space Architecture in 2015, in partnership with UN-Habitat.
Heitor Frúgoli | University of São Paulo, Brazil
Social interactions on the streets during the Covid-19 pandemic: counterpoints between European and Brazilian cities
I intend to address urban dynamics characterized by the interchange between social isolation and lockdown ending, resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. This analysis will be based on counterpoints between certain European Mediterranean metropolises and the Brazilian ones, mainly São Paulo – the latter located in a national context marked by a longstanding confluence of health, political and economic crises. The most comprehensive ethnographic focus of the analysis, due to the impacts on the possibilities of face-to-face interaction, has as its starting point the mapping and reading of diaries written from the pandemic decree by the World Health Organization (March 2019), especially regarding the narrative of experiences of interaction in public spaces.
It is important to review meanings of the notion of urban utopia. This is especially relevant in a period marked by a series of criticisms to agglomerations in public spaces, due to the transmission of the virus, or new criticisms of the idea of urban growth, due to the harmful effects on the environment. At the same time, it is necessary to understand, as in the case of the Brazilian urban context, that social isolation has not been a choice for a large contingent of city dwellers, on account of housing precariousness and employment options, with their sociability forms to be better understood in these dramatic times.
Heitor Frúgoli Jr. is Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology of the University of São Paulo, (USP) (currently Head of Department) and coordinator of Anthropology of the City Study Group (GEAC-USP). He was visiting professor at University of Leiden (2010) and directeur d’études at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, 2013). He is CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) researcher since 2005. Educational background: Visiting Scholar, University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) (2011); Ph. D., University of São Paulo, USP (Sociology) (1998); Visiting Scholar, University of California, San Diego (1995-1996); M. A., University of São Paulo, USP (Anthropology) (1990). He is the author, among other books, of Sociabilidade urbana (Zahar, 2007), Centralidade em São Paulo (Edusp, 2000) and São Paulo: espaços públicos e interação social (Marco Zero, 1995).
Gisela Redondo-Sama | University of Deusto, Spain
Invisible voices in the public space: from unknown realities to evidence of transformations
The pandemic has raised major concerns about how the public space is conceptualized and used by citizens, including the most vulnerable. In this vein, sociology has analyzed the ways society re-builds the understanding of public spaces in very diverse contexts, in urban and rural areas. However, less is known about how to include the voices of citizens into public space research in effective ways during pandemics, in particular the voices of the most vulnerable that tend to be invisible in the public discourses. The advancements in sociological research about the creation, development and sustainability of alternatives in the COVID-19 context, implies bottom-up approaches that place the voices of the most vulnerable at the core of the transformations. Furthermore, research with social impact shows the evidence that citizens use to improve their cities, villages and territories. In this vein, Dr. Redondo-Sama will approach the most recent contributions in sociology that, in collaboration with other disciplines, are presenting evidence of transformations in the public space that include the voices of the most vulnerable, among others. Gisela will also include some of the insights developed at the international level on social impact of research that can inspire further investigations in the field of public space.
Gisela Redondo-Sama is Ramón y Cajal Fellow and has been Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge. She has research experience acquired at CREA, Community of Research on Excellence for All. Among others, she has participated in the INCLUD-ED project, the only project in socioeconomic sciences and humanities in the list of the 10 success stories of European Research published by the EC. Her research interests are focused on dialogic leadership, community participation, social impact, homeless and gender. Her academic works have been published in ranked journals such as PLoS ONE, International Sociology, Qualitative Inquiry or Sustainability. She is the editor of the eSymposium publication of the ISA and topic editor of the Special Issue “Information on Pandemic for Socially Vulnerable Groups” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
SP08: "Covid-19 in the City: Building Positive Futures" with Antonio Maturo and Raquel Rolnik
Organised by RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness (Ellen Annandale) and RN37 Urban Sociology (Maria Victoria Gómez)
The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in the last century and has been acutely felt in many cities all over the world. Covid-19 is showing us in a dramatic way our vulnerability as human beings and the importance of our urban contexts, in particular its schisms for mental and physical health, challenging our sense of responsibility towards matters that transcend the private sphere, towards our neighbours and other people and the affairs and values of city, community and society.
Whenever a trend and explanation for the spread of the infection emerges, Covid-19 challenges it: shifting our knowledge of the most affected ages, genders, ethnic groups, countries and territories. However, it seems clear that the virus is not "democratic" at all: the inequalities of our cities are exacerbated by the pandemic, and many people disadvantaged by lack of resources and skills are unable to defend themselves.
The pandemic has brought an increase in social and political awareness of the need for change in European cities where people’s care and their health can be – but presently often are not – at the centre of its design. Thinking about health and care means placing the sustainability of life, urban mobility, spatial segregation, public space and people's daily experiences at the centre of political decisions.
While the pandemic has reinforced urban and health inequalities, it also provides a window of opportunity for us as sociologists to rethink issues concerning this matter. RN16 and RN37 would like to invite colleagues to discuss these topics, with a view to building alternative futures.
Antonio Maturo | Università di Bologna, Italy
From Sociographical Disruption to Medicalized Futures: Integrating Covid-19 into Everyday Life in the City
“Biographical disruption” is a key concept in medical sociology. This expression refers to the rupture in the fabric of everyday life and the upheaval in cognitive categories after the diagnosis of a chronic disease. It is not reductive to state that what we have experienced due to Covid-19 has been, and still is, a biographical disruption at a large scale: a “sociographical disruption”. During the major lockdown in the early months of the pandemic, our homes were a refuge but also a prison, a place of rest but also of work. Outside the home, a surreal silence reigned, broken only by ambulance sirens. We thus had to reinvent a domestic life marked by hybridization, ambiguity, and the uncanny (Unheimlichkeit). We also experienced a peculiar form of medicalization of everyday life characterized by new objects; new hygienic practices; and new forms of interaction in the city.
