March 24, 2016


Elites as Ruling Minorities

Elites are ruling minorities. The divided, consensually or ideologically unified structure and the attitudes of elites may have profound connection with the nature of social reproduction, crisis and prosperity. This section invites contributions investigating theoretical aspects of elite rule and empirical findings concerning elite attitudes. Building on theoretical considerations and empirical research it aims to shed light among others on the attitudes of political, economic and other  elites concerning cohesion and division, evaluation of inequalities, policies and European integration. Papers about Romanian, post-Soviet, Central and East European, West-Balkan elites are welcome. After review a selection of papers is planned to be published.

Lengyel György, Corvinus University of Budapest

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In the Mainstream Social Dynamics: Disentangling Minorities or Prevailing Majorities?

Carving out a socio-anthropological object of research means, first of all, to identify it within a certain range of visibility, a social one (its recognoscibility in society), as much as an epistemic one, namely its distinctiveness against other conceptual and empirical objects or entities.

In order to have social visibility for what is identified and classified through delimitations such as majorities-minorities, identity-alterity, in general a bounded group within the larger socio-cultural frames and contexts, there must be an exteriority (a relative and a mutual one) for the carved out objects. However, the socio-anthropological intelligibility of these lines and criteria of demarcation can only be assigned, each time, against the backdrop of the whole society functioning. But, when one consider the overall outcome generated by cumulative effects of the so-called “mondialization” upon all social determinations and articulations, upon all minority-majority cleavages, namely the mainstream itself – this superabundant and predominant majority-effect –, the exteriority, together with its possibility, tends to dissolve. That is what claims the necessity to rethink the majority-minority distinction also on the background of what the term “mainstream” means: predominant, majoritarian or numerous, common, central and diffusely self-evident.

Usually, a minority understood in orthodox sense is defined by a set of insisting features, by its capacity to resist assimilation into the majority. What happens then to the minority-majority demarcation within a society increasingly defined by its functioning “in flux/flows” (the “stream” in the “mainstream”)? Are we assisting at the diminished or exhausted capacity of minorities – be they of a classical type or defined in any new socio-cultural ways – to sustain the corrosive pressure of the mainstream? The logic of classic divides may very well continue to work indefinitely, but the results of these divides might become mere expressions and symptoms of the same generative principle which institutes and reproduces the mainstream as such. After all, it is part of the metabolism of this ever-extending mainstream to address to every particularity/specificity the injunction to become mainstream. Be mainstream or perish! The difference aestheticizes itself and becomes commodified, something to be consumed and consummated.

One general consequence of the described dynamics could be that all distinctions, differences, boundaries, margins between socio-professional, ethnic, cultural, demographic etc. groups, niches, communities, and, in the end, even the principles of minority-majority demarcations will collapse, because of an excessive volatility, into an amorphous societal magma. Therefore our epistemic challenge is to avoid being left behind by this (self-)accelerated push of the very mainstreaming/globalizing/uniformizing principle. In order to “see” something relevant from the ways through which various belongings/participations demarcate themselves one from another, as well as how multilayered macro-aggregations/sharings are produced – i.e. the very construction of majority-minority relationships; to preserve the discernable social quality of the distinction minority-majority it is highly necessary to identify possible new ways for putative minority subjects to aggregate, to coalesce and self-delimitate themselves, otherwise it would mean the vanishing (or at least the “crepuscule”) of “substantial”, self-subsistent, stable and truly real minorities.

Adrian Sîrbu, Academia Română, Filiala Cluj
Silviu Totelecan, Academia Română, Filiala Cluj

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Minorities Being Majorities; Majorities Being Minorities

Three main definitions of “majority” and “minority” can be distinguished. Firstly, arithmetically, “majority” is a collectivity more numerous than others or the other. Secondly, genetically, “majority” may be understood as endogenous while “minority” is exogenous. Thirdly, sociologically, “majority” is related to domination by building and controlling institutions by which the “minority” is subordinated if not oppressed.

The relation between the three, but especially the first and third, definitions is a subject of the proposed session. Presentations are welcomed that analyse arithmetical and/or genetical minorities that are sociological majorities and vice versa. Analyses need not be limited to ethnic minorities/majorities.

Zbigniew Rykiel, Rzeszów University

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Classifying People: From Gender and Age to Zodiac Signs and Personality Types

We routinely treat people as representatives of certain categories, bearing their typical traits even if diverging in significant ways. There are many classifications of people available to describe a person – from gender categories, generations and age groups, professions, to complex yet para-scientific typologies such as zodiac signs, and scientifically constructed classes such as personality or other psychologically-defined types.

