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

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Research Committee on
Sociology of Population RC41

Programme Coordinator
Encarnación Aracil, Universidad Complutense, Spain, enaracil@cps.ucm.es

Congress Programme


Sessions descriptions

Session 1: Population policy in a changing world
Organizer: Andrzej Kulczycki, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, AKulczycki@ms.soph.uab.edu
Population policies seek to address perceived demographic challenges such as those associated with population growth, aging or other issues, as well as their actual or potential socio-economic, political, health or environmental implications.  The scope of policy that may influence demographic variables, processes and outcomes is vast.  However, our understanding of the development, implementation, and effects of population policy remains weak.  Conceptual frameworks and the roles of particular policy components are much debated and often contested.  This session welcomes both empirically-based and theoretical papers that address any one or more spheres of population policy in relation to demographic, social, economic, political, and environmental or health trends. 

Session 2: Demography, human rights, religion and ethics
Organizers: Devanayk Sundaram, India, dsundaram@hotmail.com
The focus of Human Rights, Religion and Ethics being a non-demographic framework to understand the demographic dynamics nationally and internationally is as comprehensive as demographic dimensions are. As an illustration, the religion and fertility, reproductive rights as gendered dimensions, ethics of abortion under the religious or as feministic agenda of human rights within the gendered issue and the issue of migrants’ rights to get incorporated into the cultural and economic space of host society are all the broad themes over which the session could focus. We would like to receive papers looking into these non-demographic dimensions of demography on the following broad themes:

      1. Fertility and religious groups and Religion
      2. Reproductive Rights and Gender
      3. Abortion and Ethical discourse
      4. Ethics of Female Genital Mutilation, Infanticide and Feticide
      5. Missing Women, Gendered Human Rights Discourse
      6. Migrants Rights, Ethnicity and Nationality/Citizenship
      7. Human Rights, Asylum seekers, Refugees and Displaced persons
      8. Demography and Human rights discourse
      9. Rights based Population policy

Those who are interested to go beyond these indicative suggestions in submitting a paper for this session can choose a related but relevant theme of the focus of the session.

Session 3: Population, development and environmental interactions and challenges
Organizer: Gloria L. Nelson,  CAS University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines, glmnelson2001@yahoo.com.hk
Climate  change  has  become  a  world wide  concern  because it brings  about  hazardous  changes  in the  environment and puts  many  population  at  risk . As  sociologists,   we know  that   with the  progression  of  climate change, all social  aspects  of  human life  will be affected which   may  have irreversible  consequences  such  as,  an increase in social inequality,  emergence  of new  forms  of  economic  and social  conflict,  the  spread of  infectious  diseases,  generation  of  new  patterns  of  international migration, just  to name a  few.  Furthermore, the   exposure  to   the  changing  environment results   to  more and  more  disasters all over the  world and  the  population  who  are most  vulnerable to  disaster  and  climate change  are the  poor.   The poor  sector  of the  population   are more  likely  to suffer from  loss  of properties, livelihood  and  shelter. Thus, the changing environment continues to play a crucial factor in the development and underdevelopment of various sectors in a population. These are   relevant and timely issues that aim to be addressed in this session.

Session 4: Population health
Organizer: Elena Bastida, University of North Texas Health Science Center, USA, bastida@hsc.unt.edu 
In the last three decades with the vast movement of populations worldwide, not only has the traveling speed of major infectious diseases burgeoned; but also global patterns of chronic disease have become increasingly similar. For example, the prevalence and incidence of diabetes have markedly risen in the United States, India, Mexico, and Australia, countries located widely apart, and exhibiting important population and socio-structural differences. And research on HIV transmission points to the large number of migrant workers who become infected in one country, but transmit the disease to sexual partners hundreds or even thousand of miles away. This session calls for articles examining critical issues in population health from a sociological perspective that emphasizes the importance of socio-structural and cultural factors in understanding the intersection of health and migration. Research studies investigating the possible association between population health and social networks, household and work structures, family relationships, housing conditions, poverty or immigration and welfare policies are encouraged.

Session 5: New trends of women’s labour force participation in industrialized countries
Organizer: Bali Ram, Statistics Canada, Canada, bali_ram@carleton.ca
The rise in the labour force participation of women is known to be one of the most significant social changes in the industrialized world since the 1960s. Today, more than half of the women in the working age group are either working or looking for work in most industrialized countries. Increase in women’s education, availability of higher paying jobs, equal opportunity ideology, smaller families, better childcare provisions, and public policies enabling parents to combine work and family are some of the well documented factors for this phenomenon. However, in recent years the upward trend in women’s labour force participation rate in several countries have either slowed down or leveled off.

The proposed session will focus on studies dealing with new trends, patterns, and explanations of women’s labour force participation in industrialized countries. Some of the questions to be addressed are as follows. How high could women’s labour force participation in industrialized countries reach?  Will their participation rate attain parity with that of men? Does the presence of young children still remain an obstacle for women to enter and stay in labour force?  What are the roles of husband’s wages in explaining married women’s labour force participation? What roles do economic crises play in influencing the patterns of women’s labour force participation? How relevant are public policies, particularly those related to the family and employment, in influencing the level and patterns of labour force participation?

Session 6: Gender inequalities in mortality and morbidity
Organizer: Ofra Anson, Ben Gurion University of The Negev, Israel, ofra@bgumail.bgu.ac.il
It has been well documented for most societies that women survive longer than men but are more likely to report that they are in poorer health throughout most of their adult lives. Despite over three decades of research, research aimed at understanding this apparent paradox remains inconclusive. This session deals with describing and understanding gender inequalities in mortality and morbidity.  This may include, for examples, papers that are concerned with the ages at which health differentials start, evolve, peak, and then possibly converge in later life; how and why gender differences in longevity, causes of death and patterns of morbidity reflect differences in behavioral and structural factors; as well as related topics.

