Call for papers

22. Open Master Session

Coordinator(s): Lars Erik L. Gjerde (Master Student, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway)

While the conference at large is oriented towards the sociology of conflicts, the master session remains open for contributions from all across the sociological terrain – regardless of which theoretical, thematical or methodological orientations these projects embrace. 

The open master session is for students finishing their master’s studies in 2020, seeking to share their recently finalized theses with fellow students from the Nordic countries. 

The aim of this session is twofold. Firstly, students will establish networks and learn more about what their fellow Nordic sociology students are working on. Secondly, it is an opportunity for presenting key findings from one’s own master’s thesis and get feed back from peers. 

Individuals are invited to submit partial or full papers ahead of time (max 20 pages), so that prepared commentaries can be organized between participant of the session. As far as it is possible, commentators are allocated based on the topics and interests of participants. There will also be time for the audience to offer questions and feedback on the presentation. 

Interested students may contact for questions on participation at the session. This may include questions regarding a) submissions and practical questions regarding the session and b) volunteer participation in the organization of the session. Abstracts can be submitted through the conference web page.

Call for papers

21. Cultural Sociology

Coordinator(s): Håkon Larsen (Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway) 

Cultural Sociology 

In order to fully understand tensions related to such phenomenon as the rise of populism, or the divides over environmental issues or immigration, we need to understand culture. Not only are the arts, the media, and civil society important arenas for interpretations of and engagement in such societal tensions, but these tensions do also have a strong cultural component, in that culture help shape how actors perceive of and engage with society.  

Sociologists possess a range of tools for engaging in cultural analysis of politics and societal struggles, as well as to study how society and politics is portrayed in powerful arenas for symbolic production. Cultural sociology is both about meaning-centered analysis of social life and sociological studies of the arts, the media, and civil society. Where researchers working within the former strand applies cultural theories in order to properly analyze society, researchers working within the latter strand applies theories in order to study some form of aesthetic expression, culture organization or the regulation of a culture sector within society. Some are also drawing on both strands of research.  

In this session we seek to bring together research working within one, or both, of these strands of cultural sociology. We welcome theoretical and empirical papers related to any topic, as long they are engaging with cultural theories and/or study some aspect related to the arts, the media or civil society.     

Call for papers

20. Narratives and stories connecting local and global forms of conflict.

NB! THIS IS A PANEL. Only 4-5 papers or presentations will be selected

Coordinator(s): Iris Beau Segers and Cristina Archetti (Department of media and communication, University of Oslo)

When addressing global developments and conflicts, sociological theory tends to direct our attention to broad, macro level processes and conditions, for example related to economic trends, sweeping environmental change, or patterns of immigration. However, when it comes to local conflict and protest, highly contextual factors like identity construction, the framing of mobilization by specific political and social figures and networks, and contingent circumstances are most often the focus of analysis. Despite the increasing connection between distinctly local forms of conflict, and broader transnational developments, there is a lack of explicit commitment in research to developing the theoretical link between the micro and macro dimensions of conflict.

Within this conceptual context, and taking forward Charles Tilly’s work on the centrality of stories in politics and social life, the panel will explore the role of narrative and storytelling in bridging local manifestations of conflict and struggle to broader global and transnational upheaval. More specifically, issues such as (local, national or transnational) identity, resource distribution and (in)equalities, and (political) power can be explained in terms of a struggle that takes place within and between societies, and in particular between alternative narratives. Here, the focus lies not only on the stories that are told and end up organizing the reality we live in, but also those that are silenced, and whose absence from the broader public sphere may encourage stigmatization or disadvantaging of certain groups, or unfair distributions of resources and power.

In addition to this, current sociological theory lacks a qualitative toolkit to engage with narratives and stories that traverse communities and societies, and this panel would hereby like to make a contribution to further developing this methodological gap in the field.

