The 6th International Conference of the Romanian Sociologists Society „Curators and actors of the social fabric: Views through „Post-lenses” will take place online, hosted by Transilvania University of Brașov, Romania, 17-18 June 2021.
Today’s social fabric is a realm of important changes and movements. Work loses its salience, transnationalism shapes everyday life, people live more and spend more time in education than ever, they marry later (the second demographic transition is practically generalized), societal organization is under siege, both from populism and main stream ideologies, religion is turning into a diversity of positioning, family becomes more diverse than ever, organizations operate with new structures and patterns, social ties are redefined by social media and digitization. Such changes were anticipated since the early 1970s, when a tide of post- concepts was shaping social sciences, including, but not being limited to postindustrial society, postmodern, poststructuralism, etc. The conference acknowledges the current trends and asks how the nowadays processes are reflected in our research. What we are looking from participants is to present their own research also referring, at least in the discussion part, to these “post-“ trends that are in place. Therefore, we invite for proposing conference panels that include your current research, seen through the post-lenses of our current societies, as given by the above-underlined transformations.
The conference is seeking submissions related to the conference topic, but not limited to the following panels:
Marian-Gabriel Hâncean and Bianca Elena Mihailă
It has been long recognized the power of social network analysis to disentangle and unveil the patterning of human interaction. Our session builds on the idea that the social fabric plays a key role in the lives of individuals who display it. This session invites contributions from researchers who are currently employing social network theories, methods or tools (qualitative, quantitative or mixed) in their research work. Specifically, we welcome presentations focused either on research designs intended to facilitate the analysis of structural (relational) data, or on theoretical frameworks meant to provide valuable insights about the human life embedded in the multi-layered webs of social connections. This session is interested in receiving presentation proposals within the following areas (but not limited to it): migration, science of science, political networks, public policy and corruption, organizational behaviour, intra- and inter- organizational networks, social support, health studies, diffusion processes, large data visualization. We encourage the entire spectrum of submissions from on-line to off-line data and processes, from ego-centric and socio-centric to personal network analysis approaches, from ethnographic stances to complex system analyses.
Michael G. Flaherty and Cosima Rughiniș
We invite contributions that examine emerging forms of time work (or temporal agency) and their relevance for shaping our behavior and temporal experience. Across social contexts, we have witnessed a simultaneous technological acceleration of communication, transportation, and production. Yet this has not enhanced our ability to save time and slow down. Instead, there is a widespread feeling of being rushed or harried in everyday life, in what has been termed an acceleration society (Gleick, 1999; Rosa, 2003). There does not seem to be enough time. Acceleration has been accompanied by its paradoxical twin, the de-temporalization of life and politics (Rosa, 2003) in an ever-more liquid modernity (Bauman, 2000) where careers, relationships, and other life trajectories become increasingly fragmented and frozen in a perpetual present. Social actors struggle to make sense of global threats with a temporal logic, including climate change, increased inequality, or emerging multidrug resistant bacteria, within a context of competing interests and diagnoses in which imagined futures and temporal logics play critical argumentative roles. Acceleration, de-temporalization, and fluidity appear as powerful forces in an unstable equilibrium with forces of deceleration, inducing individuals to react or adapt by means of time work. Both acceleration and deceleration processes can be understood as emerging effects of agentive efforts by multiple and concerted social actors to modify and control temporal experience. Digital technologies such as apps and platforms play an ambivalent role in the ensuing struggle between temporal structure and temporal agency. They are outcomes of individual and corporate agency and (disruptive) innovation, while reconfiguring at scale the temporal norms and practices of being together, intimacy and sex, planning one’s life, working and finding work, travel, doing business, learning and so on. Memory and forgetting are redefined in digital arenas, while increasingly large amounts of data are elicited, collected and processed by corporate-algorithmic entities aiming to make human lives more controllable. This panel welcomes the study of individual, collective, and organizational forms of temporal agency, both human and non-human (e.g., algorithmic agency) or time work (Flaherty 2003, 2011). We invite contributions that examine how social actors modify temporal experiences and practices such as duration, frequency, sequence, allocation, taking and making time. In addition, we are interested in how social actors engage in argumentative time work by redefining the past, reimagining the future, and creating temporal frames or timescapes (Adam, 1998) that shape what can and cannot be seen, remembered, and imagined. References: Adam, B. (1998) Timescapes of Modernity. The Environment and Invisible Hazards. London: Routledge. Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Flaherty, M. G. (2003) ‘Time Work: Customizing Temporal Experience’, Social Psychology Quarterly. doi: 10.2307/3090138. Flaherty, M. G. (2011) The Textures of Time. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Glecik, J. (1999) Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. New York: Pantheon. Rosa, H. (2003) ‘Social Acceleration: Ethical and Political Consequences of a Desynchronized High-Speed Society’, Constellations, 10(1), pp. 3–33.
