Submissions are now being accepted for presentations at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress of Sociology in Toronto, July 15-21, 2018.

Please find below a complete list of sessions sponsored by ISA RC09, the ISA section on Social Transformations and the Sociology of Development, and submit your work!   Several of the sessions are organized by section members.

I have also included a call for papers for an interesting RC-49 session organized by section member James Linn.

Link to conference:

ISA RC-09 Sessions

World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, July 15-21, 2018

The Changing Terrain of Aid, Humanitarianism, and Development

Session Organizer(s):

Suzan ILCAN,, University of Waterloo, Canada Liam SWISS,, Memorial University, Canada

(Session in English)

This panel focuses on the practices of aid, humanitarianism, and development. We welcome papers that address (a) the recent changes to aid, humanitarianism, or development, such as the fragmentation of the aid/humanitarian field; violence against humanitarians/aid workers; formation of new border regimes and humanitarian subjectivities; dangerous migrant journeys and deaths at sea or on land; increased xenophobia and protectionism; and, shrinking support for development and humanitarian assistance, and/or (b) the responses to these changes, including novel forms of/actors involved in development and humanitarian assistance, and the establishment of social collectivities for political change, including community organizations, rights-based associations, and social justice groups. We are interested in papers that examine these issues through a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, and aim to include a diversity of perspectives and scholars in the discussion. Submissions by scholars from the Global South are especially encouraged.

Global Openness or National Foreclosure?

Session Organizer(s):

Ulrike M.M. SCHUERKENS,, Université Rennes 2 and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France

(Session in English)

In current societies, we can find new conflict lines: national foreclosure or global openness. There is the skepticism of broad population and electoral groups as opposed to the better established groups and the elites, the discomfort related to the consequences of globalization and the increasing success of populist parties. The tendency to foreclosure within the confines of the national state (communitarianism) and the rejection of universal values that the representatives of cosmopolitanism uphold, collide. We see in today’s societies a deep social conflict line and want this session to present and discuss case studies of individual countries, studying with an empirical basis this new conflict line in the actual global era.

Development Cooperation’s Focus on Childhood. Global Visions and Local Realities

Session Organizer(s):

Isabelle DANIC,, ESO RENNES, France Doris BUEHLER- NIEDERBERGER,, University of Wuppertal, Germany (Session in English)

Programs of development cooperation put children in the spotlight and even very young children. But, how do they define children and what is their understanding of good childhood and education? The hypothesis we propose to examine is that the policy for young children is authorized by a discourse on the child’s universal and natural body and development. For older children such assumptions of a universal human development seem less explicit. Still, an amazing worldwide similarity of school institutions and education programs remains. This raises another issue: What do these assumptions include and what are their consequences for local societies and for different groups of children in these societies? What kind of multifaceted realities of children’s lives are they confronted with, in different regions, according to age and to sex? Are the definitions of childhood(s), as organizations of development implement them, suitable for children living in contexts of poverty, and often enough of power relationships, violence, injustice? What are examples of development cooperation programs attempting to be sensitive to local realities and what are their conditions and outcomes? Session organizers welcome contributions addressing a wide range of such programs and local realities: proposals on development cooperation’s vision of childhood, on Southern childhood(s) and on the potential discrepancy and its effects. Organizers will give special attention to contributions who give insight into (differing) understandings of what might be violence children are experiencing and how shall be dealt with it as well.

Discourse, Power, and Development: Turning a Critical Lens on INGOs

Session Organizer(s):

Mollie PEPPER,, Northeastern University, USA (Session in English)

This panel turns its attention to the International Nongovernmental Organizations that shape development practices. By asking about the discourses, imaginaries, and assemblages of international development work, this panel takes a critical approach to thinking about the role of INGOs. What discourses shape the work of INGOs? How are those discourses created, validated, and perpetuated and what does this tell us about where power lies? What is the effect of these discourses in practice? Considering implications of development discourses for the politics of power in development aid allows for a more critical and reflexive study of international development. A careful interrogation of the construction of the various actors of development and the “needs” that development aid addresses shapes this panel’s discussion to bring us collectively closer to a critical reflection on the roles and work of INGOs.

