CfP: European Sociological Association 11th Conference-Turin, Italy, 28 – 31 August 2013


This year’s European Sociological Association (ESA) bi-annual conference will be held in Turin (Torino), Italy, on the 28 – 31 August 2013.  The general theme is on ‘Crisis, Critique and Change’, and the pdf containing calls for all the networks and streams is here (though, annoyingly, without hyperlinks in the contents section to each of the different streams…sigh).  I hope to attend, and have a few potential papers that I am thinking of presenting.  Hopefully I will be able to drum up some money from somewhere.

Abstracts must be submitted online by the 1st of February-so hurry up!

The network that I am most associated with is RN11, the sociology of emotions network.  These are a a great bunch of international scholars-warm, welcoming, interesting, insightful-so I urge you, if you have research that engages with emotions and emotionality, to consider submitting to these sessions.  The specific RN11 call is below.  Hope to see you there!


RN11 – Sociology of emotions

Jochen Kleres University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Stina Bergman Blix Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Sylvia Terpe Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany

The continuously growing field of the sociology of emotions has demonstrated that emotions are of fundamental significance to all aspects of social life. As a theoretical endeavor, the sociology of emotions aims at becoming superfluous as a separate field of scholarly interest by integrating into mainstream sociology. For this reason, we welcome papers that investigate the role of emotions in all aspects of society and social life. While all high-quality papers with a central focus on emotions will be considered, we also suggest a number of possible special topics listed below. This includes also contributions from neighboring disciplines that have significant relevance to sociology.


Key theoretical frameworks for the sociological analysis of emotions have stood the test of time during more than thirty years since they launched the sociology of emotions. Nevertheless, the potential for sociological theorizing of emotions is far from exhausted. For instance, the classics of sociology, far from mute on emotions, provide a valuable source of inspiration. Theoretical frameworks such as that of Norbert Elias may also engender innovative theorizing. While sociological interest in emotions is swiftly growing, emotions are still not recognized by mainstream social theorizing as a fundamental aspect of social life. We want to encourage contributions that try to develop innovative theories of emotions as well as theories that demonstrate how emotions can be integrated into social theorizing more generally.

Despite a history of several decades, the sociology of emotions has by and large not explored and theorized specific emotions. We welcome papers which develop theories of specific emotions that are highly relevant to social theorizing in general as well as useful for empirical research.

Morality, moral orientations and moral values have a long tradition in sociological research and theorizing. But how is their relation with emotions to be conceptualized? Are there particular ‘moral emotions’, and if so what constitutes a ‘moral emotion’? How are moral orientations and moral actions affected by emotions? Do emotions qualify as a substitute for lacking moral values? We welcome theoretical contributions as well as empirical studies dedicated to these questions.

Recent periods of economic turmoil in the world have the potential of shaking entrenched beliefs in the sober objective rationality of the economic sphere and its actors. Arguably, not only the recurring economic crises but also everyday finance business demonstrate that emotions are a key to all economic action and finance in particular.

Just like finance, the law is often conceived as a realm of objectivity and rationality. Burgeoning research shows that emotions are a pervasive feature of law and the court system. Papers that pinpoint, for instance, the role of emotion management by judges, emotions in court interaction, emotions and notions of justice, etc. are welcome.

There is still a dearth of methodological reflection for empirical emotion research. We welcome papers that present approaches to studying emotions empirically. Specific issues could include, but are not limited to: how can researchers deal with their own emotions within the analysis? How can one delineate an emotional culture empirically? How can one approach emotions within a transnational analysis? How can different approaches to empirical research inform a focus on emotions? How would they have to be developed?

In the past two-three decades resurgence in idealism, calling on societies split by violent conflicts to pursue truth, justice and reconciliation (often cast as a preconditions for making a transition to democracy), has re-asserted itself. Both trans-nationally and in each of the societies whose members had taken part in atrocities, there are attempts to formulate rules for post-atrocity times which spell out which emotions are prescribed and which are proscribed. Contributions are welcome highlighting in a critical way these emotional regimes and the vested interests behind them. How are emotions and emotional practices used and negotiated in order to come to terms with what has happened, to castigate perpetrators or to heal and forgive? This might also relate to explorations into the emotional dimensions of trauma.

Continued after the jump!

Possible issues could include, but are not limited to: the role of emotions in migration regimes, the emotional underpinnings and experiences of racism, emotion in media discourses on migration, emotions in migrant mobilization, etc.

While emotions have enjoyed sustained attention in social movement research, the role of emotions in other forms of civic action, such as volunteerism or para-professionalism, remains to be investigated. We invite presentations that explore the role of emotions in all forms of civic action.

Intimate life may seem like the primary sphere of emotions. While this notion could be contested on other grounds, closer analysis also shows how emotions in the intimate sphere are complexly embedded into larger social processes and macro-social structures.