We invite researchers to explore how we create types of people, modify them and use them in interaction. Possible research questions include the following – and any other related topics:

  • What are the current representations of gender and age categories in various media – from textbooks to ads, movies, music videoclips, cartoons, graphic novels, or computer games? How are they influenced by medium and genre conventions?
  • How are gender and age classifications changing in different societies and settings, including online arenas? Where can we see change and where can we see persistence?
  • How are various institutions working with classifications of people – that is, how are such classifications interlinked with social practices that take into account these types of humans to apply differential treatment? For example, how is gender as a social institution shaping practices in education, human resources & employment, intimacy or family life? What about age? How are personality types and personality tests shaping recruitment in various industries? How are children classified in schools, and to what effects?
  • What about less common classifications? How are zodiac signs relevant in the daily lives of people who care about them? How are classifications of people shaping diagnosis and treatment in homeopathic medicine?
  • How is population ageing changing the way we classify people in age groups and the representations of various age-based categories? What is the diversity of portrayals of the young or the elderly in various media and genres? How do generational classifications (from the Lost Generation to Generation X, Gen Y or Millennials, and Generation Alpha) shape creative industries, tech design and marketing?
  • How are certain categories of people changing shape or visibility through professional or self-diagnosis of psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and autism, or categories of (dis)abilities in eyesight, reading, hearing, speech, or memory?
  • How do people define and manage category boundaries, their strictness or permeability? What are the theories that underlie classifications? For example, what is the role of biology or even genetic determinism in understanding gender, age-based or psychologically-defined types of people?
  • What is the role of objects in expressing, denying or modifying one’s relation with a category of people? How is gender or age expressed through clothing, toys, or access to technology? How are psychological conditions interlinked with medication regimes? How are types of people re-affirmed through material representations in texts, charts or illustrations, in daily life or scientific settings?
  • What is the role of science and technology in producing, refuting and modifying classifications of people?
  • Last but not least, how is technology reshaping the generation, use and change in types of people? For example, how are gender & age related to the use and creation of digital technologies? How are people classified into personality or behavioural types based on their online traces?

Participants are invited to publish their research papers in the winter 2016 issues of Analize – Journal of Gender and Feminist Studies or Compaso – Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology.

Please send your proposal via the conference site by 15 May 2016. Proposals should include the title of the presentation, an abstract of up to 300 words, and contact information (including affiliation and email address).

Laura Grunberg, Universitatea din București
Cosima Rughiniș, Universitatea din București

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Exploring Social Relationship Patterns Inside Organizations or Communities from a Social Network Analysis Perspective

This session is focused on advancing and extending the understanding of how social tie patterns impact on the individual and group behaviour that can be observed inside organizations or communities.

Researchers, academics or practitioners are invited to present their research work (early stage, ongoing or completed) providing that a social network analysis perspective was employed, either methodologically or theoretically. The session welcomes both theoretical work and empirical applications of network theories and social network analysis to a wide palette of topics.

This session is particularly interested in hosting presentations of research results that are focused on:

  • Personal networks (e.g. typologies, relational patterns and composition analysis);
  • Qualitative network analysis (e.g. qualitative network data collection, analytical strategies and methodology);
  • Mixed-methods research (e.g. illustrations of applied research designs);
  • Political processes (irrespective of their individual, group, state or international level) approached from a social network perspective;
  • Network visualizations (e.g. big data, static or dynamic images, the usage of visualizations within the research process);
  • Static and dynamic networks (e.g. the factors and the effects of structural change);
  • Historical network research (e.g. the analysis of historical relational data sets; challenges of applying social network analysis to historical archives);
  • The multilevel network perspective over organizations (e.g. empirical work on organizations defined as a mix of individuals, groups, units, practices as well as of external environment elements);
  • Scientific collaboration networks (e.g. co-authorship and citation networks).

The above listed research lines should not be considered restrictive, but as examples of presentations fit to this panel. Generally, this session is looking forward to spurring the coalescing of presentations embracing ego-centric (i.e. ego-networks, personal networks), socio-centric research designs (i.e. whole networks) or mixed methods research of social networks.

As an aside, the authors have the possibility of submitting papers corresponding to their research project presentations to the International Review of Social Research (for a general overview of the journal, please inspect the following web page

Additional queries on this session or on the possibility of submitting manuscripts to the International Review of Social Research can be addressed to

Marian-Gabriel Hancean, University of Bucharest

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New Families, Old Societies – New Challenges of Migration for Families in their Countries of Origin

The way transnational family members have become integrated in their target countries has been subjected quite extensively to diaspora research. On the other hand, most of the research on transnational families focuses on the transnational functioning of this type of family. Our section proposes to host foremostly papers focusing on the challenges the growth in number and variety of transnational families raises for the countries of origin. Special attention is given to presentations discussing geographically Eastern European countries.