Will all these new normalities fade away thanks to the vaccine? Will we then go back to our old, pre-Covid normalcy? Probably not. The virus has proven our vulnerability. The events of 9/11 gave rise to huge changes in the security systems of airports and other crowded places; Covid-19 will give rise, on a much larger scale, to changes in every part of our lives. Life in the cities will be characterized by molecular surveillance (Endopticon) and several risk-reduction practices. Some of these practices will be presented and discussed.
Antonio Maturo is a medical sociologist and Professor at Bologna University. His latest books are Digital Health and the Gamification of Life, Emerald, 2018 (with Veronica Moretti) and Good Pharma, Palgrave, 2015 (with Donald Light) and among his publications on Covid: Unhome Sweet Home: The Construction of New Normalities in Italy during COVID-19, in Lupton D., Willis K. (eds) The Coronavirus Crisis: Social Perspectives, Routledge (with Veronica Moretti). He has edited two volumes of the journal Salute e Società: The Medicalisation of Life, 2009 (with Peter Conrad) and Medicine of Emotions and Cognitions, 2012 (with Kristin Barker). At Bologna University, Antonio is the Chair of the PhD Programme in Sociology and responsible for the Unit for the Horizon2020 “Oncorelief” Project. Moreover, he has taught Medical Sociology for five years at Brown University, USA. Antonio is proud to have been one of first Erasmus students, at the Katholieke University of Leuven, in the distant 1989/1990.
Raquel Rolnik | University of São Paulo, Brazil
Cities and Covid-19: Utopias and Dystopias
The current pandemic has intensified and made the preexisting crisis clear cut and explicit: the biopolitics grounded on growingly extractivist logics and in the destruction and promotion of death have taken hold of all existing relationships between bodies and territories. With it, also preceding forms of control and surveillance, such as the confinement imposed in many cities and countries and other shapes of the restructuring of the surplus extraction process through cyber capitalism, which had also been redesigning our cities, have also been intensified: private, controlled and securitized systems of territorial governance; as well as a mainly cybernetic economy based on automation and bigdata, and on the collection and extraction of people’s personal data and on the tracking of all their movements. This scenario represents the dystopia that is presented to us as our future. However, in an opposite vein, the pandemic has also catalyzed the rise of a myriad of forms of self-organization and mobilization geared towards securing people’s survival in contexts where a scarcity of resources emerges. These forms take a variety of means – legal, illegal, supra-legal – and operate in and through community and collective takeover, solidarity networks, and spaces of invention and improvisation. The post-pandemic situation is thus one of struggle between the previous dystopia and this utopia of the political imagination to invent another model for our cities, one not based on a centralized model attached to the extractivist, exploitative and consumer logic, but rather on an alternative model envisioning change grounded on the primacy of defending life.
Raquel Rolnik is a professor of Urban Planning at the University of São Paulo. She was planning director at the São Paulo Municipal Planning Secretariat (1989-92) and National Secretary of Urban Programmes of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003–2007). From 2008 to 2014, she held the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. She was an urbanism columnist for Rádio CBN-SP, Band News FM and Rádio Nacional, and for the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, and she currently keeps a column on Radio USP, UOL and on her personal webpage. She has recently authored Urban Warfare: Housing under the Empire of Finance (Verso, 2019).
SP09: "Civic Action: Creating and Living Alternative Futures" with Paul Lichterman and Ann Mische
Organised by RN20 Qualitative Methods (Florian Elliker), RN25 Social Movements (Mattias Wahlström), RN29 Social Theory (Hubert Knoblauch) and RN32 Political Sociology (Alberta Giorgi)
Alternative futures do not only emerge through mass media and mass publics, but through commitment in (physical) copresence that is often established in groups and movements. Civic action within such communities aims, on the one hand, to bring about institutional changes. As such, they constitute both practical and epistemic communities in which knowledge for alternative futures is (re)produced, seeking to make this knowledge more widely relevant than just within this community. In these “tiny publics” (Fine & Harrington 2004), on the other hand, resistance is not only enacted by striving for structural change. Rather, they are crucial in constituting spaces in which their members practice and experience alternative ways of living. Within such groups, individual and collective meanings of resistance often coalesce and become underpinned with lived experience. Identities, practices, and experiences fashioned and gained within the plausibility structures of such groups may reverberate throughout the lives of former group members, creating not only rational evidence, but also emotional-appreciative evidence (Max Weber) that alternative futures are feasible.
This semi-plenary’s aim is to address questions of how creating and living alternative futures in groups and movements in structured. What are the key structural properties of such movements? What are the various “group styles” (Eliasoph & Lichterman 2003) that shape the culture of deliberation, discussion and interaction in such groups? How is attachment to the group and commitment to its purposes created, particularly (yet not only) through the interplay of various forms of physical and digital copresence? What are the symbolic, political, cultural, social or material motivations of individuals to participate and engage in such groups? How do the political commitments of such groups reverberate beyond the boundaries of the respective communities?
Both speakers in this semi-plenary have extensive experience in the study of civic action aimed at creating and living other futures. Through juxtaposing various levels of analysis and different contexts, the semi-plenary seeks to foster a discussion on and advance sociological knowledge and understanding of the processes through which actors aim to improve society.
Paul Lichterman | University of Southern California, USA
Can Alternative Futures Be Common Futures?
Civic groups seem like a promising source of knowledge for an alternative, more just and sustainable future. Yet, this knowledge poses a dilemma for civic activists and the publics who listen to them: The critical or transformative knowledge of civic groups would often project a future in which only a relatively few, socially and culturally distinct people can fully participate. That is because the knowledge that group participants can generate depends on how participants imagine their connections to each other and the wider world – their style. Groups can communicate critical or transformative knowledge when they locate and coordinate themselves as actors marginal to dominant institutions, but this self-marginalizing style will make participants’ knowledge claims sound culturally and socially marginal or exclusive, too. Examples from local environmental and housing advocacy in the US over the past thirty years illustrate this dilemma of self-marginalizing, radical knowledge. Concluding comments propose a response to the dilemma that includes a practical role for scholars.
