Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012

Research Committee on
Political Sociology, RC18

  on-line programme

Programme Coordinator

Felix LOPEZ, Institute of Applied Economic Research, Brazil,

RC18 Liaison in Argentina
Jaquelina Anapo, Asociación Argentina de Sociología,

Volunteer at the venue
Maria Eugenia Almiron,


All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.


provisional as of March 15, 2012, in alphabetical order


Age of democracy, age of inequality


Age of Democracy, Age of Inequality - part II


Civil society and the state in Latin America and beyond: New patterns of relationship. Part I


Civil society and the state in Latin America and beyond: New patterns of relationship. Part II


Going, going, ... gone? The decline of party membership in contemporary Europe


Intra-party conflicts: Enhancing or diminishing democracy at large?

The session will look at intra-party conflicts and cohesion, and its impact on the linkage capacity of political parties and democracy at large. Political parties are central as they fulfill major functions in representative democracies. While a lot has been written about parties in the electorate and parties in government (Reiter, 2006), the literature on parties as organizations is either rather dated or of theoretical and static nature (classifications of party organizations and party families). More specifically, the main goal of the session is to tackle the issue of conflict and competition within parties, through the lens of conflicting relations between the three faces of party organizations (Katz & Mair 2001), and factionalism (Boucek, 2009). The idea is to investigate and explain the roots of conflict and factionalism within parties. Indeed, understanding intra-party competition and dynamics is a key element to understand how parties behave and perform in the political system as a whole.


Intra-party democratization

In modern democracies, political parties have engaged in a trend towards the enlargement of their electorate (Hazan & Rahat 2010). The aim of the session is to look at these intra-party democratization processes, such as leadership and candidate selection, or policy formation and adoption of the party platform. More specifically, the main goal is to analyze the impact of the democratization process on the nature of the link between the three faces of party organizations and intra-party cohesion. Does it strengthen loyalty towards the organization, or create sources of discontent and protest among certain party strata? Has this trend affected the recruitment capacity of parties? If so, in which ways? Papers in this session should focus primarily on the consequences of intra-party democratization processes, with a strong empirical perspective. Comparative papers are strongly encouraged.


Leaders and Leadership: How the Presidentialization of Politics Affected the Balance of Powers within Parties


Participatory institutions, political clientelism and democratization within the State

During the last few decades democratic regimes in different countries fostered institutional innovations in order to widen citizen participation in the planning, implementation and public control of policies. We can call this set of institutional experiences participatory experiments (Avritzer, 2010). The expansion in the number and scope of these institutions – which unite civil society groups organized in policy deliberation – has the potential to advance the democratization of state structures and to reduce levels of political inequality, if political inequality is defined as the difference among social groups to influence government decisions. Another consequence of the rise of participatory institutions within the state structure has been the reduction in the range of opportunities for policies based on political clientelism due to the expansion and diversification of the public sphere via the increase in the number of groups taking place in public deliberation.

This outcome is not always so easily reached, however, because participatory institutions often merge in a peculiar way with traditional political practices, among them, clientelism. If on the one hand participatory institutions work against the reproduction of political clientelism – at different levels of state action – these institutions can, on the other hand, adapt to reproduce clientelism due to entrenched practice within state organizations.

The papers should discuss research findings that address the interaction between participatory institutions and their impact on clientelistic practices. In this sense they should ideally discuss a) the role participatory institutions play in transforming clientelistic practices, b) how both have adapted to the new democratic context, c) the new forms of political clientelism in a context where participatory institutions are central.


Party Members and Activists in Latin America


Party membership: Exploration into the anthills of party politics

The session will discuss recent publications in the field of party membership studies.


Political inequality outside of the West. Part I.

Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development and RC18 Political Sociology [host committee]
Political inequality (POLINQ) can be defined as structured differences in influence over government decisions. POLINQ is a multidimensional concept – comprised of voice and response – that occurs in all types of governance structures, from social movement organizations, to local and national governments, on to global governance. Voice refers to how constituencies express their interests to decision-makers, either directly or through representatives. Response refers to how decision-makers act and react to their constituencies, and take the forms of symbols and policy.

While the established literature on other major types of inequality, such as economic and educational inequalities, addresses basic empirical questions of “what are the causes and consequences of this inequality?” and “how does this inequality impact social transformation?”, empirical studies of POLINQ, especially outside of Western countries, are few. As a result, our knowledge of the relationships between political power, political inequality and social and political transformations experienced outside of the West is lacking. Recent events in the Middle East amplify the importance, and urgency, of these issues.

This session seeks empirical (qualitative and quantitative) papers on the topic of POLINQ that feature (a) processes of social and political transformation in (b) countries outside of the West. Comparative studies are strongly encouraged.

Key research questions include:

  1. How do we define and measure political inequality?
  2. How does political inequality differ from democracy and the quality of democracy?
  3. How does political inequality interact with economic, gender, racial, ethnic, educational, and other inequalities?
  4. What are the relationships between political power, political inequality, and social transformations?
  5. How politically unequal are nations outside of the West?
  6. How does social and political change impact political inequality?
  7. What are the consequences of political inequality on peoples, societies and social structures?


Political inequality outside the West. Part II.

Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development [host committee] and RC18 Political Sociology


Politics of community and community development in the South: An epistemological engagement

Democracy and social justice have become part and parcel of the society and occupies top most priority of the elected governments. To address social justice and overall development, state is initiated the community development in order to support the poor and sections of the Indian society. This has become major initiatives of the government during their five year plans. It got tremendous response and functioning positively in order to ameliorate the poverty and vulnerability over the years. It drastically bring the poor under its umbrella. People are electing the governments democratically and there is large scale attendance of voter turnouts.

Post 1990s reforms have resulted multiple ways on the developmental initiatives of the state. For instance during this phase you find large scale involvement of donor agencies in the policies of the state vis-à-vis poor and vulnerable sections. There is an also influx of multi-national companies in the name of sustainable development. There is an also new form of politics emerging for instance identity politics. This paved the way for politics of identity formations which resulted sectoral divisions among various groups of people in India. This is the crux of the contemporary society and all the parties revolve around politics of communities. To understand this new phenomena, our session would invite papers which demonstrates an epistemological engagement of the Politics of Community and community development.


RC18 Business Meeting


RC18 Round Table 1: Democratization and elections in Latin AmericaOrganiser


RC18 Round Table 1: Responses to stigmatization and redress rights - a comparative study of Brazil, Israel and United States


RC18 Round Table 2: New perspectives in the study of political behavior in the Americas


RC18 Round Table 2: Transcending the national borders: Social forces and socio-political identities in international politics




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International Sociological Association
November 2012