Back to the Future? European Progressions and Retrogressions

January 31, 2020

Much attention has been paid to the rise of populist forces, challenges to democratic systems and practices and the undermining of established political, economic and social norms and institutions. These trends have often been framed as having ‘retrogressive’ effects on democracy, secularism and a wide range of formal and substantive rights. At the same time sociologists are observing emerging forms of resilience, resistance and reconfiguration in state and society. These ‘progressions’ are generating uneven, unpredictable and uncertain consequences for people and politics across Europe.
Political sociology is well placed to interrogate the continuities and discontinuities in ideas, interests and institutions historically constituted through empire, market and state. These historical developments are currently typically articulated through political projects that are ambivalent, supportive or contesting of permanent austerity, increasing securitization, immigration, and climate change. In this conference we seek to offer a space for colleagues to reflect on the role and function of Political Sociology in generating innovative analyses that can grasp the multiple and complex challenges posed by the interacting regressions and progressions in contemporary societies.
We seek research that includes:
• the politics (macro and micro) of social, economic and cultural change
• intersectional approaches to systems of economic, racial, colonial and gendered institutions and inequalities
• urbanization, gentrification and local political institutions and practices
• civil society and social mobilization, including the effects of contestation and collective action
• elites in political systems and civil society
• social policy and social policy making, with specific attention to the process of EU integration;
• political controversies around rights
• transformations and polarization of the public and the political sphere, digital politics and media, theoretical and empirical insights on populism, its roots and its effects;
• politicization of identity, identity politics, political representation, and the transformations of political parties’ membership;
• the politics of knowledge and the public role of researchers in political sociology;
• political economic analyses of labour markets

The Political Sociology Section of the European Sociological Association (RN 32) has a longstanding commitment to supporting research on social politics, political processes and institutional configurations attendant to European Integration and operating within, across and beyond European societies. Our members work from a diverse range of methodological and theoretical perspectives to examine political formations, social mobilizations and policy processes.
We are delighted to announce our Key Note speaker: Professor Johanna Kantola Tampere University and our Plenary speaker: Professor Ruth Wodak Lancaster University 
The interim conference offers a forum for scholars to interact, network and workshop with colleagues. We look forward to welcoming you to Maynooth University, National University of Ireland.
We invite panel and paper proposals.
Submission details: For panel proposals please include details of organisers, brief description and title of the proposed panel. Normally sessions will include 4 papers. For papers, abstracts should not exceed 250 words and include contact details.

Please submit to rn32esa [at] proposals for panels by January 31st 2020 and proposals for papers by March 30th 2020. All submissions will be peer reviewed by the organizing committee and external reviewers.
Further information: Participants are expected to cover their own accommodation and travel costs. Further details on accommodation and travel to follow at :
Registration: Participation in the conference is free but all participants are required to register: details to follow. For more information contact: RN coordinators Pauline Cullen, Maynooth University (Coordinator of RN 32) Pauline.cullen [at] and Alberta Giorgi University of Bergamo (Vice- coordinator of RN 32) alberta.giorgi [at]

Deadline for panel proposals January 31st 2020
Deadline for paper abstracts March 30th 2020
Notification May 30th 2020
Registration August 1st 2020
Conference 29-31st October 202