Paul Lichterman currently is Professor of Sociology and Religion at the University of Southern California. A cultural sociologist and ethnographer of public life, he has studied participation in a variety of social movement efforts, religious volunteer groups, and professional NGOs. He has been honored with disciplinary awards for his articles in premier journals and his two monograph books, The Search for Political Community: American Activists Reinventing Commitment and Elusive Togetherness: Church Groups Trying to Bridge America’s Divisions. His forthcoming book, How Civic Action Works: Fighting for Housing in Los Angeles (Princeton University Press, 2021) offers a new, pragmatist-inspired framework that illuminates how social advocates construct the claims, relationships and strategies that drive collective action.
Ann Mische | University of Notre Dame, USA
Refracted horizons: re-imagining futures via civic scenarios in crisis times
In times of crisis and uncertainty, how do we pry the future open, while stabilizing it enough to make it responsive to our interventions? I examine the experiences of transnational “public interest” or “civic” scenario projects that use foresight methods (and “futures thinking” more generally) to address urgent public problems in the area of democracy, development, peacebuilding and climate change. Such futures are “ensemble” productions involving varying combinations of “experts,” “stakeholders” and “ordinary people.” They link actors in the Global North and South, with differing degrees of proximity to institutional powerholders, and different strategies by which to include (and/or contain) divergent and oppositional voices. I argue that futures as told through scenario exercises are “fractal” in that they are multiple -- the unity of the imagined future is blown open and “fractured,” so as to recover multiple lines of possibility, from “business as usual” to “action under constraint” to radical narratives of transformation or collapse. This fractal quality in turn expresses fundamental ambivalences about capitalism and democracy. Scenario work often dances uneasily between creativity and containment, consensus-building and critique. This can reflect exclusionary, exploitative and autocratic tendencies, as well as attempts to challenge the forces that generate inequality and exclusion. These patterns reappear in many different contexts and at different analytical levels -- reflecting the multiple and fractured character of contemporary futures. Reconceiving futures in this way provides insight into the challenging potential of imagined futures, as well as into how difficult it is to move from imagination to action.
Ann Mische is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Currently, she is working on a book on the role of futures thinking and foresight methodologies in social and political change efforts focused on democracy, development, peacebuilding and climate change. She is also working on a separate project on the political trajectories of anti-partisan protest cycles in the global protest wave since 2008. Her first book, Partisan Publics: Communication and Contention Across Brazilian Youth Activist Networks, examined civic and political networks of Brazilian youth activism during the re-democratization period. She has also written theoretical articles on agency, culture, networks, temporality, and social interaction.
SP10: "Radical Sexual Politics – Envisioning Alternative Futures in Political Action, Activism, and People’s Lives" with Stephen D Seely and Niina Vuolajarvi
Organised by RN23 Sexuality
This semi-plenary poses two interrelated questions. First, how is sexuality mobilized in current politics, activism, and scholarship in order to envision, promote, and work towards or against alternative futures? Second, how does this mobilization relate to people’s imaginaries and experiences of their social and sexual lives? Many politically and socially contested fields mark the challenges that societies, communities, and individuals are currently facing. Health and social inequalities are more pressing than ever. Systemic racism and state violence persist, affecting all lives in different ways. Climate change threatens the survival of people, societies, ecosystems, and the planet itself. Anti-feminist sentiments and trans- and homo- phobias continue to threaten, marginalize and stigmatize individuals all over the world. And while technology is viewed as a solution to many current challenges, it also reinforces traditional power dynamics. In this session, our presenters explore how current politics, social activism, and scholarship mobilize sexuality, and in doing so impact upon people’s imaginaries and experiences of their lives. Thus, through the analytical lens of sexuality, this semi-plenary emphasizes how we can make sociological sense of our current times, whilst also stimulating our thinking towards a radical sexual politics that can imagine and create improved alternative futures.
Stephen D Seely | Newcastle University, UK
Between Citizenship and Governance: Reimagining Sexual Democracy from the South
Over the past decade, social scientists have developed the concept of 'sexual democracy' as a framework for critically analyzing the increasing conflation of 'democracy' with a specific set of Euro-American sexuality and gender rights. Focusing on Euro-American contexts, this literature has theorized 'sexual democracy' as a mode of late liberal governance deployed both domestically in the management of migrant populations and internationally in controlling 'unruly' African and Middle Eastern states through their construction as inherently 'anti-democratic' due to their resistance to these sexuality and gender norms. This literature joins queer and postcolonial critiques of rights claims as depoliticizing, as a way of rooting citizenship in essentialist forms of sexual 'identity,' and as forcibly universalizing a particular form of Euro-American sexual personhood in the name of protecting sexual minorities.
Drawing on the framework of 'theory from the South,' this paper examines the case of South Africa (in many ways the world's first 'sexual democracy,' as the first state with constitutional protections for sexuality). Looking at the activist work of LGBTQ+ iSangoma (Zulu 'traditional' healers), and their negotiation of constitutional, international, and customary legal cultures, I challenge many of the assumptions in the Eurocentric theorization of sexual democracy. In negotiating these different registers of legal personhood, African LGBTQ+ people enact forms of insurgent citizenship capable of challenging the (neo)liberal parameters of the state. This, I contend, offers an alternative vision of sexual democracy as a praxis of ‘participatory difference’ that could be developed within the European context as a challenge to the rhetorical use of ‘sexual democracy’ as an alibi for nationalist, xenophobic, and neo-colonial projects.
Stephen D Seely PhD is an Academic Track Fellow in the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology at Newcastle University (UK), where he is currently working on a monograph on the role of sexuality in the democratic imaginary of South Africa. Specializing in feminist, decolonial, and social theory, his work has appeared in Theory, Culture & Society, Sexualities, Social Text, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, Feminist Formations, and the Australian Feminist Law Journal and has been recognized by visiting fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Study (University of Warwick) and Zentrum Gender Studies (Universitat Basel) and awards from the Luce Irigaray Circle, philoSOPHIA: A Continental Feminist Society, and the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. His first book, The Spirit of Revolution: Beyond the Dead Ends of Man, co-authored with Drucilla Cornell, was published by Polity Press in 2016.
