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

Research Committee on
Logic and Methodology in Sociology, RC33

  on-line programme

Programme Coordinator

Nina BAUR, University of Berlin, Germany,

RC33 Liaison in Argentina
Gabriela Orlando, Universidad Nacional de Luján,


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


Analyzing Communities on the Internet

In the last two decades, the internet has increasingly been providing platforms that enable communica-tion within communities such as families, religious communities, fan communities, brand communities, communities of practice and social movements to become partly or totally computer-mediated. This results in new methodological challenges, which the session aims to explore. Potential topics for this session should therefore address one or more of the following questions: Papers debating general methodological questions and papers discussing specific problems using a concrete data type in a specific research project are both equally welcome.


Empirical methods in aging research

Joint session of RC11 Sociology of Aging and RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee]
Against the backdrop of aging populations, many researchers, practitioners, and lay-persons ask what aging nowadays entails. They wonder what the characteristics of older people are, how social institutions such as states and families react to aging populations, and how older people themselves perceive aging and their role in society. Aging therefore is a flourishing research topic.

However, scientists who conduct aging research face a series of challenges that are specific to their research topic. For example, how do you collect information among people who might be too frail to answer questions? Another example, how do you measure a concept that changed several times throughout the respondent’s life-course?

This session will address those and related questions. The papers submitted to this session should address questions and challenges that arise when scholars plan and conduct empirical aging research. Examples for possible topics are: Conceptual and empirical papers are both equally welcome.




Experimental Sociology

Laboratory and field experiments are a common tool in social science research. Following a long tradi-tion in psychology, experimental subdisciplines have developed in economics, political science, cultural anthropology and sociology. The control offered by an experimental environment allows the researcher to isolate sociological phenomena and study their development and their effects. For example, both the dynamics of institutions and the effect of institutions on individual and group behavior can be and have been studied in laboratory experiments. Important sociological concepts such as trust, reciprocity, cooperation, solidarity, exploitation, and power have all been studied in experimental research.

Yet, experimental research in sociology is still scarce and scattered. Much of this research is done in collaboration with researchers from other social sciences. Though such interdisciplinarity has important advantages, there is one drawback. This is that there is a lack of careful methodological consideration of the role of experiments in sociological research. What are the advantages and limitations of this research for sociology? How do observations obtained in controlled experiments relate to other quantitative or qualitative research results? Such questions can be addressed by methodological research papers, but also by high quality experimental research that may serve as best case examples.

We therefore invite papers applying laboratory or field experiments in sociological research. We particularly welcome methodological contributions dealing with the role of experimentation in sociolo-gy.


Methodological challenges and alternatives to census taking in small island developing states

Joint session of RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee] and RC41 Sociology of Population
For the purposes of this panel, census-taking refers specifically to the conduct of population and housing censuses. Despite their small land area and population size, small island developing states (SIDS) continue to experience formidable challenges that could negatively impact their census-taking operations. At the same time, some islands have embraced progressive thrusts and have embarked upon novel strategies deemed to be worthwhile lessons for others.

The Session aims to explore novel methods and techniques that have been embraced in SIDS to enhance the quality of census-related services, inputs and outputs. In essence, this Session seeks papers that treat with is-sues that would redound to enhancing the quality of census-related services and data, the latter being of critical importance, whether in the context of metadata, raw data or statistical facts. Papers treating with con-ceptual and interpretive dimensions that impact the analytical processes in national census-taking are also en-couraged.

Whether in the context of the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean or elsewhere, SIDS have encountered numerous experiences with administrative, technical and dissemination functions that impact the quality and efficiency of census-taking outcomes. These experiences have been manifest in the form of challenges and remedial strategies proposed by official statisticians and academicians.

Thus, the Session strives to stimulate discussion and where appropriate, debate emergent issues that redound around technological advancement and more sophisticated administrative and technical systems that render traditional systems less efficient.

Altogether, a wide array of professionals with interests in the consumption and production of census data are encouraged to submit abstracts of papers that will discuss and debate these issues in the context of SIDS. From geographic and socio-economic standpoints, SIDS are similar except for country-specific idiosyncrasies. Nonetheless, the session hopes to assemble contributions from prospective panellists covering all geographic regions that contain SIDS.


Methods for Sociology of Memory (Spanish Language Session)


Methods for the Sociological Analysis of Affect and Emotion 1


Methods for the Sociological Analysis of Affect and Emotion 2


Organizations and mixed methods: Possibilities and requirements of a meso-level sociology

Joint session of RC17 Sociology of Organizations and RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee]
Organizations are a complex and hybrid social phenomenon at the meso-level. They are characterized by internal decision-making processes which are guided and constrained by formal structures such as memberships, procedures and roles, but also by discourses, routines and informal dynamics of power. Moreover, they are not isolated units, but rather embedded in wider social contexts and environments which influence them and which they shape in return.

While there are some efforts to grasp this complexity in organizational theory by developing organizational models which also encompass the cultural and societal dimension of the organization (e.g. in neo-institutionalism, structuration theory or systems theory), the field of organization studies is dominated by empirical studies which focus on only individual or limited facets of the phenomenon.

