ESA 11th Conference

Crisis, Critique and Change

Which crisis? Whose critique? What changes?

Making the world safe for banks is only one side of the coin. The present crisis is multi-faceted. It is not just a debt crisis, but also a political and a social crisis.

The debate calls for a sociological turn. Crises do not follow natural laws, they increase the viability of agency. A country is more than an economy. What are the historical roots and social effects of the financialization of the economy? Does the crisis of the Eurozone threaten the political existence of the EU? Will it push aside the social agenda of the European Union? The crisis is likely to produce seismic shifts in and for European sociology — across its substantive areas of research — from ageing, biographies, and families, all the way to religion, science, theory, and women’s studies.

What is behind the crisis? Two processes are at work. First, there has been a systemic transformation driving the shift from public to private power and adapting the state to capital markets. But, second, there has been a proliferation of vital types of critique too. Think about the deepening of existing divides. The Occupy protests, the social uprising in the Arab Spring, the unrest in Greece, and discontent in other European countries are all indicative of a reconfiguration of the link between crisis and critique.

To foster an understanding of the crisis and the dual role of critique in interpreting and affecting changes, European sociology has to rely on (1) rediscovering its subject matter as being more than a technical order, as a social world that has a history and a place, and (2) a broad-ranging debate on consequent conceptual and empirical questions. Toward both ends, we cordially invite sociologists and social scientists from around the globe to join us in Turin — to attend the conference, to participate actively in the discussions, and to contribute their own work.

Committee for Conference Programme: Frank Welz (chair), Helena Carreiras, Luigi Pellizzoni, Pekka Sulkunen (President of ESA), Pertti Alasuutari

Local Organizing Committee ( Tiziana Nazio (Chair), Giovanni Semi, Davide Barrera, Giuseppe Tipaldo, Franco Garelli, Adriana Luciano, Anna Caffarena, Sergio Scamuzzi