RN07 - Sociology of Culture
RN07 brings together an exciting mixture of a wide range of different approaches to sociological analyses of cultural practices, from almost all traditions of European Sociology. Because culture relates to almost anything that is sociologically relevant, we stress that cultural sociology is not bound to culture in terms of a thematic focus, but instead we advocate that culture should be used as a tool-box for exploring the connections between everyday life and practices of communication, signification and valuation.
The purpose of the Research Network on the Sociology of Culture is to encourage development of this perspective through the organized interchange of ideas and research. It will do so through meetings, conferences, publications, and other means considered appropriate by the Board of the Research Network. The term Culture shall be interpreted in its broadest sense to include cultural practices and products, ideas, and symbolic meanings, as these relate to action, social behavior and organization.
- Coordinator: Anna-Mari Almila, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK, a.almila [at] fashion.arts.ac.uk
- Co-coordinator: Simon Stewart, University of Portsmouth, UK, simon.stewart [at] port.ac.uk
- Jörn Ahrens, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
- Dagmara Beitnere-Le Galla, University of Latvia, Latvia
- Predrag Cveticanin, Faculty of Tourism and Sport TIMS, Serbia
- Lisa Gaupp, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany
- David Inglis, University of Helsinki, Finland
- Mark Jacobs, George Mason University, USA
- Carmen Leccardi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
- Joost van Loon (former coordinator), Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany
- Michaela Pfadenhauer, University of Vienna, Austria
- Rita Maria Gonçalves Ribeiro,University of Minho - Braga, Portugal
- Simon Ridley, University of Limoges, France
- Otto Segersven, University of Helsinki, Finland
- Anna Lisa Tota, University of Roma III, Italy
- Dominik Zelinsky, University of Edinburgh, UK
- Hubert Knoblauch, Technical University Berlin, Germany
- Tia DeNora, University of Exeter, UK
- Pertti Alasuutari, University of Tampere, Finland
- Thomas Eberle, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
- Rudi Laermans, KU Leuven, Belgium
- Motti Regev, The Open University of Israel
En-Compass-ing Culture(s): Beyond East/West and South/North
University of Helsinki
Language Centre, Fabianinkatu 26, 00170 Helsinki
Call for papers
The ESA Research Network Sociology of Culture (RN7) announces its 8th midterm conference, which will take place on 10th–12th June 2020 at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
The critique of culturally and politically dividing the world into essentialising entities such as ‘East’, ‘West’, ‘Orient’ and ‘Occident’ is now well established. Yet all sorts of seemingly objectively geographical, but in reality socio-culturally constructed, divisions survive or thrive: the global South versus the global North; southern Europe versus northern Europe; Eastern Europe versus Western Europe; so-called Eastern countries versus Western countries; eastern versus western districts of cities, regions and countries; and so on.
Such categories carry various and fundamentally unequal connotations and associations. They are constituted by, and in turn serve to constitute, wider structural inequalities and social divisions around the world. In this conference we ask whether it is possible for sociologists of culture, cultural sociologists and practitioners of cognate disciplines to go beyond these categories, whether we should attempt to do so, and how we might do so if we try.
How do both “real” and “imaginary” geographies and socio-cultural-geographical constructions currently inform the practice of sociology, especially but not only those branches of sociology concerned with cultural matters? And how do these factors inform and shape, for good or for ill, how culture and cultures are conceived of and practically researched? What are the “geographical politics” of sociological analyses of culture, both around Europe and around the world? How might current power imbalances and inequalities in cultural sociological practice be identified and challenged, and how might they be overcome in both shorter and longer terms?
Is it possible to understand the history of such cultural constructions of geography in a manner that would help us to move incrementally forward, or do we need radical breaks and ruptures with these histories instead? Which theories, methodologies and methods might help or hinder us to think in fresh ways about, and beyond, geographical division, be those cultural, social, economic, political, or a mixture of some or all of these? Which sorts of empirical and conceptual foci should be involved in this regard? How might a stress on socio-culturally constructed, imagined and contested geographies be thought about in existing sociological ways, or how might these prompt and create innovative forms of analysis? Can we move away from using conceptual and methodological compasses which already point in certain prescribed directions, towards using tools which allow envisaging the world in less divisive and more encompassing ways? If so, how might these ways of thinking and researching enable us to contribute to meaningful social change?
The conference explores these and related questions at local, national, transnational, regional and global levels.
We welcome contributions on the following areas, as well as others not mentioned here:
Gentrification of cities and locations
Borders and boundaries – new and old
Movements and flows – voluntary and forced – humans, goods, ideas
Cultural and human geographies
Mapping locations and cultural phenomena
Appropriation and appreciation
Taste and tasting
History, change and continuity
Representation of locations, people, cultures
Social and sociological theory
Cultural sociology (general)
Notes for authors
We welcome both abstract and panel proposals.
Each author cannot submit more than two abstracts (as first author).
Please submit your abstracts and panel proposals in word or pdf format by Sunday 1st December 2019 to ESAHelsinki2020 [at] gmail.com
Please submit abstracts of around, but no more than, 300 words. Please include in the submission the name(s) of the author(s), institutional affiliation, and email address(es).
Please submit a short outline of the panel session (no more than 150 words) and 3-4 abstracts according to the instructions above.