This is also due to the fact that different methodological approaches are seldom combined. Thus, quantitative surveys of a specific type of organization or of organizations in a specific environment are only loosely connected to the numerous “thick” qualitative descriptions of organizational structures and processes available in case-studies concerning single or few organizations.

Beyond triangulation, mixed-methods-designs not only try to increase validity of the analysis, but integrate multiple perspectives to draw a more accurate picture of phenomenons in social life. In case of organizations we think that strengthening the links between different methods would contribute to a better informed understanding of the organization as a whole and of the variety of organizational forms.

At the same time, the organization could be a privileged object of study for a thread of methodological research which tries to combine methodological approaches, in particular the formerly considered contrary qualitative and quantitative paradigms, into new forms of epistemologically grounded research designs.

The session aims to explore possible combinations of methods in order to design multilevel analyses of modern organizations. Papers for this session should therefore address one or more of the following questions: Papers debating general methodological questions and papers discussing specific forms of mixed-methods-designs to inquire organizations in a specific research project are both equally welcome.


Process-oriented methodology and theories in historical and comparative sociology

Joint session of RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology and WG02 Historical and Comparative Sociology [host committee]
Process-oriented methodology has become very popular in today’s sociology (e.g. ‘process of democratization’ , ‘social justice process’ , ‘decolonialization process’). It has been pointed out that there are close relations between the nature of data and theories in process-oriented methodology, and that ‘process-generated data’ are more important for these process-oriented theories than research-elicited data, on which most sociologists have been relying. Then the next question is, what kind of theories are appropriate for those process-generated data?

This is the topic we should like to discuss in this session. The process-oriented approach has been related to various theories, such as postcolonial theory, biographical and life course theory, cultural and social memory, discourse theory and framing, figurational and process sociology, network theory, rational choice theory, salience theory, social class and social inequality, symbolic cultural theory, value theory, world systems theory, globalization theory, modernization theory, differentiation theory, individualization theory, and so on. We welcome papers discussing the merits and demerits of some of these theories from the viewpoint of ‘process-generated data’ or ‘process-oriented methodology’ in general.


Qualitative methods in the sociology of religion. Part 1

Joint session of RC22 Sociology of Religion and RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee]
Presently, the `return of religion` is intensely discussed among scholars. This includes the public face and the social forms of contemporary religion as well as its individual dimension. Over the past years, we are witnessing a growing number of empirical studies all over the world concerned with religious phenomena. However, most of these studies employ quite conventional methodology. Therefore, the session will focus on qualitative methods for studying religious phenomena.

We encourage participants to present papers concerned with methodological questions related to the specific problems of empirical research in the Study of Religions.

This includes a discussion of appropriate and effective methods for researching religion and may encompass a critical discussion of methodological issues concerning qualitative inquiry in the field of religion, e.g. can we transfer methods from other fields of re-search to the sociology of religion or do we need special, field-specific methods? What can we learn from methods used in neighbouring disciplines? Which sets of methods can be recommended for empirical analyses targeting micro-macro issues in understanding religion? What role does the gender issue play in this?

We are especially interested in papers reporting empirical research finding in the sociology of religion using qualitative research methods in combination with methodological reflections.

The topics include: religious experience; spirituality; the transformation of contemporary religion; religion in the public sphere and the impact of religion on private life; religion and emotion; religion, migration and ethnicity; social memory and religious identities; the changing role of religious organization; religion, communication, and media; and dynamics and transformation of beliefs.


Qualitative methods in the sociology of religion. Part 2

Joint session of RC22 Sociology of Religion and RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee]


RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology Round Table Session: Logic and methodology in sociology

Videography and the analysis of visual knowledge and culture

Joint session of RC14 Sociology of Communication, Knowledge and Culture and RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology [host committee]
The last decades have witnessed a `visual revolution´. Visual technologies have become part of the everyday life of more and more people who are not only audiences, but also producers. Particularly the availability and omnipresence of video recordings has transformed everyday culture as well as actors’ knowledge. At the same time, sociology and the social sciences around the globe are developing methods for the analysis of audio-visual data.

One the one hand audio-visual data allows the researchers to capture, store and analyse visible conduct in a variety of settings. Videographic studies have been undertaken in e.g. workspaces, education, museum studies and vernacular communication. The methods for studying visible conduct aim especially at reconstructing the communication processes in which actors render visible their visual knowledge. The analysis of video data will, therefore, be one of the foci of the session.

On the other hand also video recordings generated by the actors come into focus, be it recordings of private events like weddings as well as recordings of political events that are circulated via YouTube and Wikileaks etc. and the methodical approach to this other form of visual data will be discussed.

The aim of this session is to bring together researchers that either present methodological, methodical questions or exemplary empirical analyses related to video analysis, visual knowledge, culture and communication. Finally, other visual forms of knowledge, such as photography or diagrams, shall be addressed in this session.

We invite sociological and social scientific papers on recent methodical or methodological questions or empirical findings that address questions of the analysis of visual data in the field of visual knowledge and culture.




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November 2012