Ad Hoc Sessions

A list of 7 Ad Hoc sessions approved by the Program Committee.

One time slot will be allocated to each Ad Hoc and they will be held at 17:30-19:30, on Monday through Friday, July 14-18, 2014.  

 

Friday, July 18, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Debates about Climate Change: a Cross-Societal Comparison

Session Organizer

Not open for submission of abstracts.
The project on Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (Compon) seeks to understand variation in how societies have been dealing with the problem of reducing their emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG, most prominently, carbon dioxide) that cause global climate change. Reducing emissions (mitigation) has been a new global norm since 1992; international negotiations have tried to move toward that goal. But despite these efforts, total global emissions have continued to increase rapidly. This situation poses enormous future risks for all of humanity without exception. It would greatly enhance the common global good if all societies made every possible unstinting contribution within their capacities to help their own and other societies reduce emissions.

However, given the disparities of development and other conditions around the world, societies have different needs and face different obstacles. Often, other issues take precedence and force climate risk into lesser priority. As a result societies have responded quite distinct ways, with their GHG emissions trajectories going either downwards, stabilizing or continuing rapidly upward.

Grasping this situation as a (un)naturally-occurring sociological experiment, the Compon project, started in 2007, seeks to analyze the underlying factors that bring about this cross-societal variation in GHG emissions trajectories. Research teams in 19 societies collect comparable data on both the discourse around the mitigation issue and the mobilization of actors on different sides within each case, as these affect the mitigation performance. In this panel, case teams report their analyses of discourse around mitigation and discourse coalitions as they appear in the main newspapers of the society. Synthesizing papers present cross-case comparison and also the global field of discourse they describe.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Dilemmas of Public Sociology: Negotiating the Academic and the Political

Session Organizer
Marta SOLER, University of Barcelona, Spain, marta.soler@ub.edu

Not open for submission of abstracts.
The purpose of this session is to engage in a comparative debate of the diverse ways of doing public sociology in different historical contexts and political regimes, in order to discuss the dilemmas faced by sociologists, for instance, in the relation between academic and extra-academic fields when they engage with civil society and the public sphere. In the debate we will aim at recognizing the tensions and unity among the different types of knowledge and we will attempt to bring the national and global dimension of doing public sociology to the discussion.

The speakers will provide examples of social scientists engaging with publics in gender struggles, labor movements, civil rights protests and human rights defense, in Japan, Brazil, Argentina, and Russia (besides, Chair and Discussant will be from Spain and the USA).

Through theory and narrative, they will discuss the complexity of intervention along with the importance of developing a critical and professional sociology. This session will thus contribute to advance perspectives on public sociology by taking into account both, social theory and social action, from national contexts and within an international and comparative dialogue.


Monday, July 14, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Dimensions and Dynamics of Inequality in the Global South
Session Organizers

Not open for submission of abstracts.
This ad hoc session is proposed by the Academic Network for Development and Inequality Research (ANDIR) which was established in 2011 as a collaborative academic initiative between young scholars from different regions of the Global South. ANDIR is formed by researchers from Argentina, Brasil, India, Mexico and South Africa. Its purpose is to pursue various academic initiatives with the common project of fostering channels of research collaboration on themes related to development and inequality.

So far ANDIR has focused on collaborative research projects and the creation of an e-journal titled Rethinking Development and Inequality. An International Journal of Critical Perspectives (ISSN 2306-6598) which centers on publishing research of Global South academicians and development practitioners.

Considering that inequality is a multidimensional phenomenon, the session seeks to reflect upon several of these dimensions in different regional contexts. We are also concerned with exploring the dynamics of inequality, that is, the processes through which inequality is generated and reproduced. Each paper will center on a specific dimension of inequality and will reflect upon the processes that help to comprehend it in a particular country.

The papers will focus on reviewing the main conceptual and methodological debates of their specific field of research and will present empirical results from the area of analysis based on quantitative and/or qualitative methods. The dimensions include education, occupation, gender, digital technologies, territory and subnational institutions. The countries of analysis are Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Peru. The inclusion of this range of dimensions and countries would provide a more comprehensive understanding of the reproduction of inequalities in the Global South.