This panel thus encourages a broad range of qualitative contributions that engage with narrative and storytelling in connecting local and global forms of conflict. Submitted papers can cover local and global narratives in relation to explicit forms of conflict such as street-based protest and violence, or less visible forms of struggle related to silence and stigma. We welcome a broad range of work that engages with micro, meso or macro levels of analysis, and hereby emphasize the narrative connections one can make between these different levels. We also encourage innovative and creative (including artistic, experiential and sensorial) ways of capturing multifaceted connections between narratives and stories, both in papers and presentations.

Call for papers

19. Mainstream Religion in the Nordic Countries

Coordinator(s): Erika Willander (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Religion attracts much attention in ideological and political conflicts of today. To sociologist in the Nordic countries, this attention may come across as unexpected. After all, the Nordic countries are often perceived as some of the most secularized countries in the world as the old state church systems are believed to loose significance and power. Hence, this session address seek to address the tension between the significance paid to religion in society and its overlooked status in Nordic sociology. Specifically, it seek to contribute with knowledge about the majority groups that are to be found in-between clearly religious and non-religious groups. The relevance of studying the in-between groups is justified by increased religious diversity of the Nordic countries the last decades. In the aftermath of migration, the in-between religion and non-religion is not solemnly a phenomenon relating to the majority churches. Instead, groups’ in-between religious commitment and resistance include Christian as well as Muslim and Buddhist etc. groups in the Nordic countries. This is noteworthy since a mainstream approach to the religious may combine expectations of religious traditions with expectations of secular nation states in ways compatible with modern lifestyle and liberal values. 

Against this background, this session invites papers that inquiry into the relevance of majority approaches to the religious in the Nordic countries. This include both majority groups (e.g., members of the majority churches in the Nordic countries) and minority groups (e.g., religious communities and secular groups). It invites papers that examine the theoretical as well as the empirical relevance of passive or ambiguous religious identity construction. It also invites papers that examine the experience of migration to the Nordic countries from the perspective of practicing religion and the Nordic regulations of religious pluralism.      

Call for papers

18. Life after rape: Symposium on the consequences of sexual violence

Coordinator(s): May-Len Skilbrei (Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo, Norway) and Kari Stefansen (NOVA, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway) 

In policy-making, activism and popular culture, rape is presented as one of the most serious forms of crime, one with major consequences for victims and society at large. Psychological and medical research point to widespread trauma and legal, criminological and feminist scholarship address challenges and additional harms to victims throughout the criminal justice process. A critique has been that both the exploration of why rape is committed, how it is experienced and how society approaches it, has a distinct individualistic orientation, looking at individual pathology, harm and access to justice. An explanation to this is lack of sociological engagement with the phenomenon, one that investigates contextual and relational aspects of both the crime, its consequences and justice strategies. We believe sociologists can contribute positively to the study of rape and the social production of victimhood, and that the study of sexual harms can contribute to developing how sociology engages with the complex relationship between power and sexuality. 

This symposium is designed to address one aspect of rape; the sociological study of the consequences of rape, focusing on for example consequences for identity, relations and local communities. The aim is to bring together scholars working on the sociological study of consequences in one way or another, of rape, but also of related sexual harms. Contributions can be of an empirical or a theoretical nature. 

This session is based on presentations and discussions of participants’ papers. We are expecting extended abstracts (800 words or less) stating the aims of the paper, the topic’s relation to the state of the knowledge in the field, the methodological approach, findings (for empirical papers) or new conceptual argument (for conceptual papers) contribution of the work to the field, as well as a reference list. 

Call for papers

17. Digitalization

(Title of session and revised call for paper coming soon)

Coordinator(s): Ardis Storm-Mathiesen and Arne Dulsrud (National Institute for Consumer Research, OsloMet)

