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


Sessions of National, Regional and Thematic Associations

The below listed sessions of National, Regional and Thematic Associations were selected on their strength on the competitive basis.

Each session will be allocated one time slot; sessions will be held at

Congress Programme


Sessions descriptions

1. Polish Sociological Association
Session title: National identities in the contemporary world

Coordinator: Grazyna Skapska, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland, g.skapska@iphils.uj.edu.pl

Not astonishingly, the issue of national identity, ethnicity, national sovereignty belong to the traditional and characteristic points of interest of Polish sociologists. These interests are easily explained by the historical and contemporary experiences of Polish society. The Poles witnessed several times in their recent history the disappearance and reappearance of their national political sovereignty, they also experienced a fundamental reconceptualization of the very term: nation.

Once - not so long ago - a multiethnic nation, Polish society was transformed into a nation almost entirely homogene. Currently, Poles are confronted with new processes of the European integration which challenge their long cultivated idea of a nation as politically sovereign. Therefore, considering the historical experience as well as the new challenges, Polish sociologists are exceptionally well equipped for the research on nationhood, national identity, ethnicity, and the new phenomena and processes such as the contemporary emergence of supra-national political entities on the one hand, and the stateless nations functioning, on the other.

The aim of this session is to present Polish research on the topics that are so important for Polish society. The participants of this session belong to the leading and internationally renown specialists. They represent various theoretical approaches and use various methods of sociological research. The proposed presentations illustrate broad range of interest, from those focussed on postnational alternatives to nations, through the specific issues of the national identities in East Central Europe after 1989 to the burning contemporary issues of stateless nations.

2. Japanese Sociological Society
Session title: Society and sociology in Japan / East Asia. Sociological theory, thoughts, behavior and social body
Coordinator: Kiyomitsu Yui, Kobe University, Japan, yui@lit.kobe-u.ac.jp

In the age of glocalization, academic networks have emerged from substantial exchanges among local / regional sociologists, thus becoming more and more significant. It goes without saying that contributions to world sociology can be effective through these regional academic networks. To promote such contributions, with an eye to giving people a glimpse of the 2014 ISA World Congress to be held in Yokohama, Japan, this session will cover the agenda of society (including human action and imagination), sociology and sociological theory in the region of Japan and East Asia.

The agenda will be articulated by the following three subjects:

By setting these three layers as our agenda, we intend to explore and understand distinct nature, culture and society in this region, which is on the “move”, to contribute to new understandings of society and sociology of East Asia from a global perspective.        
The presentations and discussions are designed so that they respond to all three of these layers in order to cover the issues above mentioned. In suggesting that the issue of “indigenization” of sociological theory entails a process of articulation between the universal and the particular, we aim to open up discussions among the participants in the session after our three presentations and two discussions, prepared in advance by the organizer. 


3. International Rural Sociological Association
Session title: Comparative perspective on the new productivism: Agricultural system and policy responses to increasing food and energy prices and climate change
Coordinator: Reidar Almas, Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway, reidar.almas@rural.no

In the late-1980s and 1990s a common view was emerging amongst farmers, policy-makers and academics that a new world agricultural order was upon us. The post-war ‘productivist years’ appeared to be over, as the problem with global agriculture switched from under-supply to over-supply, and public sentiment from food security and prices to environment, animal welfare and health. European governments reacted by partly de-coupling the link between production and subsidies and promoting alternative income sources often oriented towards the consumption of the countryside. This turn has been of significance politically, ideologically and practically, and also with some environmental benefits. Multifunctionality has been an important consideration in WTO agricultural negotiations, and even those countries who dismiss it as ‘disguised protectionism’, have developed agri-environment programmes of their own. Even avowed free trading food exporting countries like New Zealand, have undergone a significant shift towards a ‘greening’ strategy in some key export industries. However, the past two-three years have introduced some serious doubts. Rising incomes in countries like India and China have increased demand for food. Increasingly pessimistic predictions concerning the impact of global warming on agriculture, coupled with major climate change events, have led to doubt about the capability of the current agricultural system to provide a reliable supply of food in the future. Rising crude oil prices have resulted in major cost increases for agricultural inputs resulting in prices rises for key commodities. Further, attempts to promote biofuels have seen huge areas of grain producing land converted to crops for fuel production. Food market speculation is another factor pushing up commodity prices. Recently food prices have fallen again, showing a more unstable and fluctuating pattern.

