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

Research Committee on
Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management, RC10

RC10 main page

Program Coordinators

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 14.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Childhood and Participation

Session Organizer
Demosthenis DASKALAKIS, Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece,

Session in English

The comparative and intercultural analysis has revealed a variety of childhoods, rather than a childhood as a unique and universal phenomenon. The changes to the experience of childhood depend on the country, social class, gender, and nationality, in fact that means that childhood is a variable of social analysis, which cannot be separated from the other variables. Childhood does not refer to a specific person or child but focus on the general condition of being a child. It is a social and cultural concept, idea and category and relates to a difficultly and arbitrarily defined period of human life, as that definition is made subjectively from the adults.

In every case, childhood is not a static object and universal fact of human nature with naturalistic background, without that to cancel the basic meaning of biological relationships. It is a relative and varying framework of ideas, which define the experience of being a child, consisting a varying in space and time sociological category that cannot be studied isolated from the rest of society, as the latter constructs it.

The differentiation in living conditions and in the level of welfare between children of upper, middle and lower social classes that characterizes childhood creates “many childhoods”. What happens with the social dangers, which threaten childhood today? Burst of domestic violence, of school violence, sexual abuse and neglect of children, paedophilia on the Internet, growth of child delinquency? Furthermore, although children considered valuable for the society, still remain a category with high poverty rate.


Cooperation and Participation

Session Organizers
Akihiro ISHIKAWA, Chuo University Fuda, Japan,
Pawel STAROSTA, University of Lodz, Poland,

Session in English

In the recent global economic and financial crisis the issue the neglect of participation of citizens and employees has come to the fore. Economic democracy needs a strengthening of the competences and involvement of all those concerned. In so far stronger cooperation of stakeholders is a central concern for sustainability.


Cooperation, Participation and Democracy

Session Organizers
Maria FREGIDOU-MALAMA, University of Gävle, Sweden,
Volkmar KREISSIG, Taita Taveta University, Kenya,

Session in English/Spanish

Cooperation and participation are necessary when developing democracy in societies and businesses. The session focuses on how new forms of cooperation contribute to modern sustainable alternatives mobilizing participation in democratic decision making. Alternative organisational forms support democratic management and networking with people and organisations locally and globally using social relationships. The structure of organisations and its contribution to development of democratic management is an emerging ethical and challenging issue. Collaborative organisational models can be considered as sustainable participatory initiatives leading to equality.


Democratic Decentralisation and Women`s Participation

Session Organizer
P.P. BALAN, Kerala Institute of Local Administration, India,

Session in English

Decentralized governance enlarges the space for people`s representation in matters of governance and moving decision closer to people. Decentralization is supposed to increase women’s participation in governance, the opportunity for leadership and participation in public forums. Amartya Sen urges to look at women as agents of change (Sen, 1999).

Agency is the ability to define and articulate needs and priorities and to act upon them. Female agency in political forums such a local governments would give entitlements and basic services provision. Gendered identities and practices have often acted as forces for the exclusion of women from leadership positions; by limiting their capacities to articulate and act upon their claims and concerns. The grassroots women collectives and functionaries, therefore, need to be strong with access to resources and opportunities, through education, information, skills and freedom of choice and action.

The goals of Gender Equality and Women`s Empowerment in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be seen as opportunities for mainstreaming women’s concerns and perspectives in development. In this context there is need to enlarge women’s participation.


Education, Participation and Inequality

Session Organizers
Eleni NINA PAZARZI, University of Piraeus, Greece,
Iasonas LAMPRIANOU, University of Cyprus, Cyprus,

Session in English

Education has been acknowledged to be a major driving force for upward social mobility, social participation and social justice. The role of education becomes even more important in the era of financial crisis and austerity. In the last years, more and more countries – in Europe and in other continents – sunk in a spiral trajectory of reductions in investments in Education. During such harsh times, a session on participation and inequality becomes even more timely.


Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology and Participation

Session Organizers
Isabel DA COSTA, CNRS IDHE-ENS de Cachan, France,
Gyoergy SZELL, University of Osnabrueck, Germany,

Session in English

Participation, Organisational Democracy and self-management are at the core of overcoming an unequal and unjust world. Decent work and social justice have to be promoted on the different levels of social actions: i.e. micro, meso and macro. Mainstream sociology has unfortunately neglected in the past couple of years this trend, after neo-liberalism transformed most societies, especially after the breakdown of the socialist system, into market societies. Insofar a Second Enlightenment – as the late Neil Postman phrased it – and Phronesis, i.e. the search for a Good Society, have to be put on the agenda again.