This group session invites sociologists interested in research on how digital technologies are used, shape and transforms social processes and relations in society today. It welcomes those who focus on the infrastructural aspects (i.e. automation, algorithms, ‘smart’ solutions, platforms); those who study meanings, communication, interaction and socio-cultural forms produced with and through uses of digital products and services (i.e. identities, risks/vulnerabilities, competencies); and those who wish to discuss how the  interconnections, blurring of boundaries and complexities that phenomenons of digitalization and dataficationproduce are challenging theoretical conceptions of actor-structure relationships and raise ethical-political issues. Contributions that seek to grasp wider wholes of socio-technical interactions and/or discuss how digitalization is transforming local practices and relations and/or various theoretical tools that fruitfully help with analysing these complex actor-networks are encouraged. The session wishes to provide researchers and students with interest in such themes with an opportunity to meet, present and discuss empirical, methodological and theoretical challenges. We wish to create a forum for engaged academic discussions and collaboration across subfield-divisions and contributions in all phases and on multiple problem formulations are welcomed. 

Call for papers

16. Minorities’ Perspectives on their Life Projects, Civil Rights, Participation, Authorities

Coordinator(s): Emdjed Kurdnidjad (European University Institute, Florence, Italy).

The minorities’ life in Nordic countries have been discussed for a long time. Simultaneously, there have been various methodological concerns including the fact that the problematization of minorities is for ‘us’, the majority. Questioning the very existence of minorities in Nordic countries is highly biased and based on what the majority expects from them. The authorities have expectations from the minorities, and they promise somethings in return. This relationship of imposing somethings on the minorities and promising them somethings in return is a dominating relationship for the authorities and very often financialized by them to investigate. Minorities are expected for example to learn the language, adopt some sort of values, find a job and respect the law. In return, they are promised to be treated like all other citizens, benefiting safety and opportunities to develop themselves and participate in the bigger society.

This relationship of expectations and promises give rise to some questions: how far is it possible to learn the language, social codes, and adopt values? Which values should minorities adopt? How significant is it to have a job and respect the law in order to be a citizen? Is it possible at all to be treated like citizens when you are black, you have accent and you do not share the majority’s life story? Is it achievable for the minorities to reach the ontological safety and granted opportunities from which the majority benefit? What happens to the minorities when they realize they have to adjust to some expectations in order to achieve some promises?

This session is a platform for those who are interested in investigating the difficulties minorities encounter in order to participate in the bigger society, and also, the difficulties that the authorities encounter in order to include the minorities. We welcome all approaches to this framework, in particular those papers which have a more focus on the minorities’ perspectives.

One of the main purposes of this session is to provide a platform to encourage conceptual creativity in order to study minorities. All researchers (And master students) are welcome, in particular those with different backgrounds because we believe that personal engagement enrich academic discussions and empower abstract creativity.

Call for papers

13. Cognitive sociology

Coordinator(s): Tuukka Kaidesoja (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Mikko Hyyryläinen (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Cognitive sociology

Nearly all sociologists make assumptions about human thinking and information processing (i.e. human cognition) in their research practices whether or not they explicate these assumptions. Many basic cognitive processes ─ such as perceiving, decision making, classifying, remembering and concept formation ─ involve social and cultural aspects that have been increasingly researched in the cognitive sciences during recent decades. Against this background, it is not surprising that there has been a growing interest in human cognition within different research fields in sociology and other social sciences.

For instance, sociologists have researched the cognitive aspects of political conflicts, social movements, face-to-face interaction, collective memory, climate change denial, markets, social media, moral judgements, ethnicity, identity, ideology and religion. Some of these sociologists identify themselves as “cognitive social scientists”, aiming to deepen our understanding of the cognitive microfoundations of social phenomena by employing the concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences. Other sociologists regard themselves as “sociologists of culture and cognition” and aim to complement cognitive scientific research by means of applying sociological concepts and interpretive methods on the social and cultural aspects of cognitive processes.

This session focuses on theoretical and empirical research on the cognitive aspects of social life. Although most empirical work in cognitive sociology has focused on the cognitive dimensions of culture, this session is open to presentations that address the cognitive aspects of all kinds of social phenomena. The assumption is that sociologists’ contributions are needed in interdisciplinary research on human cognition. Since the nature and direction of cognitive sociology is still under debate, the session also welcomes presentations that address conceptual, methodological, ontological and institutional issues pertaining to cognitive sociology. The aim is to bring together sociologists who are interested in the relations between the social, cultural and cognitive.

