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RN36 - Sociology of Transformations: East and West

To learn lessons and generate new ideas from exploration of social life in transforming societies with a special focus on Eastern and Central Europe

The Research Network 36 has emerged in 2012 from the integration of Research Stream (RS) activities and mutual efforts of scholars during a few last conferences of European Sociological Association. RN36 has developed its activities through midterm conferences (Tartu 2013, Gdansk 2014, Sibiu 2016).

The RN 36 positions itself as a platform for scholars who are interested in the challenges of social transformations with a special focus on the Central and Eastern European societies.

Transformative processes occur worldwide and can be subject to different sociological interpretations. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe have experienced ‘transition’ from state socialism to democracy and capitalism, now represent variations ranging from a spiral of economic decline to relative prosperity, from democratisation to hybrid or even fully autocratic regimes, from embracing Euro-Atlantic integration to insisting on traditional political and cultural divisions. New challenges relate to the rising social inequality and exclusion, migration flows, all-European governability. Do the transformations lead to convergence or economic and social gap between the East and West in Europe?

Changes deserve to be explored in many areas of social life. An in-depth exploration of transformations in this region might produce new significant lessons and ideas. One can look at social transformations as systemic, i.e. societal changes, which have a significant impact on most spheres and aspects of society’s and individuals’ existence.

The RN36 attracts scholars working with both macro-level and micro-level researches and from different theoretical perspectives. Comparative studies are seen as the major source of data to address these issues and test the applicability and explanatory power of approaches. We want to bring together younger researchers and prominent scholars to share their thoughts and views and collaborate in future. Activities within RN36 thus contribute to the understanding of actual social life in the transforming societies.