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


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Research Committee on
Social Transformations and Sociology of Development RC09

Programme Coordinators
Ulrike Schuerkens, EHESS, France, uschuerkens@gmail.com and Nina Bandelj, University of California, USA, nbandelj@uci.edu

Congress Programme



Session 1: Crisis and social transformations. Part I
Chair: Ulrike Schuerkens, Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France,  uschuerkens@gmail.com
This session would like to reunite case studies on the topic of crisis and its recent escalation during the financial crisis of the last months. The aim of the session is to contribute to a widening of the notion of crisis and to possible openings that a theory of social transformations can provide. Scholars are asked to look for possibilities how research on social transformations and the sociology of development can suggest outcomes and possible reactions in a time of crisis. In particular, this session looks for case studies that develop the theoretical thinking and suggest empirical research on the consequences of the financial crisis in different countries of the North and the South.

As the financial crisis has shown, the economic system seems to have attained a critical moment where transitions announcing structural changes of the neo-liberal order appear. Authors should accept the challenge that this new situation presents to us as sociologists and should suggest case studies that may tackle the following topics: Broad segments of populations will have to live new and unexpected outcomes of state interventions that the crisis of the financial sector has asked for. The neo-liberal economy has permitted middle classes and poorer groups to maintain standards of living by getting bank credits in such a volume that the actual value of these credits was no longer guaranteed by banks, which was one of the main reasons for the financial crisis. How do different social groups react to this crisis and what are the influences on the labour markets? Are there country differences, such as countries where the lending ratio was lower or higher than in other countries? Does this mean different outcomes depending on local situations? What is the role of the global interconnectedness in given local settings? The overall assumption of the session is that transformation theory can provide rational explications on the basis of observation, analysis, and interpretation and can thus display possible sociological alternatives to the critical-historical analysis of the present.

Session 2: Crisis and social transformations. Part II
Chair: Ulrike Schuerkens, Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France,  uschuerkens@gmail.com

Session 3: Hiring queues and sourcing sites in the global economy
Chair: Fredrick Wherry, University of Michigan, USA, ffwherry@umich.edu
Recent work in the sociology of development and in economic sociology have asked why particular locales become favoured sites for foreign direct investment or as sourcing sites for artisanal products when other comparable places offer nearly the same types of investment opportunities or the same types of products for export. Similarly, sociologists studying race, ethnicity, and immigration have long recognized that there exists a hiring queue in some sectors of the economy: holding education, job experience, age, and other relevant factors constant, some ethnic groups are favoured over others for some forms of employment.
Authors should ask some of the following questions: Are there hiring queues based on ethnicity or country-of-origin in globalized markets? If so, how do they work? Are some production sites favoured over others even though there exist production sites in comparable countries? What are the tangible and the intangible components that producers and buyers consider when making decisions about the advantages and disadvantages of the actual location of production? What do these components tell us about the opportunity structure in the global economy?

Session 4: Socio-economic transformations in postsocialist societies
Chair: Nina Bandelj, University of California, USA,  nbandelj@uci.edu
Twenty years since the dramatic events of 1989, the time is now ripe to generalize more broadly about the social and economic repercussions of the post-1989 transformations. Specifically, this session invites papers that examine the contemporary social and economic challenges that Central and Eastern European societies have to face. Possible topics include social inequality and poverty, welfare-state transformations, nationalism/ethnicity issues, civil society, second demographic transition, declining health outcomes, and economic challenges exacerbated by the current world-wide economic problems. We invite country case studies or cross-national research comparing several Central and East European countries or employing a cross-regional comparison framework.

Session 5: Social inequalities in postsocialist countries
Chair: Nina Bandelj, University of California, USA,  nbandelj@uci.edu

Session 6/7: Business Meeting

Session 8: Civil society organizations and development. Part I
Chair: Wade Roberts, Colorado College, USA, wroberts@coloradocollege.edu
Civil society organizations, from international nongovernmental organizations to local community-based organizations, have become central actors in development efforts and processes in recent years. Their expanding presence raises important questions concerning the neo-liberal project and the structure and role of the state in the developing world. This session invites papers that examine the various roles of civil society organizations (CSOs) in development and their relationship to other development actors. Among other topics, papers may address such issues as state-CSO relations, CSOs and the neo-liberal project, and the role of CSOs in advocacy, policy-making, and project implementation.