Rozália Klára Bakó and Laura Nistor
Since the mid nineties researchers have developed a monumental theory of information and communication technologies, within the conceptual framework of the network society – an ideal type transcending economic, cultural and political changes that took place in the 20th Century. Communication networks enabled by the internet are rapidly expanding along various codes and values. The problematic of community formation is again on the researchers’ agenda, due both to the loosened traditional ties, and to the emergence of new communities amid increased “networked individualism” (Wellman, 2002, 2018). Our relationships regain their value in a networked world, either as real or virtual togetherness. Based on the issues highlighted above, our panel is aimed at exploring the new ways of community formation and functioning in a networked world: innovative practices, new lifestyles, and local responses to global challenges. How does the internet affect the real and virtual community formation, and which are the factors contributing to their emergence?
Mălina Voicu, Delia Bădoi and Cristina Tomescu
In the past three decades, the post-communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe undergone significant social changes with direct impact on population structure. The drop of fertility rate, together with the growth of life expectancy and external migration led to important decline of the population size, as well as to the rapid population ageing in these societies. Moreover, prediction made by United Nations point out to the continuous decline of the population size in the region for the next 80 years, while a growth is predicted for the Norther and Western societies. Several factors contributed to this trend, such as the rapid modernization fuelled by the fast-economic growth which speed up the second demographic transition on Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the societal liberalization that provides the opportunity to choose over the own life and decide if and when to get married or to have children, as well as whether to move to another country or not. Both factors, economic growth and societal liberalization deal with ‘post’ modernism and pertain with the changes of values and behaviours in postmodern societies. However, other country specific factors impact on the demographic trends besides modernization and cultural change brought by it. Family pattern, policies promoted during communism or social policies implemented in the past three decades interfere with ‘post’ modernization leading the demographic change to country specific pathway. This session looks at the interference between ‘postmodernism’ and path dependent factors in shaping the demographic change in Eastern Europe, trying to find answers to several research questions: to what extent the current demographic decline is the outcome of the rapid modernization? What prevails in shaping the population change, factors related to ‘post’ modernization or the national particularities? Which are the social consequences of population change and how do the national governments react to it? Do social policies help in preventing the negative impact of population decline and of demographic ageing? The session welcome theoretical and empirical presentations addressing these research questions, country cases studies as well as comparative studies. The topics of presentation may include but are not limited to:
- Analysis of fertility in region between 1990 - 2020: dynamics; socio-economic profiles; fertility and migration; the impact of social politics; gender equality and fertility.
- Social factors’ impact on care and fertility in the Central and Eastern Europe: economic development; the change of social values; the change on family and household structure; life satisfaction and work-life balance.
- Analysis of migration in Central and Eastern Europe between 1990 and 2020: dynamics of migration; circular and return migration; migration and income; transnationalism; Diaspora; causes of migration; employment and emigrants abroad.
- Labour market and demographic change: employment and unemployment in Central and Eastern Europe; labour market and vulnerable groups; active ageing and integration of the elderly in the labour market; recent changes of the labour market; adequacy between qualifications and requirements for labour market in a comparative perspective; working conditions and the quality of work; political effects and employment policies of Romania in the EU context.
- The health system and demographic change: health policies and reproduction of health; the quality of health services; deficiency of personal qualification; policies, access and social disability.
- Social protection and demographic change: the social protection on fertility; policies for the protection of children and families in difficulty; policies for the transnational family.