Political Inequality, Economic Inequality, and Social Transformations Since 1989
Session Organizer(s):

Joshua DUBROW,, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland (Session in English)

Over the last thirty years, Europe, North America, and Latin America have seen, to varying forms and extents, major changes to their societies. Within this era, economic inequality has steadily grown within the nations of Europe and North America, while it has declined (though it remains high) within many Latin American countries. Social scientists have documented these changes for thirty years, and in the last decade — spurred by the Global Economic Crisis of 2008 — economic inequality has become a hot political issue. How have governments in these regions of the world addressed economic inequality? How has economic inequality influenced political inequality — defined as structured differences in influence over the decisions made within political processes, and the outcomes of those decisions? What are the consequences of economic and political inequalities for marginalized social and political groups? This session invites papers that explore the nexus of political and economic inequality during periods of intense social transformations over the last thirty years in Europe, North America, and Latin America.

The Governance of Enterprises: Global Approaches and Local Cultures

Session Organizer(s):

Ulrike M.M. SCHUERKENS,, Université Rennes 2 and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France Michel VILLETTE,, AgroParisTech, France

(Session in English)

In this session, we seek to explore with evidence the type of management approaches that are practiced in selected countries amidst an increasing but insufficient interpretation of the current situation. There is a need for a clear understanding of how local and international organizations are managed because: i) there is an apparent gap in the literature on management and leadership as most of the recent studies are limited in scope and unconvincing in their theoretical and methodological approaches; ii) decision makers in general and managers in particular of both public and private sector organisations have encountered increasing challenges of having to balance between the demands of a globalising power of business and the requirements of a localising power of culture and politics. The effects of globalisation have been felt throughout the world especially after the 2008 financial crisis and the recent decline in oil prices and revenues from tourism and the complexity of the eminent economic, social and political changes that have very often resulted in contradictory and problematic outcomes, especially where opportunities for development, in terms of labour and raw materials, are available but not properly used. The consequence of this lack of understanding of management is a mere concentration on trying to tackle the symptoms of problems not the roots of the problem.

Social Structures and Inequality. Do Western Concepts Apply Globally?

Session Organizer(s):

Dieter NEUBERT,, University of Bayreuth, Germany (Session in English)

The current discussion on middle classes in the Global South has placed one of sociology’s core topics – the analysis of social structure and inequality – in the focus of a global sociology. At the same time, this debate shows that the conceptual developments in the social structure debate in sociology are hardly taken into account. The debate on global middle classes is dominated by a simplified notion of class reduced to income. The question whether classes in a Marxian, Weberian or Bourdieuan sense exist is hardly discussed. It is implied that classes are socio- culturally homogenous despite well-known differences with regard to religion, ethnicity or gender and the existence of different lifestyles. Moreover, patterns of intersectionality are hardly recognised. The simple question is: Do Western sociological concepts apply globally? If so, do we find in the Global South or transitional countries similar classes and social groups as in the “West” and how they are they defined? Or is there a need to develop the concepts further to analyse societies in different world regions. The panel invites empirical and conceptual contributions case studies of specific classes or groups or countries as well as comparative studies.

Business Enterprises and Development : Qualitative Approaches and Case Studies
Session Organizer(s):

Ulrike M.M. SCHUERKENS,, Université Rennes 2 and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France

Habibul KHONDKER,, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates Michel VILLETTE,, AgroParisTech, France

(Session in French, English)

The positive impacts of business enterprises on social and economic development are often alleged by economists, based on statistics, numbers and figures at the macro level. Conversely, the negative impacts such as the exploitation of workers, the destruction of the traditional way of life, the expropriation of the poor, the health and environmental damages have been often documented by sociologists and activists in all parts of the word. In responds to theses critics, large corporations have developed a window dressing strategy. Green washing, social responsibility allegations and others propaganda formula have made the understanding of what is actually going on even more confuse. The aim of this session is to discuss positive as well as negative impacts of business enterprises activities on local development. We expect well documented qualitative observations and cases studies in order to develop a renewed theoretical approach of the contribution of business enterprises to development.

Social Justice in a Turbulent World: South Asia in Focus

Session Organizer(s):

Habibul KHONDKER,, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates Rukmini SEN,, Ambedkar University Delhi, India

(Session in English)

This session will examine social transformation under conditions of lop-sided economic growth in South Asia which is generating a variety of grievances and potential threats to ecological systems and social orders. Social justice has become a major concern for the ordinary people who are losing their rights to land, livelihood and are threatened by a variety of looming ecological crises. Social movements of various sorts have appeared to champion the agenda of social justice. Issue sof social justice in the conditions of rapid unequal social transformation has taken many forms ranging from right to safe, clean water to health rights apart from broader civil rights and political rights. The political regimes, nominally democratic, are not advancing the causes of democracy by recognizing the democratic rights of the working class, poor and the marginal groups. The space of civil society activism has also shrunk. It is only the vocies of people and the progressive groups articulating the theme of social justice who are pitched against the massive forces of social transformation. The session aims to understand this dynamics so as to heighten the level of understanding and consciousness about the central issues of social justice in South Asia.

