Semi-plenary Sessions and Speakers (further information will be added shortly)
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP01: The Structural Transformation of Europe’s Public Sphere in the Age of Extremes with Ruth Wodak and Nicolas Demertzis
Ruth Wodak | Lancaster University, United Kingdom
Title: “Protecting Fortress Europe”: Identity Politics, Right-Wing Populism, and the Negotiation of “Borders” and “Benchmarks” in National and EU Arenas
Major tensions are governing the debates about refugees on the European stage and in the 28 EU nation states, focused on questions such as ‘How many refugees can a nation state cope with?’; ‘Which kind of refugees/who should be allowed in?’; ‘How will we integrate them?’ and ‘How to protect Europe/Schengen from illegal migrants/terrorists, etc.?’ Europe’s “peace-keeping mission” has been back-grounded, refugees have been transformed into commodities, moved from one place to the other. Other discourses, however, foreground the various European and UN treaties, signed by all EU member states, and draw historical analogies between crises of the past (Second World War, 1956, 1968, 1981, 1989, 2001) and the present. Various scape-goats have emerged in these debates: the EU institutions, Greece and Italy, young male (Muslim) refugees, the so-called ‘good people’ (Gutmenschen) who are too naïve, etc. Nationalistic and nativist border- and body politics have become part and parcel not only of the radical right rhetoric but of the political mainstream, advocating a “politics of fear”. These debates imply struggles about how to justify/legitimize the various measures needed to protect Europe from refugees. In my lecture, I trace the genealogy of these debates both on the European as well as national (mainly Austrian) stage while analyzing a corpus of TV interviews, newspaper and news agency reports as well as interviews with leading protagonists in systematic qualitative and quantitative ways.
Ruth Wodak is Emerita Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK, and affiliated to the University of Vienna. Besides various other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. In 2011, she was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria. She is member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and member of the Academia Europaea. 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament (at University Örebro). She is co-editor of the journals Discourse and Society, Critical Discourse Studies, and Language and Politics. She has held visiting professorships in the University of Uppsala, Stanford University, University of Minnesota, University of East Anglia, EUI, Florence, and Georgetown University. In 2017, Ruth holds the Willy Brandt Chair at Malmö University.
Ruth has published 10 monographs, 27 co-authored monographs, over 60 edited volumes and ca. 400 peer reviewed journal papers and book chapters. Recent book publications include The Politics of Fear. What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean (Sage, 2015; translation into German: Politik mit der Angst. Zur Wirkung rechtspopulistischer Diskurse. Konturen, 2016); The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (Palgrave), revised edition (2011); Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, 2011); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with Barbara Johnstone and Paul Kerswill, 2010); Analyzing Fascist Discourse. Fascism in Talk and Text (with John Richardson, 2013), and Rightwing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (with Majid Khosravinik and Brigitte Mral, 2013). See here for more information on ongoing research projects and recent publications.
Nicolas Demertzis | National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Title: The Multifaceted European Public Sphere(s): Socio-Cultural Dynamics
Three overriding focal points deserve special attention: (a) the structural re-transformation, and (b) the unfettered emotionality of the public sphere in European societies, which center stage (c) the prospects of democracy for the decades to come. These points assume radical ambivalence as to the structuration of publicity and politics in postmodern information society. It is not that ICT just boost or vitalize democracy through participatory media, citizen journalism, social media, peer-to-peer technology, etc. It can also burst democracy to the extent that surveillance directed by governments and companies, the dark internet, and the narcissistic bias of the social media may refeudalize civil sphere and dissolve the very idea of the public interest. Although the emotions-politics nexus has been ever present, the more the information society assumes the form of the society of the spectacle the more the emotive expressions in public unleash unregulated. The emancipatory dimension of this dynamics is coupled by regressive affective reactions debilitating rather than empowering individualization processes. The “emotional public sphere” is formed by all media content; gone are the days where the media were telling us what to think about; through their emotional agendas they tell us what to feel about as well.
These ambivalences stem from four major factors: i) the intense commercialization of the cyberspace; ii) the neo-liberal pattern of homo debitor; iii) the cyber war against terrorism, and iv) the incremental informalization of manners and emotions. Thus a crucial question is likely to be re-posited in the neoliberal milieu: can the public sphere be effectively reconstituted under radically different socioeconomic, political and cultural conditions? Is democracy possible?
Nicolas Demertzis is Professor at the Department of Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He has published extensively in Greek and English journals and collective volumes. His academic and research interests include political sociology, political communication, and the sociology of emotions. Between 2004 and 2010 he has been Dean at the Technical University of Cyprus, where he established the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, and the 2010-2013 period he was the President of the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY). Currently, he is the Director and President of the Administrators Board of the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE).
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP02: Migration in Times of Europe’s Economic Crisis with Elisabeth Scheibelhofer and Guglielmo Meardi
Elisabeth Scheibelhofer | University of Vienna, Austria
Title: Free Movement Revisited – Labyrinths of Transnational Social Security for EU migrants
Based on a comparative three-year project TRANSWEL (2015-2018) I discuss results from qualitative fieldwork of European Union (EU) internal migrants in terms of securing their (transnational) social rights. Comparing four EU country pairs (Hungary-Austria/E. Scheibelhofer, Poland-UK/E. Carmel, Bulgaria-Germany/A. Amelina, Estonia-Sweden/A. Runfors) in a mixed methods approach we analyse the implications of ‘free movement’ for EU migrants moving from a so-called ‘new’ member state to an ‘old’ one. Based on 100 problem-centred interviews in the eight countries mentioned above, we comparatively investigate migrants’ perceptions of and experiences with the respective (transnational) social welfare systems. This entails the access to social benefits as well as the transnational portability of social rights of migrants.
We will conclude that social inequalities are highly reproduced by the complexity and the ambiguousness of most regulations within the EU social security systems. Social stratification is accelerated as one-time working migrants with no care obligations at young or middle age with high cultural and economic capital can realise the promise of free movement within the EU to a much higher extent than all other groups diverging from this ideal type. Free movement as one corner stone of the European Union thus needs to be re-evaluated in light of our empirical results: the labyrinths are such that many Europeans cannot secure their social security even if they are employed and contributing to the social security systems of the EU countries they are (transnationally) living in.
Elisabeth Scheibelhofer is Associate Professor in Sociology at the Department for Social Sciences, University of Vienna. Her works focus on migration, mobility and qualitative methods. Her research interests include more specifically migration and mobility of EU migrants within and outside of the EU as well as refugee studies with a focus on the experiences of refugees in rural areas. Currently, she works in the Norface project TRANSWEL on transnational social security of EU migrants (2015-2018) in which she has the overall responsibility of qualitative interviews with migrants and their significant others in eight EU countries. Publications and research also cover questions of interpretive methods such as qualitative in-depth interviews, participant observation and qualitative network analysis. She was the initiator and first chair of the ESA Research network 35 “Sociology of Migration”. Currently, she is part of the editorial board of the journal “Oesterreichische Zeitschrift fuer Soziologie” (Springer).