The section especially wishes to touch upon topics such as:

  • The way transnational family members manage situations in which migrant family members are discriminated at home (see the case of mothers in countries such as Romania, the Republic of Moldova or the Ukraine)
  • The situation of children who, being born abroad, have the possibility to opt for double citizenship, of children of transnationally mixed families and of children gliding between countries of origin and target countries
  • The situation of elderly remaining at home
  • Transnationally mixed families who chose to settle in the country of origin
  • Families with members dispersed over several countries and the way those at home manage the situation of belonging to this type of family organization.

Presented papers in this section will have the chance of being published in a collective volume, therefore a draft of the paper will be required upon registration (the 1st of August 2016).

Viorela Ducu, Babeș-Bolyai University
Iulia Hossu, Centre for Population Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University

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New Societies, New Families! Trends in Family Change

There are researchers who argue that family life quality is higher in contemporary society. At the same time there are studies that show that family is confronting with some serious problems related to relationships between members: partners and children. Some families need support in order to solve their problems or perform their functions. Also, there are people who prefer to live alone or to not have children. These new situations are summarized in the idea that family is in crisis. In fact, world is changing and family is an important piece of this system, and change is natural and necessary. It is important for scientists to study these transformations, understand them and anticipate their consequences. Not all new situations are negative problems, perhaps there are only new life styles more suited for the new society.

Despite all problems family continues to be considered the most appropriate place for raising children but the definition of family is different and parenting style is a new one. Which is the most appropriate means to raise children and how should be the family life do not trigger common answers anymore. Each individual may construct, frame (within certain limits) his proper, “suitable” style. In this context the big challenge for scientists is to identify the new mechanisms which are standing at the choice of the life style. Educational level, professional status, gender, culture, religion are important variables which affect choices regarding marriage and family.

This panel aims to discuss and look for answers to the next questions: Is family still “the first” institution? How necessary is the change in family? What are the most important changes in family and what are the meanings of these changes? Is family happier today? How does gender affects the equality of family life? Should we get married in order to be happy?

Felicia Morândău, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

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Working after Cancer or Other Chronic Diseases? Benefits and Barriers of Working after a Major Disease

A substantial proportion of chronically ill patients in Europe are of working age. Among the chronic diseases, cancer is the most devastating, putting a considerable social and economic burden on patients. The cancer survivorship trend significantly grew in the last 10–20 years, therefore the problem of the cancer-ill workforce became more and more a concern for employers, workforce agencies and governments to consider. In a similar way, the growing population suffering from chronic diseases demands not only diagnosing and treatment services, but also provision related to rehabilitation, training and counselling, as well as adequate policies reflecting its needs.

Several European countries have already begun to address this problem by designing and implementing a bundle of policies, measures and initiatives, either public or private, at national or local level. Several other countries (including Romania) are still struggling with meeting the basic needs of cancer and chronically ill patients. Both the level of awareness regarding the work related consequences of cancer and chronic illness, and the range of provision, greatly vary in different European countries and can be subject of analysis.

The panel will welcome papers analysing the consequences cancer and other chronic diseases have on work and what exists in terms of policies and services in different national settings. Papers analysing the personal experiences of those who suffer and choose to return to work are also welcomed. The analyses could focus on the government or non-government (NGOs) perspective, or take into consideration the viewpoint of other stakeholders involved, e.g. physicians, employers, etc. Both theoretical and empirical papers, as well as quantitative and qualitative can be presented.

Felicia Morândău, „Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu
Adela Popa, „Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu
Radu Popa, „Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu

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Labour Markets, Migration and Minorities in Developed Countries and New Democracies

Democratic countries have experienced in the last twenty years unprecedented economic changes. The recent economic crisis has increased and radicalized the challenges for economic and social changes: governments face greater pressure pushing them towards economic reforms and cuts in spending (mostly welfare state spending), but in the same time their citizens demand for a larger and better redistribution of resources and an increased taxation for the rich; the European labour market is under attack from the protectionist, nationalistic and populist politicians leading to a demise of the future single European social model; political coalitions promote with various degrees of effectiveness policies for fighting unemployment inflation and social inequalities, while reducing the importance of social agreements and diminishing the role of social actors; social and economic stakeholders, such as trade unions, employers, banks, opted for adversarial politics instead of collaborative ones, leading to an increase in social movement protests and voters’ dissent.

