Wednesday, February 04, 2015

CONFERENCE: Societies in Transition: Progression or Regression? (UK)

The theme for the 2015 Annual Conference is: Societies in Transition: Progression or Regression?  The conference will take place at the Glasgow Caledonian University from 15-17 April 2015. 

Keynote speakers:
  • Alice Goffman, University of Wisconsin
  • Colin Samson, University of Essex
  • Guy Standing, SOAS University of London
2014 was a year of 'anniversaries' commemorating various aspects of the global wars that scarred the early 20th century. By contrast, 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the dawning of the 'post-war era', the introduction of the UK Welfare State, and the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s 'Great Society' State of the Union address which endorsed many of the socially progressive aspirations of the times. In qualification, it is important not to depict this era as a lost 'Golden Age', as many social problems and inequities remained and the period was also overshadowed by the Cold War and the various regional 'proxy wars' that it fostered. Nonetheless, there was an emerging ethos that a better future was achievable; one that challenged many of the socio-economic, ethnic and gender inequalities that had blighted the lives of earlier generations.

In recent decades, this era has given way to one dominated by an increasing sense of fatalism, division and anxiety. Numerous injustices and deprivations persist, while some that were considered to have been irrevocably consigned to the past have re-emerged and appear to be intensifying. Yet, as sociologists are acutely aware, nothing is inevitable and social progress is often only achieved by informed and critical challenging of the powerful discourses that support the status quo. Given the latter, this is clearly a time for sociology, as our societies continue to confront many of the same issues that engaged its earliest practitioners. Once more we are called upon to ask ourselves how our research and knowledge base might allow us to address a broad range of multi-dimensional social ills and to consider how our work might inform the construction of a 'Good Society' for the 21st century.

Our themes are deliberately broad and all-encompassing, designed to appeal to the entire spectrum of sociologists and stimulate lively debate.  You are at the heart of the discipline. Your voice is important. Join the finest scholars from across the globe to lead the debate. Policy makers are coming to hear what you – the people with real experience – have to say.

The aims of this conference are: to showcase the latest sociological research; to attract a concentration of international specialists in our major research fields; to provide a forum in which to discuss the teaching of sociology and the professional practice of being a sociologist; and to facilitate debate, networking and professional development opportunities.

The BSA Annual Conference is the primary annual conference for sociology in the UK with opportunities for everyone connected to the discipline.

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