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

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Research Committee on
Comparative Sociology RC20

Programme Coordinator
Jean-Pascal Daloz, Universities of Oxford and Oslo, UK and Norway. jean-pascal.daloz@politics.ox.ac.uk

Congress Programme

 

Sessions descriptions

Session 1: Social distinction: Comparative perspectives
Organizer: Jean-Pascal Daloz, Universities of Oxford and Oslo, UK and Norway, jean-pascal.daloz@politics.ox.ac.uk
General theories which have received acclaim are mechanically being applied in case studies by investigators producing field and historical research on social distinction. On their side, the proponents of the competing sociological schools of thought enthusiastically welcome descriptions that give the impression to corroborate and document their favourite theoretical frameworks. It has to be admitted, however, that the reading grids routinely called upon by some researchers in support of their enquiries (with a view to provide a theoretical and conceptual apparatus) are far from always being entirely convincing for certain contexts. Equally, many scholars appear wilfully blinded by the dogmatic assumptions of their favourite model of interpretation and cannot easily accommodate an interest in those cases that might appear to invalidate its universalistic pretensions. This panel welcomes original empirical or theoretical contributions on social distinction able to illustrate the virtues and limitations of the major analytical framework(s) available.

Session 2: Comparative studies of capital, ownership and gender
Organizer: Fredrik Engelstad, University of Oslo, Norway, fen@sosgeo.uio.no and Anne Krogstad, University of Oslo, Norway, anne.krogstad@sosgeo.uio.no
Ownership and handling of capital is still to a large degree a male business. Changes are being made all over the industrialized world, both concerning legislation and informal practices, but developments are very uneven across societies.
This session will shed light on varieties of capitalism in a gender perspective. Suggested themes for the session are comparative studies on subjects such as:

Other related subjects may also be relevant. Presenters do not have to focus solely on gender, but the gender perspective should be visible in the presentations.

Session 3: Rule of law in comparative theory and research today. Part I
Organizer: David Sciulli, Texas A&M University, USA, CompSoc@tamu.edu
Rule of law has become increasingly contested as a concept in recent legal scholarship, and this is carrying over into political and social theorizing and research devoted to comparative democratization (including in the works of O’Donnell, Morlino, Merkel, Diamond and others). Is a generalizable definition of or approach to rule of law available for comparative inquiry? Is this worthwhile, or unnecessarily constricting? Papers are welcome which address the relationship between rule of law and democracy in theory, in cross-national analyses, or in case studies.

Session 4: Rule of law in comparative theory and research today. Part II
David Sciulli, Texas A&M University, USA, CompSoc@tamu.edu
Rule of law has become increasingly contested as a concept in recent legal scholarship, and this is carrying over into political and social theorizing and research devoted to comparative democratization (including in the works of O’Donnell, Morlino, Merkel, Diamond and others). Is a generalizable definition of or approach to rule of law available for comparative inquiry? Is this worthwhile, or unnecessarily constricting? Papers are welcome which address the relationship between rule of law and democracy in theory, in cross-national analyses, or in case studies.

Session 5: Contextualization and typologization in comparative methododology
Organizer: Lars Mjøset, University of Oslo, Norway, lars.mjoset@sosgeo.uio.no
Mainstream social science often imported a notion of law-like regularities from philosophies of natural science. But any general finding in empirical social science is only general within some context. Countering the natural science ideal, social-philosophical interpretations have suggested theories with modernity or the age of globalization as context. Both these broad methodological traditions do not really discuss the notion of context. This panel invites papers that explicitly discuss that notion. It proposes to discuss it with particular reference to an emerging "third position" in between the standard and the social philosophical positions. This position has mainly been pursued in the micro-sociological traditions inspired by the Chicago school, including the grounded theory tradition. However, the problem of context is an equally thorny one for those who support the more mainstream notion of "middle range theories" and recent reformulations of this notion as "causal" or "social mechanisms", also with reference to present-day variable-oriented sociology (cf. e.g. Hedstrøm's analytical sociology or Pawson's middle range realism). Recently, it has been argued that the pragmatist ideas that underpin the Chicago-school is also of major importance for macro-sociology. This raises the question of whether Weberian and neo-Weberian comparative macro-sociology can be understood with reference to these methdological traditions: important common features are the qualitative focus on cases as important in their own right, as well as the method of comparison. The importance of typology construction in this Weberian tradition may contain some lessons to those who want to specify the notion of context in contemporary sociology. The panel should include a variety of contributions relating to one or more of the above mentioned perspectives, as long as the common challenge of understanding, conceptualizing and dealing methodologically with context is adressed.

Session 6: Comparing societal patterns of interethnic integration
Organizer: Nikolaï Genov, Free University Berlin, Germany, genov@zedat.fu-berlin.de.
Global markets and global economic cleavages, fast transportation and international networks tend to intensify transnational migration. Consequently, the integration of migrants in host societies is already a global issue. It is getting more and more difficult to resolve by ethnic assimilation. The resistance comes from trends of strengthening individual and collective identities. Modern means of communication and the institutional practices protecting human rights make the issue even more complex. Thus, present day “new” ethnic minorities are less and less willing to be assimilated by ethnic majorities in the host countries. In parallel, we also witness the strengthening of collective identities among “old” (traditional) ethnic minorities. Interethnic tensions thus seem to be unavoidable. In fact, they are omnipresent all over the world. Multiculturalism turned out to be a weak solution to the problem. More promising is the search for symbiotic solutions of interethnic integration. What conditions make it possible? Could it be sustainable? Cross-societal comparisons are needed in order to establish typologies of factors supporting or preventing interethnic integration.

Session 7: Current research in comparative sociology. Part I
Organizer: Frederick C. Turner, University of Connecticut, USA, frederick.turner@uconn.edu
This session welcomes original papers in the field of Comparative Sociology.

Session 8: Current Research in comparative Sociology. Part II
Organizer: Jean-Pascal Daloz, Universities of Oxford and Oslo, UK and Norway. jean-pascal.daloz@politics.ox.ac.uk
This session welcomes original papers in the field of Comparative Sociology.

Sessions proposed by Figurational Sociology group
Session Organizers: Stephen Vertigans, Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen, UK, s.vertigans@rgu.ac.uk and Robert van Krieken, University of
Sydney, Australia, robertvk@usyd.edu.au

Session 12: Business meeting