Call for Papers: ISA Forum of Sociology


RC02 Call for Abstracts

The call for individual abstracts is available online starting on April 14 until September 30, 2015:


“Reconsidering Debt, Money, and other Relationships, Aaron Z. Pitluck, USA

Sociologists frequently understand finance in essentialist terms—as the creation and brokerage of capital. However, in line with other relational approaches in sociology, numerous scholars have investigated debt, credit, bonds, and other debt-like financial instruments as social relationships. This open call for papers seeks empirical research that explores debt, money, bonds, and other debt-like financial instruments as social relationships. For example, papers can explore how culture, moral beliefs, norms, habit, imitation, strategic behavior, social networks, or social institutions shape on-going debtor/creditor relationships. At the level of organizations, how does viewing debt and credit as relationships alter our understanding of the behavior of households, firms, corporations, municipalities, states, or transnational regions? At the level of financial instruments and markets, how are bonds, mortgages, and other household debt products created, marketed, and consumed? At higher levels of abstraction, how does viewing debt as a social relationship alter our empirical analysis of leveraging and deleveraging of households, corporations, nations, and currency regions? These broad questions are merely indicative of the wide range of research welcome in this panel.

“Global Think Tanks,” Session Organizers: Alejandra Salas-Porras, Mexico and Georgina Murray, Australia

This session attempts to discover the main networks of global Think Tanks (TT), their presence around the world, how they are structured and, in particular, the way they shape, support or countervail global structures of authority and knowledge; the various ideological tendencies in these networks and the extent to which they compete to gain credence with the people, offer alternative policy ideas and knowledge.

The following questions are encouraged: Who prompted this form of cooperation? Who funds and controls TTs and for what purpose? To what extent have they succeeded in the main purposes pursued? What is the global reach of each network? What are their main strategies and discourses? How are new policy ideas created, propagated and validated?

“Negotiations and Dialogue between Capital and Labour: Assessing Recent Developments, Potential and Limitations,” Patrick Ziltener, Switzerland

Mature capitalist socio-economic regimes have developed different forms and practices of social dialogue between capital and labour beyond mere individualised labour market bargaining. Such dialogue takes place in different arenas and at various levels: Companies engage with trade union representatives and in many cases also works councils, at shop floor, at national and recently also at transnational level. Social dialogue and collective bargaining between unions and employer organisations may take place at sectoral level regionally or nationwide, as well as in the context of international organisations such as the European Union. Within a given political system, social pacts between employer and employee organisations may be concluded at top level, in order to co-ordinate macro-economic policies.

This session aims to gather contributions which assess practices of social dialogue, and their transformation under changing socio-economic and socio-political conditions such as European integration, globalisation, fiscal austerity and crisis, constant company restructuring, rapid des-/industrialisation of regions, transformation to market economy, and so on.

“Changes in the Global Class Structure: The Precariat in the North and South,” Hiroko Inoue, Yoshimichi Sato, Christopher Chase-Dunn, USA

This session calls for papers that are related to all issues regarding changing Global North and South class structures and precarious labor. Precarious labor is an old story but the contemporary precariat is a newly emerging global class thanks to globalization and neo-liberalism.  Thus the session covers a wide range of topics that are relevant to class structure and inequality on precarious workers in relation to income, migration, education, family, gender, race, ethnicity, crime, health, mobility, labor markets, the environment, space, and social movements and social networks.
The session is open to various theoretical frameworks, perspectives and methodologies.  Papers relevant to global class analysis, class relationships in local, national, and global contexts, and variant forms of social movements are welcome, but will not be limited to these themes and approaches.  A wide range of studies that address various developing forms of precarity in Asian, European and countries of the Global South are also welcome.

Corporate power and carboniferous capitalism,” William Carroll, Canada

Since the industrial revolution, capitalism has been carboniferous, with increasingly serious ecological implications. This session welcomes papers that map and explore the social organization of corporate power in and around the carbon-extractive sector, broadly defined (including petroleum and bitumen, natural gas, coal, and transport via pipelines and other means), whether extracted using ‘conventional’ or unconventional methods. Papers may focus on any of a variety of modalities through which corporate power is expressed, including the strategic control of firms, elite networks, the allocative power of finance, operational power exercised within corporate chains of command, the power inscribed within transnational commodity chains, cultural power via media relations and corporate social responsibility initiatives, and political power vis-à-vis state bodies. While the social organization of corporate power is the main focus, papers that address how that power is contested in the struggle for a just transition to a better world are also welcome.

“Climate Change, Capitalism, Geo-engineering,” JP Sapinski, Canada

It is now widely admitted that the global elite has failed to mitigate GHG emissions after nearly 25 years of international negotiations. In the last few years, a growing number of voices have started to advocate, albeit very reluctantly, that climate geo-engineering needs to be seriously considered to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of global warming. Interest in the topic has grown rapidly, as numerous research initiatives have formed and mechanisms for a legitimate governance of geo-engineering research and implementation are being actively sought. However, the critical voice of sociology and political economy is still marginal in this crucial discussion, and the context of capitalism’s reliance on fossil fuels to support unfettered capital accumulation is all but absent from debates. This session addresses many of the questions that are left out of the discussion, such as: What is the relationship between capitalism and climate geo-engineering? Is geo-engineering a necessary consequence of capitalism or can it be avoided in an ecologically modernized regime of ‘green’ capitalism? Where does geo-engineering fit in capital accumulation circuits?

“The Regulation of Cross-Border Labor Mobility,” Karen Shire, Germany

The European Union is a case of the purposive construction of a transnational labor market in a macro-regional context. Yet many of the new patterns of labor mobility, such as posting workers, cross-border recruitment and temporary agency placements are evident in other macro-regions of the world. Moreover, even in the well-regulated European context, existing regulations have done little to address trafficking and forced labor migration even in the most advanced economies.
This panel will focus on regulatory questions, such as the application of home and destination country labor standards, curbing the demand for forced labor, the equal treatment of cross-border labor in wages, social protections and work regulations. Given the strongly national character of trade unions and industrial relations institutions, the regulation of cross-border work often either remains unaddressed, or is posed primarily in terms of protecting domestic workers from unfair competition by foreign nationals. In this panel, the focus is on how nationally based collective representatives develop the capacities for engaging in transnational regulation of labor conditions, and how transnational actors develop new regulatory mechanisms beyond the nation-state. A central question, building on insights gained from the literature on social movement type collective representation of labor concerns how to move beyond the limits of traditional forms of regulating work to guarantee decent working standards and prohibit abusive working and living conditions for cross-border labor.

“In Search of the Global Labour Market – Actors, Institutions, and Policies,” Ursula Mense-Petermann, Germany

“Globalization” has been the catch phrase dominating public as well as scholarly debates in the sociology on important political, economic, and social changes witnessed on national as well as global levels within the past two decades. Interestingly, however, “global labour markets” have not figured under the much-debated topics and have rarely been systematically investigated in the social sciences. While global labour markets on the one hand are often treated as a given in the media and by economic actors, and also sometimes by academic scholars, on the other hand, research that put global labour markets in the center of their focus is rather scarce. Hence, it is not clear if there is such a thing as a global labour market at all, what would count as global labour market and with what categories it could best be analyzed. The session aims at advancing a sociological understanding of global labour markets beyond economic models and at conceptualizing global labour markets in a way that makes it possible to grasp the diverse processes of transnationalization of work and labour markets.

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