Industrial Democracy in East Asian Society Social Economy

Session Organizers
Eun-Jin LEE, Kyungnam University, Korea,
Yamada SHUJI, Bunkyo University, Japan,

Session in English

The panel extrapolates the present situation and the alternative option of the industrial relations from the sustainable development`s perspective, with a specific regional focus on East Asia labor markets. The East Asia area has been the most dynamically transforming their respective labor market coordinates. Conventionally, each country in East Asia have simulated and adopted other model of labor market policies by each government and by private actors as well.

The panel focuses on the impact of industrial relations on the society at large. What is the present situation of the industrial relations in East Asia? To fulfil sustainable development, how should it be changed in the future? For a long time Japanese industrial relations have been regarded as the role model for other Asian countries. How have the industrial relations been changing in the Japan? What is the commonness and diversity among East Asia industries? Each presenter deals with his situation within a specific industry or within more general situation in a country. However, they will clearly indicate the implications, which their papers have for the whole East Asian community of labor and industry.


Inequality and the Future of Aging: Global and Comparative Perspectives on Trends, Implications, Policies, and Practices

Integrative Session: RC07 Futures Research, RC10 Social Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management and RC11 Sociology of Aging
Not open for submission of abstracts.

Session in English


Inequality, Modes of Participation and Democracy

Session Organizers
Azril BACAL, Uppsala University Sweden, Sweden,
Erik LINDHULT, Mälardalen University, Sweden,

Session in English/French/Spanish

Inequality is a basic condition in as far as all human societies reproduced on individual to planetary levels. The session focuses on analysis of conditions and systems of inequality and how different groups are participating in these systems. A crucial issue is how different modes of participation reproduce inequality or can support more equal social relations. In line with the research interests of RC10, the session particularly aims to identify liberating and democratizing modes of participation, e.g. in the form of broad social movements, self-management practices, democratic governance structures dialogic relations or drama, which are able to reduce unequal power and resource relations and provide a basis of more equal, just and sustainable societies.


New Forms of Participation

Session Organizers
Martine LEGRIS REVEL, Université Lille 2, France,
Vera VRATUSA, Belgrade University, Serbia,

Session in English

We suggest developing further a “post-dialogical” approach that is more focused on social, professional and scientific mediation and cooperation. This leads us to emphasize the models and devices of mediation and cooperation theoretical background that enable to come out of the current dead ends in democratic participation and sustainable development.
The stake of the session is basically to investigate the conditions and modalities of cooperative democracy and democratic cooperation namely within political public sphere of environmental issues, firms and states, at the workplace and in the territory spaces. It is an opportunity to identify in the processes of change and governance the conditions for theoretical conception and practical translation of the social pattern of contradictory collective and individual interests. Long term multi-levels and multi-actors environmental and societal transition will be discussed.

We propose to study the spectrum of the conditions and modalities of mediation and cooperation with respect to power, activity and research. We wish to focus in particular upon the factors of change, whether they relate to stances, conducts, capacities or identities of the actors. The analysis of activities involving professional and social dialogue, or some alternative work organisation that would possibly replace the Scientific Management of Work, especially those referring to the model of the cooperatives and self-management of firms. The field studies in the public spaces could address the territory-based policies, the new urban and rural experiments, their impact in terms of way of life, and the political significances that the actors assign them.


RC10 Business Meeting

Session Organizer
Isabel DA COSTA, CNRS-IDHE, France,

  1. Opening of the session, minutes
  2. Report on activities
  3. Finances
  4. Assessment of the 2014 World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama
  5. Election of a new board
  6. Further activities
  7. Publications
  8. A.O.B.


Sustainability and Participation

Session Organizers
Anup DASH, Utkal University, India,
Debi SAINI, Management Development Institute, India,

Session in English

The concept of “sustainability” is at the center of the intersectionality of the dynamic interaction between two complex systems – the natural world and the social world. A new discourse and practice is rising in the form of a sustainability Science as the humanity is faced with five mega challenges for the 21st century, namely, i. the green challenge, ii. the inclusion challenge, iii. the wellbeing challenge, iv. the moral challenge, and v. the governance challenge. But these debates have also expanded and deepened our understanding of the complexities and the multidimensionality of the problem, that the deeper issues are linked not only to questions of equity, rights, justice, security and governance but also of life styles, world views, peace, culture and knowledge systems.

