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

Research Committee on
Alienation Theory and Research, RC36

RC36 main page

Program Coordinator

Program Coordinating Committee

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 14.

 

Planned sessions and dates/time subject to further changes

in alphabetical order:

 

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

Alienation and Sub-alterity: Race, Ethnicity, and Struggle. Part I

Session Organizer
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, llang944@aol.com

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
In line with the World Congress focus on “Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology,” this session explores alienation and sub-alterity through the lens of race, ethnicity, and nation. Panelists examine various ways whereby the institutions of society impose structures that rank and organize groups according to historically entrenched hierarchies even as individuals and groups struggle against, challenge, and resist this process. The papers explore how inequality is embedded in and perpetuated by the prison system, through economic and political arrangements, and by ideological and structural processes related to community and belonging.

 

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

Alienation and Sub-Alterity: Race, Etnicity and Struggle. Part II

Session Organizer
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, llang944@aol.com

Session in English

 

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

Alienation, Emotions, and Well-Being

Session Organizer
Vessela MISHEVA, Uppsala University, Sweden, Vessela.Misheva@soc.uu.se

Session in English

The relationships between alienation and feelings of ill-being, ill-health, and poor social performance are well established in research. Alienation typically manifests itself through a cluster of attitudes towards self, the other, and the world which are emotionally charged. Modern diseases at the work place related to the very nature of modern work, such as stress, lack of work satisfaction, being burnt out, and being bored out, both lead to a growing number of short-time sick leaves and burden families, organizations, and social performances with loneliness, depression, social anxiety, distrust, and lack of self-esteem. This is evidence for the fact that alienation today shapes all spheres of public and private life. Modern social research must examine more closely the nature and workings of human emotions in order to move from merely contemplating the worsened quality of the individual’s social conditions, the erosion of feelings, and the diminished quality of emotional life, to active explorations of ways in which to overcome alienation and restore well-being and health.

This session will investigate the relation of alienation to patterns of emotion expression, emotion exchange, emotion control, emotion work, emotion recreation, and emotion erosion in both virtual and real worlds. The role of emotions in overcoming alienation and restoring the individual’s socio-psychological and physical health is a focus of attention. Theoretical and empirical presentations that contribute to an understanding of the various ways in which alienation through emotion labor and control has become an important part of the creation of modern organizations, consumer society, and economic wealth will be particularly welcome. Also of interest are critical explorations of Hochschild’s “emotional labor thesis” and her interpretation of Marx’s alienation theory.

 

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

Disrespect and Misrecognition

Session Organizer
Michael J. THOMPSON, William Paterson University, USA, aion@ix.netcom.com

Session in English

The question of social justice as a deficiency of respect involving misrecognition has become a major theme in social and moral philosophy. These two concepts are rooted in the idea that social relations can be constituted in such a way that the “other” is denied the recognition needed for the development of a more inclusive society which combats inequality and injustice on multiple levels. How can the categories of “disrespect” and “misrecognition” help us understand, formulate, and research themes in social justice? Are these categories sufficient for the articulation of justice in terms of social relations and institutions? How do they relate to other, more well-tested theories in the social sciences? This panel will explore these issues in respect to social theory as well as empirical research and seek to defend, contest, or elaborate the energetic theme of misrecognition and disrespect in contemporary social theory.

 

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

From Alienation to Agency. Part I

Session Organizer
Miriam ADELMAN, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil, miriamad2008@gmail.com

Session in English

The classical concerns of objectification, estrangement, and alienation as articulated by Marx have been generally considered to be the basis of powerlessness and isolation in modern “mass society.” In this type of society, armies of “cheerful robots” toil in meaningless work by day, deaden their consciousness via mass culture in the evening, and find momentary gratification in the compulsive consumerism on weekends. Even if this “ideal typical” description of life in a capitalist society may be a bit overdrawn, most examinations of alienation nevertheless focus on how the conditions of capitalist work, consumption, and leisure time thwart human capacities for creative self-fulfillment and meaningful communal life.

However, a more careful and nuanced examination of contemporary society reveals a number of ways in which people attempt to overcome this alienation and indeed find agency, meaningful community life, and gratifying identities in a variety of social activities. These range from participating in social movements, to certain forms of cultural consumption, such as ecotourism, and other kinds of community activities. This session will attempt to explore some of these ways in which people attempt to overcome the objectification and estrangement of alienation and, in fact, transcend the various limits imposed by late capitalism.

 

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

From Alienation to Agency. Part II

Session Organizer
Miriam ADELMAN, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil, miriamad2008@gmail.com

Session in English

 

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

Global Protest and Alternative Media

Session Organizer
Devorah KALEKIN-FISHMAN, University of Haifa, Israel, dkalekin@univ.haifa.ac.il

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
In recent years we have seen an increase in the hardships forced upon common people throughout the world, in both totalitarian regimes and Western democracies, by the global neo-liberal order. But this painful process, in which the iron grasp of neo-liberal domination is becoming ever stronger, is also a dialectic process. It is accompanied by the growing criticism of intellectuals and social scientists as well as anti-globalization and anti-capitalist protests on the part of activists who clearly see that today’s economic crisis is but one of the successive crises of capitalism.

