Living in and coping with world risk society – Ulrich Beck

In this talk (from a few years ago, 2011 I think), sociologist Ulrich Beck outlines and updates his theory of reflexive modernization and the ‘risk society’. He suggests that, to the extent that risk is experienced as omnipresent in the current age, there are only three possible reactions: denial, apathy or transformation. The first, he says, ‘is largely inscribed in modern culture, the second resembles post-modern nihilism, the third is the “cosmopolitan moment” of world risk society’.

In the talk that follows he structures his argument around three key points. In  the first he outlines the distinctive, new features of this world risk society. There is a distinction between risk and catastrophe – they are not the same things. Risk is about the anticipation of catastrophe. This is why, despite the fact that Europe and ‘The West’ are relatively safe, globally speaking, or perhaps even ‘objectively’ so, it is the global anticipation of catastrophe (propagated via symbolic forms in the mass media etc) that is fundamental to the shaping of contemporary societies. These global perceptions of risk have three features: de-localization ( in spatial, temporal and social terms), incalculableness, and non-compensatibility.

His second key point stresses the fundamentally global character of these process, over and against the nation-state as a political level of analysis, and transformative action. Against this methodological nationalism he offers a defence of his cosmopolitan vision for the social sciences, outlined in more detail in his Power and the Global Age (2005). His final point offers some consequences of his position, in general, and a (sympathetic) critique of alternative theoretical conceptions of risk, most notably those of Mary Douglas and Michel Foucault. What is needed is a paradigm shift in the social sciences – the emergence of a cosmopolitan social science – a ‘cosmopolitan turn’.

This defence of cosmopolitanism – his cosmopolitical realpolitik –  is, of course, open to many criticisms and questions, as are his wider arguments about risk, decision-making etc.  There are some questions/discussion after 26 mins or so.

Irish Journal of Sociology UK Regional Editor 2015-16 Call for Applications

Irish Journal of Sociology UK Regional Editor 2015-16 Call for Applications

Deadline for Applications:
30 November 2014, 17:00 (GMT)

The Irish Journal of Sociology (IJS)is seeking to recruit a second UK Regional Editor to serve a 2-year term from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 (serving alongside the current UK Regional Editor, Dr. Lucy Michael, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland).

About the Journal

The Irish Journal of Sociology is an international peer-reviewed core journal, founded in 1991. Published twice a year (May and November), it is the official journal of the national sociological association, the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI), and is published by Manchester University Press. The purpose of the journal is to stimulate and communicate sociological research about Irish society as well as to publish high-quality papers, reflecting the theoretical, substantive, and methodological range of the discipline, that are not related to Ireland. It also publishes solicited book reviews, research notes, and articles in four new in-brief sections (archives, databases, debates, and trends). The current editor is Dr. Brian Conway (Maynooth University, Ireland). For more detail, see http://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/journals/ijs

About the UK Regional Editor

The Irish Journal of Sociology UK Regional Editor is an active role, and involves helping to attract submissions, helping to bolster institutional subscriptions, and marketing and increasing the visibility of the journal within the UK. The UK Regional Editor will work alongside the current UK Regional Editor. The UK Regional Editor must be based in a higher education or research institution in England, Scotland or Wales.

Criteria for Application

The UK Regional Editor must fulfill the following criteria:
•       be a SAI member (or join the SAI at the time of their application)
•       hold a PhD degree in sociology
•       be based at a higher education or research institution in the UK mainland
•       have experience of publication in peer-reviewed sociology journals
•       have experience of refereeing for a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed sociology journals

Applications are accepted from any area of speciality within sociology.

How to apply: Please email (with ‘UK Regional Editor application’ as the subject line of your email) your CV and cover letter (outlining how you fulfill the criteria set forth above and why you are applying for the position)to irishjsoc@gmail.comby 30 November 2014, 17:00 (GMT). For further information about the IJS, please contact Dr. Brian Conway, Editor, at irishjsoc@gmail.com

The successful applicant will be notified by email by the 10 December 2014.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: ASA Junior Theorists Symposium 2015

theorics

This has been doing the rounds for a few days now but it is an excellent opportunity for serious, theory-orientated early career sociologists. If they can afford it of course.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

2015 Junior Theorists Symposium

Chicago, IL

August 21, 2015

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 13, 2015

We invite submissions for extended abstracts for the 9th Junior Theorists Symposium (JTS), to be held in Chicago, IL on August 21st, 2015, the day before the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA). The JTS is a one-day conference featuring the work of up-and-coming theorists, sponsored in part by the Theory Section of the ASA. Since 2005, the conference has brought together early career-stage sociologists who engage in theoretical work.