Niina Vuolajarvi | The New School of Social Research, USA
Looking for a different kind of abolitionism: sex work, migration and the politics of care
The heightened concerns about trafficking and the globalization of commercial sex have led to a new trend in prostitution policies. In 1999, Sweden was the first country to aim at abolishing the sex trade through criminalizing buying (rather than selling) of sex relying on feminist arguments of protection. Sweden has become a supermodel for prostitution and trafficking policies and its policy approach has spread globally: Many countries, such as Canada, France, and Israel, have followed Sweden's lead, and discussions about introducing the ‘Nordic Model’ approach are ongoing in various European and Latin American countries and U.S. states. Through multi-sited fieldwork among migrant sex workers in the Nordic region, where the approach originates, including 210 interviews, this paper complicates the simplified image of this policy model and asks: what does it mean that sex work is increasingly governed through feminist arguments of protection and care? What kind of political futures and conception of justice does this policy approach promote?
These questions become especially crucial in the context of feminized migration where migrants have become also a majority in the sex trades in many places. These new configurations of labor, intimacy and mobility call us to pay attention to what Angela Davis has named the intersectionality of struggles. The findings demonstrate how the ‘Nordic Model’ approach legitimates state violence and racialized policing towards migrant and sex working women by creating an ideological landscape that defines sex work as a form of men's violence against women to be combatted. In this paper, I use Ruth Wilson Gilmore's understanding of violence as exposure to "premature death" and argue that the ‘Nordic Model’ approach by exacerbating the already precarious lives of sex workers serves as a form of "violence against women" in a Gilmorean sense. I conclude the paper with a call for a different kind of abolitionist feminism and future.
Niina Vuolajärvi PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Zolberg Institute of Migration and Mobility at the New School of Social Research. Her interdisciplinary work is situated at the intersection of migration, feminist and socio-legal studies. Currently, she is working on her first book Ending the Demand? Migration, Sex Work and the Feminist Politics of Care that is based on a vast three-country ethnography among migrant sex workers in the Nordic region. In 2021, Rutgers School of Graduate Studies acknowledged her groundbreaking scholarship through the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Her work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Sexuality Research and Social Policy and recognized by the Law and Society Association, American Sociological Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fulbright Foundation.
SP11: "The Rise of Authoritarianism in Central Eastern Europe" with Kim Lane Scheppele and Grzegorz Ekiert
Organised by the ESA Vice-President Kaja Gadowska
Over 30 years ago, the Iron Curtain was torn asunder and even the USSR was undone. Initially, nearly all the societies of Central Eastern Europe at least nominally accepted a model of liberal democracy; indeed, at the beginning of the 1990s, there were few systemic alternatives.
Yet today authoritarian trends have gained a political presence in countries around the world, including those of CEE. The stronger that presence, the weaker the institutions of liberal democracy have become. Real power shifts into the hands of ruling party leaders. Constitutional provisions are bent to their will and expectations. Legal (or semi-legal) acts are introduced to steadily weaken the judiciary, public and private media, civil service, electoral institutions, and NGOs. Within a nominally democratic framework, “soft” or “hard” authoritarianism is anchored in a beholden nomenclature reigning over areas of economic, social, and cultural life.
What factors are guiding the authoritarian turn and where is it leading the societies of Central Eastern Europe? Indeed, what about this phenomenon is specific to this region and what is analogous to despotic drifts elsewhere? What insight can sociologists contribute regarding these phenomena? Can sociological knowledge resonate with societies drawn into autocracy?
Nevertheless, we are actually witnessing not only the reversal of democracy in several Central Eastern European states, but also – starting from Belarus – the public communication, in word and deed, of a civic desire for democracy, a robust movement towards it. Could this act as an impetus deterring authoritarian trends or will such tendencies prevail in the region?
Kim Lane Scheppele | Princeton University, USA
Not Suicide but Murder: Why East Central European Democracies Fail
By now, the narrative about why democracies are failing in East-Central Europe is well-known. Populism has overrun Hungary and Poland (and other states in the region). What else could we expect (or so the story goes)? After all, these countries had problematic histories, wrestling first with fascism and then with communism. They were in a bad neighborhood, sandwiched between Germany and Russia. They never had proper democracies before and so, being new at the whole thing in 1989 and after, they failed because their populations got impatient and voted democracy away.
By contrast, I want to argue for a very different case: East-Central European democracies did not die by suicide as the result of a self-inflicted wound brought about by populism. Instead, I will argue, these democracies were murdered by elected leaders, eager for power, who lied their way into office; distracted the population with historical fantasy, resentment and promises of cash; and systematically dismantled checks on executive power while their populations were distracted, creating an autocratic government in the shadows. Neither Poles nor Hungarians ever voted to abandon democratic government or democratic values, and to this day they do not approve. But by the time they realize that they may have voted for an unrealistic national fantasy but got autocracy instead, it’s too late. If we think of creeping autocracy in East-Central Europe as having resulted from the premeditated murder by national leaders rather than suicide by populism, our understanding of democratic failure, as well as prescriptions for how to restore democracy in the region, will change.
Professor Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University. Scheppele's work focuses on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress. After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in post-communist Europe, living in Hungary and Russia for extended periods. After 9/11, she researched the effects of the international "war on terror" on constitutional protections around the world. Since 2010, she has been documenting the rise of autocratic legalism first in Hungary and then in Poland within the European Union, as well as its spread around the world. Her many publications in law reviews, in social science journals and in many languages cover these topics and others. She is a commentator in the popular press, discussing comparative constitutional law, the state of Europe, the rule of law and the rise of populism. Scheppele is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Comparative Law. In 2014, she received the Law and Society Association’s Kalven Prize for influential scholarship and was elected President of the Law and Society Association for the 2017-2019 term. Scheppele began her career in the political science department at the University of Michigan, became full professor in the law school at the University of Pennsylvania, was the founding director of the gender program at Central European University Budapest, became Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton and has held visiting faculty positions in the law schools at Michigan, Yale, Harvard, Erasmus/Rotterdam, and Humboldt/Berlin.