Raluca Ioana Andrei
Today, Museums represent a vital point of meeting, learning space, relaxation, enrichment of knowledge, socialization. Migration, learning in different places and integration in jobs belonging to other spaces, produce changes at cultural and identity level. The museum thus becomes a space of interference of diverse cultural areas. The exhibition space transcends into the space of meeting, communication, identity enhancement and elimination of stereotypes, develops a complex, tolerant and open personality. The success of an integrating and globalizing cultural policy depends on how museums manage to be transposed into cultural hubs. The goal of the panel is represented by the Perception of the current society about the museum as a collaborative agent. Through the thematic approach we aim to identify several aspects as well: - Is the museum space perceived by the current society as an inclusive, participatory and socially involved space? - How can today the museum institution be transposed into a cultural hub that responds to the new directions of the current society influenced by migration, sustainability and biodiversity conservation? What are its relations with the other actors involved - educational policies, environmental policies, etc. - Are the values of the museum - inclusive, diverse, focused on fairness and trust - perceived by contemporary society? - What are the museum mission, vision and values from the perspective of our society. The subject is open to those interested in migration and identity, cultural policies, wellbeing and social involvement.
The elements of modernity have been reshaped depending on the evolution of society and the needs that individuals have begun to feel. Modern society has become an entity focused on diversity, on the assertion of individuality, on technology and on a new type of consumption. The major change concerns the transition from the nuclear family model to a variety of family models, which is not equivalent to the end of the nuclear type, as its imposition did not mean the end of the traditional extended family. The nuclear family ceases to be the ideal, dominant type of society, becoming only one of the multitude of existing family types. Sociologists identify some key causal mechanisms in family restructuring that have led to the development of alternative models of family life: engaging women in extra-family activities, increasing the employment status of women in the labor market and their desire for social promotion, which have strongly affected the economic and socializing functions of the family, led to the diminution of the male authority, the decrease of the fertility and the increase of the probability of divorce; territorial mobility in the form of a permanent or temporary migration, contributing to the modification of the traditional models, by expanding the partner selection area; the processes of urbanization and modernization that allow the appearance of consensual, heterosexual or homosexual unions, probate marriages, etc .; increasing the education of the population, the level of education of the woman, which influences the attitude towards marriage, the age at marriage and even the distribution of roles. To these we can add other important transformations: the general increase of the standard of living and the economic independence of the young people, which favored the alternative and autonomous family compartments; value changes also had a decisive impact: increasing cultural, political, religious diversity; increasing general tolerance, social permissiveness to differences (cultural, religious, sexual, family, etc.); the personal revolution was possible in the context of the continuous increase of the standard of living, the possibilities of material independence and the opportunities for personal achievement; the social climate has become permissive to the diversity of cultural models and ethical behaviors. As a general trend, the family (of any type) has become an increasingly democratic institution inside and more open to the outside through the proliferation of bridging social capital.
Dana Costache (Tudose)
This panel will bring together sociologists and anthropologists who have a thorough understanding of how cultural and social factors create conflicts and compatibility crises within families, leading to separation and divorce. The United Nations Statistics Division is the main agency responsible, at the international level, for collecting statistics for marriage and divorce. Another international agency that accurately measures the rate, mean age at marriage and reasons for a couple’s divorce is the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization with 36 member countries, among which Romania, as well. According to recorded data, both by the United Nations and the OECD, divorce as well as non-marital separation, are most influenced by four main factors: incompatibility at 44%, infidelity at 18%, drug/alcohol addiction at 9%, physical/mental abuse at 6%. By looking at, understanding and comparing cultural and social indicators in the lives of two partners, it is possible to predict the source of future conflict (incompatibility). It is also possible to correctly identify sources of present conflict in relationships that “don’t seem to work”, and help the partners find the right solutions that address their real problems. Author Simon May, a professor of philosophy at King's College, London, states, in his book, “The history of love”, that “the deepest and most lasting love sparks on the foundation of compatibility and resemblance between the personalities and moral foundation of two people: those traits, values and goals they each think are important. The presenters in the panel will bring post-conflict (post-separation) data and understanding on the main factors leading up to separation and divorce in the 21st century modern family, looking, from the sociological perspective, at the changing role of the woman within the family, to the crisis of masculinity, and to the role the family as a social nucleus, plays nowadays, as compared to a century ago.