We are pleased to announce that Patricia Hill Collins (University of Maryland), Gary Alan Fine (Northwestern University), and George Steinmetz (University of Michigan) will serve as discussants for this year’s symposium.

In addition, we are pleased to announce an after-panel on “abstraction” featuring Kieran Healy (Duke), Virag Molnar (The New School), Andrew Perrin (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Kristen Schilt (University of Chicago). The panel will examine theory-making as a process of abstraction, focusing on the particular challenge of reconciling abstract “theory” with the concrete complexities of human embodiment and the specificity of historical events.

We invite all ABD graduate students, postdocs, and assistant professors who received their PhDs from 2011 onwards to submit a three-page précis (800-1000 words). The précis should include the key theoretical contribution of the paper and a general outline of the argument. Be sure also to include (i) a paper title, (ii) author’s name, title and contact information, and (iii) three or more descriptive keywords. As in previous years, in order to encourage a wide range of submissions we do not have a pre-specified theme for the conference. Instead, papers will be grouped into sessions based on emergent themes and discussants’ areas of interest and expertise.

Please send submissions to the organizers, Hillary Angelo (New York University) and Ellis Monk (University of Chicago), at juniortheorists@gmail.com with the phrase “JTS submission” in the subject line. The deadline is February 13, 2014. We will extend up to 12 invitations to present by March 13. Please plan to share a full paper by July 27, 2015.

PSAI 2014 Conference Programme

Originally posted on PSAI 2014:

PSAI Annual Conference 2014: Programme 

Last updated 8 October 2014

(Download here)

Day 1: Friday 17 October

13:00: Registration Desk opens

14-15.30 Session 1

1.A Irish Politics 1 (Inishmore)

Chair: Bernadette Connaughton (UL)

Continuity and Change: Civil and Political Rights in (nearly) 100 years of Irish Democracy (Jennifer Kavanagh, WIT)

Evolving Electoral Strategies in Radically Altered Contexts: Longitudinal Evidence from the Dáil (Sean McGraw, University of Notre Dame)

Assessing the Impact of Societal Change on Governmental Representation (Stephen Erskine, TCD)

1.B Northern Ireland: international dimensions (Inishturk)

Chair: Niall O Dochartaigh (NUIG)

The Roman Observer: The Voice of the Holy See on Northern Ireland, 1969 -1998 (Giada Lagana, NUIG)

‘Not what was being said, but that it was said at all’: The significance of the 1977 Carter Statement for the Northern Ireland Peace Process (Alison Meagher, QUB)

Two sides of the same coin? Sinn Fein election campaigns in the North…

View original 1,770 more words

President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Public Lecture, NUI Galway: Social Equality and Poverty, Prof. Jonathan Wolff (UCL)

jon wolff
Via Dr Richard Hull (NUI Galway)
The discipline of Philosophy (NUI Galway) is delighted to welcome Professor Jonathan Wolff to NUI, Galway, as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative. He will deliver a public lecture on ‘Social Equality and Poverty’, to which you are warmly invited.
Date: Friday 10th October, 2014.
Time: 4pm.
Venue: Aula Maxima Lower.
Title: ‘Social Equality and Poverty’.
A note about the Lecture:
 
A society of equals is a society that avoids a range of destructive asymmetrical social relations, including domination, exploitation, snobbery, servility and social exclusion. But how, in the highly unequal societies in which we live, can we begin to make progress on eliminating social inequality? This talk explores how thinking about relative poverty can help illuminate one highly important aspect of social inequality: social exclusion. At the same time reflecting on relative poverty, and the steps people take to overcome it, can help us to understand some of the considerable structural obstacles that stand in the way of achieving a society of equals.
A note about Professor Jonathan Wolff:
Jonathan Wolff is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at University College London. He is the author of several books on political philosophy, including Disadvantage (with Avner de-Shalit) 2007, Ethics and Public Policy 2011, and The Human Right to Health. He has been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Gambling Review Body, and the Board of Science of the British Medical Association. He writes a regular column on higher education for the Guardian.
 