Catching up with society: authoritarianism from below and the failure of liberal democracy in Central Europe
Grzegorz Ekiert | Harvard University, USA
Catching up with society: authoritarianism from below and the failure of liberal democracy in Central Europe
Research on populism increasingly pays attention to the supply side of politics. And, indeed, the failure of liberal democracies in the region is not the result of economic victimization of large parts of population inflicted by the transition to capitalism. It is the result of deliberate actions of local political elites victimized by their failure to join the European elite convergence process. Since they had no skills and ability to join the club, so they decided to turn their backs on the European integration process. Yet, their grievances, complaints and lies, their rabid nationalism, their homophobia, racism and religious fundamentalism could travel only so far, if it was not shared by the significant part of citizens in their countries who brought them to power. I this presentation I will discuss the complementarity between traditional political cultures in the region and populist/nationalist/fundamentalist ideas peddled by right-wing politicians in power.
Grzegorz Ekiert is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University, Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and Senior Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. His research and teaching interests focus on comparative politics, regime change and democratization, civil society and social movements and East European politics and societies. His books include: Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements, (co-editors Elizabeth J. Perry and Yan Xiaojun), Cambridge University Press, 2020; Capitalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe: Assessing the Legacy of Communist Rule, (co-editor Stephen Hanson), Cambridge University Press 2003; Rebellious Civil Society. Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, (co-author Jan Kubik, Rutgers University) University of Michigan Press 1999; The State Against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe, Princeton University Press 1996. His papers appeared in numerous social science journals in the US, Europe and Asia and in many edited volumes.
SP12: The public role of National Sociological Associations towards alternative futures with Sari Hanafi, Manuel Fernandez-Esquinas, Paula Irene Villa and Anna Wessely
Organised by ESA Executive Committee member and NA Council Chair Maria Carmela Agodi
The reshaping that European societies are going to face is a great challenge and opportunity for sociological knowledge and its societal impact. What will the role of National Associations be in facing this challenge?
The debate about “public sociology” used to be centered on individual researchers’ engagement. Maybe today the issue is not that of competing kinds of involvement with the discipline and its possible publics. If sociological knowledge has to gain greater impact in the public sphere, at stake may be the move of responsibility for engagement from the individual to the institutional level, with the scientific community of sociologists and their associations assuming it collectively. Are Sociological Associations motivated to engage in a project of repositioning in the public domain and of responsibility towards alternative designs of future, for their countries and for Europe? Are they ready at deploying new organizational practices that give all their possible interlocutors access to their knowledge, to sociological imagination, to its potential applications, to the assessment of possible, alternative policies and the futures they prepare? Is the knowledge that their scientific communities are producing accountable also to those in the shadow of invisibility and silence? Are they able to contextualize - and situate in the spectrum of always conflicting values – pieces of knowledge and research results, even those coming from other scientific disciplines? Do they produce segregated sociological communities at the national level or are they fostering mutual knowledge of national peculiarities and contexts, so that they will find integration within a diverse and reflexive scientific community of European sociologists?
Sari Hanafi | American University of Beirut, Lebanon and President of the International Sociological Association
President of the International Sociological Association Sari Hanafi is Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of Sociology (Arabic). He has previously been ISA Vice President and member of its Excitative Committee (2010-2018). He was the Vice President of the board of the Arab Council of Social Science. Recently he created the “Portal for Social impact of scientific research in/on the Arab World” (Athar).
His main research interests are in Sociology of science, knowledge production, religion, migration and refugees, transitional justice, higher education, political sociology, post-authoritarianism. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the sociology of religion, sociology of (forced) migration; politics of scientific research; civil society, elite formation and transitional justice. He is as well editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of Sociology (Arabic)). He is the winner of 2014 Abdelhamid Shouman Award and 2015 Kuwait Award for social science. In 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) of the National University of San Marcos (the first and the leading university in Lima- Peru – established in 1551).
Manuel Fernandez-Esquinas | President of the Spanish Sociological Federation (FES) & Coordinator of ESA's RN “Southern European Societies", Spain
Assessing the multiple roles of sociology associations in contemporary systems of knowledge production
In this paper I make a brief assessment of the conditions of national sociology associations (NSA) to fulfill different roles in complex regimes of knowledge production. My main assumption is that NSA can be analyzed with the categories used for studying collective actors in science. In particular, at institutional level it is necessary to pay attention to the situation of NSA in their systems of knowledge production, including collaboration, competition and conflict with other disciplines and actors that claim for scientific legitimacy. At organizational level, it is useful to consider the core values, capacities and practices of NSA, and the packs of activities they are able to develop.
For making such assessment I use some tools accumulated by the sociology of science. Firstly, the paper is framed in the approach that understands the social arrangements in science systems through its outcomes, and takes into account the combination of symbolic and social structural elements that contribute to such outcomes. Secondly, it reviews briefly the ‘internal’ roles of NSA, namely: 1) Promotion of knowledge production, 2) Reproduction of a scientific field, 3) Allocation of scientific capital, and 4) Community building. Thirdly, it focuses on the ‘external’ roles: 1) Interest representation and lobby, 2) Policy advise, 3) Social support for the discipline, and 4) Public communication of science. Finally, the paper considers the interrelationship of both. In particular, how the making of the discipline shapes the capacities to promote knowledge utilization, interact with interest groups and strengthening the public image of sociology. I will use the experience of the Spanish Sociological Federation to highlight the main challenges and key issues of combining both ‘functions’.
President of the Spanish Sociological Federation (FES) and Coordinator of the Research Network “Southern European Societies” of the European Sociological Association.