In response to this shift from stable rural development premised on post-productivism, to a global food economy increasingly influenced by shocks and surprise events, do agricultural policies need to regain a strengthened production focus in First World countries? Will the recent respite in productivist approaches turn out to be a temporary shift and, if so, is a neo-productivist regime emerging? Or is this set of responses just one of many strategies emerging in the face of new shocks to the world food economy? Do these changes amount to the advent of a new ‘bioeconomy’? Are we seeing a new technological imperative in agriculture? How do responses differ between countries and between different agricultural policy regimes? What are the consequences for rural, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability? What are the implications for rural diversification strategies and for the inclusion of previously excluded social groups (such as women) that they have encouraged? Is there a decisive shift in the balance of power occurring in rural areas between production, consumption and environmental interests? And does the new focus on climate, food and energy production challenge conceptualisations and (theoretical) approaches within rural studies?

The session will be organized as a roundtable discussion. Two/three short presentations will inspire attendants to take part in the discussion of impacts of the new situation for national and global agricultural systems and climate change policies.

4. Asociación Iberoamericana de Sociología de las Organizaciones
Session title: Participación y autogestión en las organizaciones iberoamericanas
Coordinator: Jose A. Ruiz San Román, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain, jars@ccinf.ucm.es

El análisis sociológico de las organizaciones en Iberoamérica se ha enfocado tradicionalmente hacia formas de participación y autogestión. AISO tiene una larga tradición de investigación teórica y de trabajo empírico sobre la realidad de la autogestión y de la participación en las comunidades de América Latina. La sesión se plantea como una posibilidad de intercambio de investigaciones desde la perspectiva latinoamericana, particularmente fecunda en la materia, con otras experiencias de participación organizacional. Autogestión y participación comunitaria ha sido un tema central en los seminarios que anualmente se vienen celebrando en AISO.

5. Iranian Sociological Association
Session title: Dilemmas and prospects of Iranian sociology
Coordinator: Seyed Hossein Serajzadeh, Tarbiat Moallem University, Tehran, Iran, serajsh@yahoo.com

It’s nearly half a century from the time that sociology and social sciences were introduced to the higher education of Iran. From that time sociology has gradually grown up and is now a credited principle, widely taught and practiced in most universities. In addition, sociological concepts and debates have found their way into other spheres such as politics, administration, media, and through the media into the everyday life conversations. Because of this relatively strong position, the Iranian Sociological Association is among one of the well-established academic/scientific associations, enjoying the contribution and support of the majority of sociologists, social scientists, and researchers.
Nevertheless, from its beginning, and particularly during the last three decades, Iranian sociology has faced some challenges which some times appear in the form of heated and antagonistic debates both inside and outside of the discipline. Of these challenges and debates, a few are particular to the Iranian society (i.e. the debates around ideological/Islamic sociology vs. scientific sociology), but most of them are similar to the challenges sociology and sociologists encounter in other societies (i.e. the debates around indigenous vs. global, quantitative vs. qualitative, critical and actionist vs. academic, etc.).
This session attempts to introduce and illustrate the trajectory of Iranian sociology and the debates and challenges it has encountered.

6. European Sociological Association
Session title: Research in Europe: the state of the art
Coordinator: Roberto Cipriani, University of Rome, Italy, rciprian@uniroma3.it
Sociological research in Europe is becoming more end more diffused, particularly thanks to European Union Framework Programs. Framework Program Seven (FP7) is still in progress, and it concerns many aspects of sociological fields. Theoretical and methodological problems arise from empirical investigations, namely in a rapid evolution of economics, mobility, internationalization, exchanges. The real problem is how to combine different approaches, concerning diverse situations, which produce multifaceted indicators.

After Lisbon and Bologna decisions, academic teaching in Europe has changed in various aspects. Both professors and students seem in troubles about new formats, new rules, and new criteria for the equivalence of university degrees. Another issue regards the difficulty of sociological teaching in a continuously modified curriculum studiorum. In particular it seems very difficult to deal with societal context which differs from results acquired in the past. New perspectives in the world of work, free time, political parties, religious belonging, social and individual behavior have to be considered to update the teaching.

