Call for Abstracts: The Sociology of International Organizations

Planned Preconference to the ASA Annual Meeting:
“Feeling Race—An Invitation to Explore Racialized Emotions”
August 10, 2018

Pre-conference Theme

At a time when globalization is increasingly contested in practice and scholarship, the rise of anti-globalization forces has cast the spotlight on the successes, failures and limitations of international organizations (IOs), ubiquitous actors which structure the institutional environment underpinning world economic, environmental and social affairs.

Political science has dominated the study of IOs. Yet, in recent years, a distinctive sociology of international organizations is emerging. It crosses over such diverse subfields as global and transnational sociology, economic sociology, sociologies of law and culture, organizations and professions. It variously focuses on markets and rights, health and finance, terrorism and development, among many other issues. Its theoretical and methodological variants reflect wider orientations in our discipline. Despite the promise of this diversity, however, strands of work on IOs in sociology have not adequately been brought into productive conversation with each other.

This year’s Annual Meeting theme “Feeling Race—An Invitation to Explore Racialized Emotions” offers opportunities to expand the sociology of international organizations in new directions. Neither in political science nor sociology has adequate attention been given to the structures of domination and race that permeate the transnational and global. Further, while emotion is salient in the decision-making and implementation of global governance, it has been little explored. Yet, it might offer a powerful sociological counterpoint to the rational actor, rational design and international political economy theories so prominent in political science and international relations.

This preconference plans to bring together diverse sociological scholarship on IOs in order:
— To bring our respective areas of focus, research and theory into closer engagement
— To map out the current intellectual geography of the field, noting its promise and gaps
— To consider where and how race permeates IOs and global governance
— To consider the interplay of reason and emotion in global governance
— To formulate new directions for scholarship and practice

Call for submissions
Abstracts for papers should be linked to one of three key themes that the panels will explore:
1. Global norms and IOs: substance; rhetorical or legal form; diffusion patterns
2. Global norm-making processes: the science and politics behind the emergence, institutionalization or contestation of global rules and norms (including inter- and intra-IO processes)
3. The impact of IOs: how IO activities affect different national or transnational outcomes (e.g., human rights, the environment, the economy, poverty and inequality).

Proposals that relate directly to issues of race and emotion in IOs are particularly encouraged.

Abstracts should contain the following information in the following form:
Theme: (please select the theme above that most closely fits the paper)
Contact details: (author/s, affiliation, and e-mail address)
Abstract: (no more than 400 words)

All abstracts should be sent to
The deadline for sending abstracts is Friday, December 29, 2017

The preconference committee will inform successful applicants by Friday, January 5, 2018Note: The preconference proposal with all confirmed participants will be submitted for ASA Program Committee approval by January 11(submission system closing date), and a final decision will be made by ASA after that deadline.

Pre-conference organizing committee
Sarah Babb, Boston College
Elizabeth Heger Boyle, University of Minnesota
Nitsan Chorev, Brown University
Terence Halliday, American Bar Foundation
Alexander Kentikelenis, University of Oxford

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