The European Sociologist: Call for contributions to issue #49
The European Sociologist is the e-magazine of the European Sociological Association. It is published online and welcomes articles from ESA members. The European Sociologist has regular sections and since the #48 issue it includes a special section devoted to a selected theme.
The European Sociologist welcomes contributions for all the regular sections and the special theme of this issue by 31 May 2023.
This section is open to contributions on topics and debates of general concern for the ESA and broader social science audiences, or of specific relevance to RNs or NAs. This may include, for example, commentaries to debates developed in recent events (workshops, conferences etc.) organized by RNs or NAs, overview articles addressing emergent issues, methodologies and literatures, and critical reviews and commentaries.
Contributions should not exceed 2,500 words (including references).
This section is open to summaries of PhD theses and work in progress of early-career scholars.
B) PUBLIC SOCIOLOGY
This section is open to papers concerning research with direct public impact or other public outreach initiatives.
This section is open to interviews with prominent or emergent scholars, concerning their career, theoretical and methodological approach and reflections on the topics of their concern.
Contributions to each section in Doing Sociology should not exceed 2,500 words (including references).
THE SOCIAL FABRIC UNDER STRESS
Margaret Thatcher famously said there is no such thing as society, only individual men and women, and families. Yet sociologists know that society is more than a sum of individuals or households. Today the social fabric in Europe (and beyond) is under stress, for a number of reasons.
The war in Ukraine seems to have turned back the hands of the clock to an almost forgotten past. The horrors of the war have been complemented with a crisis in energy supply that hit hard on the European economies. The latter’s problems, however, had begun much earlier, at least since the 2008 financial crisis, which brought into question capitalist globalization as a whole. The Covid-19 pandemic and growing evidence of climate change are further elements that contribute to a general feeling of anxiety and insecurity. Poverty and inequality expand, and governments seem unable to address them organically. They do not fare any better with the management of migration flows. Prosperity increasingly appears a precarious condition or a vanishing goal, and technological promises are met with growing scepticism. Social media can make people feel increasingly connected and yet they also leave them increasingly alone, while new powers, based in the extraction and management of big data, grow by the day, in the absence of proper means of public control.
The most disadvantaged parts of the population are of course the most exposed to and impacted by the consequences of these processes, but the decline of the middle classes indicates that these problems and challenges involve large sectors of societies. The revamp of nationalism, the anti-gender turn, the rise of populisms and the growing electoral success of the far right are a resonant consequence of the situation. The idea of “progress” and its political advocates on the left are losing ground, in part because they have increasingly interpreted it in terms of individual affluence and identity politics, to the detriment of collective solidarities, the need of which is becoming ever-more apparent to many.
The picture, however, is not entirely bleak. There are a number of signs that social cohesion and solidarity in European societies are resilient: from the manifold responses of civil societies in support of the Ukrainian population to NGO initiatives to assist migrants; from the growing – especially younger generations’ – commitment to a just transition to sustainability, with rising protests against governments’ inaction and a flourishing of initiatives at everyday level (community-supported agriculture, energy communities, etc.), to novel alliances between blue and white collar workers, in the attempt to bring production out of the shallows of a polluting and declining industrialization. Novel intersectional, cross-sectoral and multi-scalar connections and alliances emerge against resurgent and new forms of racism, homophobia, ageism and other forms of discrimination, social and territorial marginalization, extractivism and unequal exchange, technological lock-ins and cognitive imperialism, as well as the securitization of social life and the hollowing out of democracy.
The special section aims to collect contributions that address these and other connected issues, and more in general the current dynamics of tearing and mending the social fabric. Against the myth, or the nightmare, of a “society of individuals” – in and by themselves – the purpose is to draw a picture of emergent societal processes, challenges, resistances and novel re-arrangements.
Contributions to this section should not exceed 3,000 words (including references).
All submissions should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 May 2023.