These fluid arrangements raise several questions such as, but not limited to: What are the unions and firms’ stances on the new social risks? What explains the fragmentation of the EU labour market? Is there a variation in influence migration influencing the labour relations? How do we measure the new developments in labour relations? We are interested in papers dealing with, but not exclusively, research topics like: migration, labour markets and new employment relations; anthropological perspective on work and labour relations; foreign investments and craft of new labour relations; varieties of capitalism; social inequalities and social stratification; trade unions and employers associations; taxation and welfare state reform; economic crisis and changes in consumer behaviour; anthropology of consumption; social movements and collective action.

Theoretical, quantitative and qualitative approaches are welcome, as well as case studies, cross-national empirical research, experimental designs and methodologically oriented papers fit in this panel. We are considering to invite the best papers for publishing in a collective volume.

Aurelian Muntean, SNSPA

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Methodological Tools

This is a section dedicated to methods, methodology and research instruments, with the explicit intention to exchange new ways to analyse data.

This includes data analysis methods, measuring concepts, new methodologies in the social sciences, or new data analysis software with practical applications.

Adrian Dușa, University of Bucharest

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Sociology of the Internet

The global computers network that directly influence the life for more than three billions of people has become a distinct mark of our present civilisation. From interpersonal mediated communication up to intelligent cars, from distance learning up to smart cities almost everything around us is or can become interconnected due to Internet infrastructure. From anonymous, devoted, text-based, brave, and solitaire users of the web 1.0 we moved to the noisy, fancy, shiny, and knew everything users of the web 2.0 and social media. Now there are preparing the next moving, toward the web 3.0 that will connect firstly everything else and only then people. The internet of things is the next wave that wills significant increase of the digitalisation of the everyday life. Without becoming a promoter or a hater of the new information and communication technology, in this section we will try to debate the social impact of the Internet. What’s mean to be digital connected? But digital disconnected? The intense use of the information technology can become an epigenetic factor for the young generations? In a hyper-connected world the individuals remain alone? How efficient are the virtual teams, virtual groups and on-line companies? We still have a non-technological future? These are just few examples of issues that we can approach under the so extended covering of the idea of social impact of the Internet.

Bogdan Nadolu, West University of Timisoara

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Educated Romania. România educată

“România educată,” i.e. Educated Romania was set by the Romanian Presidency as Romania’s new country project. According to the web-site of the Presidency the main goal of the project is to “represent the beginning of a resetting of the (Romanian) society on values, the development of a culture of success based on performance, talent, honesty and integrity.” This national project is intended to span over the 2016–2018 period and starts with a public consultation having a wide involvement of all interested parties. This step should develop a long-term vision on the Romanian education and research systems, should identify strategic options and transform these into national targets.

We propose to discuss from different perspectives, both theoretical and empirical, the current status of Romanian education, its values as well as its performance in view of the Educated Romania project. Where do we start from? What is educated Romania now? Where do we want to go?

We are especially open to papers presenting recent developments in Romanian education and research, development and innovation. Our interest foci include, but are not limited to: quality of education, inequalities in the provision of education, governance, and education outputs to the society. While, as always, we prefer analytical papers introducing solid empirical research, this time normative approaches i.e. research programmes for the Romanian education landscape, will also be considered and grouped in a dedicated part of the section.

Viorel Proteasa, UMF ”Carol Davila”
Robert Reisz, West University Timisoara

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Continuities and Discontinuities in 20th Century Southeast European Sociology

Southeastern Europe has undergone numerous geopolitical and socio-cultural mutations throughout the 20th century. In turn, these changes constituted preconditions for the production and development of sociology qua discipline and the the proliferation of sociological knowledge. The appearance of new national  states after the First World War, the radical social changes and tensions that emerged during the interwar period, the outbreak of the Second World War, as well as the advent of communist regimes determined, on a case by case basis, the proliferation and/or implosion of the social sciences. In this context, the institutionalization and/or covert surveillance of the social sciences also constitute important subjects of inquiry.

This panel encourages contributions that analyze the relationship between the aforementioned structuring milieus, as well as the contributions of various intellectual groups that sought to establish sociology not only as an autonomous domain within the social-scientific field, but also as a discipline with a public calling and/or statist vocation.