Silviu G. Totelecan and Adrian T. Sîrbu
The aim of the panel would be to discuss the way the social researchers cope, in their endeavors to grasp aspects of social reality, with the massive upsurge, coextensive of the entire social life, of social communication through mass- and social media fusion and proliferation. Obviously, this expansion has equally massive consequences on the formation of social representations of all kind: notional and intuitive, analytical and pre-reflective, scholarly and popular, specialized and common, explicit or tacit, etc. The less obvious but nonetheless major consequence would be the alteration of a structural situation characteristic of the epistemic ideal and exigencies which once presided over the birth and evolution of modern social science. If all along the classical modernity the establishing of any version of social science postulated the mutual convertibility between the description of society’s articulations and the science’s conceptual vocabulary and statements (that is, a tendentious homology between the social reality’s order and the logical grammar of its scientific description), nowadays the digital communication alters, misappropriates, dissimulates, misconstrues – in brief, obscures – the logical-empirical possibility of a scientific knowledge of the social matter; in other words, the very possibility of the “sociological thing”. This state of affairs can be briefly put as follows. If the techno-economical infrastructures of the digital telecommunication increasingly, and more and more exclusively, relies on the countless profiling takes (recursive counting and triangulations) – resulting in social knowledge quanta – of collective behaviors, generated by ever more complex and efficient computer applications, the public space’s landscapes are dominated by a multiplicity of voices, whose competing notorieties are augmented by the same digital medium and through which is put forth the bazaar of a luxuriant and contradictory opinion range about everything “social”. The issue isn’t at all how “quantitativists” relate themselves to the automatic sociology performed by the algorithms, nor how “qualitativists” approach the trivial sociology staged by all the so-called influencers. After all, the right question seems to be: in which way the social researchers of all epistemic-methodological tribes have to redefine and repurpose their output of social intelligibility within the competition with the “(neo)sociological stuff” generated by the interwoven synergy of combined and fused effects of algorithms, on one side, and influencers on the other. Is there any chance that algorithms and influencers are the two sides of the same coin? There are strong clues to suggest the affirmative answer; after all, the influencers, in all their cacophonic diversity, from political-ideological or social-economic doxa to life style trends, cannot flourish without a global ecosystem of social communication dominated by the silent/hidden work of algorithms which constitutes at once its infrastructure, its engine and its fuel. What sort of sociology (of sociological matter, but also of social logic) must be re-instituted (reinvented? uncovered? recaptured?) in order to counterweigh the complete take-over of the sociological meaning by these two new curators of the social fabric? Not because, as such, there would be something to do against their irreversibly transformative social effects, but in order to preserve for sociology/sociologies and their epistemic output the status of a referential correlate for a genuine, analytical, explanatory and/or comprehensive, rational, true, meaningful, etc. social knowledge (a knowledge about and of society). Otherwise, the peril would be of a socio(-)logy completely devoured by the algorithmic reason, and, for the sociologist, to be pushed to become nothing more than another kind of influencer. Can this sociology be anymore just another applied one (i.e. one devoted to describing apparent surfaces, plain configurations of the ever more digitally curated social world) when the “apps” are already running ahead of it, by simultaneously deciphering and shaping the social worlds? Isn’t it then obliged to a return towards a re-theorization of the social matter?
Ionuț Butoi and Zoltán Rostás
This year marks 140 years since the birth of Dimitrie Gusti, the founder of the Bucharest Sociological School, renowned social scientist and institution builder. We propose a critical evaluation of the role played by Gusti not only in the development of Romanian sociology, but also and foremost in the process of understanding and rationalizing the scientific research and social intervention in the context of the socially changing interwar Romania. We are also interested in the social dynamics of Gusti’s work, reflecting the transformations and transition processes that occurred in his society. How Gusti and his followers conceptualized social change? What did they propose as they tackled the issue? To what extent were they aware of their own social condition and context? We are welcoming contributions that highlight the social dynamics reflected in the practices and institutions built by Gusti and/or analyze the way his Sociological School imagined social change in interwar Romania.