Guglielmo Meardi | University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Title: European Dilemmas Over Free Movement of Workers: Do Control and Openness Exclude Each Other?
European migration has highlighted deep dilemmas over the compatibility of social protection and movement and on the social boundaries of welfare. These dilemmas came to a political crisis with the referenda against freedom of movement in Switzerland in 2014, and to leave the EU in the UK in 2016.
This presentation looks at the evidence of public opinion, public debates, and associational policies in a number of European countries (UK, Switzerland, Norway), as well as Canada, which is often portrayed as a ‘model’ by European politicians, going back to the EU enlargement and through critical cases such as the ‘British jobs for British workers’ strikes of 2009. It attempts to assess how far free movement of workers is really incompatible with social protection, and how far ‘control’ and ‘openness’ are really mutually exclusive.
The presentation identifies, more specifically, those dimensions of free movement that have become socially disruptive, and the variety of social responses that have emerged. It discusses the extent to which labour market regulations, social policies and social organisations can address social concerns over free movement while being perceived as ‘fair’ by both local and migrant groups, in order to ‘re-embed’ free movement of workers into local employment regimes. It will conclude with the identification of social propositions and experiments that go in the direction of fairness as ‘controlled openness’ as an alternative to the emerging polarisation between ‘control’ and ‘openness’.
Guglielmo Meardi (Laurea Milan, DEA EHESS Paris and PhD EUI Florence) is Professor of Industrial Relations and Director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit at the University of Warwick, UK. After a decade of studying the ‘labour movement’, especially in Central Eastern Europe (see for instance his ‘Labour Movements’ entry in the ISA’s Sociopedia), in the last decade he shifted his research towards the ‘movement of labour’, again especially from Central Eastern Europe. His analysis of labour migration between the eastern and western EU member states is framed in an ‘Exit/Voice/Disloyalty’ paradigm, as outlined in his book ‘Social Failures of EU Enlargement: A Case of Workers Voting with their Feet’ (Routledge 2012). He is currently working on a study of the link between migration and labour standard regulations post-Brexit. Guglielmo has held visiting positions at universities and academies of sciences in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Slovenia.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP03: The Sociology of Sustainable Food Consumption with Julie Guthman and Lotte Holm
Julie Guthman | University of California, United States of America
Title: Forked: On the Limits of Shopping for Sustainability and Towards a Food Activism That Matters
The theory of change driving sustainable food consumption is that consumers should pay more for food that is produced more ethically and ecologically. The market will then respond to changes in consumer demand and eventually food production will transform to be more sustainable and just. Drawing on her research on California’s organic and strawberry industries, Professor Guthman will problematize this theory of change, spelling out some of the limits of approaches that depend on consumer purchasing. She will give particular attention to the paradoxes of voluntary food labels in times of economic recession. Her talk will culminate with a discussion of what food politics could and should look like in the age of Donald Trump.
Julie Guthman is a geographer and professor of social sciences at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she teaches courses primarily in global political economy and the politics of food and agriculture. She has published extensively on contemporary efforts to transform food production, distribution, and consumption, with a particular focus on the race, class and body politics of “alternative food.” Her publications include two multi-award winning books: /Agrarian Dreams: the Paradox of Organic Farming in California/, /Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice and the Limits of Capitalism,/ and a recently released edited volume entitled /The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action/. She is the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Research Award from the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, and has received fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and from the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study for 2017-2018. Her latest research has examined the effects of the methyl bromide phase-out on California’s strawberry industry.
Lotte Holm | University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Title: Coping with Economic Restraint: Everyday Food Consumption Practices And Environmental Sustainability
Most research on household’s reactions to food budget restraint address low-income groups in countries characterised by large socio-economic differences. In the Western world, such studies have mostly been conducted in Anglo-Saxon countries, while in Scandinavian societies, such as Denmark, it has been maintained that the Social-Democratic welfare regime ensures that no-one needs to be deprived of basic necessities such as food. However, following the global capitalist crisis in 2008, broader parts of the population experience economic unrest and various degrees of pressure on food budgets have become more common in Danish households.
In Denmark, sustainable food consumption is high on the political agendas and organic food purchase is the highest in the world. But what happens when people react to economic turbulence and attempt to reduce food expenditure? I will discuss results from a Danish project which analyses how households cope with economic restraint. The project Food in Turbulent Times combines in-depth qualitative inquiry with analyses of panel data and a representative survey of Danish households. The focus will be on how pressure on food budgets is experienced and handed in different social contexts, and how differentiated household food consumption relates to sustainability and climate change. The significance of attitudes towards climate friendly food consumption relative to routinized food consumption practices will be highlighted, as will relations between climate friendly and healthy food consumption practices.
Lotte Holm, PhD and MSc in Sociology, is Professor at the Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen. Dr Holm’s research centers around food and eating ranging from comparative population studies of changing eating patterns in modern life to in-depth qualitative investigations of e.g. the multiple meanings of food, food and gender identity, lay perceptions of food and health and risk, obesity and bodyweight management. I was a partner in the Trust in Food project which investigated institutional change in the food safety regulatory systems in EU and six European countries following the BSE crisis. Her recent projects include Governing Obesity, addressing specific experiences of individuals subjected to different kinds of obesity interventions, Food in Nordic everyday Life, analysing changes in everyday eating rhythms and patterns in four Nordic countries, and Food in Turbulent Times, focusing on food budget restraint in Denmark.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP04: Questioning Boundaries of Age and Place: Child Refugees in an Uncertain Europe with Pascale Garnier and Rachel Rosen
Pascale Garnier | University Paris 13, France
Title: “Children of Calais”: Precarious Lives Between French and English Borders
Since the beginning of November 2016, the jungle of Calais has been dismantled and around 1.900 “un-accompanied children” have been obliged to leave it. Most of them have been sent to the “centres d’acceuil et d’orientation” (CAO, reception and guidance centre) recently opened in France and some of them have been accepted into England. This presentation aims to highlight how children’s lives are highly vulnerable in a situation of liminality, a concept introduced by Van Gennep (1908), as the core stage of the “rites of passage”, characterized by the ambiguity or confusion of the identities of people between separation and integration. This situation of liminality involves three dimensions: the liminality of space between boarders of national states, the liminality between the absence and presence of their family, which emphasize the liminality of their age, as “children” and “not children”. Together they give rise to an unliveable life as human beings.