Ionut Butoi, Facultatea de Jurnalism si Stiintele Comunicarii, Universitatea din Bucuresti
Zoltan Rostas, Facultatea de Jurnalism si Stiintele Comunicarii

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Time and Social Policy: Imaging Welfare Futures

Different social situations (poverty, population aging, global warming, unemployment, discrimination etc.) have been increasingly recognized as social problems – although governments’ commitment to address them varies in time and space. The emergence of the modern nation state involved the development of regulatory mechanisms that empower governmental apparatus to exercise control over populations. Accordingly, ensuring the aggregated well-being of people has been included among the responsibilities of state institutions. The modern state has become a collective actor delegated to solve social problems by developing strategies and by implementing development policies.

In this context, we invite contributions that explore modes through which time arises as an issue in social policy and action-oriented research, thus aiming to introduce time as a conceptual device that may provide meaningful theoretical perspectives on the governing processes. We invite authors to consider especially, but not exclusively, the following lines of inquiry:

  • The institutions of social change as material and symbolic accomplishments: Various organizations (governmental or non-governmental, non-profit or for-profit, national or trans-national) are socially entitled to act towards transforming societies. Also, different movements such as revolts, strikes, protests or petitions are means that make change socially accomplishable. Some actions are conducted in order to increase the quality of individual life and efficiently distribute resources according to accepted standards of justice and equity. Therefore, social change becomes an integral part of the world: it is objectified, performed and continuously achieved in action. What kind of temporalities are involved in this process?  How is future embedded in present-day structures and institutions? What kind of predictability do institutions of social change produce?
  • Types of capital as resources for development: The relation between different forms of capital and sustainable development has been analytically and empirically validated. Financial, relational and cultural forms of capital have been studied as conditions of social progress and prosperity. Hence, the capitalization of different social assets has made world intelligible in terms of policy-based quantifications and measurements. How might time capital be approached in relation to other forms of capital? How does time capital offer rationalizations to account for socio-economic development? What kind of inequalities does time capital support? How do the economics of time work in present-day societies?
  • Ideological repertoires in policy paradigms: Multiple discourses are used to legitimate state intervention. Government relies on different ideologies that orient policy actions and people’s expectations. Therefore, developing social policy relies on particular views on how society works and how reality might be known. Embracing various ideologies in policy making implies legitimating different types of power, while also creating particular forms of temporal organization. What kind of temporal regimes do different political ideologies support? How are different temporal regimes resisted and questioned through policy implementation? What is the ideology of time characterizing the design, implementation and evaluation of policy initiatives?
  • The subjectification of citizens through legislative means: Legislation is a powerful resource used to define individuals as members of society. By functioning as a regulatory force, legislation creates disciplined subjects characterized by rights and obligations. Also, it defines acceptable modes of participation in the world and it establishes what kind of political and moral values might be used to understand yourself and others. Legislation functions as an instrument of social change, especially when it promotes cultural shifting through a rhetoric of desirability and truth. In this context, how do legislative acts address different time horizons? How does legislation transform individual time into an object of regulation? What potential have legislation in changing the temporal organization of a society?
  • Policy legacy and intergenerational responsibility: Social policy consists in choices that affect the lives of people on the long run. Planned change has implied ethical components that make some actors responsible for the well-being of society. In this context, strategies of development are centred around issues of acting responsibly and rationally in allocating resources and caring for each and all members of society. How are political deciders aware of time in designing, implementing and evaluating social policy? How is the responsibility for future generations addressed through policy making? How are issues of agency and accountability addressed in relation with time?

Please send your proposal to and by 15 May 2016. Proposals should include the title of the presentation, an abstract of up to 300 words, and the contact information of authors (including affiliation and email address).

Ștefania Matei, University of Bucharest
Marian Preda, University of Bucharest

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Living with(in) Digital Technology

Our reality is visibly and invisibly transformed through digital technology. Digitally mediated information flows structure increasingly deeper and broader layers of daily and professional lives. We live with and within the omnipresence of Wikipedia, Google Maps and Facebook – to name just the tip of the iceberg. Computational power is mobile, but increasingly fixed on our persons, from bags and pockets, to wrists and, occasionally, glasses. Information technology has gradually become an infrastructure, an ambient and a part of our extended, distributed selves.