Public Sector Corruption, Inequality and Social Transformations

Session Organizer(s):

Ilona WYSMULEK,, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

(Session in English)

Public sector corruption constitutes one of the basic social problems that is yet far from being solved. It is one of the mechanism of social exclusion and has unequal harmful effect on different groups in society. As to recent theoretical approaches, countries with prevalent corruption are in the ‘inequality trap’, which constitutes the vicious circle of low institutional trust and high corruption perception. Corruption is often compared to contiguous disease, as perceiving widespread corruption and unfair treatment in public sector justifies and enhances own corrupt behavior. Despite advances in our knowledge about cross-country variations and harmful effects of corruption, there are many question that still remain unanswered. We encourage in this session to look at the problem of corruption from sociological perspectives, exploring the relation between corruption experiences and life situations, coming from prevailing social context and individual location within this context. This session concentrates on three main research questions: (a) What is the relation between individual social position and corruption experience in local public institutions? (b) What are the sources, new forms and mechanisms behind corruption experiences in different public introductions? (c) How do social, economic and political transformations as well as sector specific interventions impact institutional and structural corruption? This session looks for papers with comparative cross-country or cross-sector perspective, as well as papers with new theoretical framework that feature relation of institutional corruption, inequality and social transformations.

Transnational Civil Society and Environmental Governance

Session Organizer(s):

Yifei LI,, New York University, China (Session in English)

Environmental protection is a central problem in international development. As environmental awareness grows globally, so does the international race for natural resources. Not surprisingly, environmental governance is becoming more contentious than ever. In this context, transnational civil society plays an increasingly salient role in global environmental politics. Some civil society organizations choose to tightly band together, often times crossing different political scales. Others form close ties with actors from the private sector. Yet others coalesce with governmental actors to advance their environmental agenda. As the transnational environmental civil society evolves, it raises important empirical and theoretical questions about justice, power, knowledge, and governance, among others. This session takes stock of empirical evidence about transnational environmental civil society from different parts of the world, and seeks to advance our understanding of transnational advocacy in the Anthropocene.

The Global Climate Crisis and the Climate and Social Justice Movements for a Just Transition

Session Organizer(s):

John FORAN,, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA (Session in English)

In December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convened in Paris to finalize a global climate treaty. The resulting “Paris Agreement” is inadequate to the task of addressing the unpfrecedented global climate crisis, based as it is on non-binding voluntary national pledges, which even if all met would take global warming into the catastrophic range. Simultaneously, a sprawling climate justice movement has been growing in numbers, reach, and strength, interlinked in a vast network of networks. After Paris and now in the wake of Donald Trump’s administration in the United States, these movements are trying to scale up their efforts to put in place alternatives to both “business-as-usual” global neoliberalism and the “capitalist reformist” hopes placed in the Paris Agreement. The new social movements seek both a fair and binding global climate treaty and pathways toward deeply sustainable societies. This session asks whether it remains possible to “change everything,” as Naomi Klein puts it in her best- selling book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Consisting of prominent public intellectuals, climate activists, and interdisciplinary scholars, the panel will collectively address the question: how can the global climate and social justice movements work creatively to craft action plans that address the root causes and future impacts of climate change? In doing so, we will be rethinking the most important global social movement of the 21st century, and how humanity’s response to the problem of climate change will define the conditions of life as the century wears on.

Social Problems, Development and Policy in Africa

Session Organizer(s):

Jonathan AMOYAW,, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Godfred BOATENG,, Northwestern University, USA

(Session in English)

Development in Africa has been hampered by a myriad of problems, which have crippled the social structure of several African countries and stifled the catching up process with the West. Gender inequality, lack of decent jobs, corruption, religious and ethnic conflicts, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, child malnutrition, and environmental degradation are persistent in many African countries. Although these social issues have received some attention from development and academic communities, it has translated into fewer functioning and transforming policies. Many countries are plagued with dormant policies and approaches for tackling these persistent and frequently multidimensional problems. The overall goal of this session is to stimulate a critical discussion by academics and social researchers on case studies, approaches, and best practices related to the problems mentioned and examine the public policy implications for these challenges. Particularly, this session will situate problems within the context of potential policy intervention strategies. Papers are invited from individuals who are working on such initiatives, especially those that center on poverty reduction, social development, gender mainstreaming, health, policy issues, livelihood strategies, and other mechanisms that seek to improve the overall quality of life in African communities.

