XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Sociology on the move, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010

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Ad Hoc Sessions

The below listed Ad Hoc Sessions were selected by the ISA Programme Committee on their strength on the competitive basis. Each Ad Hoc Session will be allocated one time slot; sessions will be held at 15:30-17:30, on Monday through Friday, July 12-16, 2010 and at 13:45-15:45 on Saturday, July 17, 2010.

Congress Programme

Ad Hoc Session 1: Beginning- and end-of-life issues on the move
Monday, July 12, 15:30-17:30
Organizers: Tilo Beckers, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, tilo.beckers@uni-duesseldorf.de, Eva Jaspers, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, e.jaspers@maw.ru.nl and Nora Machado, Lisbon University Institute, nora.machado@iscte.pt

In modern liberal, secularized societies where new technologies challenge the seemingly natural restrictions of the beginning and the end of life, public dispute on these matters in politics, law and society is very common. Rights of disposition over life are challenged by the unsolved question of where life begins and where it ends.

The session will be divided in two parts, focusing on the changing boundaries at the beginning of life, and at the end of life, respectively. There will be invited papers only for both parts of the session.

Session Part A: The beginning of human life: Empirical analyses on abortion and pre-implantation diagnostics
Organizers: Tilo Beckers, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, tilo.beckers@uni-duesseldorf.de and Eva Jaspers, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, e.jaspers@maw.ru.nl
At the beginning of life, it is questioned what an embryo is and if it has full human rights. Thus, it is questioned if and under which circumstances abortion is justifiable. This raises questions on how laws and practices have developed and for which reasons? Besides this, new biotechnologies, e.g. Pre-Implantation Diagnostics (PID) and In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF) pose new moral questions about the rights to select which are answered very differently in different societies. The contributors in this session will present empirical evidence on these topics.

Session Part B: The Sociology of death and dying: New currents and challenges
Organizer: Nora Machado, Lisbon University Institute, Portugal, nora.machado@iscte.pt
At the end of life, the old problem of deliberately ending the life of incurably sick persons on their request (euthanasia) remains a moral question in each and every society. New differentiations, withholding or withdrawing, active or voluntary euthanasia as well as assisted suicide demand a closer inspection. The session will address sociological perspectives of death and dying, established institutionalized settings of dying, assisted dying and the applications of medical technology and procedures as rituals at the end of life. Very liberal and very rigid ethical norms sometimes co-exist; some people favour the absolute value of life and vote for palliative care, others argue for the right of self-determination. Which medical, social, economic and other criteria are relevant in end-of-life decision making?

Authors interested in holding a presentation in the session should send an abstract including the paper title (recommended maximum length 12 words) of max 250 words and preferred keywords (up to 5 words). The submission should also include full names and contact details of all authors, along with the academic mailing address and contact email of the first author.

Submit the abstract before December 9th, 2009 to Nora Machado, Lisbon University Institute, Portugal, nora.machado@iscte.pt

Ad Hoc Session 2: Cross-national, survey-research methodology
Tuesday, July 13, 15:30-17:30
Organizers: Tom W. Smith, NORC, USA, smitht@norc.uchicago.edu
Michael Hout, University of California, USA, mikehout@berkeley.edu
Knut Skjak, NSD, Norway, Knut.skjak@nsd.uib.no
This session builds on the accomplishments of the International Workshop on Comparative Survey Design and Implementation (CSDI) which has held annual meetings since 2002 and especially on the major conference held in Berlin in June, 2008 - the International Conference on Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional, and Multicultural Context (3MC). It brings together the leaders of the major cross-national survey projects such as the International Social Survey Program, World Values Survey, European Social Survey, East Asian Social Survey, and Comparative Study of Electoral Systems along with the top comparative methodologists. The session combines the best internal methodological research and quality control procedures conducted by these leading projects with the latest methodological studies carried out by comparative methodologists.

Ad Hoc Session 3: Democratizing global governance
Wednesday, July 14, 15:30-17:30
Organizers: Christopher Chase-Dunn, University of California-Riverside, USA, chriscd@ucr.edu and Alberto Martinelli, University of Milano, Italy, alberto.martinelli@unimi.it
This session will address conceptual and empirical issues in the study of global governance and historical and contemporary efforts to democratize the global system. Please submit proposals no later that September 15, 2009 to both organizers.

