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

Research Committee on
Comparative Sociology, RC20

  on-line programme

Programme Coordinator

Jean-Pascal DALOZ, Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme, France,

RC20 Liaison in Argentina
Gabriel Nardacchione, CONICET and Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Universidad de Buenos Aires,


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


Comparative studies of historical and contemporary civilising and decivilising shifts in politics, culture and morality

This session will include comparative sociological research in the following areas:

a) The interrelationships between social justice and levels of pacification and, conversely, injustice and forms of violence;

b) Civilising processes and democratisation: comparative studies of civilisation in relation to democratic transformations around the world;

c) The rise of cross-boundary NGOs such as those associated with environmental, human rights and anti-capitalist movements and concomitant changing power relations;

d) Cultural comparators which are indicative of dynamics of civilising processes. Possible examples include emotions, literature, media, sexuality and sport.

Other topics which fit under the general heading will also be considered.


Cultural changes and values in comparative perspective

This session will gather Academics whose research focus on the empirical study of cultural values using the World Value Survey data. The main goal is to present papers which showcase values in comparative perspective. We expect the collaboration of scholars whose expertise evolve around democracy and justice, political participation, happiness and life-satisfaction, religion, social capital, interpersonal and institutional trust in Latin America. Much empirical evidence from different social sciences´ perspectives attempted to show that trust is associated with well-being and it mobilizes pro-social actions, which in turn generates important changes in terms of civic participation, democracy and economic development. This panel will help understand different aspects of Latin American change in values over time in a worldwide context. These changes allow explaining social dynamics, as well as the political and economic development of the region. Empirical comparative analysis of cultural factors can facilitate the understanding of democratization and modernization processes in the region.


Current research in comparative sociology


Death and politics: Socio-historical and comparative approaches

The last decades have witnessed various types of violence both in the North and the South: "preventive" wars in the East carried out by industrialized countries, fratricidal conflicts in Balkan and African nations, urban violence and crime in Latin America, among many others, are some of the events that have brought death to the center of international public space. In turn, individual deaths of major public figures, and of ordinary citizens whose death become a public issue, have political impact both at the local and global scale. The purpose of the session is to present and discuss comparative studies on the political uses and impacts of individual or collective deaths in various countries and different historical periods. The papers should address the comparative dimension, focussing on cases that occurred in different places and/or in different moments. Works that analyze the impact of death on the public space will be encouraged, as well as those that focuss on rituals and discourses, collective emotions, and political and social changes that arise from such deaths. The session, in short, intends to compare the various political dimensions of death in the present and the past.


Public spaces put to the test. A Europe-Latin America comparison


Qualitative Interviews in Comparative Sociology

Though large N quantitative survey method has long been considered to be most effective in comparative sociology since 1950’s, qualitative methods have gradually gained importance, influenced by the emphasis on ‘constant comparison’ in grounded theory approach by B. G. Glaser and A. Strauss in 1960’s, the introduction of ‘qualitative comparative analysis(QCA)’ by C. C. Ragin in 1980’s, or the suggestion of ‘thick comparisons’ by L. Mjøset in 2000’s.

Following this tendency, qualitative interview method has been paid attention by a large number of comparative researchers. Also in RC20 of XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology in Göteborg, Sweden, various projects utilized it in their research. However, it seems that there is hardly any consensus on how to select cases and collect data for comparison, how to analyze and interpret data by comparison, or the extent of applicability to comparison in using this method. This panel welcomes papers on original studies based on qualitative interviews for discussing these topics.


RC20 Business Meeting


Social distinction and globalization

Undeniably, the current globalization process widens horizons more than ever before. As far as status markers are concerned, this involves a growing awareness of various patterns of distinction as well as an increasing acuteness of comparison. Social groups in the highest echelons of societies all over the world may show an interest in a variety of signs of superiority that perhaps help give them the impression that they belong to international superior circles beyond their respective origins. Nevertheless, the question remains as to how the possible introduction of globalized means of distinction is actually perceived, understood and evaluated. This panel welcomes theoretical and empirical papers dealing with such issues.


The sociogenesis of environmental injustice and inequality in Latin America: Historic-comparative sociological approaches

Joint session of RC20 Comparative Sociology , RC24 Environment and Society and WG02 Historical and Comparative Sociology [host committee]
Expressions of environmental inequality and injustice in Latin America take many forms, from the “fumigated towns” in regions taken over by intensive agriculture and the poisoning of soil and water by open cast mining to the violent displacement of populations to build large-scale infrastructure works and the development of business activities. There is by now a wealth of interdisciplinary research that systematically documents the scale and extension of these problems, from Mexico to Patagonia. This session aims at looking at this mounting evidence on environmental injustice and inequality from a historic-comparative sociological perspective, bringing together theoretical approaches and empirical evidence. It will explore such issues as the interweaving of social and environmental inequality and injustice in development policies, the weight of the environmental dimension in Latin American sociology, or the continuities and ruptures identifiable in Latin American politics in relation to environmental inequality and injustice.




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November 2012