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

Research Committee on
Community Research, RC03

RC03 main page

Co-Program Coordinators

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 14.In keeping with the themes of the World Congress of Sociology, RC03 sessions will focus on the relationship between inequality and communities – political, economic, urban, rural, digital, etc. – in an increasingly interdependent and globalizing world. We encourage submissions employing interdisciplinary perspectives.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Communities in Transition. Part I

Session Organizer
Johan ZAAIMAN, North-West University, South Africa,

Session in English

Communities are continuously challenged by a changing world. Within an increasing interdependent and globalized world they are pressed into a process of continuous change. Communities differ in their response strategies. Some restructure themselves, others transform themselves, others resist the changes, and still others find themselves marginalized and unable to cope positively with the changes.

This session explores the challenges this transition poses to communities, as well as their impact on communities and the strategies communities utilize to handle them.

Papers are welcomed which explore these issues through comparative and/or case studies thereby elucidating the unique and the common factors found in communities in transition.


Communities in Transition. Part II

Session Organizer
Johan ZAAIMAN, North-West University, South Africa,

Session in English


Community Size and Transnational Immigration

Session Organizer
Hans GESER, University of Zurich, Switzerland,

Session in English

Due to many factors like increased streams of asylum-seekers, liberalized migration laws and extensive academic exchanges, globalization promotes many forms of transnational migration that affect larger cities as well as more thinly populated areas and smaller municipal units.

This session aims to highlight the role of community/city size as an intervening variable conditioning: The session should provide a forum for presenting studies that focus on communal-municipal size as a major comparative dimension.


Culture, Arts and Politics

Session Organizesr
Terry N. CLARK, University of Chicago, USA,
Daniel SILVER, University of Toronto,Canada,
Marta KLEKOTKO, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Poland,

There has been much debate about “culture wars,” “cultural politics,” and “culture matters.” However, despite significant interest by policy makers and the general public in cultural impacts on economic growth and of democratic institutions, there has been little research by social scientists. This is especially true of possible impacts of arts upon political process. Linking arts to politics might help to explain significant variance in political phenomena, which remains unexplained by “traditional” variables. Scattered evidence suggests that arts may increase political awareness, affect voting and civic participation, and influence social capital and community development. This session asks: how much can we show systematically about how and where the arts matter politically. Can we find specific links between arts and various political phenomena such as voting, civic participation, governance structures, social movements and political empowerment? We invite international scholars to address these problems in various community (rural, urban, neighborhood) contexts around the world.


Embracing Globalization in the Design of Urban Outcomes: Implications for Equity, Spatial Form, and Sustainability

Session Organizer
Herman L. BOSCHKEN, San Jose State University, USA,

Session in English

Contemporary globalization has fostered substantial and enduring impacts everywhere in the world and at multiple levels of human and ecological systems. But, perhaps the greatest of these impacts can be found in those urban habitats most directly connected to globalization`s economic, cultural and migratory flows. Whether speaking of world economic transformations, growing inequalities ranging from wealth to health, or encroaching urban metabolic footprints on ecological systems, the forces of globalization are putting each of these dimensions on a collision course with the others.

From an urban perspective, what roles do public policymakers have in promoting outcomes that avoid such collision? As the crossroads of globalization, do global/world cities act as incubators for innovative policy solutions to any or all of these three dimensions?

Are breakthroughs occurring through interurban policy transfers or scaling-up urban innovations to a regional or national level? Can policy fragmentation be made consistent with the realities of systemic interdependencies? This session seeks papers which shed light on how their particular discipline contributes to answering these and related questions, and to a multiple-perspectives integration of this research area.


Global Countrysides and Hinterlands: Rural Communities in an Era of Globalization

Session Organizers
Matthew SANDERSON, Kansas State University, USA,
Rachel HARVEY, Columbia University, USA,

Session in English

Scholarship on the relationship between communities and global social change largely focuses on urban areas. In contrast, rural areas and peoples, are often treated as either entirely detached, or as undergoing gradual processes of disengagement from global circuits and spheres.

