Support us

RC20 at ISA World Congress Yokohama, 13–19 July 2014

Posted on by Stephen Mennell

Under the auspices of Research Committee 20, Comparative Sociology, the sessions listed below of particular interest to figurational sociologists are being organised at the ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, 13–19 July 2014.

Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 September 2013.

Abstracts must be submitted online at

Please feel free to discuss intended submissions with Stephen Vertigans (

 5/ Culture and the Media in a Long-Term Perspective

(organisers: Robert van KRIEKEN, University of Sydney, Australia & Stephen VERTIGANS, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)

Cultural forms of behaviour, glorification of celebrity and standards of media reporting are increasingly of cause for political and civil concern. Conversely apologists for the freedom of the press are often the most fervent opponents to shifting forms of cultural and sexual expression.  In this session emergent facets of cultural norms and values and the evolution or regression of media reporting are explored through historical developments. Part of the session will be allocated to analysis of the apparent contradictions between demands for personal freedom and attempts to restrain the cultural opportunities of others.

10/ Civilising and Decivilising Processes in the Financial Crisis

(organisers: Robert van KRIEKEN, University of Sydney, Australia & Stephen VERTIGANS, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)

Although periods of recession tend to be mostly associated with economic downturns, their legacies extend way beyond financial impacts.  Deep and global recessions contribute to long term shifts in civilising and decivilising processes as access to resources narrows, parameters of the established and outsiders shift, tensions that financial upturns help to contain become reignited and forms of cultural and political expression become more imaginative and challenging. Therefore this session will explore some of the changing processes which the financial crisis has instigated and will identify local, national and global consequences.

11/ Environmental and Energy Shifts in Time and Place

(organisers: Robert van KRIEKEN, University of Sydney, Australia & Stephen VERTIGANS, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)

Session will explore how perceptions of the environment and energy have shifted and the concomitant impact on ways of thinking and behaving across different societies.  Papers on a range of issues are invited, including global warming, ‘peak oil’, carbon footprints, risk and desertification that discuss state, NGO, TNCs, civilian and international agency actions and reactions.  Contributors could examine what the fundamental arguments mean in terms of de-civilising and civilising processes and the consequences for longer-term forms of human interrelationships.

16/ RC04/RC20 Joint Session

The Comparative Sociology of Examinations

(organisers: Fumiya ONAKA, Japan Women’s University & Shinichi AIZAWA, Chukyo University, Japan).

Examinations have been functioning as a crucial mechanism for producing, reproducing and legitimizing inequalities. From another viewpoint, however, they have also constituted a tool for social promotion. It is important to analyze carefully the way they work in order to understand inequalities in present-day societies. Obviously enough, modes of examination differ greatly from one society to the next (in Japan we used to talk of ‘examination hell’). What we would like to encourage is a ‘Comparative Sociology of examinations’. This, in some way, can equally be seen as a comparative analysis of our discipline because the topic can be treated in a very different way by various schools of thought (e.g. Marxian theories of inequality, Durkheimian theories of socialization, Weberian theories of modernization, and Eliasian theories of civilization). We welcome case studies that would contribute to the international comparison of examinations.