As “un-accompanied” minors, children are at the same time inside and outside their family, having to live independently and to take responsibility for their own lives, but at the same time they are dependent or claiming that they belong to a family. To be a child means to have his/her identity rooted in one’s family, in terms of social class, nationality, race and ethnicity, religion and culture, including the various meanings of age and family in his/her culture. This situation of liminality between being with and without a family, between dependency and independency troubles the binary dichotomy between children and adults.
Pascale Garnier’s PhD (EHESS, Paris, 1992), under the supervision of Luc Boltanski, was about an historical sociology of childhood in France, analysing how competences and best interests of children are matter of debates and tests. Within a pragmatic approach of children’s life, adults’ practices and material culture, her researches consider age categorizations as political and moral orders. Recent publications: “Childhood as a Question of Critiques and Justifications”, Childhood, 21(4), 2014); “Between young children and adults: practical logic in families’ lives”, in L. Alanen, L. Brooker & B. Mayall (eds.). Studying Childhood with Bourdieu, 2015); “For a pragmatic approach of children’s citizenship”, in H. Warning & K. Fahnøe (eds.), Lived citizenship on the edge of society, forthcoming); Sociologie de l’école maternelle (PUF, 2016); Recherches avec les jeunes enfants: perspectives internationales (avec S. Rayna, P. Lang, 2017). She is professor in education sciences, head of the research team Experice, in Paris 13 University, Sorbonne Paris Cité.
Rachel Rosen | University College London, United Kingdom &
Sarah Crafter | Open University, United Kingdom
Title: Media Representations of Child Refugees: From Dubs to Doubt
The image of Alan Kurdi, the Kurdish-Syrian toddler and refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean, galvanised an international outcry following its widespread circulation by global media outlets. This is considered the moment when the ‘horrific human costs’ of migration hit home for the European public (Daily Mail, 2015). Concurrently, there are concerns about rising right-wing populism and anti-migrant sentiment, with the media both documenting and instigating such views (Bleich, Bloemraad et al. 2015). In this paper, we consider ambivalent media representations, focusing specially on separated migrant children. We analyse coverage in five English tabloids between the introduction of the 2016 Dubs Amendment, which committed to relocating an unspecified number of unaccompanied minors to the UK, until the demolition of the refugee camp in Calais, where much media attention focused on the plight of children. Drawing on Crawley (2011), we suggest that child refugees are, on the one hand, represented as vulnerable and in need of saving and, on the other, treated as a risk and a problem to British society and institutions for reasons of both security and cost. We argue that the media can simultaneously sustain such contradictory views by preserving an essentialised view of the child, grounded in racialized, Eurocentric and (neo)liberal norms. By taking a temporal view of tabloid coverage, we highlight the increasing contestation of the authenticity of child refugees as they began arriving in the UK under Dubs, and raise questions about the political implications of framing hospitality in the name of ‘the child’.
Rachel Rosen is a Lecturer in Childhood at UCL Institute of Education. Her research spans sociology of childhood and materialist feminist thought, with a focus on unequal childhoods, migration and social reproduction. She is co-author of Negotiating Adult-child Relationships in Early Childhood Research, which develops a Bakhtinian ethics of answerability, and is currently co-editing Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?
Sarah Crafter is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University. Her theoretical and conceptual interests are grounded in sociocultural theory, transitions, critical or contested ideas of ‘normative’ development and cultural identity development. Her recent work focused on the practice of child language brokering (translating and interpreting for parents who do not speak the local language following migration).
Currently, Rosen and Crafter are collaborating on research about separated child migrants’ experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the complexities of the UK’s asylum-welfare nexus.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 11:00 – 12:30
SP05: Anatomy of the Greek Crisis with Maria Petmesidou and Nicos Mouzelis
Maria Petmesidou | Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Title: Welfare Reform in Greece: A Major Crisis, Crippling Debt Conditions and Stark Challenges Ahead
The presentation tracks the unfolding of the Greek crisis and examines the main policy reform options in the context of the conditions imposed by the “rescue-deals”. A raft of significant reforms since 2010 in labour market policies, social insurance and health and social care are assessed according to whether and to what extent fiscal consolidation has been balanced with concerns about improving protection and redressing inequalities, or whether standards of social protection have been forced ever lower.
Undoubtedly, neo-liberal austerity is the mantra of social adjustment under the successive bailout agreements. A “fightback” stance rejecting austerity and its neo-liberal assumptions in an attempt to reassert neo-Keynesianism acquired broad political significance with SYRIZA’s rise to power, which tapped into the discontent resulting from the harsh austerity measures. However, the government’s failure to translate the anti-austerity stance into a realistic economic policy and negotiate a better deal for Greece seriously narrows the scope for reform towards a sustainable redistributive welfare state.
The major questions raised are: How will the ongoing reforms impact upon the social structure, social cleavages and conflicts? More importantly, how will they impact on the large middle class strata in Greek society? Will the outcome be “a race to the bottom” in wages and social welfare? Could, instead, a socially-embedded form of liberalization and flexibilisation be followed (for example, along the lines of social investment)? These issues are examined in the light of a broader debate on welfare transformation in Europe and the changing socio-political cleavages and solidarities.
Maria Petmesidou (Ph.D. Oxford University) is Professor of Social Policy at Democritus University (Greece) and Fellow of CROP/ISSC (Comparative Research on Poverty/International Social Science Council). She has published extensively on social policy and welfare reform in Greece and Southern Europe. Most recently she co-edited the books: Economic crisis and austerity in Southern Europe: Threat or opportunity for a sustainable welfare state? (London: Routledge, 2015) and Child poverty and youth (un)employment and social exclusion (Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2016). She is co-ordinating research on policy learning and transfer in the field of youth employment policies (funded under the EC FP7 programme).
Nicos Mouzelis | London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Title: The Crisis in Europe and Greece: The Impact on Identities
The presentation analyses the basic developments leading to the crisis; as well as the impact these developments had on the “de”construction of European identities.
Nicos Mouzelis is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics. He has written extensively in the sociology of organizations (Organization and Bureaucracy, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967), sociology of development (Modern Greece: Facets of Underdevelopment, Macmillan, 1978; Politics in the Semi-Periphery: Early Parliamentarism and Late Industrialisation in the Balkans and Latin America, Macmillan, 1986); social theory (Post-Marxist Alternatives, Macmillan, 1990; Back to Sociological Theory, Macmillan, 1991; Sociological Theory: What Went Wrong?, Routledge, 1995; Modern and Postmodern Social Theorising, Cambridge University Press, 2008), and sociology of religion (Modernity and Religion: Secularization, Fundamentalism, Ethics (in Greek), Polis, 2014).
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 11:00 – 12:30
SP06: (Un)Making Europe with Stefan Immerfall and Kostas Maronitis
Stefan Immerfall | University of Education at Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
Title: Keeping Unity, Preserving Diversity: European Possibilities Beyond Integration Overextension
How to stop Europe drifting apart? To simplify, two therapies to get out of this quagmire circulate: “less Europe” and “more Europe”.
