ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution, RC01

RC01 main page

Program Coordinator

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 18.


Planned sessions and dates/time subject to further changes

in alphabetical order:


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

Conflict Resolution in the 21st Century

Session Organizer
Vladimir RUKAVISHNIKOV, Russia,

Session in English

Conflicts and wars are not totally excluded in the 21st century because mankind is changing. There are no visible signs of real concerns of the main actors about the global security despite the “Arab spring”. There is a dominant view that ‘the world today is becoming remarkably secure, and the UN needs a policy that reflects that reality’. Is it a true reflection of the coming global reality? The diminishing number of conflicts and the reduction of violence contradict to the tendency of dipping of available mineral, power and food resources and to permanent growing of the existing human population, especially in Africa; to directions of numerous migration flows, at least in part, and, finally, to the geopolitical and economic reality. Who could imagine a mankind of 9 or 11 billion humans in 2050? Can we predict future conflicts and wars?

In many cases the steady economic rise is transforming countries and countries’ environment, and, finally, relations with global actors. However the present behavior of the main actors more looks like it was in the previous century, yet there are numerous rumors about the inevitable growth of competitiveness between old industrialized states (powers) and newly rising global actors like China. Of course, the human mentality is gradually transforming, but it is a very slowly process, - at least as we consider real changes occurred through the first one and a half of decade of the 21st century, - despite climate changes and other so-called ‘global threats and challenges’ of the running century. There are many interpretations of the observed changes.

Thus, there are a lot of issues to debate. They include projections of the coming future versus geopolitical fantasies; the roles and missions of the armed forces, which are also changing, but the direction of changes is not clear in too many cases; how will the present-day armed forces fit the demands of the changing own societies, and serve the international missions of conflict resolution as well; the nature of intra-state conflicts and asymmetric wars and visions of the future, etc.


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

Conflicts, Routinized Violence, Human Rights, Peace

Session Organizer
Bandana PURKAYASTHA, University of Connecticut,

Session in English

This session will showcase current knowledge about multiple ways in which peace is built and sustained around the world. Much of contemporary claims for peace are based on corresponding understanding of conditions of life that enable people to build lives of human dignity, free from most conflicts, violence, and the deprivations these generate. The proposed session will feature papers that discuss activism, non governmental organization, or government efforts at building and sustaining peace. Papers can emphasize any aspect of the relationship between conflict, violence and peace, the structure of peace with human rights, or the claims and efforts to build peace.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Cross-Border (De)Securitarization

Session Organizer
Christian LEUPRECHT, Royal Military College, Canada,

Session in English

Since 9/11 central governments have shown a trend towards securitarizing their land borders. This has had a deleterious effect on local communities straddling the border that have been economically, culturally, socially and politically co-dependent for decades. Different communities have counteracted these top-down effects of securitarization in different ways, and some have been more effective than others. This session examines cross-border leadership, organizational capacity and economic cost in cross-border communities across North America, Europe and Asia. The discussion is meant to enhance our understanding of how communities react to top-down policy changes and make it possible for social scientists to grasp how the construction of referents in security discourse affects collective efficacy at the local level.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Dealing with the Challenges: Facing the Demands of Military Life on Families in the 21st Century

Session Organizer
Donabelle C. HESS, USA,

Session in English

The impetus of this panel is to discuss and present papers dedicated to the research of military families in the 21st century. Papers can focus on a wide-array of familial themes from distant parenting to children’s psychosocial well-being, from couplehood to parenthood. Topics can also cover issues that are unique to military families, such as effects of deployment – frequency, duration, and locality – on children, at-home caregivers, and/or active-duty members. The goal is to entertain research based on the demands of military life in the 21st century and how military families are coping and dealing with those challenges. This panel welcomes papers from a multi-disciplinary approach, but most importantly through sociological lens.


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Death in the Military: Towards a New Paradigm?

Session Organizer
Irène EULRIET, France,

Session in English

Corvisier reckons that death became a central feature of state military strategy in the 18th century. Historians have now largely documented the rituals that were linked to military death, paying a special attention to the mass killings of the two world wars. Sociologists have not shown the same level of interest or scholarship on death in new wars and military sociologists` contributions on the issue have so far remained scattered. This session would like to bring together recent research on death in 21st century military. It would like to map out the discourses and practices that are current in a military context in which giving death is not a key objective anymore of military organizations (in the West at least). Papers are invited on the changing character of public rituals and social representations of death in the military. Examining various social and political contexts, this session aims at identifying emerging tendencies and significant differences across Western public cultures. To lead such an exploration seems particularly important and timely in the year of the First World War centenary commemoration.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Harnessing 21st Century Skills for National Defence and Security

Session Organizer
Christian LEUPRECHT, Royal Military College, Canada,

Session in English

This session will offer an integrative, multi-disciplinary assessment of the characteristics of the current youth (post-Millennial) cohort and, in particular, the impact of the next generation of ‘smart’ open information technologies. With a focus on identifying and defining new 21st century skills and linking these with evolutions in defense missions, this session will provide a multi-disciplinary contextual mapping of the unique competencies, values, identities and worldviews the next youth cohort may bring to the workplace; discuss prototype new assessment measures; and, provide early indicators of potential changes needed in key defense HR functions including attraction, selection, careers, professional development, retention, socialization, leadership, workplace practices and restructuring work or teams.