We invite authors to reflect on the significance of digital technologies for our daily and professional lives, addressing questions such as the following – or any other related topics:

  • How are our experiences of time and place modified through digital technology? What about our experiences of friendship and relatedness, familiarity and awareness, membership and individuality?
  • How are social sciences shaped by widespread use of technology in generating traces of human behaviour, collecting and analysing big and small data?
  • How is authorship redefined in an era of human-technological collaboration – in diverse fields such as arts, sciences, blogging, wiki contributing, coding?
  • How is cognition and knowledge shaped in the interplay of humans and computers, and in the distributed networks of digitally mediated collaborative networks?
  • How does digital technology modify our relationships with different forms of information – such as medical advice, navigation tips, scientific publication, or knowledge of other persons?
  • What of our lives becomes more transparent and what becomes more opaque, in the interplay of surveillance and pursuits of privacy?
  • What are the shifting boundaries of the ‘real world’ as the counterpart of the digital worlds we visit – from game worlds and virtual realities to augmented landscapes and continuous flows of digital snippets?
  • What are the ethical experiences and issues raised by our increased entanglements with digital technology?
  • How is digital technology socially stratified? Which are the digital gaps that constitute and reconstitute social stratification and mobility? What are the distinctive patterns of use and ignorance of technology for certain categories of people, such as children, young men, or older women?

Please send your proposal via the conference site by 15 May 2016. Proposals should include the title of the presentation, an abstract of up to 300 words, and contact information (including affiliation and email address).

Marian-Gabriel Hancean, University of Bucharest
Cosima Rughiniș, University of Bucharest

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Electoral and Political Challenges in New Democracies

Recent events in European societies have raised new challenges for understanding and predicting political competition. The recent economic crisis, the migration flows, the increasing importance of the social media, and the rise of populist or extremist parties are just a few of these phenomena that have sometimes affected the very structure of party systems across European countries: grand coalitions or unnatural left-right alliances of mainstream parties are no longer exceptions, in their attempt to limit the access of extremist parties to government positions; cartelization of party politics is no longer regarded solely as a threat to democratic representation, but also as a gatekeeper of mainstream politics, filtering populist party alternatives; representation of minorities and disadvantaged groups is at risk in the new quest for governance (over-regulation and over-control of democratic institutions, use of irregularities in elections). Thus, the traditional logic of government vs. opposition or majority vs. minority is more fluid than ever before. Changes are visible not only in West-European societies but also in new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This panel aims to provide a general framework for addressing the issue of change in electoral politics across European societies, with a focus on CEE countries. We are interested in papers dealing with, but not exclusively, research topics like: elections and voting behaviour in comparative or national perspective; electoral systems and reforms; migration and politics, political parties and leaders; representation and personalization of votes both in elections and in the legislatures; direct participation in the democratic processes; economic disturbances and elections; populist leaders and populist parties; rise of extremism in electoral politics; electoral integrity and electoral violence; Internet and elections; green politics and green parties; populism and Euro-scepticism, etc. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are welcome, as well as case studies, cross-national empirical research and methodologically oriented paper fit in this panel. We are considering to invite the best papers for publishing in a collective volume.

Mircea Comșa, Universitatea “Babeș-Bolyai” din Cluj-Napoca
Andrei Gheorghiță, Universitatea “Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu
Aurelian Muntean, SNSPA
Claudiu Tufis, University of Bucharest

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Politics of the Past, Politics of the Present: Uses and Abuses of Memory in CEE Post-Communist Societies

Recent times have been hot enough to simmer through Romanian politics of the past. As recently as February 2016, former communist official Alexandru Vișinescu was sentenced to twenty-years in prison for “crimes against humanity” committed while running the Râmnicu Sărat penitentiary. The sentence was a first of its kind that opened a new chapter in the Romanian transitional justice. A few months earlier, in July 2015, a so-called “anti-Legionary law” was issued prohibiting any organization, symbol and acts of fascist, Legionary, racist, or xenophobic in nature as well as promoting the cult of persons sentenced for genocide and war crimes. This sequence of events brought Romanian politics of memory to fever pitch levels unreached since the controversial presidential condemnation of the communist regime as “illegitimate and criminal” in December 2006. Similar mnemonic debates sprouted throughout Central and Eastern Europe, in striving to come to terms with the region’s troubled past of the short, but violence-ridden, twentieth century. This panel invites papers that seek to critically engage with contemporary politics of past, ranging from memory laws and measures of transitional justice, to cultural developments in the politics of memory including, but not limited to, commemorations, schoolbooks, material and memorial landscapes of memory such as museums, mausoleums and monuments. In line with the conference’s focus on new and old minorities and majorities, we also welcome papers that approach the minority-majority dynamics articulating “communities of memory” within the larger national societies, as well as any transnational relationships or processes among these. Scholars interested in these topics are invited to submit their abstracts, of no more than 300 words, on the conference’s dedicated website,

Simona Szakacs, Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research
Mihai Stelian Rusu, “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu

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Cherchez la… classe! The Relevance and Contours of Social Classes in Post-Communism