There are serious problems with both visions. “Less Europe” could mean little or no Europe in the end. As Prime Minster Cameron’s botched referendum strategy aptly demonstrated, opening up Pandora’s Box of public sentiment may easily backfire. The second proposal is even less likely. European politicians are understandably loath to put any constitutional change before the electorate. Implementing a financial and social redistribution system of any serious size would cause massive opposition.
My presentation takes a distinct sociological approach for analysing the European integration crisis. Such an approach focuses on the societal basis of European integration and on the relationship between societal and political integration. It is heavily indebted to historical comparativists like Stein Rokkan and their work on the structuring of territorial politics. How, then, to strike a balance between the needs of diversity and the need to form a coherent whole?
The European Union is a union of nation-states with long and variegated histories which continue to show in welfare institutions, economic styles and political cultures. A unified regulatory scheme does not comply with the historically entrenched diversity between Europe’s macro-historical regions and the lingering power of its nation-states as a locus of attachment. The task is to organize integration on the basis of Europe’s diversity and not against its diversity. Examples of flexible rules, strategies and institutions to accommodate European diversities will be discussed.
Stefan Immerfall is Professor of Sociology at the University of Education at Schwäbisch Gmünd and founding Director of its Master Program on Intercultural Studies. He has taught at the Universities of Passau, Mannheim, Grand Valley (Michigan, USA) and North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA). His main research interests cover education, health and well-being, and comparative social and economic analyses. Immerfall’s book publications include the “Handbook of European Societies. Social Transformations in the 21st Century” (with Göran Therborn) and “Freizeit” (“Leisure”, with Barbara Wasner). He currently works on the revised edition of his textbook “Europa – politisches Einigungswerk und gesellschaftliche Entwicklung” [Europe – political unification and social developments].
Kostas Maronitis | Leeds Trinity University, United Kingdom
Title: Is this the End of Federalism? The Immigration Crisis and the Remaking of Europe
This presentation argues for a new theoretical framework regarding the emerging structure of the EU through the prism of the current immigration crisis.
Greece provides the empirical material for this paper. Located at the borderlands of the EU, Greece occupies a strange position between federalism and inward looking social formations where membership depends on blood relations. Drawing on policy documents (Dublin Regulation; Refugee Centres and Hotspots; Refugee Relocation System) and on the political rhetoric of sovereignty and border control the paper introduces the concept of Europia. Europia shifts the debate from the binary of Federalists and Eurosceptics to the capacity of immigration to create utopian and dystopian visions about the European project. Europia exists between the sociological analysis of immigration and an imaginary future of the EU viewed through the prism of hope and crisis. As a result, Europia serves as an analytical tool for a series of actions and mentalities concerning the way immigration authorities construct dystopian environments for immigrants and refugees; the way states understand cultural homogeneity as a political utopia; the way the arrival and presence of immigrants contributes to a dystopia of a torn social fabric; and the way immigrants and asylum seekers view Europe as a utopia of prosperity, rule of law, and freedom.
The presentation concludes by arguing for a renewed understanding of European citizenship independent of national belonging that will ultimately democratize the EU.
Kostas Maronitis is Lecturer in politics and media at Leeds Trinity University, UK. His research interests focus on the political theory and policies of immigration and European integration. He has published articles on immigrant detention and human rights, networks of protest, cosmopolitanism and citizenship, the politics of fear, and diasporic cultural practices. Kostas Maronitis is the author of the book Postnationalism and the Challenges to European Integration in Greece: The Transformative Power of Immigration (2016) published by Palgrave McMillan.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 11:00 – 12:30
SP07: (Un)Making Capitalism with Lara Monticelli and Paul Raekstad
Lara Monticelli | Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy
Title: Embodying the Critique to Capitalism in Gloomy Times. Theoretical Perspectives and Potential Research Horizons on Emerging ‘Real Utopias’
In recent years, terms like ‘sharing economy’, ‘industry 4.0’, ‘collaborative economy’ have become the buzzwords in academic research and public debate – gaining prominence in tandem with the growth of digital capitalism. While much has been said about the ways in which digital technology is transforming entire swathes of the economy and constructing new forms of exchange, the predominant tendency has been the reification and expansion of modern capitalism, aimed at maximizing profits and reproducing exploitative mechanisms towards workers, natural resources and the environment. Within this critical juncture in the development of capitalism cooperatives, political consumerism and alternative lifestyles are being adopted and advocated by a growing number of social groups.
Moreover, recent contributions like Erik Olin Wright’s ‘Envisioning Real Utopias’ (2010), Hartmut Rosa’s reflections on acceleration and de-synchronisation in contemporary capitalism (2010), Klaus Dörre and colleagues’ ‘Sociology, Capitalism and Critique’ (2015) and D’Alisa et al. ‘Degrowth. A Vocabulary for a New Era’ (2015), among others, are giving a new momentum to concepts like ‘resilience’, ‘real utopias’, ‘re-politicisation’ of everyday life, ‘de-colonisation of the imaginary’ and ‘transition’. These emerging themes are influencing the academic discourse and research agenda in fields like political economy, sociology and social movements studies. In light of this, the paper attempts to provide with an original theoretical framework focusing on collective and community-based practices that aim at ‘embodying’ the critique to consumerist and capitalist societies. These include co-housing, eco-villages, intentional communities and transition towns which are increasingly widespread and inter-connected examples of how people are trying to concretize, not without effort, ‘real utopias’ (Wright 2010).
Dr Lara Monticelli is currently an independent research fellow, awarded by the FBML Foundation (Italy), working on her project titled ‘Laboratories of Change’ in collaboration with researchers at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions in Rotterdam. The project focuses on the (re)emergence of community-based social movements (e.g. intentional communities, eco-villages, transition towns) as living laboratories experimenting with practices of resilience and resistance to environmental, economic and societal challenges. She is especially interested in how these movements politicize and re-configure everyday life, thus representing radical attempts to embody the critique to contemporary capitalism. She has also co-founded and co-chaired two international conferences, creating a vibrant forum for the discussion of this emerging research agenda at the annual SASE meetings (Berkeley 2016, Lyon 2017). Prior to this, she worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (Italy). Her other research has been centered on the study of non-conventional political participation, and combines perspectives from the sociology of work, social movement and political participation studies.