Call for papers

12. The role of science in the context of power

Coordinator(s): Ketil Skogen, Olve Krange, Helene Figari and Håkon Aspøy (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research)

Science between a rock and a hard place – how should sociology respond?

Sociologists have often studied the role of science in modern societies in a context of power, explaining how science is intertwined with power structures in multiple ways. When the state acts, its actions are normally based on (or legitimized by) expert knowledge and advice. Studies of working-class and rural culture have described a deep skepticism of academic forms of knowledge, rooted partly in an experience of precisely the connection between expert knowledge and power. Sociologists have commonly taken a stance in defense of lay knowledge and taken it upon themselves to expose how expert knowledge often contributes to perpetuation of power relations. But what happens when science comes under fire from powerful actors, as we can see in so many fields today? This is not least the case in the environmental sector, where elaborate efforts are undertaken to undermine climate science and established knowledge in other areas that has previously guided government and set the premises for public debate. A main goal is to create an impression of scientific disagreement, and large resources are used to accomplish this.

These well-funded and well-organized efforts at undermining science have become much bolder than before, and at the same time the opposition against “elites” (and their expert knowledge) has been growing in disadvantaged segments of the population. Powerful corporate and political actors seem to hitch onto this unrest, and construe themselves as defenders of common sense and as allies in the struggle against illegitimate elites – meaning in essence the highly educated middle class, the media and indeed the state (which is taken to be synonymous with a bureaucracy populated by middle-class academics). They cast themselves as victims of the same marginalization that “ordinary people” experience, thus furthering their own (economic) interests while simultaneously stoking grassroots anti-elitism.

Despite historic class antagonism, there has always been a convergence of interests between workers and the owners of “the means of production”: Material production and resource extraction tie them together in a common destiny. Facing all kinds of threats to those activities, seen as originating in the ever more powerful middle class and its “over-reaching” state, this alliance has had a substantial boost. The “war on science” is at the heart of the backlash we now see in the environmental sector, but also in many other policy fields.

Undermining science (and thus for example environmental policies) from a position of power in order to protect material interests is not the same as challenging it from below and exposing its relation to power structures. However, it is often made out to be the same. It is important to critique the role of science and expert knowledge as instruments of power, but it is equally important to distinguish this from an “anti-elitism” that is really about something else: precisely to consolidate power and secure economic interests.

How should sociology respond to these developments? We invite presentations dealing with all aspects of “the war on science, not least in the context of contemporary social unrest. We are especially interested in contributions that address the dilemmas we have outlined above, and tasks for sociology that emanates from them.

Call for papers

11. “Facing inequalities in Sports” – Sociology of sport in Nordic welfare state

Coordinator(s): Lone Friis Thing (National School of Sports Sciences, Norway), Ørnulf Seippel (National School of Sports Sciences, Norway) and Nils Asle Bergsgaard (University of South-Eastern Norway)

In the Nordic countries, sports for all has been a dominant policy for a long time. But, even though we see a physical active population in the Nordic welfare states, we do also face some very nonequal activity patterns challenging the success of these dominant sport policies. Global transformations do also influence on local manifestations in sports activities.

In the session “Facing inequalities in Sports”, we will focus on different conflicts and problems in sports, mainly for children and youth, but also adults and elder people. The Nordic welfare states have traditionally secured a certain form of cultural and economic capital in the civil sphere in form of voluntary sports systems with low payments and open memberships. But gender, ethnicity and class still matter for participation in sports. How can we face, manage and perhaps change the possibilities for doing sports among children & youth? And shall we? Who should be responsible for organizing sports? What are the best policy tools for reaching aims as sports for all? What about elite sports versus grassroot sports?

Sustainability is not only about the environment, but also related to human rights, communities and daily living conditions. Unequal pathways to sport are not sustainable for societies in the long run and can also be very costly. We open the session for a broad variety of papers.