7. Israeli Sociological Society
Session title: Israeli sociology facing the world hegemony of American sociology
Coordinator: Sammy Smooha, University of Haifa, Israel, ssmooha@univ.haifa.ac.il
American sociology is hegemonic in world sociology. In contemporary world sociology the US has the largest share of researchers, referee journals, academic conferences, research foundations, and graduate departments. It produces most theories and methods, sets the agenda and determines the standards in sociology. The question is how do sociologies outside the US react to American hegemony? This session will present the case of Israeli sociology. It seems that the strategy of Israeli sociology has been to accept the hegemony of American sociology and to avail itself of its ample resources. Israeli sociologists publish in American journals, get doctoral and post-doctoral training in American top universities, spend sabbaticals in the US, apply American theories and methods to Israeli data, and receive research grants and cooperate with American sociologists. Israeli sociology like American sociology is divided into schools of thought, of whom three stand out: mainstream, critical and radical sociology. Focusing on one of these schools, each speaker in the session will discuss how Israeli sociologists of a given school deal with the world hegemony of American sociology and what can and should be done in this regard.


8. Asia Pacific Sociological Association
Session title: Understanding social transformation: Comparative research and implications for social change in the Asia Pacific

Coordinator: Tim Scrase, University of Wollongong, Australia, tims@uow.edu.au
In the last two decades, the twin effects of globalization and neoliberal development policies have had profound impacts on societies and cultures in the Asia Pacific. In virtually all dimensions of social life - education, health, media, religion, urban development, family, gender, class formation, employment, and environment – we have witnessed changes that have fundamentally transformed nations, regions and localities as they become aligned with globalizing economic and cultural trends. In this panel, four presenters (all APSA executive members) will explore the nuanced changes and trends in the region through case studies focusing on gender and development, religion and youth, urbanization and environmental sustainability, and globalisation and marginal labour. These cases will serve to illustrate the complex ways localised impacts of globalization are expressed uniquely, but with impacts that are far-reaching and difficult to ameliorate.


9. British Sociological Association
Session title: Innovating a low carbon society
Coordinator: John Brewer, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, j.brewer@abdn.ac.uk

The purpose of the session is to show case some of work done in Britain in the general area of the sociology of climate change. The session will discuss issues surrounding low carbon transport, including aviation and developing a post-car culture.


10. Portuguese Language Session
Brazilian Sociological Society, Portuguese Sociological Association, Mozambique Sociological Association, Sociological Association of Cabo Verde
Session title: Portuguese language sociology: limits and potential
Coordinator: Tom Dwyer, State University of Campinas, Brazil, tom@unicamp.br
Many foresee that in a globalized world the English language will become a world language. In the natural sciences we can see that this appears to work well, as it also seems to do in areas where instrumental thinking is required (eg. Administration, economics). However, the question becomes, in order to study societies in which the objects of study are cultural and where people express themselves in a given language, how does this linguistic question fit in?

Could the strengthening of Portuguese language sociology serve as a barrier against a vision of the world which defines the production of ‘good science’ in a globalized world in a way which confirms the hegemony of the English language? What is the future of lusofonia in the internationalization of Sociology? Could it be that a bet on Portuguese language sociology would lead to the building of a scientific ghetto, dominated by the Brazilians and the Portuguese?

Such questions lead us to ask if, indeed, this opposition between English and Portuguese languages is not a false one? It appears necessary to recognize the permanent state of tension between spoken language and scientific language. The latter represents itself as universal, whereas the defense of the former recognizes the need to preserve cultural diversity.