Paul Raekstad | University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Title: Freedom, De-Alienation, and Revolution
This paper examines the theory of alienation and its implications for thinking about social revolution to unmake capitalism. After briefly discussing the importance of the theory of alienation to different forms of contemporary anarchist and Marxist theory and practice, I reconstruct Marx’s theory of alienation as a diagnosis of how capitalism thwarts human freedom. This in turn raises important questions about the requirements of successful de-alienation – a question rarely given the attention it deserves. A politics of de-alienation requires, I argue, not only rejecting capitalism and the state, but also a commitment to prefigurative politics. Prefigurative politics is necessary for developing revolutionary subjects with the powers and capacities, motivations, and consciousness required for replacing unfree, alienated social relations and institutions with free and unalienated ones. Finally, I compare and assess three contemporary models of de-alienation: the autonomist Marxist model of John Holloway; the more state-involved model of 21st Century Socialism; and the anti-statist model of anarcho-syndicalism. All three provide models of de-alienation that stress the importance of prefigurative politics in some sense, but each suffers from distinct shortcomings. Holloway’s autonomist model fails to provide an adequately social conception prefigurative politics; 21st Century Socialism faces concerns about the long-term viability of combining prefigurative economic and political microcosms with retaining hierarchical state structures; and anarcho-syndicalism confronts questions about lacking emphases on institutions of transition – rather than just struggle – and inadequate recognition of community organising. Nevertheless, I argue that an updated anarcho-syndicalist model offers the most plausible vision of anti-capitalist struggles of de-alienation.
Dr. Paul A. Raekstad is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam, who previously completed a PhD and lectured at the University of Cambridge. Current research focuses on realism, democracy, the legitimacy of economic institutions, and radical political theory more broadly. Works can be found on the following webpage.
Raekstad, P. Accepted. Revolutionary Practice and Prefigurative Politics: A Clarification and Defence. Constellations.
Raekstad, P. Forthcoming. Realism, Utopianism, and Radical Values. European Journal of Philosophy. Available online with Early Access.
Raekstad, P. Forthcoming. Democracy Against Representation: A Radical Realist View. Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics.
Raekstad, P. Forthcoming. Human Development and Alienation in the Thought of Karl Marx. European Journal of Political Theory. Available with Early Access.
Raekstad, P. Forthcoming. The Democratic Theory of the Early Marx. Archiv für Geschichte.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 11:00 – 12:30
SP08: (Un)Making Solidarities with Ipek Demir and Pekka Juhani Sulkunen
Ipek Demir | University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Title: (Un)Making Europe: How to make sense of the contemporary ‘politics of resentment’?
My paper will discuss the (un)making of Europe in the context of contemporary issues over difference in Europe. It will rethink the relationship between diasporas, cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism in order to make sense of identity, difference, conflict, crisis and resistance in contemporary Europe, including the ‘politics of resentment’ which governs the European social and political sphere.
There is currently a growing opposition to both multiculturalism and to cosmopolitan ideals in Europe. The backlash against multiculturalism is accompanied by an anti-immigration and nationalist sentiment, challenging cosmopolitan values. The ‘threat’ from one is conflated with the other, presented as a menace poised against, and ready to puncture, European identity, culture, civilization and values.
However, rather than seen as bedfellows, cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism have come to be constructed as adversaries. Many social commentators and scholars appeal to cosmopolitanism’s Enlightenment origins, taking Kant’s theories on cosmopolitanism as a basis. Cosmopolitanism is what the desirable Europeans did and aspired to; the ‘undesirable’ ‘parochial’ ethno-religious communities of Europe, on the other hand, did something we did not like very much: they did multiculturalism. What is interesting is that this backlash against multiculturalism did not only come from the usual suspects. Sociologists, for example, Beck (2011: 54), Delanty (2011: 650), and Glick-Schiller et al (2011: 401) have also been critical of multiculturalism, or used multiculturalism as a foil when defending cosmopolitanism (See Demir 2016 for a criticism of this). This juxtaposition of cosmopolitanism against multiculturalism is all the more perplexing given that both cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism question the upper hand that the hegemonic national subjects hold, and attempt to increase the participation of all, including minoritized groups, as equal civic and political citizens within and across nation-states. Debates on Brexit and immigration have tapped into this existing dislike of multiculturalism (and the associated loss of privilege). This is borne out with numbers we have on Brexit which show that multiculturalism tops the list of social ills for Brexiters (81%) over and above immigration (80%) – even if slightly. In my paper I will explore such issues, including the extent to which resistance to both cosmopolitan values and multiculturalism we see in Europe today can be seen as a deep yearning for an old Europe where people knew their place, especially the immigrants, or non-whites or those from the colonies. I will attempt to uncover how without a proper understanding of the backlash against multiculturalism and racial diversity in Europe, we cannot make sense of contemporary Europe, including its making and unmaking.
Ipek Demir (PhD, Sussex) is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Leicester, UK. She was previously an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Demir’s work sits at the intersections of the fields of diaspora studies, ethno-politics, race and identity, nationalism, indigeneity, global politics as well as social and critical thought. She has carried out empirical research on Kurdish and Turkish diasporas, funded by the AHRC. Her latest article is entitled: ‘Shedding an Ethnic Identity in Diaspora: De-Turkification and the Transnational Discursive Struggles of the Kurdish Diaspora’, published in Critical Discourse Studies (Feb 2017). She is the founder and co-coordinator of BSA’s Diaspora, Migration and Transnationalism Study Group and the former Vice-Chair of ESA’s Sociology of Migration Research Network.
Pekka Juhani Sulkunen | University of Helsinki, Finland
Title: Causality or Justice? Contradicting Principles of Regulating Problematic Consumption in Consumer Society
Evidence-based public policy usually requires proof of causality as its justification. The causes of problems must be identified and demonstration of the effectiveness of specific measures is a condition for their application. “What works?” is a standard requirement for regulation of problematic lifestyles or consumption. The requirement of causality is often in a strange contradiction with justice. In many lifestyle issues such as excessive eating, gambling, drinking or other behavioural problems causality usually cannot be demonstrated. We do not know, for example, whether poverty is a cause or a consequence of gambling, overconsumption of food, drink or other deleterious consumption patterns. Neglect of policy in these cases means violation of our intuitive concept of justice. This paper applies Adam Smith’s theory of justice to deal with the problem. In his Theory of Moral Sentiments he advances the idea that justice is the fundamental moral sentiment for the maintenance of social order and solidarity. It is based on the passion of anger but must be qualified and regulated by reason. The paper argues that justice rather than causality should take priority in social policies that aim at social cohesion and order.
Pekka Sulkunen is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Helsinki. He was President of the European Sociological Association 2011-2013. He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. His research interests are the public sector governance, power and democracy, social theory, and addictions. Recent publications include: The Saturated Society (Second Edition 2016); Society on its own. The sociological promise today (European J. of Cultural and Political Sociology 2014); Autonomy against Intimacy (Telos 156/2011); The Kurdish Question: The Black Holes of Democracy (Telos 171/2015). The Consumer Society and the Social Bond: the Neoliberal Turn in Norway (2015); The Images Theory of Addiction (2015). Currently lecturing on “The sociological promise from the Enlightenment to Postmodern Critics”. Principal author of an international collaborative book Gambling, Science and Public Policy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018).
