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

Research Committee on
The Body in the Social Sciences, RC54

  on-line programme

Main theme

Empowerment, cognition, emotion: Body rhythms and social rhythms in information society


Programme Coordinator

Bianca Maria PIRANI, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

RC54 Liaison in Argentina
Victoria D´Hers, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba,


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


Body in culture and society: Embodiment, theory and practice


Body, emotions and spatial cognition in the information society

Cognitive mapping is a construct which encompasses those cognitive processes which enable people to acquire, code, store, recall and manipulate information about the nature of their spatial environment. The convergences between bodies (whether they be human or non–human, organic or not, natural or artificial) are there to be made and surveyed = mapped. This information refers to the attributes and relative locations of bodies and objects in the environment, and is an essential component in the adaptive process of spatial decision making. For what a body can do will depend upon its relations with the “world” (relations which are, like the boundaries of a body itself, necessarily contingent).

By the body, we live and work, move and settle, play and re-produce in space and how we think and understand space is important to how and who we are. When humans interface with computer technology in popular culture texts, the process involves transforming the self into something entirely new, combining technological with human identity. At the Information Portal, emerges, therefore, the following key question: how do the multifaceted realities of cyberspace interrelate in practice with bodies and technologies in different ways in different places?

In keeping upon the im/material, this session explores the question, by suggesting the following investigation areas: Case–studies empirically documented are warmly welcome and encouraged.


Embodied players: Re-thinking the role of the physical in leisure

The body is experienced and processed differently by different human categories such as young and old, men and women because of the physical and attitudinal changes experienced across the course of life, as also in different gender roles. The perception of the body plays a significant role in the experience of leisure yet not enough research has addressed this important element. Perception of the body image is different in different cultures and times. This image represents an important factor in the participation and enjoyment of leisure experiences. Critical analyses of the intricacies of the relationship between the body and leisure are a much needed area of research in the field of leisure studies. The physical aspects of the body and their impact on leisure activities are something that calls for in-depth research. This session aims to reflect on the subject from multidisciplinary perspectives so as to bring out the nuances and complexities that underlie the interaction of the two and how they impact each other– in negative or positive ways.


Embodiment and creation: Metropolitan bodies and the flows of tradition

This session aims to draw an interdisciplinary comment on the embodiment that suggests as the methodological standpoint of each product of social constitution. In the broadest terms, how can we understand the relationship between bodies and the spaces they occupy? Are the actions of the body, even when perhaps filtered through digital devices, enhanced or constrained by culture and tradition?

In this context, the idea that tradition performs a limiting function on bodily and social rhythms can be challenged by consideration of active cultural practice, including the workings of memory, with implications for understanding the extent of bodily boundaries. It quests for research based on fieldwork: for example, a massager finds a new body, a diviner senses conflicts, a patient narrates sufferings, a pianist plays in an environment and an interlocutor share gestural meanings.

We call for elaborate case studies that explicate a bodily process weaving the social and the cultural to discuss the creative possibilities of embodiment. The session therefore aims to explore the links between the sociological, cognitive and cultural dimensions of spatiality, and invites contributions from a range of disciplinary orientations. Specific topics of interest that might be addressed include memory in the construction of identity, the creation of borderlands, private and public spatiality, bodies in specific localities, and virtual spaces and the constraints of tradition.


Empowerment, language and the body

Joint session of RC25 Language and Society [host committee] and RC54 The Body in the Social Sciences
This panel will explore discourses on the body and empowerment:
1. How discourses of construct, reproduce and contest particular conceptions of empowerment relative to the body.
2. How discourses of embodiment construct, reproduce and contest particular notions of power.

We are particularly interested in papers that explore identity formation and empowerment through analyses of language and representation and which address possibilities for social change. Analyses may include any variety of cultural, historical and political spheres. Themes for paper submissions may include but are not limited to:


Human/machine social interaction: The felt presence of absent bodies performing the sonic and visual streams


Integration, interaction and synchronization


RC54 Business Meeting


The body and difference in society: Embodiment, theory and social control


The body and the habitat: Mapping the environment

The aim of this session is to draw together interdisciplinary researchers to discuss and analyze the function of the body and the brain in the sociological and ecological context. All human organisms such as the body and the brain need to adapt to their habitat and environment to be able to survive. An adaptation is a transformation or replacement in the organism`s body or behavior that helps it to subsist. This also means adapting to be able to endure the environmental conditions of the ecosystem, predators, and other species that contend for the same surviving mechanisms. The brain is not a static organ, but is constantly modifying, altering and adapting to its environment in a process called neuroplasticity.

The biological perspective focuses on the physical side of human nature accentuates the role and function of the brain, the biochemical processes that underlie every thought, emotion, and action and the genetic factors which influence the development and behaviour of human organisms. In terms of human biological adaptability for example, humans have unusually efficient internal temperature regulating systems that automatically maintain stable core body temperatures in cold winters and warm summers. Additionally, throughout the centuries, people have developed cultural and societal patterns that help them adjust to extremes of weather and other physical/environmental conditions. We kindly invite interdisciplinary (sociology and other social sciences) scholars to submit research papers addressing the scholarship discussed above.


The body in network society: Memory, communication and cultural practices on the social web and abroad

The aim of this session is to collect and compare different experiences of research, not only in a sociological perspective, regarding the online experience and the online construction of communication, memory and culture, in other words regarding the production of sociality and solidarity in contemporary societies. In social media the body is always strictly involved, because we cannot imagine cognitive processes independent from emotional processes, and because online experience is never disconnected or alternative to offline experience. are welcome research contributes focused on online ritual practices that produce social connectivity and synchronize a community, in the social media and at the same time in the “real”, concrete and material life: we intend for instance practices of memory construction, political and civic engagement and democracy, consumption and meaning and identity production.


The cultural nature of time: How many kinds of time?

Do all clocks and calendars refer to the same time? Evans-Pritchard has shown that in Nuer culture time is divided between an ecological time and a structural form of time. Alheit makes distinctions between everyday time, routinized time, cyclical time and the time of life experience.Time can devour everything; can go beyond what has already been; can take itself away from the past, without turning back. Time has many ramifications: it can be very short, short, long or very long. To remain motionless in the space in which one lives while time passes, is nothing but continuous change in space and time. However it is evident that times and rhythms exist which, in no small measure at a global level, regulate a large part of the existential flow and procreative and developmental periods, despite environmental differences and the peculiar characteristics of different living species. For this reason, it is correct to say that "we never perceive time directly; there is no particular organ which controls time as eyes perceive light and ears react to sound or the tongue to flavors. Nevertheless, all living organisms perceive time and react to changing phenomena" (Aveni).




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International Sociological Association
November 2012