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

How Do the Cultural Integrating Mechanisms Cultivate Effectiveness of Collaboration and Negotiation in Peace Operations?

Session Organizers
Unsal SIGRI, Turkey,
A. Kadir VAROGLU, Baskent University, Turkey,

Session in English

The nature of the organizational work is changing with the help of globalization, technological developments, complexity and today’s sophisticated social and political problems. To remain competitive and to gain an advantage of these developments, some new “Multinational Collaborative Work Arrangements” are being established both in civilian and military multicultural working environments. These working environments are also in place for multicultural military environments such as Peace Operations of today’s military.

The militaries of different countries, which are different from each other in language, norm, working style and culture, has been working together as peacekeepers as a result of advancement in world stability. In the changing world, increasing interaction between diversified people has been increasing and actually the richness of people – the cultural diversities – can be seen as an obstacle as well. In fact if the cultural diversities are being managed well, organization can use advantages of this situation. Therefore, cross-cultural diversification issues became a focus of interest and objects of studies. In these multinational military working environments, the importance of interdependent work is much more important.

While interdependent work-units are trying to capitalize on the multicultural characteristics of the work, there unfolds some problems stemmed from different cultural identities and diverse cultural orientations just because members of the group behave in accordance with their cultural orientations and influences. In this case, the concepts “collaboration” and “negotiation” have become much more vital to manage the intercultural process effectively and to prevent some misunderstandings. The session invites papers relating to the following questions:
  1. How are diverse military groups in a PO united under one umbrella to achieve a common goal with a group identity formation for a better group cohesion.
  2. What are the differences in definitions of negotiation and collaboration across different cultures?
  3. What are the challenges in POs - multicultural military environments - and how to establish cultural integrating mechanisms/strategies to overcome these challenges to manage conflicts effectively?
  4. How to create a “third-hybrid culture” (a common culture of collaboration & negotiation) in POs? What are the impact of leadership and the role of “trust” in creating a third-hybrid culture in POs?


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

International Humanitarian Intervention and State-Building

Session Organizer
Abu Bakarr BAH, Northern Illinois University, USA,

Session in English

The post-Cold War era has been plagued by numerous violent conflicts often referred to as new wars. New wars have occurred in countries such as former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. These wars have attracted significant international attention, especially from regional and Western powers. In additional to the global and regional security issues, new wars have raised serious concerns about human security, human rights, democracy, and human development. There is a growing shift that links new wars to human development in what is now called the security-development nexus. The international response to new wars varies from orthodox humanitarian intervention to new humanitarianism.

The international response to new wars often include efforts to end the conflicts through peacekeeping and peace mediation to postwar reconstruction programs aimed to address the root causes of new wars and promote democracy and human development. This kind of intervention raises fundamental questions about the role of military and civilian humanitarian efforts to address the social inequalities that lead to civil wars. Global sociology needs to address some of these pressing questions. These questions include: These kinds of questions can be addressed in a panel consisting of 4 to 5 papers. Ideally, the papers should inform both the theoretical and methodological issues in the study of conflict and international development and also provide rich cases studies, especially from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Such papers will add critical angle to the general interest on inequality at the global level. New wars are not only born out of pathological inequalities, but they also breed new dimensions of inequality.


Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Methodological Challenges in the Study of the Military. Part I

Session Organizers
Helena CARREIRAS, ISCTE, Portugal,
Celso CASTRO Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brasil

Session in English

This panel invites papers which reflect on methodological aspects of social scientific research on the military or in military contexts. Its main aim is to discuss a variety of methodological problems related to both the specificity of this particular field of study and commonalties with other fields. The panel should bring together researchers who use distinct methodological strategies and tools, including extensive-quantitative, intensive-qualitative or comparative approaches, to address topics such as research designs, theoretical frames and empirical testing, conceptual stretching, gaining access; ethics of field research; data validity and reliability, case-selection, the researchers’ social characteristics and its effect on the research dynamics, impact of institutional settings on research, dissemination of results, etc. (…). Papers based on concrete research experiences are particularly welcome.


Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Methodological Challenges in the Study of the Military. Part II

Session Organizers
Helena CARREIRAS, ISCTE, Portugal,
Celso CASTRO Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brasil

Session in English


Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:30 PM - 8:50 PM

RC01 Business Meeting


Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM - 7:20 PM

Recruitment and Retention of Minorities in the Armed Forces

Session Organizer
Tibor Szvircsev TRESCH, Switzerland,

Session in English

As compulsory military service was abolished in Belgium in 1993 and the Netherlands in 1996 the aspect of voluntary service in Europe was increasingly recognized. Through this European armed forces have faced new challenges in the field of recruitment and retention. Especially the recruitment of minorities is a challenge for the all-volunteer forces. The session focuses on the integration of minority groups in the military. For the session the following questions are important: How successful is the recruitment of military personnel with migration background in the armed forces? Are minorities in the armed forces accepted and are they integrated in the organization? How successful is the retention of military personnel with migration background? The session is open for all interested researchers.


Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

The 3.11 East-Japan Great Earthquake and Fukushima: Lessons Learned from International Disaster Relief Operations

Session Organizer
Hitoshi KAWANO, National Defense Academy, Japan,

Session in English

The East-Japan Great Earthquake in March 11, 2011, subsequent waves of tsunami, and the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima, resulted in the largest-ever domestic disaster relief operation in the JSDF history, mobilizing more than 100,000 personnel at its peak. The Joint-Task Force involved Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces. In addition, many countries sent their military forces or aid teams to assist the disaster relief operations in Japan. In particular, the United States provided a major support by launching the “Operation TOMODACHI” that involved more than 20,000 troops. It was the first major joint operation by JSDF and the US military. Other foreign militaries include Australia (Air Force, C-17), Korea (Air Force, C-130), Thailand (Air Force, C-130), and Israel (Medical Team).

Since it was a major national emergency, and the first large-scale SDF operation in cooperation with other military and civil organizations, there were numerous challenging issues involving errors, misunderstanding, miscommunication or lack of communication, ineffective coordination, and other shortcomings in terms of international cooperation. The session aims to review the social processes of the international disaster relief operations by military organizations, and offer lessons learned from the tragic disaster for future disaster relief operations involving a nuclear plant disaster. The session invites any papers dealing with the issues listed below:
  1. The Operation TOMODACHI by the US armed forces, and the lessons learned from the international disaster relief operation.
  2. The international disaster relief/rescue/medical aid operations by other countries’ armed forces/military personnel.
  3. Cooperation/coordination between Japan Self-Defense Forces and foreign troops.
  4. Cooperation/coordination between the military and civil organizations including local governments, police/fire departments and various NGOs.
  5. Evacuation operations of the national population living in Japan using military resources.
  6. Gender perspective, and gender mainstreaming.
  7. Mental health care of the military personnel, and stress management.
  8. Family support for the deployed personnel.
  9. Leadership in international disaster relief operation.
  10. Cultural awareness and cross-cultural cooperation, training of “empathy”.
  11. Diversity management.


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

The Armed Forces and Civil Society in East Asia

Session Organizer
Doo-Seung HONG, Seoul National University, Korea,

Session in English

This session invites scholars who are concerned with changing patterns of the relationship between the military and civil society in East Asia in the recent decades. Papers relating to case studies, to comparative studies and to theory are invited.


Friday, July 18, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

The Roots of Contemporary African Violent Conflicts

Session Organizer
Alemayehu KUMSA, Charles University, Czech Republic,

Session in English

Violent conflicts are old in human history and the 20th century was worst when it comes to the number of people died due to war. In African warfare history the second part of the 20th century was the worst of all periods, in numbers of wars, numbers of people died in war, numbers of refugees and in the intensity of economic and social problems emanating from violent conflicts. Many different types of war conflicts occurred in Africa after independence. The post-colonial wars have two forms:
  1. Intra-state wars (secessionist wars, irredentist wars, wars of power devolution, wars of regime change, wars of banditry, armed inter-communal insurrections, and wars caused by religious fundamentalist groups).
  2. Inter-state wars (bilateral wars, multilateral wars).
The aim of organizing this session is to invite sociologists who are specializing on contemporary African violent conflicts, to bring together their research results, to understand the causes of these conflicts, if they have local, regional and international roots, in the contemporary globalizing world.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Towards a Sociology of Information Sharing in Multinational Military Operations. Part I

Session Organizer
Joseph SOETERS, Netherlands,

Session in English

As military operations are nowadays almost always conducted in multinational coalitions, the issue of information sharing becomes increasingly important. Information and the military are an interesting couple. The military relies on information and preferably wants to keep it for itself. Information is often declared “confidential”, because the enemy could profit from it; even partnering organizations are often not deemed reliable enough to know everything. Secrecy, intelligence, information, trust, games, strategic interaction, strangers, coalitions are words that are fully connected in operational affairs. This session welcomes contributions dealing with basic sociological and social-psychological theories on information and secrecy (e.g., Simmel, game theory), with analyses dealing with the operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali, and/or modern applications in the field of cyber operations/warfare. Of course the session is also open to related paper proposals.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Towards a Sociology of Information Sharing in Multinational Military Operations. Part II

Session Organizer
Joseph SOETERS, Netherlands,

Session in English


Joint Sessions

Click on the session title to read its description and the scheduled day/time.

Conceptions of the Body and Health in High-Risk Organizations

Joint session of RC01 Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution [host committee] , RC49 Mental Health and Illness and RC54 The Body in the Social Sciences



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March 2014