He is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA), an official centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and has been a visiting fellow at Southbank University (UK), the University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University (Australia), Indiana University and the University of New Mexico (USA). He has worked on values and behaviors related to innovation, mainly using survey methodology; on science and innovation policies, several forms of knowledge transfer between science and industry, research training, and collaboration dynamics of universities and research centers with other domains. He has been working on the ”institutional quality” of innovation systems and on knowledge transfer and knowledge utilization, with a special focus on the social sciences. He has also worked as evaluator and consultant for the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation, several regional governments and international organizations such as OECD and the EU. He is the director of Revista Española de Sociología/Spanish Journal of Sociology, and the editor of the new book series “Southern European Societies” (Edward Elgar)
Paula Irene Villa | LMU Munchen, Germany and President of the German Sociological Association
Translating Complexity: Public Sociology between populism and critical reflexivity
Globally, but with regional specificities, 'public science' has increasingly become an issue over the last years. A wide range of actors - governmental, from civic society, funding agencies, academic communities, private sector, educational systems, and more - demand some, or more, public engagement from the science, often implying a problematic status quo in which privileged researchers do self-centered things in their ivory towers, shying away from the critical light of the public political sphere and hard-working tax-payers. In populist contexts, be they government or fringy mobilizations, such rhetoric is often paired by anti-intellectualism and ’skepticism’ towards science. Sociology itself has had - and still has - its very own and specific debate regarding ‚public sociology‘ (Burawoy 2005), which actually goes back to the founding classics, especially Weber.
My paper reflects on the ambiguities of ‚public sociology‘, focussing on the role of National Associations. It draws upon experiences as publicly engaged Gender Studies scholar, and as president of the German Sociological Association, and will argue that public sociology must find ways to defend the proper logic and space of research - resisting populist demands of all sorts - while translating sociological knowledge into other contexts in order to generate critical reflexivity. There is much sociological research to help us navigate this difficult trajectory.
President of the German Sociological Association, she is full professor and chair for Sociology and Gender Studies at LMU München. She's also served as elected board member of the German Association for Gender Studies from 2010 - 2014.
Her research focuses on the analysis of biopolitics, i.e. the ambivalent entanglements of society and soma, on Cultural Studies (Pop and Politics, Embodiment within Subcultures such as Tango), on Care & Gender, and on Science/Academia and Gender.
She has published widely on gender/social theory (post-structuralism, Butler, Bourdieu, symbolic violence), the sociology of embodiment, beautification and normalization, on feminist body politics, and on German and Europan "anti-genderism" as part of new nationalist populism.
She has directed funded empirical research (e.g. DFG, VW, Humboldt foundations) on Cosmetic Surgery, Food/Fitness, comparative analysis of Gender Equality Programs in academic capitalism, and on popular culture.
Anna Wessely | President of the Hungarian Sociological Association, Hungary
Sustaining Sociology in an Illiberal Democracy in the 21st Century
The talk uses the example of the recent history and present state of Hungarian sociology due to the shortness of the allotted time and the speaker’s deficient knowledge of the situation in other illiberal democracies. The focus will be on the attempt to explain the dwindling of public interest in sociological knowledge, the interpretation of the present state of affairs will inevitably keep referring back to the political and social structural changes of the past four decades as well as to the impact of a more recent narrowly conceived national science policy.
President of the Hungarian Sociological Association, she is editor-in-chief of BUKSZ (The Budapest Review of Books), and teaches at the Sociology Institute of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest and the Hungarian Fine Arts University, Budapest.
She was previously Rudolf Arnheim Professor in Art History at the Humboldt University, Berlin, 2006; Research Fellow at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 1999–2000; Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, 2000; member and later President of the international advisory board of the International Research Centre for Cultural Studies, Vienna, 1998–2005; Research Associate at the University of California, Berkeley, 1992–1993; and Research Associate at Boston University, Boston, 1987–1988. Alongside art history, her research extends to intellectual history and the sociology of art and culture. She has also been working on the relationship between sociology and philosophy of knowledge, on authors as Mannheim, Simmel, Weber, Bourdieu, Latour; contributing to research about consumption patterns and the development of consumerism in Eastern Europe. Her publications include studies on visual augmentation in the eighteenth century as well as criticism of contemporary art.
SP13: "Artmaking and Economy in Time of Crises", with Marta Herrero, Arturo Rodríguez and Nina Zahner
Organised by RN02 Sociology of the Arts (Dafne Muntanyola-Saura) and RN09 Economic Sociology (Andrea Maurer)
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of arts and cultural life as well as the economic sphere, just like other sectors of society. During the last few months, we have witnessed coping reactions and calls for help from all categories of actors involved in the arts and culture sphere. At the same time, the arts and culture as all kind of economic actors have proven ever more significant in a time of existential crisis and be able to develop new forms of economic activities, markets, and associations. These new and alternative developments are worth to be studied in inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives. The session seeks to bring together experts specialised in cultural policies and others in economics and market issues, to discuss what changes are happening in the arts and culture on macro, meso, and micro levels and the ways this is related to economy.
Marta Herrero | Sheffield University Management School, UK
Arts fundraisers at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis: Coping strategies, innovation and resilience
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on non-profit organisations in the arts and culture sectors; from having to close down all their activities, the sectors have also experienced high levels of redundancies and furlough. In the midst of all the uncertainty, fundraisers play a key strategic role often unacknowledged and mostly misunderstood. In this presentation, I draw on survey and interview data collected from fundraisers in the art and culture sectors in the UK between August and October 2020. I will explore some of the key obstacles fundraisers face and the set of strategies they have developed in order cope with the economic, social, cultural and often personal effects of Covid-19.
This research was carried out in collaboration with the Cultural Sector Network of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in the UK, (the national professional membership body for fundraising).
Dr Marta Herrero is Lecturer in Creative Industries Management at the University of Sheffield, Management School where she teaches on Fundraising Management in the culture sector. She is the author of Irish Intellectuals and Aesthetics. The Making of a Modern Art Collection (Irish Press, 2008) and co-editor of Art and Aesthetics (Routledge, 2013). She is also the author of numerous articles on the sociology of art, art museums, art markets and fundraising.