Session 9: Global Economic crisis, varieties of capitalism and social inequality – Theoretical, historical and comparative perspectives
Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development [host committee] and TG02 Historical and Comparative Research

Session 10: Civil society organizations and development. Part II
Chair: Wade Roberts, Colorado College, USA, wroberts@coloradocollege.edu

Session 11: Labour markets on the move: Out-migration from the Caucasus to the Russian Federation
Chair: Nikolai Genov, Free University Berlin, Institute of Sociology, genov@zedat.fu-berlin.de
The small Armenian and Georgian societies declined in number by over one million each after 1990. The largest part of this massive emigration was absorbed by the Russian Federation and particularly its capital city, Moscow. What was the interplay of push and pull factors influencing decisions and actions in this process? What are its consequences now and what will they become in the foreseeable future? Answers to these questions are sought for in extended field studies in Armenia, Georgia, and in Moscow in the framework of a research project supported by the Volkswagen Foundation. The guiding idea of the studies concerns the dynamic links between national labour markets in the global movement of labour force. The comparison on the side of the out-migration societies provides evidence for substantial economic, political and cultural local specifics. The study on the spot in the receiving country reveals controversial effects of immigration. The explanatory scheme focuses on the links between structural opportunities and constraints of international migration, on the one side, and on the gains and losses for the involved parties, on the other.

Session 12: Futures after the crisis: Theoretical, historical, and comparative perspectives
Joint Session of RC07 Futures Research , RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development [host committee], and TG02 Thematic Group on Historical and Comparative Sociology

Session 13: Internal migration in China
Chair: Kuang-chi Chang, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, kcchang@uwm.edu
In recent years, internal migration in China has sparked the interest of many sociologists. Â Such migration was virtually banned for about three decades after the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949, to resume only after economic reforms in the late 1970s. Since then, the scale of rural-to-urban migration in China has mirrored China growing economy and social transformation, at the same time reflecting many of the economic and social challenges China faces in its transition to a de facto post-socialist society. There is a large gap in income and standards of living between urban and rural areas and rural-to-urban migrants are on average younger, poorer, and less educated than urban residents. Migrants often work on jobs that many urbanites find inferior and undesirable, and many live in migrant enclave community that are spatially segregated from the native urbanites. This session include five papers that explore a variety of sociological issues regarding internal migrants in China, including social networks and neighborhood effects, schooling, patterns and factors relating to health, child development and well-being. All five papers address issues that are central to urban development and social inequality by analyzing the differences between migrants and non-migrants, among migrants of different origins, as well as between migrants in two different cities.

Session 14: Labour migration, governance and global development
Chair: Habibul Haque Khondker, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,  Habibul.Khondker@zu.ac.ae 
Migration of overseas contract workers has been an integral feature of the globalization of the labour process. Despite the involvement of millions of workers both male and female with varied qualifications, this process remains poorly governed in the absence of appropriate institutional frameworks. The neo-liberal ideologues have favoured unregulated movements of people. Many of the governments in the labour-sending countries are moreover either indifferent or lack capacity to deal with this situation which not only has contributed to the victimization of the workers and has put them at a great risk with little or no bargaining power. This often results in workers taking up jobs that do not match their qualifications so that migrant workers get little opportunity for professional development. The papers in this session will examine a variety of cases of overseas contract workers, the social and institutional nexuses that either facilitate or hinder the harmonization and implementation of the policies aimed at the protection of the rights of the workers. Papers should examine the consequences of the temporary labour migration and explore conditions for the improvement of the governance by facilitating better coordination of all stakeholders, namely, the government of the labour-recipient country, the government of the labour-sending country, the migrant workers, and the civil society organizations working on the migrant workers issues.

Joint sessions hosted by other RC

Joint Session: Climate change, governance and the sustainability of cities
Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development and RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology [host committee]

Joint Session : Social transformations and changing leisure patterns
Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development and RC13 Sociology of Leisure [host committee]