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Exploring Hegemonic Masculinities in The World Gender Order from The East and The South

Session Organizer

Not open for submission of abstracts.
It is almost 40 years since the establishment of United Nation’s International Women’s Year and a “feminist” or “gender” perspective has now become one of the essential approaches in every area of sociological studies.

While it is fundamental to focus on women and femininities in order to understand the conditions of gender inequality, we should also closely look at the other side of gender relations: men and masculinities. Although sociology of men and masculinities has been studying up the ways in which male-dominant regimes are maintained and legitimized, it tended to focus only on “Western” societies at a national level. However, during the last decade, we witnessed the global emergence of sociological research on “non-Western” masculinities, which had a great impact not only on the sociology of gender but also on the sociological analyses of the global structures of power and economy.

Based on the papers which look at the construction of masculinities in some regions outside Europe/North America, the session explores the regional variation of the construction of hegemonic masculinities and their relations with Euro/American hegemonic masculinities. Looking at the ways in which regional gender orders are maintained or changed by interaction with the global gender order, the session is expected to bring deeper understanding of the background of gender inequalities and explore the way to overcome them in both regional and global level.

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Facets of Multiculturalism and Transnationalism

Session Organizers

Not open for submission of abstracts.
Contemporary transnationalism can be studied from many different perspectives. One aspect concerns the insertion into societies of populations carrying a wide diversity of cultural singularity originating from the outside challenging, in many cases, national cultures’ aspiration to sociocultural unity. Another aspect is the dual homeness illustrated by present-day diasporas the allegiances of which cut across national borders and fuel the multiculturalization of society. Moreover, one may also focus on the multiculturalization of the transnational diasporas themselves as their dispersed communities are exposed to different mainstream cultures which unavoidably contribute to their transformation. In these circumstances also arise the questions  of the roles of central policies in the “ordering” of the social and cultural reality, on the one hand, and on the other, the diasporans’ own aspirations and the extent that they resist the abandon of their identities and original cultures on behalf of national tokens acquired in their new homelands.

This atmosphere is favorable to the multiplicity of cultural influences throughout society and the propagation of phenomena of ‘hybridization’. This notion finds its utility in its accounting for new cultural developments discernible in this era of transnationalism as it is associated with innovations and mixings of sources, inviting actors of all boards to question, redefine and argue about their identities. One more crucial aspect in this imbroglio of developments, most countries which attract migrants these years consist of veteran democracies where the maturation of political processes witnesses a profusion of actors– including diasporan communities which come to constitute constituencies and to articulate identity politics. This very process is expected to decrease diasporans’ alienation – if such existed a priori. Though, at the same time, it is also plausible,  that whenever politics is a source of profits, this very fact should also be an incentive for leaders to increase the political mobilization of their followers.

Further on, empowered actors may also be tempted to strive for responsiveness not only to their specific demands but also to aspirations regarding what constitutes at all in their eyes a ‘desirable’ society, eventually attacking some of the prevalent premises of the mainstream culture. What is commonly referred to as ‘the right to difference’ might thus be the starting-point of bitter conflicts over the validity of longstanding societal codes. In this, multiculturalism comes to exemplify a ‘risk society’ faced with the dilemma of the limits of multiculturalism.

On the other hand, it is here to underline that multiculturalization and the multiplication of transnational diasporas contribute – to some degree - to a slackening of the rigor of duties associated with civility. That neither transnational allegiances nor national identification encompass the total commitment of many individuals to their settings’ respective agendas and general concerns may account for a degree of freedom vis-à-vis each of these commitments, and especially vis-à-vis the society, on the side of circles among diasporans may leave imprints on how non-diasporan citizens get to feel about their societal obligations. These developments request capturing societal and global realities within new prisms. One may think here of the notion of chaos that has recently gained popularity in the social sciences.