Tolerance in Dislocation: The Global/Local Model of the Arab Gulf States and Societies

Session Organizer(s):

Rima SABBAN,, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates (Session in English)

The fast and hyper transformation in Gulf Societies and States could be a form of dislocation as Lacan characterized the “de-centered” or dislocated places by forces outside itself. This panel proposes a discussion of the speedy transformation of the Arab Gulf States and societies (Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). The recent economic stagnation resulting from the drop in the oil prices has left the Gulf region with multiple models of change. The panel invites a discussion of such multiplicity from different forms of interaction: the old and the new, the global and the local, the centered and the “de-centered” etc… Such forms of fragmentations and societal ruptures/and not, could also be forms of dynamic change as scholars of the region have pointed to. The aim here is to problematize the different relationships – identities, ethnicities, believes, generations, geographies, and modalities in Gulf societies. Situated in a region burning with violence, the Gulf States (UAE particularly) are trying to lead by example. They are presented as oasis of tolerance and happiness. The question remains can the Gulf States and societies sustain such model of development? How do they maintain the current balance of diversity and dislocation? How can they resolve the multiple identities, and interconnectivity? How do such forms interact and reflect a peacefully surface of interconnectivity? Can the Gulf States present a model of peace and tolerance to the neighboring countries as they proclaim?

Next Generation of Work in Development Sociology

Session Organizer(s):

Samuel COHN,, Texas A and M University, USA (Session in English)

This is an open session for any papers that contain innovative new theories or important new findings in development sociology. Presenters may come from any theoretical tradition, use any methodology – either quantitative or qualitative, may study any region of the world and may consider any time period including the present day. The session is a forum to present new work is that is exciting, stimulating and represents a significant advance in sociological thinking or knowledge. Papers that are good but don’t fit the standard molds are particularly welcome.

Young People’ s Aspirations, Prefigurative Politics, and the Search for Alternative Futures in the Global South

Session Organizer(s):

Eva GERHARZ,, Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Social Science, Germany Sandrine GUKELBERGER,, Sociology, Germany

Antje DANIEL,, University Bayreuth, Germany

Deniz Gunce DEMIRHISAR,, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Turkey

(Session in English)

Currently, we are witnessing disillusionment with development and its constitutive elements – such as modernization, democratization, and participation. Much of this is linked to a deep sense of frustration related to struggles in securing livelihoods, improving precarious working conditions, improving public services, or changing of gender orders in the Global South. Additionally, in light of the political swing to the right in Europe and the US, the grand formulas of the development narrative do not offer the same hope or venues in which to imagine a decent and safe future. By engaging in prefigurative politics, young people do not only express dissent but develop a “capacity to aspire”, through embodying forms of social relations, decision-making, and specific (sub-)cultural systems of representation. With their aim being to model imagined futures, prefigurative politics serve to provide the means to articulate aspirations in the present, and envision and experiment with alternative life-designs, gender order, and citizenships – albeit on a temporary and often highly volatile basis. This session seeks to make inquiries into this new development by using theoretically and empirically grounded insights into projects and experiences with prefigurative politics in different parts of the Global South, and to analyze the negotiations within such initiatives, which are geared towards producing alternative narratives of a “decent life”. Our aim is to investigate the tensions which emerge from the lived experience of individuals, who seek to escape the insecurity and complexity of the contemporary global economy through a utopian vision of a different society.


Call for submissions for International Sociological Association session(RC-49)

“Power, Stigma, Violence, Mental Distress, and Programmatic Responses within the Global HIV Epidemic” at the 2018 meeting

James G. Linn,Ph.D.


Despite major advances in HIV prevention and treatment, there are about

37 million infected individuals world-wide. Many of these persons with HIV

struggle with the profound mental stress associated with the stigma and

threat of violence associated with their illness. There is an increasing amount

of data suggesting that gender based violence (GBV) and the mental stress

and trauma associated with it ,is both a cause and outcome of HIV infection.

This session invites submissions which focus on programmatic responses

to HIV related stigma and violence and the mental stress and trauma associated

with them. Submissions on responses to gender based violence (GBV) and

HIV are especially welcome as are abstracts on HIV programmatic responses

in the developing areas of the world.
Section members, please submit abstracts for presentations in my session on HIV.

If you need more information, please email me ( or call me

615-415-6943. The Toronto meeting portal for submissions is now open on the

ISA website.My session is in RC-49 of the ISA. The submission portal for

abstracts is now open on the WSSA website.

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