During the last decade, academic scholars, urban practitioners, and policy-makers across the globe made great progress in recognizing the causes of the socio-economic inner peripherality, and in documenting the complexity of its consequences. A good deal of concerted action has already been taken on the part of many governments and local authorities in Europe and beyond, reacting to the most immediate, visible, and damaging consequences of urban shrinkage. This section is dedicated to theoretical and research paper focus on various case studies of cities around the world that have to deal with the challenges of being an inner-periphery: shrinkage, gentrification, urban development, economic revitalization, metropolization, urban resilience, urban governance, specific methodology for urban analysis and so on.
Marian Preda and Ștefania Matei
The present world is characterized by significant structural and institutional changes. While there is general consensus that the digitalisation processes play a significant role in economy and culture, the nature of the emerging technological transformations is highly debated and no agreement seems to be forthcoming soon. The current society is mostly understood as facing a transitional phase towards advanced forms of social organisations, with new spatial and temporal orders being enacted. In this context, we invite contributions that explore how digital technologies shape the understanding and experience of social time, thus aiming to establish a dialogue between postpositivism, socio-constructivism, new materialism, critical theory, posthumanism and postphenomenology. We invite authors to consider especially, but not exclusively, the following lines of inquiry:
- Time-use patterns in human interaction with technologies: Digital technologies changed media production and distribution processes by allowing various forms of leisure to emerge at the intersection between public and private spheres. Interactive media support specific forms of collaboration and social interaction that invite audiences to engage with time in novel ways. Multiple temporalities, several forms of synchronicity and various temporal dynamics are developed around the consumption of new media technologies, all of which have consequences on self-constitution and personal identity. How do digital technologies change our perception of time? What kind of time work is accomplished in the use of technologies? How do digital technologies change our relation with the past, the present and the future? How do digital time-use patterns differ across generations and social groups?
- Time as a variable in socio-technical design: Socio-technical design is not neutral, but it conveys values and constructs through which human make sense of their world. Devices and gadgets are social actors that play significant roles in the circulation and production of meaning. By design, technological products operate on a temporal order and generate temporalities in which social actions take place. How do the latest gadgets and applications change people’s understanding of themselves and the world? How are cognition and agency configured and reconfigured through digital media? What are the ethical implications of time-related measures and functionalities embedded in the design of technological products? How are digital technologies deconstructing notions through design?
- Temporal aspects in technological innovation processes: The shift towards an innovation-driven economy comes up with the entrepreneurial creation of new markets, business models and organisational cultures in which time is appropriated not only as an asset but also as a constitutive feature. The quest for automation implies the transformation of time into a mathematical concept operated by algorithms that rely on data patterns to extract commercial value. Surveillance capitalism is basically an algorithmic capitalism in which time is transformed into a commodity and assigned with an exchange value on behavioural future markets. How does the innovation culture become sensitive to the emerging temporal processes imposed by datafication and digitalization? How is time capitalized and monetized in the provision of good and services according to a profit-driven framework? What versions of capitalism transpire in the commodification and algorithmic formalization of time?
• Temporal regimes related to technologies: The digital environment integrates a complex mix of biological and cultural rhythms, thus regulating social relations and human practices. The timescapes of modernity are reconfigured by means of technological instruments that impose different speeds and tempos in the social organisation of everyday life. Compelling routines appear as manifestation of disciplinary power and effective knowledge-making practices emerge alongside new ways of ordering social processes within online communities. The temporal regimes arisen in the digital sphere through machine learning and artificial intelligence bring about new forms of authority and control that have an impact on the political economy and governance at multiple levels. What kind of power structures and types of influence are supported by digitally-mediated routines? How are acceleration processes induced technologically? What kind of social institutions are legitimated in human interaction with technologies and how do they shape temporal subjectivities of the digital natives?