In theory, communist societies were classless societies. Yet, various scholars have shown that pre-World War II class distinctions survived during communism in various degrees and forms. Other authors have claimed that communist regimes created specific classes (see, for instance, Djilas’ “new class”). Among other things, the transition to democracy and a market economy has re-institutionalized class-based distinctions. Media and ordinary people in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) now frequently talk about (the fate of) upper-, middle- or lower classes, and the existence of such categories seems to be taken-for-granted. This section is open to theoretical and empirical contributions that address the following topics: 1) the relevance of “class” – as a concept – in understanding current economic and social divides in CEE; 2) alternative conceptual and empirical tools to the study of stratification and inequality in CEE (i.e., “occupational groups,” prestige/status etc.);3) subjective definitions of social class; 4) the relationship between social class and consumption; 5) symbolic and material boundaries of social classes; 6) social class, mobility, and inequality; 7) neo-liberal economic policies and social classes. The list of topics mentioned previously is by no means exhaustive and we welcome other contributions that seek to analyse the relationship between social class and other relevant phenomena (from poverty to health to political participation). Also, we are open to studies that approach the issue of class from various theoretical perspectives (Marx, Weber etc.). Although this section focuses on Central and Eastern Europe, we welcome contributions that address other cases/countries, which may be relevant to the situation of former communist countries from the region.

Cătălin Stoica, Școala Națională de Studii Politice și Administrative

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International Migration Today: The Focus on Transnationalism and Gendered Processes

The age of migration seems to extend its impact on social life creating a genuine life style in migration (Benson & O’Reilly, 2016). Even if the total volume of international migrants is said to have remained stable over the last decades (Czaika & de Hass, 2014), the salience of migrant groups becomes incontestable. Permanent commuting, dish-TV, very fast Internet connections, visible migrant communities make the nowadays social scene different from the world as we knew it. Or does it not? This is the main topic to be addressed in our section, going into two distinct directions.

On one hand, we have transnationalism as a defining phenomenon for our lives, no matter if migrant or not. Since the beginning of the ‘90, starting with the seminal work of Basch et al (1994), the concept has made career in studies associated with international migration. Having the capacity to transcend the origin/destination limitation, transnationalism seems to have a specific attractive power built, indisputably, to its appropriateness to what migrants’ life implies today. Yet, in this enthusiastic embrace, there are voices asking for more rigour in defining it, as well as there are attempts to measure it (using qualitative or quantitative methodologies), or attempts to connect it to different phenomena (i.e. integration; return migration). The section offers a space to explore the “transnational realm” in migration: theoretical studies devoted to defining, as well as methodological approaches devoted to measures; papers investigating the degree of transnationalism of different migrant populations or making connections with other process are altogether welcomed.

On the other hand, there is a gender imbalance in migration, either in volumes, or in the mechanisms and drivers to define migratory flows and post-migration processes. Gender is at stake in various instances of migration process. Gender norms can encourage or deter individuals from putting in place their plans to move abroad. Furthermore, gender can dramatically affect the chances of securing a job in the host countries, it can contribute to the channelling of migrants, men and women, in segregated sectors of the labour market according to the prevailing gender expectations, and it differently affects migrants’ economic outcomes and, more broadly, their integration experiences abroad. Finally, men and women may hold different, sometimes opposite views and orientations toward their home and host societies and can project their later life stages accordingly. This may be conducive to various domestic conflicts and compromises that can seriously reshape migrants’ and their family members’ life courses.

We invite scholars interested in either of the two topics, and preferably in both, to submit their work as proposal for our section. The plan is to have at least two distinct sessions, one emphasizing transnationalism, and the other the role of gender. We may consider other proposals as well, depending on their quality, to build up a third, more general session.

Monica Șerban, Research Institute for Quality of Life
Ionela Vlase, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
Bogdan Voicu, Research Institute for Quality of Life

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Youth and Elderly: Relations, Stratification and Values

Population ageing is a major trend for the coming years. The projected increase of the number of the older people and, at the same time, the decrease of the number of the youths will, most likely, give rise to new demographic and socioeconomic majorities and minorities in the European societies (e.g. the economic and demographic old-age dependency ratios have already grown and are expected to continue to increase).

That expected shift of balance, doubled by the economic and financial troubles haunting the European societies but also by the perspective of inward international migration, raises important questions to the sustainability of the public social security systems (e.g. health, pensions, unemployment). But it also put forward issues like intergenerational support and care or living arrangements for both youth and elderly. One way of dealing with that is to constantly revisit and rework the policies targeting these categories. Another way is to pay more attention to the translation of solidarity norms into mechanisms providing social and economic support, which are alternative to the established social security systems.