Session 7: Sexual and reproductive behaviour of adolescent and young population
Organizer: Rosa María Camarena, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, rcamaren@servidor.unam.mx
Possible themes of interest for submissions are: patterns, consequences and measurement of sexual and reproductive behaviour in developed and developing countries; the role of contraceptive use (and non-use) as a way of negotiating power and control over young women’s bodies; context of method choice, decision-making processes and situational factors affecting reproductive outcomes; genital mutilation, sexual violence and abuse and its impact on sexuality and reproduction. All these issues are expected to focus on Adolescence and Youth.

Session 8: Intergenerational social support in migratory families
Organizer: Elena Bastida, University of North Texas Health Science Center, USA, bastida@hsc.unt.edu 
The last three decades of the 20th century witnessed the largest migration waves of the century.  Unprecedented large numbers of young adults, many unmarried or in the early stages of work, marriage and childbearing, left their regions of birth, Africa, Asia or Latin America, to work and settle in industrialized nations.  Concurrently, many of those entering the early years of retirement now periodically settle in countries with milder climates and advantageous economies.  As such, for example, many retirees from the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Germany rather than aging in place have moved to the Spanish coast; while many in Canada and the United States spend their winters in Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean.

These large movements of populations have led to a transformation in earlier family patterns of intergenerational social support.  This session explores changing patterns of intergenerational relations and support, especially as these are affected by international migration.  Papers that report on these topics are particularly encouraged.

Session 9: Elder abuse
Organizer: Joseph Troisi, University of Malta, Malta, joseph.troisi@um.edu.mt
Elder abuse and neglect is a complex worldly problem that often goes unnoticed since it remains as a private matter, well hidden from public view. The World Health Organization states that abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of elders are much more common than societies admit. Information on the extent of elder abuse is scant. The few research studies that have been carried out on this topic suggest that between 4 to 6 per cent of older people are reported to have experienced some form of domestic abuse. This can be carried out by formal and/or informal caregivers. The identification of domestic violence and provision of assistance to its victims are very complicated. For the victims, the very fact that it is their closest relatives or their caregivers who treat them violently is hard to come to terms with from the psychological point of view. On the other hand, there exist obstacles that make it impossible to access the victims and provide them with proper support and assistance.

Nowadays elder abuse is increasingly being acknowledged as an important issue, the incidence of which is rapidly growing as the world is experiencing a revolution in population aging. It is projected that by the first quarter of this century, the world's population of those aged 60 and above will more than double rising from about 600 million in the year 2000 to almost 1.2 billion. This rapidly growing aging population makes the hidden problem of elder abuse, exploitation and neglect visible. The demographic revolution, the changes in family patterns and norms, the growing demand for institutionalization, affect the risk of elder abuse.

Papers are invited for presentation in this session on the following broad themes:

      1. Ageism, or age discrimination
      2. Major forms of abuse:  physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, intimidation, coercion, discrimination, and self-neglect.
      3. Links between elder abuse, disempowerment, and discrimination.

Session 10: Transnational adoption in a global context
Organizer: Encarnacion Aracil, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain, enaracil@cps.ucm.es
Transnational adoption, defined as the adoption of a child from a country that is different from that of the adoptive parent, has attracted interest among social scientists seeking to understand how the public views adoption. Studies conducted mostly in industrialized countries suggest that most people approve of such adoption, believing it is a better alternative to out-of-home care. Those who are opposed believe that intercountry adoption is another aspect of modern colonialism, discussing corrupt practices that steal children from their birth parents in less developed countries and it also risks damaging the racial or ethnic identity of the child. Over the past 50 years, policy debates regarding transnational adoption have reflected complex and often conflicting understandings of the interests and rights of adopting parents, adopted children, nation-states, and variously defined racial, ethnic, or nationality groups. Attitudes and policies in industrialized countries have shifted several times over this period as a result of these conflicting understandings and of variation in the context of the political and social climate. Sending countries play a significant role in determining which children are “adoptable” and their policies also regulate which parents are acceptable as adopters, including such considerations as parents’ race, age, sexual orientation and marital status. Such policies reflect varied and evolving ideologies about the rights and identities of children, and they also affect the composition by race, age, and health status of children who are available for adoption by potential parents mainly coming from industrialized societies. On the other hand, prospective parents are not always prepared to deal with issues that arise as the result of a child’s history of early neglect. This session welcomes both empirically-based and theoretical papers that address any one or more spheres of this topic.

Session 11: Conflict and violence in childhood
Organizer: Guillermo J. González-Pérez, Universidad de Guadalajara, México, ggonzal@cencar.udg.mx
Although the most evident and radical forms of physical violence have greatly diminished in wealthy and developed countries, violence against children continuous being one of the most visible forms of violence in society, specially –but not only- in underdeveloped countries, in which the child population is, in relative and absolute numbers, larger. Children can be killed, physically and sexually injured, psychologically harmed, or neglected because of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, community violence or social conflicts resulting in enrolment of youngsters in armed forces: thousands of children are murdered each year, and the prevalence of physical or sexual violence is elevated. The session particularly welcomes papers presenting results on violence-related mortality in childhood as well as papers dealing with the social context that conditions the high level of violence against children observed in diverse regions and countries. This session may also discuss how violence against children affects demographic variables and the repercussion of violence in the future life of children.

Session 12: Gender, education and reproductive choices: A cross-cultural perspective
Joint session of RC32 Women in Society and RC41 Sociology of Population [host committee]

Session 13: Business meeting