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CfP: Plunging into Turmoil: Social Sciences and the Crisis

Posted on by Stephen Mennell

Call for Papers


Conference Title: Plunging into Turmoil: Social Sciences and the Crisis
Organization: Political Observatory (, Assistant Professor Isabel David, (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lisbon) and PhD Candidate André Saramago (Aberystwyth University)
Conference Date: 16-17 October 2014
Abstract Submissions: 31 May 2014
Abstract Approval: 15 June 2014
Paper Submissions: 9 October 2014
Call for Papers:
The Political Observatory (PO) are organizing a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on the relation between the social sciences and the current economic crisis.
The 2008 economic and financial crisis marked the beginning of a period of social transformation and uncertainty that continues to characterize present and future social development in unplanned and unexpected ways, frequently with harmful effects. In this context, the social sciences and their role as a tool of knowledge production about human social existence become all the more relevant. On the one hand, as a means for acquiring a better understanding of the character of this rapid and complex social transformation. And, on the other hand, as a way of orientating people and social practice as to how greater collective democratic control can be acquired over the manner and direction of this overall process. This conference intends to provide a space where contributions from different fields of the social sciences can come together in order to address a series of questions that arise from the present period of crisis. In particular, it strives to address two main strains of inquiry. First, how different sociological and theoretical approaches, ranging from political theory and political economy to sociology, might contribute to explaining the crisis, analyse its effects, and identify its potential future paths of development. And second, how the crisis and its effects on human social existence demand a re-thinking of the role of the social sciences in society, and what such a role might or should be. The conference is organized around a set of themes through which these strains of inquiry are addressed:
– An economic crisis or a social and civilizational crisis?;
– The crisis and democracy and the interplay between capitalism and democracy;
– The crisis and the privatization of the public space;
– The role of the social sciences in society and in crisis prediction, analysis and resolution;
– The impact of the crisis on the social sciences and their future;
             – Are or should the social sciences be politically involved on the basis of their understanding of society?
– Can the social sciences help envisage alternative forms of social, political and economic organization?;
             – Are the social sciences still Western-centred?
             – Civilizing and decivilizing processes amidst the crisis.
If you are interested in participating, please send a 500 word abstract to Assistant Professor Isabel David ( and PhD candidate André Saramago ( by May 31, 2014.
We acknowledge receipt of all emails and will reply to all. If you do not receive a reply, please resend your abstract. Please include the following in your email:
–          Author name;
–          Affiliation;
–          email address;
–          abstract in Word format;
–          a short CV.
Acceptance notices will be sent by June 15, 2014.
In case your abstract is accepted, a draft paper of around 8000 words is due one week prior to the beginning of the conference. We intend to compile an edited volume with the best papers for publication in an international reference publisher.
Registration for the conference includes a fee of 30€ for participants and 15€ for non-participants. Political Observatory members’ fee is 10€ and students’ fee is 5€. Please note that we are unable to provide any financial help to participants.
Any additional queries should be sent to and