Many rural communities in the Global North and Global South certainly have experienced long-term processes of de-population and agricultural restructuring, which have decreased their size and influence relative to urban areas. Yet, recent work on “global ruralities” challenges the urban bias of much globalization research by encouraging attention to the myriad ways rural peoples and places are new and (re-)emerging frontier zones for global actors, institutions, and processes.

Drawing on this growing body of scholarship, the session invites submissions exploring how, and to what extent, rural communities produce, and are made by, globalization. All methodologies, theoretical orientations, and areas of attention (in the Global North and/or Global South) are welcome.

Papers that employ comparative theoretical frameworks and/or methodologies are especially encouraged.


Global Gentrification: Diversity, Inequality, and Spatial Justice

Session Organizer
Yue ZHANG, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA,

Gentrification, a process through which the economically disadvantaged in a community is displaced, is being identified in a broad range of communities throughout the world. Globalization contributes to gentrification as it accelerates the economic and spatial changes of the rural and the urban areas, promotes the flow of domestic and transnational migrants, and creates venues for the government to implement large-scale spatial restructuring projects. In the community areas of both the Global North and the Global South, gentrification has become an increasingly complex and multi-dimensional process that involves a variety of domestic and international actors.

This session welcomes papers that either offer a comparative approach or examine single case studies on this topic. Examples of questions that papers might consider include:


Globalization and the Rise of Cultural Communities

Session Organizer
Peter ACHTERBERG, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands,

Session in English

The process of globalization can be held responsible for the rise of cultural communities. No matter in what form, no matter in which social venue, like-minded people gather in online and offline spaces to form cultural communities based on their shared beliefs and ideals. These ideals may be twofold. Some may argue that due to the process of globalization people will develop cultural communities around their shared cosmopolitan ideals. Others may argue that due to the same process, others will erect nationalistic communities in defense of their local, regional or national ideals. Either way, globalization may be linked to the rise of rather coherent and cohesive cultural communities, and perhaps even to the rise of newly emerging conflicts between these two types of cultural communities.

This session invites papers around the theme of globalization and cultural communities. The methodological framework is open – both papers using qualitative and quantitative research methods are very welcome to add to the discussion


International Scenes Studies: Theory and Evidence

Session Organizer
Di WU, University of Chinese Academy of Science, China,

Session in English

As urban societies around the world have moved into a post-industrial stage of development, analysts recognize the growing salience of amenities and lifestyle, rather than jobs and distance, in explaining modern cities. Scenes, in other words, are now identified as critical elements driving economic development, migration, housing price and the living order. Building on these insights, this session focuses on how Scenes work in cities around world as well as how the emergence of Scenes Theory affects worldwide urban development. The session will demonstrate that whenever Scenes studies are involved, they entail an interface of many different areas, including regional economics; community research; household analysis; housing supply and markets analysis; and regional government analysis.

High-quality theoretical, empirical, and practical papers presenting state of the art academic and practitioner research from all related disciplines are welcome. Furthermore, experimental comparisons with other approaches are strongly encouraged.


Politics, Political Institutions and Political Economy in Eastern Europe

Session Organizer
Nina BANDELJ, University of California-Irvine, USA,

Session in English


RC03 Business Meeting

Session Organizer


Social Network Resources and Community Inequalities: Global and Multilevel Perspectives

Session Organizer
Mito AKIYOSHI, Senshu University, Japan,

Session in English

This session looks into theoretical and empirical issues surrounding the deployment of social network resources by communities in an increasingly globalizing world. Institutions such as governments, NGOs, and corporations have undergone phenomenal changes in the past thirty years generating and responding to global challenges. How do social network processes affect the operation of globalizing institutions?

This session invites contributions that advance our understanding of the role of social networks in the transformation of various forms of inequality in the context of globalization. Possible exploratory questions include but are not limited to:


Joint Sessions

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

Boom and Bust: The Community before, during, and after Economic Prosperity

Joint session of RC02 Economy and Society and RC03 Community Research [host committee]


The Problem of Social Justice and Social Conflict in China, Russia and Africa

Joint session of RC03 Community Research [host committee] and RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development



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June 2014