The deadline for abstract submission is 1st December 2019.
Notification of acceptance by 15th January 2020.
Registration opening 1st March 2020.
Registration deadline for presenting authors: 1st April 2020
Registration ends 1st May 2020.
Manchester 2019: Biannual conference
Europe and Beyond: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging, 14th ESA Conference
RN07: Cultural-Sociological Reflections on Boundaries, Barriers and Belongings
Whereas Boundaries and Barriers have been popular topics in the Sociology of Culture for decades, the concept of Belonging tends to be taken for granted as a corollary of identity and community. However, perhaps the time has come to ask ourselves why cultural processes are more often than not associated with bonding and binding and how this actually relates to bordering and bounding? What kind of Cultural Sociology might be able to engage more critically with the identity thinking that often belies notions of collective belonging? What concepts could Cultural Sociology develop in order not to become an apology of preconceived notions of “culture” (e.g. ethnicity, nation, civilization)? Alternatively, one might want to deconstruct the extent to which Cultural Sociology embraces Cosmopolitanism as its implicit standpoint from which to analyse processes of globalization and counter-globalization and the privileges this takes for granted. The RN Sociology of Culture welcomes all critical contributions that call into question established conceptions of culture, as either theoretical reflections or empirically grounded interventions. We particularly welcome contributions that explicitly engage critically with established traditions within the Sociology of Culture. Of course, we will also have open sessions for papers addressing other themes relevant to the Sociology of Culture.
Additional note: A prize will be awarded for the best paper by an early-career academic (those who are within 7 years after the award of the PhD) at this conference. People who wish to enter this contest should be members of RN07, present in one of the RN07 sessions, and submit their paper (max. 4000 words) before the 15th of July to joost.vanloon [at] ku.de. Please indicate the month and year of the award of your PhD upon submission.
JS_RN07_RN09: “The economics, politics and cultures of dark networks” (Joint session with RN09 Economic Sociology)
Sociologists have been studying the social and symbolic boundaries that constitute the many dimensions of difference, inequality and abuse shaping human life. Yet, existing research pays relatively little attention to the operation of less obvious dark networks, illegal forms of economic organization and exchange, arguably responsible for the most extreme forms of inequality and exploitation. Recent events, such as the Volkswagen “Dieselgate”, the Rana Plaza disaster or the human trafficking of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, have again brought the perversion of social, cultural, political, and economic norms to the foreground. Yet, corruption, forced labor, trade in drugs, body parts, weapons and digitized personal identities as well as other forms of racketeering seem to be fairly widespread facets of economic life. Such practices are based on specific social networks, power structures, forms of organization and taken-for-granted beliefs and norms. In this session, we seek to explore such “dark networks”, illicit markets and corporate irresponsibilities addressing some of the following questions: How do illicit markets emerge and diffuse? How are they governed? What is the economic “rationality” of illegality? How is trust established in illegal economic exchange? What is the special culture of dark networks? What are the human costs of their operations? In what ways are they dependent on the cooperation of ostensibly legitimate actors? How do illegal and irresponsible economic practices contribute to inequality?
JS_RN07_RN15: “Globalising cultures: globalised territorialism and transnational anti-cosmopolitanism” (Joint session with RN15 Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Sociology)
How can we create a truly global sociology of culture(s) or a profoundly global cultural sociology? This session welcomes contributions that consider various ontological, epistemological and institutional opportunities and challenges arising as a result of an increasingly globalised and hybrid social world (e.g. highly cosmopolitan consumption being evermore localised and territorialised, or nationalist movements such as national Defence Leagues or Soldiers of Odin being increasingly transnational and globalised). The session seeks to understand how global and transnational phenomena are cultural, how globalised cultures are hybrid and contested, and how sociologists should make sense of such contradictions.
JS_RN07_RN15: Symbolic Boundaries: Barriers or Belonging(s)?
With Sabine Trittler and Gert Verschraegen
Symbolic boundaries are constantly created and contested, generating new patterns of belonging and exclusion, particularly so in the current period of global insecurity. There are strong trends towards essentializing and demonizing Others, as in the cases of multiple illiberal nationalisms and ethnocentrisms, secular and religious (Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, etc.). Symbolic boundaries are mobilised to create and police social, political, economic and material barriers, with often harsh consequences for those on the ‘wrong side’ of dividing lines. Today there is a hardening of multiple borders, within and around ‘Europe’, and between all nation-states. Increasingly extreme forms of anti-cosmopolitanism and de-cosmopolitization create ever more narrow answers to moral-ethical-political questions, like which refugees are ‘legitimate’ and worthy of being rescued from their plight, and do we help only those like ourselves? Simultaneously, neoliberal politicians define domestic populations into groups such as the unemployed, drug addicts, and the poor, rendering them as ‘matter out of place’ that must be dealt with. All this raises questions about how, why, where, by whom, and with which consequences such symbolic work is done, and how are such boundaries dealt with by those who are excluded and included? Yet symbolic boundaries do not only separate people, they also may create forms of trans-border solidarity, such as pro-EU/anti-Brexit sentiments, anti-Trump protests, trans-national Pride events, resistance to far-right and neo-liberal politics, etc.. How do symbolic boundaries operate in the generation of novel patterns of cosmopolitan affiliation and practice? How might they be creating novel intersectional sorts of belonging?