Arturo Rodríguez Morató | University of Barcelona, Spain
Cultural Values And Economic Value In The Battlefield oO Cultural Policy: Visions From The Past And Prospects For The Future
One of the explicit goals of cultural policy, when it was institutionalized in Europe in the 1960s, was the preservation of artistic autonomy in the face of the growing power of the cultural industry. After an initial stage focused on the promotion of the cultural excellence, the development of cultural policy in following decades brought out a plurality of other cultural values and contributed to their legitimation. Very soon, however, in the context of the progressive culturalization of the economy, an orientation emerged in this area that specifically claimed the economic value of culture. Within the framework of the subsequent neoliberal development of western societies, culture tended to be seen in political circles under the exclusive lens of the economy and its contribution to it. In recent times, however, once it has become clear that advances in the culturalization of the economy result in advances of the commodification of culture, this predominance of the economic perspective has been increasingly contested. In the present circumstances cultural policy has become a battlefield for the valuation of culture and the main battle in this respect is about the representation of cultural value and its measurement. It is a battle pitting the unidimensional view of the economic value of culture referred to purely monetary measures against a plural value perspective based on more diverse and qualitative indicators. The presentation will develop various arguments around the current controversy over cultural values and regarding their prospects in a post COVID-19 future.
Arturo Rodriguez Morató is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Politics and Society at the University of Barcelona. Former Vice President for Research of the International Sociological Association (2006-2010) when he established the ISA Forum of Sociology, and Former President of its Research Committee on Sociology of the Arts (1998-2002). Currently, he is Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. In the past he has had similar appointments at the EHESS, the New School for Social Research and the University of Cambridge.
From 2015 to 2017 he has been Coordinator of the Social Platform CulturalBase and now is coordinating UNCHARTED: Understanding, Capturing and Fostering the Societal Value of Culture (2020 - 24), both projects funded by the H2020 Programme. He has published extensively on cultural policy, artistic professions and urban culture. In 2018 he co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Cultural Policy on Cultural Policy in Ibero-America, and now is also co-editing a book on Sociology of the Arts in Action – New Perspectives on Creation, Production, and Reception (Palgrave, forthcoming).
Nina Tessa Zahner | Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany
The Fabrication of ›Closeness‹ in the Realm of the Digital
The corona pandemic has driven art into the realm of the digital. Some commentators see this as a long overdue step, since the virtual dominates reality anyway. In their vision art is constantly constructing a “fiction of closeness” just to attract as many visitors as possible to museums, theatres or concert halls. Other voices view particularly the unmediated experience of artistic works as the key contribution of the arts to individual growth and society’s development. They see this contribution massively endangered by the displacement of the arts into the virtual sphere. The lecture draws on some case studies to examine various attempts to create “closeness” and “immediacy” within the digital experience of the arts or how this is deliberately avoided. It further investigates the transformations possibly resulting from these strategies for experiencing art and the social function of art and the demand for cultural events and products.
Nina Tessa Zahner is Professor for Sociology at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. She studied sociology, anthropology and history in Erlangen, Bamberg and London. From 2010 to 2017 she was Junior Professor for Cultural Management and Sociology of the Cultural Field at the University of Leipzig. Her work focuses on the sociology of art, the sociology of perception and the senses, and art market research.
Her latest publications include: Das Publikum als Ort der Auseinandersetzung um legitime Formen des Kunst- und Weltwahrnehmens. In: Schürkmann, Christiane; Zahner, Nina Tessa: Wahrnehmen als soziale Praxis. Springer VS, 2021. Kunstwahrnehmen im Ausstellungskontext. Das Go-Along Interview als Instrument zur Rekonstruktion des perceptual space in Kunstausstellungen. In: Escher, Cornelia, Zahner, Nina: Begegnung mit dem Materiellen. Erfahrung mit Materialität in Architektur, Kunst und Digitalem. Transcript 2021.
SP14: "Quantitative Surveys Against the Climate and Health Crises of Today" with Christiane Gross and Markus Hadler
Organised by RN12 Environment & Society (Audrone Telesiene) and RN21 Quantitative Methods (Jochen Mayerl)
New global reality bewhelmed humanity with multiple unfolding crises and complex long-term implications. Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic lockdowns have paralyzed the established lifestyles and climate crisis further threatens to jeopardize the balance of eco-social systems. Do we really understand the full mosaic of social experiences in this carousel? How can sociological knowledges assist in addressing the challenges and inequalities? Are the classical instruments still valid? These broad questions are the genuine drivers for this semi-plenary. Specifically, we’d like to discuss the role of quantitative surveys in generating the needed sociological knowledge. Surveys have become the traditional tool for generating understanding. The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), the European Values Study and multiple other scholarly endeavors have long tried to capture the opinions, values, behaviors and experiences of people. Are such surveys still able to capture the attitudes, needs and perceptions of people in such an ongoing situation of a permanently changing pandemic context and high degree of uncertainty?
The semi-plenary discussion would help navigating the terrain of quantitative sociology and could possibly inspire further scholarly debate on climate and other crises.
Christiane Gross | University of Würzburg, Germany
Biases in Health Data – Usual Suspects and New Pitfalls During the Crises
The talk will first present an overview of systematic biases in the process of generating health data depending on data type (register versus survey data) and the operationalization of health outcomes referring to the disease filter (Gross et al. 2015) as a heuristic tool provided before the crises. Afterwards, I will discuss implications of these systematic biases for intra- and international comparisons with Covid-19 incidence data with a focus on systematic underestimation. Finally, I will discuss the potentials and pitfalls of newer developments in data collection/generation processes known under the buzzwords big data, artificial intelligence and citizen science (e.g. data donations, Corona applications). On the one hand, scientists might be able to reach large case numbers and high statistical power with relatively low monetary costs and effort. On the other hand, scientists may lose control over core issues of quantitative empirical research such as sampling strategies and operationalization; finally, yet importantly, the research question itself might be driven by the data provided by other sources.
Christiane Gross is Professor of Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences at the University of Würzburg. After studying sociology in Augsburg and Munich (LMU), she worked at the universities in Munich (LMU), Kiel, Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Hanover, as well as being interims professor at the University of Konstanz. She has also worked on several projects funded by the German Research Association (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Her dissertation thesis at the CAU Kiel was awarded the Faculty Prize. She is elected representative of the empirical social, behavioral, and economic sciences in the German Data Forum (RatSWD) in its seventh appointment period. Her research and teaching interests include quantitative methods and social stratification in education, work, and health.