11. Center of Research on the Overcoming of Inequalities, Barcelona, Spain
Session title: The sociology that overcomes inequalities
Coordinator: Marta Soler, CREA, Barcelona, Spain, marta.soler@ub.edu
While structures tend to reproduce society, the human agency is simultaneously transforming it. Women have generated key changes, from their intimate lives to the gender dimension of social stratification. Sociology has frequently collaborated with the human agencies that have generated those changes. For instance, the conclusions of a sociological research, elaborated in close dialogue with members of Roma communities has been approved by unanimity by the European Parliament, including the recognition of the Romà as a people of Europe. The sociology that overcomes inequalities engages in dialogue with social actors in order to identify and analyze successful transformative actions in the world. Both, sociologists and social actors, together, develop the elements of those transformative actions that make them viable, thus can be recreated in social contexts of inequality worldwide.

This panel will discuss examples from successful transformative actions, and how sociology dialogues with actors for the overcoming of inequalities. In particular we will focus on:
1) The other women, those without academic background and historically silenced, who not only are the protagonists of important social transformations but also contribute to the development of feminist theory; 2) Citizens from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds who decide on the organization of their city, from the distribution of part of the budget of their municipalities to the transformation of the schools, making democracy a real utopia; 3) Communities which organize bottom-up grassroots initiatives for sustainable economic development in poor areas; 4) Volunteers who self-organize, from a politics of hope, building up the civic capital needed for change; 5) Romà people who participate in critical-communicative research and influence political agendas.

12. Association Internationale des Sociologues de la Langue Française
Session title: Nouvelles formes d’action publique, citoyenneté, société civile
Coordinator: Monique LEGRAND, University of Nancy, France,
Depuis le début des années 1990, les modes d’action publique connaissent des mutations convergentes - notamment la formalisation d’un « gouvernement négocié » - s’appuyant sur des méthodes que la sociologie appelle procédurales. Dans l’objectif d’associer les acteurs les plus directement touchés par les problèmes rencontrés (principe de subsidiarité), ces méthodes promeuvent également la négociation et la concertation. Si de telles pratiques étaient déjà présentes dans les politiques françaises et européennes, ce qui est nouveau en revanche, c’est l’extension de ces procédures et le changement d’objectif qui leur est assigné.

En effet, les phases négociatoires ne se limitent plus à l’aval. Elles concernent l’ensemble des étapes préalables à l’élaboration d’une politique publique. Dès lors, c’est bel et bien la nature même de ce qui fait problème social qui est « co-construit » et qui garde la marque des échanges préalables. Cette méthode d’intervention indexe les possibilités d’action objectives à l’implication des partenaires engagés dans les négociations ; elle entend par là même susciter leur responsabilisation et leur activation. On peut observer plusieurs effets.

En premier lieu, la pratique du « gouvernement négocié » entraîne l’ouverture des scènes d’élaboration des politiques publiques au double plan du périmètre des acteurs impliqués (mobilisation d’acteurs non institutionnels – experts, associations, syndicats, fédérations, groupements, secteur privé, groupes de population…) mais aussi des rôles que les protagonistes peuvent tenir dans le pilotage des programmes d’intervention publique : le mandat ne garantit plus ipso facto la légitimité. Qui plus est, le caractère transversal des politiques publiques qui en découlent a contribué à redéfinir les organisations sectorielles desquelles les acteurs politiques et administratifs tiraient leur autorité.

Sous cet angle, le recours au « gouvernement négocié » redéfinit les relations tissées entre les acteurs politiques et institutionnels ; entre les pouvoirs publics et la « société civile » (consultation des citoyens, convocation de la société civile dans des espaces de consultation ou de négociation) mais aussi entre les différents niveaux de gouvernement. Manifestement, les orientations de l’action publique ne sont plus strictement définies par un « haut ».

En second lieu, la diffusion de ce « gouvernement négocié » suscite également l’ouverture des problèmes, susceptibles d’être portés dans les arènes politiques et législatives. Les lois et les textes administratifs calibrent la méthode (négociation, co-construction d’un projet, mise en œuvre, etc.) mais disent peu de choses de la nature des problèmes à traiter et des normes à engager dans les réponses apportées.

En substance, le « gouvernement négocié » induit parallèlement le glissement d’une rationalité substantielle à une rationalité procédurale ; et les modes de désignation des problèmes sociaux ou des réponses associatives et institutionnelles à y apporter s’en trouvent diversifiés.  Si de nombreux travaux se sont intéressés à ces transformations, il reste plusieurs zones d’ombre que la session se propose d’explorer.