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | 11:00 – 12:30
SP09: (Un)Making Subjectivities with Anastasia Denisova and Nayia Kamenou
Anastasia Denisova | University of Westminster, United Kingdom
Title: Viral Storytelling and Subjectivity in Social Networks: How Personalised Contributions via Memes, Gifs, Hashtags and Comments Affect the Deliberation of Mainstream and Alternative Politics
Since the proliferation of social networks a few decades ago, users have embraced new modes of storytelling and discussing social and political grievances online. In addition to blogging, microblogging, commenting, liking and sharing, they have also started to exploit the more fragmented bits of communication, namely Internet memes, gifs, hashtags and other seemingly “incomplete” texts.
Brexit and the US presidential campaign of the 2016 saw the use of memes in both traditional and digital politics – politicians employed memes to attract audience to their discourses; whilst other voices were emerging online, aiming to ride the waves of user-generated vitality on social networks and resists to the dominant discourse.
This research studies the impact of viral storytelling and digital communication on the political discourses in social networks. It amalgamates the studies on the attention deficit that has been identified among the Internet publics in the 2010s, emotional storytelling for political activism, affective publics and creative emotional deliberation of politics in the digital space. It also aims to draw the links between the personalised expressions of grievances and opinions, to the formation of collective mobilisations and narratives. This approach aims to link the existing studies on affective publics, alternative political activism and digital storytelling with the need to acknowledge the blurring lines between personalised and collective political discussions; understanding the ways how individualised subjectivities turn into mainstream yet often reverberate back into subcultures.
Dr Anastasia Denisova is a Lecturer in Journalism at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster. Before starting her academic career, she worked as a journalist in Russia for over a decade; she keeps writing for the Independent, Global Voices and other media platforms. Anastasia has published her academic research on alternative digital politics, microbloggers, satire and Internet memes in Media, Culture & Society, Demokratizatsiya, Comparative Sociology, among others. She received awards for best presentations at academic conferences (such as Oxford Internet Institute’s recognition). Currently, she is looking at viral cultures and memes in the Western digital politics; the role they play in propaganda, populism and citizen deliberation. For further information you can visit Dr Denisova’s personnal webpage.
Nayia Kamenou | De Montfort University, United Kingdom
Title: On Precariousness and Emancipation: Female Political Subjectivities and Agency in the Greek Far-Right
Why do women join far-right parties? How do they position themselves in relation to their party’s ideology? What is the impact of their political agency on party ideology, organization, structure, and strategies? Answers to these questions are important for fully understanding the current thriving of a much-dangerous phenomenon that threatens hard-won democracy. This article offers novel responses to these questions through the study of the Greek Golden Dawn (GD), as one of the far-right parties in Europe that have been successful at recruiting women. It links party politics and gender and politics literature by examining GD women’s political subjectivities and agency. It employs a women-centered, close-up, internalist approach to the study of the topic and a qualitative research design. It thematically analyzes empirical ethnographic data from participant observation and interviews with GD women politicians and seasoned activists and documents that appear on the GD’s official website and on the blog of the GD Women’s Front. It challenges arguments that women are affiliated to far-right parties through men. It shows that GD women have managed to construct a catch-all, flexible, and coherent gender discourse that is becoming central to GD’s ideological and policy positions. It also highlights the ways through which gender is employed by the far right to augment its support base, especially when structural conditions are ripe. Therefore, it argues that such gender discourse could lead to an increase in the popularity and support of far-right parties among women and men with diverse views about gender and politics, both in Greece and elsewhere.
Dr Nayia Kamenou is a VC2020 Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Sciences at De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom. Dr Kamenou’s research is interdisciplinary and cuts across political science, sociology, and gender studies. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, and political agency. She conducts research and has published work on the interrelations between nationhood, ethnic identities, gender, and sexuality; the impact of Europeanization on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, and intersex rights, identities, and activism; women’s participation in far-right parties and the formation of gendered political agency and identities within the far right; women’s role in peace-building processes; representations of gender and sexual identities in cinema; and the impact of law and policy on trans* identities and political mobilization. Dr Kamenou’s work is firmly committed to political and social concerns and to the development of possible interventions for their resolution.
Friday, 1 September 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP10: Right-Wing Extremism and Islamist Extremism in Europe: Similarities and Differences with Esther Webman and Zbyněk Tarant
Esther Webman | Tel Aviv University, Israel
Title: Islamism’s Manichean Vision and the Jews
In his analysis of classical and contemporary perspectives on antisemitism, Sociologist David Norman Smith shows that antisemitism is a social construction of Jews as enemies. He adopts Norman Cohn’s assertion that “the deadliest form of antisemitism…has little to do with real conflicts of interest between living people, or even with racial prejudice as such…[It is] rather a conviction that Jews – all Jews everywhere in the world – form a conspiratorial body set on ruining and then dominating the rest of mankind.” This teaching appeared to be specifically modern, forming a decisive extension of the late medieval view that Jews are “mysterious beings, endowed with uncanny, sinister powers.” Everyday religious and cultural strife had given way to a global dualism, a Manichean vision of a world divided between Jewish evil and Gentile good.
I adopt Smith’s contention to argue that the Islamist worldview is typical to the Manichean vision of a world, and show that Islamism is an apocalyptic ideology which seeks to redeem the world from the ills of modernism, capitalism, imperialism, and the Jews, perceived as the embodiment of all things anti-Islamic. It reinforces a dichotomous worldview of good and evil, believers and non-believers, the House of Islam and the House of war, which can be reconciled only with the ultimate victory of Islam.
Dr. Esther Webman is the head of the Zeev Vered Desk for the Study of Tolerance and Intolerance in the Middle East, and a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Stephen Roth Institute at Tel Aviv University. Her research is focused on Arab discourse analysis, mainly Arab Antisemitism and Arab perceptions of the Holocaust. She has published extensively on these topics and participated in numerous conferences. Her book, From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust, co-authored with Prof. Meir Litvak, won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Gold book prize for 2010, and was published in Hebrew in 2015.
