[WSMDiscuss] !! World Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre!! Deadline for session proposals on Friday

Geoffrey Pleyers geoffrey.pleyers at uclouvain.be
Tue Mar 12 06:08:13 CET 2019

Dear friends and colleagues,

Next year, from 14th to 18th of July, the World Forum of Sociology will take place in Porto Alegre, 18 years after the city hosted the first World Social Forum. It will be a great occasion to make a balance of the WSF process, to think about its important outcomes and to share our research and thoughts about the challenges of social movements and democracy.

While the event seems far away, the deadline to propose panels is already on Friday. It would be great if some of you could propose panels on the World Social Forum. It does not require a huge work, as all that is needed at this stage is to submit a title and a short description of the theme of the session to one of the 65 research committees (RC) or thematic groups of the International Sociological Association. The RC will then select the sessions (we usually get twice or three times more proposals than we can accept). Once the session proposal is accepted, it will be included in a call for papers for the Forum and you will then be able to select the best abstracts on the theme you suggested. Ideally, the proposal should also have some connection with the theme I suggested for the Forum: "Challenges of the 21st century: Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Intersectionnality" (see the full theme at https://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/forum/porto-alegre-2020) but it is not compulsory.

The panel proposals should be uploaded on the same website.

My sense is that most RCs would like to have at least one session on the World Social Forum. You should thus have a good chance to be selected if you propose a panel connected to the Forum.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Rita Segato and Ashish Kotari will be among the keynote speakers at the opening session.

Let me know if you propose a session. I am in touch with most research committees.

(See the Forum theme below)



Challenges of the 21st Century:
Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Intersectionality

Twenty years after the start of our century, the optimism of the Millennium has faded and the challenges we face for living together on a limited planet are even more urgent.

While the expansion and the deepening of democratization was taken for granted at the turn of the Millennium, democracy has been at stake in an increasing number of countries, while its key component such as diversity and equal respect for all citizens are threatened. The hope for a global democracy able to tackle global issues such as climate change, migrations and rising inequalities have faded. It has now become clear that to face global challenges, democracy needs to be re-invented within and beyond the representative system.

The environmental crisis and climate change are now a worrying reality. How can we live together on a limited planet? Land and food have become again major objects of struggles. Environmental and socio-territorial conflicts have multiplied against extractivist industries. Who are the actors who bring innovative solutions to keep our societies thriving within the planetary boundaries?  How does the global environmental crisis lead us to re-think our world and our discipline?

Inequalities have considerably increased since the turn of the Millennium. We can now count twenty-six persons who own more wealth than the poorest half of humanity. This level of inequality is a major threat to democracy and to ecology. Inequalities particularly affect marginalized populations and women in their professional, public and private lives.

Intersectionality has become major theme in the ISA conferences and in our discipline over the last 20 years. Overcoming the lasting and interconnected economic, racial, colonial and gender discriminations and the violence that maintain them is another major challenge of our time. The rising consciousness of intersectionality is both a result and a trigger of the rise of subaltern actors and movements since 1992. Indigenous communities, minorities, feminists and small farmers have resisted injustice by combining practices, social struggles and alternative worldviews.

The 2020 ISA Forum will provide sociological analyses of these four global challenges paying particular attention to their interconnections and to possible solutions. We will discuss how both progressive and conservative actors and movements tackle these challenges and their conflictive perspectives. We will use this Forum to ask how our discipline has been meeting these four global challenges and it has been transformed by them. What are the contributions of the actors and epistemologies of the South? What are the new trends in global sociology that allow innovative analyses of these challenges? What are the main obstacles we face to tackle these problems? How can innovative sociological analyses contribute to grasp and to face our common problems in the Global Age?

Geoffrey Pleyers
ISA Vice-President Research
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