These global protests may be analyzed in respect to a two-fold process. First, both online and offline communities formed from the classic nucleus of activists, primarily young people – supported by public intellectuals protesting in small groups who are joined by numerous organizations and then by countless citizens of various classes – aim to transform themselves from a crowd of alienated individuals into a cohesive community. They discuss their demands face to face in the public spheres of city squares as they unite themselves in solidarity and present their demands to the nation and to other movements as well. Second, their use of new media to communicate their voices and protests to national and global audiences alike continuously online by means of the new digital media, as was the case with, for example, the “Occupy Wall Street” blog, overcomes the relative lack of coverage by the Western national and global broadcast networks. Not only may broader public support be won in this way, this can also serve to monitor police conduct and police violence, lead to legitimization of the movement, and produce denunciation of the politicians who ordered police actions. This exerts influence on the political field and pressures the mainstream media to extend their coverage of the protests.

The panel intends to present recent studies on the above issues, including discussions of the analytical framework that has been proposed.

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Post-colonized Eastern Europe: Overcoming Alienation and Social Fatigue

Session Organizer
Nikolay ZAKHAROV, Södertörn University, Sweden, nikolay.zakharov@sh.se

Session in English

This session will explore how the concepts of alienation and social fatigue provide tools for understanding individual responses to social change and the search for authenticity. Increasing irritability and social withdrawal as well as lack of trust and social cohesion have been discussed at length. However, it is less clear whether new strategies of resistance and empowerment can sensitize students of alienation and help them chart the logic of overcoming self-estrangement and isolation. Against this background, this session aims to provide a broad forum of discussion about the traumatizing consequences of the dramatic social changes that have taken place in post-communist Europe.

 

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

Race, Ethnicity and Alienated Consciousness. Part I

Session Organizer
David EMBRICK, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, Dembric@luc.edu

Session in English

One of the most salient aspects of globalization has been the contraction of the world and the growing proximity of different peoples whether through migration, tourism, or access to cultural diversity. In many ways this has led to growing toleration, indeed celebrations of difference.

At the same time, however, the rapidity of social change and the problematic nature of the global economy, in which many people have lost income, status, or both, has also led to the growth of a number of reactionary forces that encourage racial/ethnic intolerance. These range from Islamophobic parties in Europe to the Tea Party movement in the United States. A long-standing body of theory and research in sociology has shown how the alienated segments of the society have been prone to intolerance, which was the major theme of the early Frankfurt School studies. How do we understand relationships between race, ethnicity, and alienation today? This session will examine recent theory and research on how alienation often fosters intolerance and why overcoming alienation fosters a more tolerant society.

 

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

Race, Ethnicity and Alienated Consciousness. Part II

Session Organizer
David EMBRICK, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, Dembric@luc.edu

Session in English

 

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

RC36 Business Meeting

Session Organizer


 

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

Rethinking Reification in Contemporary Social Theory

Session Organizer
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, llang944@aol.com

Session in English

Reification has emerged as an important theme in contemporary social theory and philosophy. Although thinkers such as Axel Honneth have put reification back on the agenda in social philosophy, its fuller potential for philosophy, political and social theory, as well as the empirical social sciences, has yet to be explored. This session will seek to probe the various aspects of reification, explore it as a concept, and examine ways in which it should be conceived.

In addition, its relevance for the empirical social sciences will be taken into account. How does an increase in a consumptive ethic in late capitalism make reification relevant again in the contemporary context? How does reification affect the cognitive and social-relational dynamics of modern subjectivity and intersubjectivity? How does reification today retain, but also depart from, Georg Lukacs’ initial concept of reification first presented almost a century ago? These questions and others will be taken up in this session as it attempts to rethink reification for contemporary social theory and the social sciences.

 

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

Theories and Practices of Alienation: New Perspectives

Session Organizers
Devorah KALEKIN-FISHMAN, University of Haifa, Israel, dkalekin@univ.haifa.ac.il
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA, LLang944@aol.com

Session in English

Marx, drawing on Hegel’s discussion of alienation, initiated our current concerns with alienation as a consequence of wage labor, or the commodification of one’s labor power. Although interest in alienation has waxed and waned since 1844, it remains a very robust concept. This session will seek to explore some of the more recent endeavors in developing and, indeed, rethinking the nature of alienation in the contemporary globalized world. In the countries of the West today few people toil in satanic factories. Most instead work in various service industries providing information and/or personal services, in which “managing the heart” can be just as alienating. But at the same time, hundreds of millions still toil in sweatshops, where both labor protests and suicides are frequent. The session will discuss some of the newer theories and research agendas that speak to the continued relevance of alienation.

 

Monday, July 14, 2014: 12:30 PM - 2:20 PM

Wither the 2011 Mobilizations: Progressive, Regressive or Irrelevant

Integrative Session: RC07 Futures Research, RC36 Alienation Theory and Research and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change
Not open for submission of abstracts.

 

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

Youth and Alienation

Session Organizer
Tanya Jukkala, Södertörn University, Sweden, tanya.jukkala@sh.se

Session in English

Today one is tempted to say that youth is wasted on the young. Such problems as increasing suicide rates, self-destructive behavior, and drug and alcohol abuse among younger generations seem to indicate that youth in contemporary society are particularly alienated. On the other hand, alienation also implies a questioning of the prevailing norms, rules, and goals in society, and as such it is a component of the innovation and rebellion which are predominant in youth culture. The line between these differing aspects of alienation is not always clear. For example, such youth sub-cultures as the Graffiti culture or the ”Emo” culture are often considered to be deviant from the perspective of the dominant culture even though they are undeniably expressions of creativity. This session aims to explore both how the concept of alienation provides a variety of means for gaining an understanding of youth and youth culture, and also how social actions and behavior among the young may provide a way to discuss alienation, the various aspects of alienation, and how the latter are interrelated.

 

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