Recent years did not bring more important international migration flows as compared to the past (Czaika & de Haas, 2014), but the constant accumulation of migrants (Lowell, 2007), transnationalism (Vertovec, 2009), and denormalization of life-style (Link, 2013) contributed to increased visibility of international migrants. This happens both in the host societies, as well in the ones of origin, where transnational connections, return or circular migration, social remittances, and mere absence increase visibility of emigrants. Keeping in mind that migration is liquid (Engebersen et al, 2010), this section invites contributors to present their work related to international migration, asking to reserve last minutes of the presentation to tell how the findings contribute to societal changes, either at origin or n the host societies, or at international level, and/or how such processes are different today as compared to the past decades or they simply reproduce what was observed in the history.
The vertical and horizontal integration of the EU member states’ economies aimed at increasing the convergence of old and new UE member states. Structural and institutional reforms were among the tools used by national governments to achieve higher convergence levels. In addition, the EU has provided further regulations for the periphery economies altering their models of industrial relations and social policies, but also the migration of the workforce. The mobility of capital and labour have granted firms and workers new opportunities and constraints in employment relations. During times of transnational mobility of capital and labour, the representation of the collective interests of workers represents one important layer in the analysis of transnational labour markets. The literature on transnationalization of industrial relations and its effects on the social fabric of communities has argued in favour of increasing the complexity of charting these issues in more various regions and case studies, by bringing new perspectives on actors, institutions and processes, connecting the multiple levels of analysis, and building new relationships and interdependences. This should bring more in-depth analyses of issues such as the role and the benefits of institutions and actors involved in the representation of workers’ interests, the way employees’ voices are articulated in processes of international restructuring of companies, the policy preferences of employers, the integration of foreign migrant workers in the national labour relations system, the effects of migrant workers’ posting regulations in EU, or the revitalisation of workers’ participation in transnational corporations by the European Works Councils. This panel welcomes papers that try to unfold the effects of transnationalized work relations on individuals, actors and institutions, but also studies that focus on the processes through which actors and institutions both at national and EU levels are reforming the industrial relations. Comparative and case studies, mixed methods or single qualitative or quantitative studies are acceptable for this panel.
Claudia Bacter and Cristiana Marc
Communication is a key factor in the work of social services professionals, which contributes to making their activity more effective and to ensuring the quality of the social services. The purpose of this panel is to bring together studies which provide relevant information on the challenges, difficulties faced in the communication process between professionals-clients/ between professionals/institutions and the solutions found in practice, but also on other aspects of communication in social services, such as digital communication. The emphasis will be placed on the ways of building the professional-client relationship, on highlighting the factors that influence communication, on pointing out the specific elements of communication in crisis situations, on supervision, on communication boundaries, on conflict management, but also on digital communication strategies, online communication methods etc.
Pandemic times at global level were an absolute novelty for humanity in 2020. They bring a quasi-natural experiment in which manipulation of independent variable is given presence of the virus, the direct experience with it, and the social distancing type of policy undertaken by central, regional, or local authorities. As traumatic event, one may think at the typical consequences of negative life events (Cohen et al, 1993; Hochwälder, 2003), but given the extension at societal level, one may imagine the set up as collective or cultural trauma (Alexander, 2012, 2016). Exposure to such collective trauma was studied in general in relation to violent acts initiated by humans (Audegon, 2004; Müller, 2017), certain political regimes and policies (Andrei & Branda, 2015) or to natural disasters (Lucini, 2014; Wlodarczyk et al, 2016; Yamamura et al, 2015). The effects can be negative or positive (Updegraff & Taylor, 2000), whilst psychologists search for explaining post-traumatic growth (Janoff-Bulman, 2004). This section encourages contributors to relate to the COVID19 pandemic, and discuss individual and societal-level changes that are already in place or are likely to occur in our societies.
Conference timeline (summary of deadlines):
Call for panels by: 12 January 2020
Notifications of panels acceptance and call for papers by: 31 January 2020
Submissions of abstracts by: 15 February 2021
Notifications of acceptance by: 28 February 2021
Registration for workshops: 31 March 2021 (based on availability)
Doctoral student training sessions & workshops: 16 June 2021
Conference: 17-18 June 2021
Fees for attending 2021 SSR International Conference (online):
Participation: 50 lei (10 EUR)
Students: 25 lei (5 EUR)
For SSR members with membership paid in 2021: free.
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