On the other hand, chaos does not exclude gestalt and it leaves room for pinpointing that the coexistence of communities in the frame of a same diasporan world, and of various diaspora communities evolving in a same societal space, may come to create different lines of what Wittgenstein called ‘family resemblance’. These lines of affinity influence each other and may attenuate the chaotic character of contemporary social reality. They multiply both the opportunities of inter-group adjustments and “good reasons for conflict”. They demonstrate how far their study and investigation concern the transformations of today’s global social reality. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Inequality, the Capability Approach and Sociology

Session Organizers

Not open for submission of abstracts.
Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum´s Capability Approach is nowadays a well-known analytical framework in non-classical economics and development studies. It gave birth to an "epistemic community" challenging, at the global level, indicators of well-being and growth. Economists, epidemiologists, philosophers, gender studies scholars use the concept of capability in order to describe, explain and assess very different social realities in plural contexts. This session aims to discuss the conditions for the use of the concept of capability in sociology. Three issues must be dealt with in order to address this question:

  1. Is the Capability Approach related to methodological individualism or are we to consider that this approach is better described as an "ethical individualism" (borrowing Ingrid Robeyns' term), compatible with different epistemological points of view? Capabilities grasp the individual person through the lens of opportunities, preferences, skills and entitlements. They convey a version of individual reflexivity that includes collective and social dimensions (namely individual freedom as a social responsibility).

  2. Capabilities encompass a double dimension: a descriptive and a normative one. How to deal with these two dimensions? As a descriptive framework, capabilities focus the inquiry on scopes of opportunities, resources, entitlements and the achievements (functionings: beings and doings) they allow. They furthermore address people's preferences and the conversion operators required to transform available resources into effective achievements. As a normative framework, the capability approach invites sociologists to set up an evaluative knowledge of social situations (poverty, gender relationships, education, work, health issues…), making out of equal freedom of choice and achievement a yardstick of assessment. Capabilities cannot be reduced to "skills" or "competences", they require positive freedom of achievement. They furthermore imply a pluralist understanding of deliberation, making out of people's agency a central issue.

  3. The focus on equality of capabilities goes along with a critique of alternative versions of equality: equality of utilities, equality of resources or equality of formal rights. According to a Capability Approach, the freedom of achievement is not only a matter of resource distribution. It is as well a matter of conversion of resources into valuable achievements. In so far, in order to assess unequalities, it invites social scientists to consider the conditions for the conversion of resources into achievements in changing contexts. Breaking with Rawls' legacy, Sen is arguing for a "realist" theory of justice open to empirical findings. Sociology can contribute, in its own way, to this interdisciplinary dialogue.

Revisiting equality/inequalities, individual/collective agency by the means of the capability concept may open up new policy frameworks, in old Welfare States as well as in "emergent" economies. It will be the aim of the session to show the potential richness of a Capability-oriented framework via the discussion of sociological empirical studies addressing inequalities in different spheres of life. Addressing public action as aimed to the promotion of human rights and democratic participation will set a transversal line of discussion. David Harvey described the Capability Approach as a variation of neo-liberalism. The session seeks to discuss whether another reading open to sociology is possible: the Capability Approach beyond liberalism.

Friday, July 18, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Rethinking Modernity and Capitalisms

Session Organizer

Not open for submission of abstracts.
With the rise of Asia and emerging societies, ours is an age of multi-polarity. Yet our social science analytics and paradigms remain wedded to older formats. Established ideas of modernity and capitalism and their extrapolations in the form of narrow angles on globalization reflect epochs when Europe and the West led industrial modernity, which now lies well behind us. Societies that used to be looked up to as models to emulate have lost their model status and appeal. That conventional understandings of modernity are ethnocentric is a handicap generally, but more so since in the 21st century emerging societies have become drivers of the world economy. To come to grips with contemporary multi-polarity we need to think of modernity and capitalism in the plural, as modernities and capitalisms. Recognizing that modernities are multiple and diverse and transcending ideal-type modernity and its Eurocentric legacy, acknowledges the multipolar realities of 21st century globalization and the rise of the rest.


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International Sociological Association
March 2014