Much has been said on emotions’ binding groups and collectivities by the classics of sociology, but their contributions have not yet led to a coherent research agenda. In a transnational world the question should be addressed anew in what ways and by what means groups and collectivities emerge and become sustained, paying particular attention to the role of emotions and emotionally grounded stereotyping in this process. What is the contribution of sports, mass media, culture, art, education or politics to evoking and sustaining emotions that in turn generate small group and larger collective life? Which of their specific traits evoke collectivity-generating emotions? Do they evoke similar or different emotions? Do they have the same or different size publics? Is there a division of labor between them or do they perhaps compete or even undermine each other? In a transnational context, what is their emotion-laden contribution to reminding of, reporting on, creating, competing with, loving and/or hating ‘the other’—whether situated among ‘us’ or across the border(s)?

The sociology of emotions explores in many ways the social nature of emotions, locating them anywhere from the interpersonal sphere to macro-sociological structures. There is much less of a focus on how emotions signify in our material or materially constructed surroundings. How are space and emotions interrelated? And how do objects and artefacts contribute to emotional experience?

Media, including not only the conventional press or television but also the internet and new forms of mass communication, continue to gain importance in shaping social realities. What role do media play in shaping emotions in society and how in turn are media affected by emotional processes in society?

There is some research on how language conveys emotions as well as on how emotions become visible on people’s faces. But there is little thought on how actors use gestures to communicate emotions. This relates to research into how the emotional content of visuals can be deciphered, a question that has been partly dealt with in history and art history.

Joint Sessions

Joint session with RN25 – Social Movements

Chairs: Marianne van der Steeg & Jochen Kleres

Since about a decade scholars investigating various social movements have increasingly paid attention to emotions. This session calls for papers highlighting emotions – in theorizing or empirical research. Papers are welcome, for example, on the role emotions (i) in constituting the identities of different types of activists and/or movements; (ii) in short-term protest as well as in initiating, sustaining and ending social movements; (iii) among by-standers and authorities regarding/engaging with the protest/movement; (iv) in protest/movement visuals and discourses; (v) in protest/movement rituals, individual narratives and collective mythmaking, etc. etc.

Joint session with RN28 – Society and Sports

Chairs: Christopher R. Matthews; Lone Friis Thing & Sven Ismer Sven

Researchers who explore sport and emotions have often highlighted the place sports, physical cultures, and accompanying emotions occupy within our lives. This joint session proposes to draw together colleagues who, although sharing many conceptual and theoretical linkages, may not have previously made explicit links to each other’s substantive areas. We anticipate papers, which draw on sociological theories of emotions to make sense of physical activity, health, fitness, sport, risk and physical cultures. We also welcome papers, which explore emotions and sport more broadly in theoretical, conceptual and empirical sense. The aim is to enable researchers from different substantive areas to bring their various experiences and knowledge together in order contribute to the advancement of both sub-disciplines.

Joint session with RN34 – Sociology of Religion

Chairs: Stef Aupers & Cécile Vermot

Generations of scholars of theology and religious studies have viewed affects, emotions, and religion as closely related issues. What can be said about the certain shapes, characteristics and forms of this relationship in present times? How far is the research on emotions especially crucial for the understanding of religious life in Europe and for the coexistence, or even living together, of different confessions? What role do “emotional regimes” (Riis/Woodhead) or “feeling rules” (Hochschild) play with regard to the formation of emotional cultures both in religious groups and communities and with regard to the quest for salvation or spirituality of individual persons?

Joint session with RN20 – Qualitative Methods and RN28 – Society and Sports

Chairs: Monica Aceti, Haifa Tlili, Sven Ismer & Katarina Jacobsson

We invite researchers working on subjects that engage the body in situations of various interactions (physical, sports, arts, in professional or leisure situation) to question their practices and their emotional commitment in their field. Three perspectives will be favoured.

  • Discuss the opportunities, limitations and bias of different versions of participant observation. One of the main issues is to question the researcher’s choice when faced with the challenging dialectic of subjective and emotional connection to the field and the aim of “axiological neutrality” required by the scientific posture. An object held at a distance or “blindness” in the field? Therefore, we will question the different types and occurrences of ethnocentrism, androcentrism an hegemonic Doxa which very often remain invisible.
  • Take the measurement, in the objectification work, on the importance of autobiographical determinations, in order to clarify the researcher’s situated point of view (age, sexuality, social class, sex, race, etc.). We will examine in particular the heuristic advantages, which this involvement can contribute to the construction of a scientific object or on the contrary, it may misrepresent the content.
  • The emotions of the researcher in the field have a crucial impact on the way he or she perceives reality which has been widely neglected by methodological debates. We encourage contributions that reflect on the researcher’s affectivity and its impact on the collection and interpretation of data.

Ultimately, we invite the presenters to make a reflexive return on their research subject by shifting the focus on the social, cultural, spatiotemporal or even, in connection with biographical transformations (accidents, maternity, mourning, etc.) or structural events (institutional changes, crisis, disaster, etc.).

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