Markus Hadler | University of Graz, Austria
Surveying Climate and Health Relevant Topics During the Covid-19 Crisis
This talk consists of three parts. The first part summarizes the development of the ISSP Environment and Health modules, which are supposed to be fielded between 2020 and 2022. The new ISSP environment module consists of 60 questions on environmental attitudes and behaviors, including a new set of questions related to climate relevant behaviors. The health module initially included questions on the personal health status and preferences regarding the health system, but was extended at the very last minute by several questions on the Covid-19 crisis. The second part provides an overview of findings from various international surveys on attitudes related to the environment and Covid-19, also including data from social media. It shows that differences are not just arising from the method of data collection, but also from the contextual influence of the Covid-19 crisis, which altered individual attitudes and behaviors. The third part draws several conclusions on how the Covid-19 crisis has affected surveys and what we can learn from it.
Markus Hadler is Professor of Social Research at the Department of Sociology, University of Graz, Austria. Before that he held positions at Marshall University (USA) and Macquarie University (Australia). He is an Austrian representative to the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) and was the convener of the 2020 ISSP survey on environmental attitudes and behaviors. His research focuses on topics of environmental sociology and social inequality with an emphasis on research methods. Currently, he is leading three research projects: measuring CO2 relevant behavior using survey research; connecting social survey and social media data on climate related views; and a S-LCA of a carbon-emission reducing production process in a steel factory. His teaching interests include quantitative methods, environmental sociology, and social stratification.
SP15: "Knowledge, Religions and Environmental Change" with Nikoleta Jones and Jens Köhrsen
Organised by RN12 Environment & Society (Çigdem Adem) and RN34 Sociology of Religion (Julia Martínez-Ariño and Siniša Zrinščak)
As with any other major social challenge, perceptions and discourses about environmental change vary across global regions and countries, as well as across social strata. At stake is not just a matter of acknowledging what is taking place, but more about which types of changes we perceive as most influential and most pressing and which types of futures various social groups propose. Questions emerge, such as: How exactly do we picture changes and solutions, and do they match with each other or not? Who presents those changes/solutions and how do they do that? What do people know about sustainable development at macro, meso and micro social levels? And what do religious groups have to do with all these issues? As a powerful source of social discourses, by both describing and determining social reality, religions shape the social world and influence social actions. Thus, the ways religions talk about social life in general and about environmental changes in particular present an important angle to build our understanding of a future social world.
This semi-plenary will discuss how people understand climate change, which values and ideas inform their knowledge about major social changes and how that knowledge shapes their behavior. It will focus on the supposed “greening” of religions and different potentials and barriers of religions to facilitate transition toward more sustainable, low-carbon societies. While drawing on empirical studies, the panel will show the lack of research about the intersection of religious knowledges and climate change and suggest future directions for research and policymaking.
Nikoleta Jones | University of Cambridge, UK
Knowledge and Environmental Change
In a rapidly changing natural environment, citizens in Europe and beyond nowadays receive an increasing amount of information on how to become more environmentally friendly by, for example, offsetting their travel by plane and switching to renewable energy providers. However, finding successful pathways in using information to reinforce environmental responsible behaviour remains a challenge for scientists and practitioners. Environmental sociologists have tried for decades to understand how knowledge can lead to behavioural change. From the research of Dunlap et al. (2000) on New Ecological Paradigm to the work of Gross (2010; 2015) on knowledge and uncertainty, several scholars have explored the process of acquiring and handling knowledge during times of environmental change and most important how this knowledge can be used to change behaviours, perceptions and attitudes. This talk examines the role of knowledge in times of environmental change, within the context of extreme uncertainty; the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, the evolution of key theories in environmental sociology will be discussed focusing on the important connections between knowledge and environmental behaviour. Empirical qualitative and quantitative case studies will then be presented from three National Parks in Europe (Black Forest-Germany, Matsalu-Estonia, Eastern Macedonia & Thrace-Greece) exploring how different paths of information can transform knowledge and most importantly how this knowledge changes through time. A key argument during the talk is that knowledge can be constructed through the on-going interactions between different systems, including social, political and ecological, all existing within a specific governance framework.
Nikoleta Jones is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick (starting July 2021). She is an environmental social scientist, and her work focuses mainly on social impacts of environmental policies and improving the levels of public acceptance for policy initiatives. In recent years, she has become increasingly interested in assessing social impacts of biodiversity conservation policies. She is currently leading the project FIDELIO funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (2019-2024, €1.5m) exploring social impacts of European Protected Areas focusing on their temporal and spatial dimensions.
Jens Köhrsen | Basel University, Switzerland
Climate Change and Religion
Religions can effectively promote (or block) climate change mitigation and adaptation. They can disseminate environmental values and worldviews to their members, engage in lobbying for corresponding political decisions, and implement mitigation or adaptation projects. Scholarship has suggested a “greening” of religions, leading faith traditions to increasingly draw on the aforementioned potentials and address environmental challenges. Especially in the Global South, faith communities can become crucial agents in climate change mitigation and adaptation. In many regions of the Global South, religions assume a central role in peoples’ worldviews and everyday lifestyles as well as in the public sphere where faith leaders often enjoy high credibility.
However, broad empirical research underpinning these potentials is missing. While there is evidence for some “greening” and an increasing grasp of climate change among faith leaders in the Global South, existing insights indicate problems in the diffusion of environmental awareness at the grassroots level of religious communities. At the same time, highly successful innovations in the religious landscapes of the Global South, such as prosperity theology, have dubious environmental implications (e.g. focus on ostensive consumption). Based on these observations, this presentation proposes two additional development pathways of religions vis-à-vis environmental challenges such as climate change: “non-greening” and “un-greening”.
Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen) is professor of religion and economics at University of Basel’s Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics. His research interests include the sociological study of climate change and sustainability transitions, the relationship between social inequality and religion, as well as religion and sustainable development. He is the principal investigator of the Swiss National Science Foundation project “Urban Green Religions” that explores the role of religion in urban sustainability transitions.