Zbyněk Tarant | University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic
Title: Attitudes of the Czech Far-right Scene to Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia
My presentation explores the various attitudes of the Czech Neo-Nazis towards the various actors, states and peoples of the Muslim world. The presentation is intended to raise issues that might become crucial for the debates about national security and possibilities of collusion between the far-right and the Islamist movements. For this purpose, I will use an interdisciplinary approach that includes anthropological fieldwork, social network analysis (SNA) and methods of qualitative analysis of electronic and printed far-right propaganda materials. My goal is to describe the surprising diversity of attitudes by the Czech far-right that could range from open hostility to a more or less disguised affinity. By exploring the conflicting images of Muslims in the neo-Nazi thought (“immigrants” vs. “anti-Zionist fighters”), my presentation will name the factors that might be responsible for policymaking of the far-right about the muslim cultural space. This allows me to define the theoretical conditions, under which certain mutual cooperation between the neo-Nazis and the Islamist movements could or could not be possible. I will describe the neo-Nazi version of ethnopluralism that enables the neo-Nazis and other far-right movements to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, or the Hizballah movement in Lebanon, while maintaining their strong anti-Immigration agenda. Further exploration of anti-immigration rhetorics will show how islamophobia is being connected and misused for the purpose of antisemitism and what do such accusations reveal about foreign inspirations and broader geopolitical perspectives of the Czech antisemitic scene.
Zbyněk Tarant, Ph.D. was born in 1982 in the former Czechoslovakia (today’s Czech Republic). After graduating at the University of West Bohemia in the field of Cultural Anthropology of the Near East, he continued his studies at the same institution, where he got his Ph.D. in 2012. While his main topic of research is the history of holocaust memory and its institutions in the State of Israel and the USA (the theme being the topic of his dissertation, defended in 2012), he became actively involved in the research of contemporary antisemitism since 2006. His specialty is monitoring of cyber-hate and analysis of emerging threats in the contemporary Central European antisemitism.
Friday, 1 September 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP11: Care Labour and Affective Labour in the Global Care Chain with Konstantina Davaki and Lise Widding Isaksen
Konstantina Davaki | London School of Economics United Kingdom
Title: On the Global and Local Intersections of Care and Technology-Assisted Reproduction: Internet-Mediated Surrogacy in Greece and Cyprus
This presentation examines issues of surrogacy in the context of two EU countries (Greece and Cyprus) which share significant characteristics. Both are or have been subject to EU-imposed austerity programmes; both are entry points to Europe; finally, they are the only EU member states which allow altruistic surrogacy.
The presentation analyses the impact of recession and austerity policies on the supply of surrogate mothers in the two countries for commercial purposes.
The presentation will focus on the narratives of prospective surrogates and intended parents involving the notions of solidarity, altruism, sisterhood, as well as the role of the mainstream and social media in informing the public debate on the issue.
To examine the above, the presentation will use desktop research methods to identify websites providing surrogate services. The content of such websites is expected to give a sense of the extent of online-arranged surrogacy in the two countries. We will also analyse interviews given to the media by gynaecologists and intended parents, available on the web and identify the ways in which the phenomenon is communicated to the media. In addition, through scrutinising the relevant blogs and social media we will attempt to analyse the contributions and comments of the surrogates themselves using critical discourse analysis, so as to identify the perspectives of surrogates and the ways in which their experience is presented online.
Dr Konstantina Davaki is Research Fellow in Social Policy at the London School of Economics. Her main research interests are gender, comparative social policy, bioethics, care, work/life balance, violence against women, mental health and welfare ideologies in a globalised world. Since 2010 she has been advising the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) of the European Parliament. Her academic publications include articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and reports: Davaki,K. (2017) ‘Surrogacy arrangements in austerity Greece: policy considerations in a permissive regime’ in Davies,M. (ed) Babies for Sale?:Transnational Surrogacy and the Politics of Reproduction, Zed Books; Davaki, K. (2016) Demography and Family Policies from a Gender Perspective, DG IPOL. European Parliament; Davaki,K. (2016) Differences in Men’s and Women’s Work, Care and Leisure Time, DG IPOL, European Parliament; Brunet,L. Davaki,K et al. (2013) A Comparative Study in the Regime of Surrogacy in EU Member States, DG IPOL, European Parliament.
Lise Widding Isaksen | University of Bergen, Norway
Title: Changing Welfare Regimes and Migrant Care Work
In this presentation, I will examine how new trends in welfare policies now intersect with gender, employment and migration policies. The local gender egalitarian dual earner/dual carer family model is supported by the welfare state’s recruitment of care workers with migrant background and refugees. How migrant care workers’ production of care services in Norway might influence gender dynamics in paid and unpaid care work in receiver and sender countries, is an important question for future research.
As the global care chain concept was pioneered in the USA, a context with an absence of collective and public provision of care, the conceptual framework has to be extended when shifting focus to Europe and Scandinavia to include migrants taking jobs in public care services and welfare institutions.
The reconciliation of work and family care is today one of the most pressing problems in most European societies.
As the care work regimes in Nordic contexts are being characterized by the drives for efficiency, productivity and flexibility, work force policies are geared to finding a flexible and available workforce. One result is that present care work regimes increasingly rely on migrant workers; the majority of them are women often arrived in Norway as labour migrants or as refugees. In classic studies of global care chains, the domestic live-in worker is the central individual, while in Nordic context the public employed care worker is becoming the dominant figure.
Professor Lise Widding Isaksen works in the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen, Norway. Among her research interests are gender issues, globalization, migration, transnational families, care work and welfare/social politics. She has written extensively on gender, migration and power in welfare states, with special emphasis on the social organization of care paid and unpaid care work.
Selected recent publications:
1) Lise Widding Isaksen (ed): Global Care Work. Gender and Migration in Nordic Societies. Nordic Academic Press, Lund, Sweden.
2) Lise Widding Isaksen (2012) “Transnational Spaces of Care: Migrant Nurses in Norway.” In Social Politics, International Studies in Gender, State and Society, vol. 19, number 1, spring 2012, p.58-78, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
3) ‘Strangers in Paradise? Italian Mothers in Norway’ (2016) in Majella Kilkey and Ewa Palenga-Møllenbeck (eds) Family Life in an Age of Migration and Mobility. Global perspectives through the Life Course. Palgrave Macmillan.
Friday, 1 September 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP12: The Transformations of Capitalism in Eastern Europe with Jan Drahokoupil and Svetlana Stephenson
Jan Drahokoupil | European Trade Union Institute, Belgium
Title: The Sociology of Economic Dependence: Are East European Countries Stuck in the Dependent Capitalism Model?
It is somewhat ironic that the concept of dependence, traditionally associated with the Marxist tradition, has come to dominate the theoretical frameworks that inform economic sociology and political economy of the region that was once labelled as post-communist. This presentation first explores the meaning of political and economic dependence in the light of empirical evidence from the region. It then proceeds by investigating the prospect of the dependent market economies by looking at the dynamism of wage convergence and considering the impact of new technology on the nature of region’s integration into global/European value chains.
Jan Drahokoupil is a Senior Researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in Brussels. He published a number of books and journal articles on European and transition economies, welfare state, and multinational corporations. Jan coordinates research on digitalization at the ETUI. Recently, he edited two special issues of Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research on digitalization and the future of work. His book publications include Globalization and the state in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2009), Transition economies: Political economy in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia (with Martin Myant, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), The outsourcing challenge: Organizing workers across fragmented production networks (edited, ETUI, 2015), Flexible workforces and low profit margins: Electronics assembly between Europe and China (edited, ETUI, 2016), and Chinese investment in Europe (edited, ETUI, 2017).