The image of climate change has become ever more associated with the poor small farmers without crops, migrants without homes, communities without (adaptive) capacities, increasing poverty (= vulnerability to climate change) in the global south. Environmental issues calls for reframing the narratives, questioning the GDP-centric and anthropocentric model of development and walking the talk of ecological democracy and deep ecology. Constructing of a shared vision and creating “the future we want” involves democratic solutions and consensus building though participatory and emancipatory processes of stakeholder dialogues.

This session is designed to stimulate debates about alternative development paths, participatory and inclusive governance structures, and a more sophisticated understanding of the issues toward social and political transformation founded on better sustainability practice.


The Communal Idea and Participation

Session Organizer
Michal PALGI, University of Haifa, Israel,

Session in English

It is no secret that communal, cooperative, and democratic structures have been put to real tests during their existence and have chosen different paths for maintaining and developing themselves. New challenges, tensions and unexpected claims often result in resistance or negation of the democratic communal ideal. Theories of the transformation of such organizations and communities often portray them as becoming less communal, cooperative, and/or democratic, the older, larger, and/or more prosperous they become. Theories of organizational inertia, in contrast, identify age, size, and resources as factors that insulate organizations against change, rather than making them more susceptible to it.

Other theories look at the social dilemmas and motivations of the actors in the different echelons of these organizations and communities. This session will attempt to analyze the relevance of these theories to the spread of changes among democratic organization and communities.


Trade Unions and Participation

Session Organizers
Volker TELLJOHANN, IRES Emilia-Romagna, Italy,
Philippe POCHET, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium, PPochet@ETUC.ORG

Session in English

This session will explore the impact of the crisis on trade unions and recent developments in the field of worker participation. Contributions analysing the theme at local, national, European and global level are welcome. With regard to the local and national level of analysis we are particularly interested by the impacts of austerity policies and their tendency to undermine trade union and employee rights. In particular, we invite the contributors to address the following questions: Furthermore, the session intends to analyse the possibilities of trade unions and worker participation to address the processes of trans-nationalisation of economic activities and in particular restructuring processes at transnational level. As the most developed supranational rights of information and consultation are enabled by EU directives, the session should address their effectiveness vis-à-vis restructuring processes in times of crisis. In this context, we would also like to look what types of transnational strategies trade unions pursue in order to address the consequences of the crisis.

Finally, the session also intends to look at new experiences of trade union and employee involvement at global level. Thus, in this session we welcome contributions dealing with the role and the concrete impact of transnational company agreements on industrial relations and worker participation at local level.


Well-Being, Participation and Digital Democracy

Session Organizers
Janet MCINTYRE, Flinders University, Australia,
Luciana Cristina de SOUZA, Milton Campos Law School, Brazil,

Session in English

Theoretical and methodological challenges will be explored within the historical and socio-political context of the social structuration of contradictory strategies in the realization of social relationships. The problem is that the most vulnerable people are not protected by the social contract. The session will explore strong and weak cosmopolitanism, the green versus the sustainability movement and the way in which people and planetary issues continue to be polarised in processes that commodify relationships, labour, nature and sentient beings.

Can cosmopolitan politics address the criticism raised by the Left, namely that the pseudo debate between right and left leads to a transformation of the neoliberal market? The area of concern addressed by cosmopolitans is that humanity faces systemically linked social, economic and environmental crises that currently pose a challenge to the sovereignty of states and raise concerns about the ability of regional federations to address the needs of increasingly unequal societies.

The session aims to discuss an understanding of the way in which cosmopolitanism is shaped by diverse definitions and applied very differently by theorists and those who engage in transformative praxis. We will explore the extent to which the development of new forms of digital communication could enable broader participation in a wider public space, whilst exploring the role of the state and “if then scenarios” about the role of federations, post national biospheres or within so-called republican federalism and the implications for social and environmental justice.


Joint Sessions

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

Climate Change, Famines and Food Crises: Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management

Joint session of RC10 Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management and WG05 Famine and Society [host committee]



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June 2014