Ad Hoc Session 4: Sustainable futures and spatial mobility regimes
Thursday, July 15, 15:30-17:30
Organizers: Cosmobilities Network: Sven Kesselring, Technical University München, Germany, sven.kesselring@vt.bv.tum.de, Javier Caletrío, Lancaster University, UK, j.caletrio@lancaster.ac.uk and Katharina Manderscheid, Lancaster University, UK k.manderscheid@lancaster.ac.uk
Peak oil and climate change have brought to the fore the centrality of mobility to social and economic life and the urgent pressures to develop alternative mobilities. Hosting half the world’s population, cities are increasingly important actors in achieving low carbon futures and privileged sites where the moral dilemmas of modern techno-utopias are being rehearsed. In the context of transport, sustainable futures are haunted between idyllic visions of clean, just and democratised mobilities such as those projected by Dongtan ecocity in China and present and distopias of splintering urbanisms, ever growing slums, large scale infrastructural collapse and climate related disasters.

This session explores futures of mobility regimes paying special attention to (i) what kind of mobilities futures are being created by current techno-social developments; (ii) the performative role of expectations and hope in shaping urban mobility regimes (iii) the connected understandings of social inequality and mobility justice, and (iv) what social and cultural forms are implied in visions of future mobilities.
Keywords: Mobility regimes, transportation, futures, expectations.

Ad Hoc Session 5: Reconstructing sociology from the global periphery
Friday, July 16, 15:30-17:30
Organizer: Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney, Australia, r.connell@usyd.edu.au

Professional sociology is mainly built on concepts, methods and texts from western Europe and north America. Current techniques of university governance (citation rankings, international league tables, etc.) reinforce the international hierarchy. A social science constructed in the global metropole naturally reflects, and critiques, the social experience of the metropole. Yet most of the world's people live in other places. Most of the world's societies have a different historical experience - including the history of colonization and globalization that has made them "periphery" or "South". It is increasingly recognized that sociology must change, to make itself relevant in this unequal world. But how? We need to become aware, as teachers and researchers, of a wider range of social experiences, ideas, methods and agendas. In this session, distinguished sociologists from Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region discuss sociological projects that have emerged in the global South, as a basis for the re-construction of sociology on a world scale. Sociologists from the metropole are invited to dialogue in this session.

Ad Hoc Session 6: Beyond severe ethnic conflicts and genocides: Cooperation, reconciliation, and the peace process
Saturday, July 17, 16:00-18:00
Organizer: : Edward A. Tiryakian, Duke University, USA, durkhm@soc.duke.edu

Wars, civil wars and violent ethnic conflicts have unfortunately been part of the global scene all along advanced modernity, but, as Hans Joas noted in an important article in International Sociology in 1999, it is an area that has received scant sociological concern, theoretically and empirically. Since its publication, of course, new wars and severe conflicts have appeared or continued (e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno- Karabagh, and secessionist movements in Sri Lanka, and the Philippines). Amidst these, peace processes and initiatives for reconciliation have also taken place, some even successful (Northern Ireland, South Africa), others stalemated (e.g., Darfur).

In 2002-2003 Tiryakian was appointed by the Fulbright Commission to head a team of scholars from different disciplines, including sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and philosophers who would carry on empirical research and analysis on various aspects of severe ethnic conflicts and the peace process. Although no “magic bullet” was found to end severe violence, much was learned in collaborative effort.

As a further development, it has seemed to me that sociologists, sharing common sociological traditions and the same desire to improve and ameliorate relations between groups, while mindful of structural and other factors which impede rapprochement, can come together to work on common research tasks. Meeting and working together is to make “the other” a fellow researcher, not an unknown or demonic “other”, even in cases where the sociologists may come from countries which in the past have had severe ideological and/or actual conflicts. In my first visit to both Turkey and Armenia in June 2009, I met Armenian and Turkish sociologists who readily expressed interest and willingness to meet with their counterpart, who might have research interests in common (e.g., demography and migration, disaster studies, family and child development, etc.). There are multiple other instances where two countries or two parts of a population that in the past were subject to severe conflict have come together or where some attempts at the peace process have been undertaken with partial success, and at times have been derailed, precisely because of unintended consequences of external intervention. In sum, this session seeks to open sociological doors to the challenge of new, collaborative networks that can advance the peace process by building on the future rather than dwelling on the recriminations of the past.