Svetlana Stephenson | London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Title: Criminal Entrepreneurs and Capitalist Transformation in Russia
The collapse of the state socialist system and the rise of new capitalist forms in Russia were accompanied by wide-spread illegality and organized criminality. This led to a period of social chaos and lawlessness, which enabled criminal networks to convert their capacity for violence into economic profit. They established their own systems of private protection, the so-called “roofs”, kryshi, using them for primitive accumulation, and competed with the weakened state as agents of violent regulation. While both the strengthening of the state and organized crime actors’ own ambitions led to the latter’s increasing integration into mainstream economic and political structures, a complex web of interdependencies emerged in which actors from criminal networks and political authorities collaborate using each other’s resources.
This fusion and assimilation of members of the governing bureaucracy and members of an aspiring bourgeoisie coming from criminal backgrounds was as much the result of consensus and cooperation as it was of competition and confrontation. Using interview data with members of organized crime groups and representatives of law enforcement agencies, and analysis of secondary data, I argue that instead of a pattern of elimination of Russian organized crime by the state, we can see a mutually reinforcing ensemble that reproduces the existing social and economic order.
Dr Svetlana Stephenson is a Reader in Sociology at London Metropolitan University. Her research has involved studying informal and criminal social networks in Russia, as well as perceptions of social justice and human rights in a comparative context. She is the author of Gangs of Russia, From the Streets to the Corridors of Power (Cornell UP, 2015), Crossing the Line. Vagrancy, Homelessness and Social Displacement in Russia (Ashgate, 2006) and the co-editor of Youth and Social Change in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Routledge, 2012). Her research was published in Current Sociology, Radical Philosophy, Journal of Youth Studies, The Sociological Review, Europe-Asia Studies, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Slavic Review, Social Justice Research and Work, Employment and Society, among others. Before coming to the UK, she had worked at the Levada Centre in Moscow.
Friday, 1 September 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30
SP13: Public Sociology and Public Intellectuals in Times of Europe’s Crisis with Markus Schulz and Maria Kousis
Markus Schulz | New School for Social Research, United States of America
Title: Crisis, Contention, and the Sociology of Possibilities
How could or should sociology respond to the crisis of the present? What are the competing options, resources, and obstacles? What can the sociology of imagination and possibilities contribute to these debates? This paper starts by discussing the social construction of the “Greek Crisis” in the context of a broader global crisis and a shifting zeitgeist. It contrasts the spectacles of corporate media and the technocratic narratives of political and economic elites with challenges to austerity and emerging alternative visions. On a theoretical level, it argues for the need to connect economic approaches to crises with studies of contentious politics and futures research. Studying stories of crises is studying futures in the making. This entails the forging of decisions points and narrative devices that broaden or narrow the choices considered to be within “reason”. The widely diagnosed decline of utopian visions had left a void. Into it seep resentments of disenchantment to an extent that it threatens institutional stability, yet without altering more fundamental power differentials. Deconstructing the enclosures of expectation can help to democratize the imagination of future scenarios. In this sense, a sociology of possibilities offers practical relevance for the democratization of European futures.
Markus S. Schulz is Vice-President of the International Sociological Association, President of the ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna 2016, and founding curator of the online WebForum on The Futures We Want. Professor Schulz’s research focuses on globalization, media, movements, and democratic imagination. He is author of the six-volume book series on Internet and Politics in Latin America (Frankfurt: Vervuert, 2003) and editor of the Current Sociology special issues on Values and Culture (2011) and Future Moves (2015). Among his many journal articles are “Collective Action across Borders” (Sociological Perspectives) and “Debating Futures” (International Sociology). Schulz won for his work international distinction, including the ISA’s Bielefeld Prize for the Internationalization of Sociology, the Eastern Sociological Society’s Candace Rogers Award, and the American Sociological Association’s Elise Boulding Award. Schulz has taught at New York University, University of Illinois, Virginia Tech, and the Bauhaus University of Weimar, Germany. He is currently working at the New School for Social Research on a project about “Reclaiming Futures.” For further information visit Markus Schulz’s personal website.
Maria Kousis | University of Crete, Greece
Title: Solidarities Confronting Europe’s Crises Through Alternative and Transnational Action Organizations
Solidarities confronting hard times in European spaces have been increasing since the recent economic and refugee crises. This presentation will offer main findings on solidarity initiatives and practices since 2007, which have been produced in LIVEWHAT and TransSOL, two European Commission funded research projects covering solidarity experiences in nine and eight countries respectively. More specifically the presentation will document major features of Alternative Action Organizations as well as Transnational Solidarity Organizations, using fresh data produced with a new method, Action Organization Analysis. Created for the needs of the specific research on solidarity initiatives, the method is based on protest event, protest case and political claims analysis and uses a hubs-website approach to build its randomly selected national samples.
These Action Organizations embody citizens’ initiatives and networks of cooperation amongst civil society actors engaging in strategic alternative/solidarity actions in the public sphere, and aiming to provide alternative ways of enduring day-to-day difficulties and challenges under hard times, especially relating to urgent needs (food, health, shelter), the economy, environment, communications, alternative consumption/food sovereignty, self-organized spaces, culture, and others. These initiatives/organizations are not operated or exclusively supported by mainstream economic and political organizations (i.e. corporate, state, or EU related agencies).
The data show that different patterns of solidarity are evident across European spaces unveiling varying organizational types, beneficiaries and participants, solidarity orientations, aims, action types as well as supplementary activities to reach them.
Maria Kousis (PhD University of Michigan 1984) is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Research and Studies in Humanities, Social Sciences and Pedagogics at the University of Crete. Her work focuses on political, economic and environmental contention, as well as social change and impacts of the recent crises. She was coordinator of the EC DGXII project ‘Grassroots Environmental Action & Sustainable Development in the Southern European Union’ and partner in EC projects including TEA, PAGANINI and MEDVOICES. Publications include 11 edited volumes/books/special issues and more than 60 articles/book chapters, including Economic and Political Contention in Comparative Perspective (co-edited with Charles Tilly; Paradigm, 2005). She is more recently involved as partner in the European Commission projects LIVEWHAT and TransSOL where she is leader of work packages on alternative forms of resilience and innovative paths to transnational solidarity, respectively. Furthermore, with Jochen Roose she has co-ordinated the GGCRISI Project on public sphere attributions of responsibility in Germany and Greece (2009-2013) funded by the Greek and German Ministries.
The Conference Programme will be updated periodically as more information becomes available, please check back regularly for updates.