 
We look forward to seeing you there on Friday 10th. For further information contact Dr Richard Hull: richard.hullATnuigalway.ie

Just In Print: Power and Emotion (Routledge)

Power and emotion cover

 

I am delighted to announce that a collection of papers edited by myself and Prof. Helena Flam on the theme of emotions and power is just out today. This collection originally appeared as a special issue of the Journal of Political Power in 2013, but was chosen by Routledge to be reissued as part of their ‘special issue as book‘ series.  It is available for purchase from Amazon (UK now, US in October), Routledge, the Book Depository and elsewhere, but would make an excellent addition to your institutional library (recommendation form here).

The book includes some very high quality chapters that deploy and interrogate the concepts of emotion and power across a wide array of topics and issues, from some of the leading international researchers on these topics. The quality and diversity on show recommend this publication to a variety scholars, but especially those interested in the sociology of emotions, questions of social and political power, political sociology, organization studies, media studies, education, and political and social theory more generally.

The list of chapters and authors is:

Heaney, J.G. ‘Emotions and power: a bifocal prescription to cure theoretical myopia’.

Flam, H. ‘The transnational movement for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation as an emotional (rule) regime?’.

Simpson, A.V., Clegg, S.R., Freeder, D. ‘Compassion, power and organization’.

Barbalet, J., Qi, X. ‘The paradox of power: conceptions of power and the relations of reason and emotion in European and Chinese culture’.

Wettergren, Å., Jansson, A.‘Emotions, power and space in the discourse of “People of the Real World”’.

Baker, S.A., Rowe, D. ‘The power of popular publicity: new social media and the affective dynamics of the sport racism scandal’. 

Martin, J.‘A feeling for democracy? Rhetoric, power and the emotions’.

Zembylas, M.‘Memorial ceremonies in schools: analyzing the entanglement of emotions and power’.

Procter, L. ‘Emotions, power and schooling: the socialisation of “angry boys”.

The blurb reads:

This collection is concerned with two fundamental concepts of social science– power and emotion. Power permeates all human relationships and is constitutive of social, economic, and political life. It stands at the centre of social and political theorizing, and its study has enriched scholarship within a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, political science, philosophy, and anthropology. The conceptual cluster of emotion, by contrast, had a more troubled time within these same disciplines. However, since the 1970’s and the advent of the ‘emotional turn’, there has been a widespread re-evaluation of emotion in and for our shared social existence and, today, emotions research is at forefront of contemporary social science. Yet, although both concepts are now widely seen as fundamental, research on these two phenomena has tended to run in parallel.

This collection, featuring leading international scholars, seeks to unite and deploy both concepts, emotion and power, in a variety of ways, and on a diverse array of topics such as: education, organizations, social movements, politics, ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, rhetoric and in comparative intellectual history. The results are at the bleeding edge of scholarship on these concepts, and will make important reading for practitioners and students working in the sociology of emotions, social and political power, political sociology, organization studies, and for sociological and political theory more generally.

This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Political Power.

Please share widely!

JH

Kari Norgaard — Living in Denial


In this excellent talk, recorded in 2013, Kari Norgaard offers a wonderful and concise overview of her well known book on the sociology of climate change Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life (2011). What is most interesting, from my perspective, is the way that she deploys conceptions of both emotion (specifically: guilt, fear of the future, and helplessness) with questions of power and power relations (especially Lukes’ notion of 3D power) in her analysis to explain how knowledge of climate change is negotiated, and denied, in everyday life. Drawing on ethnographic data from fieldwork in Norway, Norgaard shows how this power-emotion nexus is fundamentally social, and constitutive of the social organization of climate denial. Both the book and this short (36m) lecture are well work checking out.

Via Youtube:

In her lecture, professor Kari Norgaard uses interviews and ethnographic data from a community in western Norway during the unusually warm winter of 2000-2001 to describe how knowledge of climate change is experienced in everyday life. Stories in local and national newspapers linked the warm winter explicitly to global warming. Yet residents did not write letters to the editor, pressure politicians, or cut down on the use of fossil fuels. Norgaard describes the disturbing emotions of guilt, helplessness and fear of the future that arose when people were confronted with the idea of climate change — and then builds a model of socially organized denial to describe how people normalized these disturbing emotions through the deployment of conversation norms and discourses that served as “tools of social order.” Using literature from sociology of emotions, environmental sociology and sociology of culture, she describes “the social organization of climate denial” through multiple levels, from emotions to cultural norms to political economy.

The lectures shared here were given on October 5th 2013 in the following order:

Guðni Elísson: “Earth101″

Stefan Rahmstorf: “The Climate Crisis”

Michael Mann: “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”

Kari Norgaard: “Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life”

Peter Sinclair: “Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era”

Recorded by Phil Coates and edited by Ryan Chapman.

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