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

Research Committee on
Famine and Society, WG05

WG05 main page

Program Coordinator

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 10.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Facing Uncertainties and Crises in a Globalised and Unequal World

Session Organizers
Manmohanjit HUNDAL, School of Education Punjab, India,
Pradeep DADLANI, India,

Session in English

The recent global trends indicate growing uncertainties and crises in the social, economic and political systems in many countries. The world is becoming more unequal. Globalisation is seen as a major culprit and at the same time unifier of the unequal world. Inequality and marginalization are becoming crucial issues for sociological debates. The session calls papers on the following cross cutting themes:


Famine and Conflict: Two Faces of the Same Coin in a Globalising World

Session Organizer
Oluyemi FAYOMI, Covenant University, Nigeria,

Session in English

This session focuses on famine and conflicts as intertwined phenomena that revolve around people’s livelihoods, and the involvement of humanitarian relief systems. Though the 21st century was heralded by great advances in technology and developed economies, famine and conflicts still persist in some parts of the world. The end of the Cold War increased the hope of many people that the world`s political and economic system would be changed for the better, following the narrowing of ideological differences that polarised the world into Communism and Capitalism. It was hoped that humanity would be better off, as everyone benefited from a new era of world peace and economic development, but the international mass media is currently awash with reports of conflicts and drought situations in various parts of the globe.

The Session seeks papers from relationship between famine and conflict are essential for analysis and discussion in connection with drought, which is a mainly a natural phenomenon that affects parts of the world. Some areas of the world with strong economies and viable political structures have successfully responded to the advent of drought in their countries by adjusting water storage, allocation, and usage patterns, while other parts of the world have dismally failed to do so. Therefore, drought is a contributing factor to conflict and conflict exacerbates drought, making famine more likely. Therefore, drought, conflict, and famine are inextricably linked, with each of them acting as a catalyst to the other.


Globalization of Slums, Houselessness and Urban Poverty: Emerging Issues and Options

Session Organizer
Manoj Kumar TEOTIA, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, India,

Session in English

The problem of slums has been experienced at some point of time by almost all the major cities in the developing countries. Slums are a physical and spatial manifestation of urban poverty and intra-city inequality. Slums and urban poverty are not just a manifestation of a population explosion and demographic change, or even of the vast impersonal forces of globalization but a result of a failure of housing policies, laws and delivery systems, as well as national and urban policies (UN-Habitat 2003). Same is true for houselessness in urban areas.

There is growing concern about the poor people living in slums, as manifested in the United Nations Millennium Declaration and subsequent identification of development priorities by international community. Housing problem seem to acquire serious dimension in many countries in the wake of rapid urbanization, commodification of land and housing, distortion in land market and weakening of public sector housing provision in post liberalisation period. The onset of liberal regimes in promoting development of real estate markets, beginning of low interest home loans, etc seem to have made land and housing in urban areas commodity for speculation. The inequality between rich and poor and marginalization of poor can be seen in most of the developing countries. At the same time some good examples are emerging for addressing growing concerns of slums, houselessness and poverty.

The papers are invited from across the globe highlighting various aspects of the theme under consideration.


Man, Development and Water: Issues and Challenges

Session Organizer
Mohinder KUMAR SLARIYA, Government Post-Graduate College, India,

Session in English

Water being fulcrum of future pace of growth and development of any economy, it is expected that the proposed session will provoke discussion to understand the issues and challenges of water related development in context of human dimension as well know understand nature based solutions to climate change. In the process of development, man (human dimension) is lacking, there are policy makers and executor, but not involvement of those for whom these developmental activities have been planned. The international interaction and research based intellectual inputs on these issues, the proposer is hopeful that it will help to understand these issues in better way and the outcome of the session would have deeper impact on the policy formation as well as on implementation.

Proposed session is an attempt to highlight and discuss the development related issues and challenges which are threatening the conservational perspectives of the policy makers in the world. There are many regions already have been pondered by snatching herbs and other precious natural resources and now it is turn of water which is gift of nature. Through this session we invite papers which try to explore and understand these interrelated and complex issues and the challenges faced by people living in various sensitive regions.


Mexico: Poverty, Inequality and Marginalization in the 21st Century

Session Organizer
Verónica VILLARESPE REYES, Institute of Economic Research, Mexico,

Session in English/Spanish

The session will address the analysis of three key themes: poverty, inequality and marginalization. In underdeveloped economies, such as Mexico, the extent and depth of poverty and inequality tend to grow and they reproduce, most of the time, marginalization. The concept of marginalization emerged in the 1950s and it represented a significant contribution to the development of Latin American theory in order to explain various phenomena related to poverty, uneven development, unemployment and underemployment, and the informal economy, among others.

Meanwhile, the cities are experiencing an accelerated pace of urbanization accompanied by low economic and social development, at the same time, industry is not achieving the level of development needed to boost the urban economy or create sufficient sources of employment in line with the growth of the population. Therefore, an important part of the population must resort to filling jobs with little specialization and low productivity, registering high rates of unemployment and underemployment, which eventually translate into low income levels. Thus, large sectors of the population are relegated to living in very precarious conditions, without services, without the food, health care, security, and hygiene necessary for family life, lacking access to education, culture, and decision-making. It is these sectors that populate the poverty belts, which are established in outlying areas, on the outskirts of the cities. Another feature that characterizes these sectors is their disintegration and lack of internal cohesion that makes them appear fragmented and dispersed, affecting all forms of social coexistence.

Although the session is focused on the case of Mexico, we welcome the experiences of other countries, because the exchange of ideas will enrich the debate on key concepts and measurements on the subject. It is of utmost importance, the theoretical and methodological discussion of these topics to investigate its causes and effects, and propose alternatives for resolution.


Sociology of Natural Calamities, Man-made Disasters, Food Insecurity and Relief

Session Organizer
Amrita RANGASAMI, CSAR, India,

Session in English

Given the unsustainable nature of development being pursued by many countries, the level of severe natural calamities appears to have accelerated. Similarly, the frenetic pace of industrialisation as well as the high level of carbon emissions and release of industrial pollutants have led to a number of man-made disasters in terms of nuclear emissions, chemical gas leaks and industrial accidents. Despite technological advancements, the number of such accidents is still at an unacceptably high level. These natural calamities and man-made disasters are especially traumatic when they involve members of poor and disadvantaged families for the calamities/disasters trigger-off an alarming increase in marginalisation and food insecurity.

This Session will focus on the following sub-themes:


Sociology of Poverty, Informal Sector and Job-Creation

Session Organizer
Harjit Singh ANAND, Glownet Knowledge Services, India,

Session in English

The problem of poverty, management and poor working conditions in the Informal Sector are inextricably woven together. The sociology of this trinity of problems can be traced to low educational background, lower social status, near subsistence level wages and low bargaining power. This circle of deprivation has a fatalistic tendency of renewing itself from generation to generation. In addition, many families belonging to the Informal Sector suffer from recurring episodes of illness and are also characterised by various levels of ‘indebtedness.’ Analysing the salient characteristics of the Informal Sector is also vital for achieving the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN.

The debate on this theme will seek to focus the spotlight on various sub-themes with a view to examining how the Informal Sector can be transformed into an engine of growth:


WG05 Business Meeting

Session Organizer
Harjit Singh ANAND, Glownet Knowledge Services, India,


Joint Sessions

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

Climate Change, Famines and Food Crises: Participation, Organisational 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