Even if, from a demographic perspective, youths will be gradually outnumbered by elderly, their values and beliefs are substantially expanding in the social spaces. For example, while the redefinition of youthfulness as being active, healthy and attractive is expanding all over public spaces, being old is becoming more and more a matter of perspective. The social construction of old age increasingly considers social roles, physical or psychological abilities of people and lesser chronology. The threshold of old age is progressively disconnected from the biological age (usually the retirement age in Europe) and gradually raised. However neither elderly nor youth are necessarily net winners of that equation. Labour markets, for instance, can prove to be reluctant both to elderly capabilities and youth aspiration (see for instance the youth unemployment rates across Europe).

The panel welcomes both theoretical and empirical papers comparatively approaching youth and elderly or focused only on one of these categories. The papers could explore perceptions, attitudes, values related to work, health, leisure, gender roles, education or retirement but also policies targeting youths and elderly, relations or intergenerational relations between and within these categories.

Lucian Marina, Universitatea “1 Decembrie 1918” din Alba Iulia
Horațiu Rusu, Universitatea “Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu

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Residential Child and Youth Care in a Developing World

We started from an intellectual claim that residential child and youth care “places” exist everywhere – whether called homes, orphanages, schools, centres, hostels, residences, colleges or institutions. However 21st Century Child and Youth Care as well as Social Work practices have been changing around the world, largely driven by economic considerations, but also promoted by six Western ideologies translated into policy initiatives that include: Normalisation; De-Institutionalisation; Mainstreaming; Placements in Least Restrictive Environments; Minimum Intervention; and Diversion (Fulcher, 2009).

At the same time, globalisation has afforded opportunities that have enabled practitioners from “developed” and “developing” countries to travel beyond their own countries offering better opportunities to explore different ideas, methodologies and challenges. There is a sense that “child and youth care practices” are becoming a Worldwide phenomena; with international and national governments, non-profit organisations and private businesses all seeking to promote and support the health and wellbeing of children and young people facing natural disasters, famine, disease and warfare spreading across virtually all regions of the World.

We are inviting child and youth care senior practitioners, graduate students, educators, researchers and scholars from different regions of the developing world to discuss key challenges in residential child and youth care, examples of good practice and lessons learned from research and from specific intervention.

Anca Bejenaru, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
Tuhinul Khalil, The University of Edinburgh

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Immigrant and Ethnic Minorities in a Global perspective. Implications for Social Integration and Well-being

Immigrant and ethnic minority communities represent one of the fastest growing populations globally, currently making up nearly 232 million people, a figure projected to grow due to high birth rates and increased refugee migration. A focus on immigrant and minority populations is relevant and timely at a moment when so many vulnerable populations are migrating and/or seeking refuge around the world and when issues of inequality are garnering more and more attention nowadays. These populations are particularly vulnerable to acculturative challenges related to discrimination, social exclusion, poor well-being and integration (Garcia Coll & Marks, 2012). Yet, current research efforts have primarily focused on mental ill-health or on the lack of integration, well-being and success in these populations, whereas seminal work in the United States has documented the so called “immigrant paradox” – a population-level phenomenon in which foreign-born (or less acculturated) immigrants have more optimal developmental outcomes than those born in the United States. This section aims to generate new insight regarding what is presently known about positive outcomes, success, social integration and well-being of immigrant and minority populations from a global perspective. In so doing, it reports new empirical findings and raises awareness on the psychological welfare of immigrants in developmental, educational, mental health, and political fields as well as efforts to promote their well-being. This section will offer a discussion in the context of optimal integration, well-being and positive development for immigrant and ethnic minority communities in Europe and a broader international perspective.

Radosveta Dimitrova, Stockholm University

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Work Changes and High Performance Organizations

Organizational performance has nowadays new meanings and determinants, reflecting and promoting social, economic and cultural changes. At the beginning of the 21st century there are substantial movements in the way work is performed, organized and conceptualized by employees, managers, stakeholders, but also by policy makers and governments. We are facing new jobs based on new technologies, performed in multicultural settings, requiring new social competencies, and new definitions of team work. Therefore, the organizational performance goes beyond its traditional dimensions, opening up to knowledge management, innovation, human capital management, work-life balance, or organizational justice, to name only few of current inquiries in organizational studies. What are the new directions in understanding work values and work attitudes, which shifts are recorded in the field of organizational learning and employee development, how the emerging concepts of global competence, feminization of work are reflected by organizational settings, or how quality of working life, empowerment, work engagement and talent management evolved in the last decade – are open questions addressed under the current panel. Scholars interested in the topics are invited to submit both theory-driven and empirically grounded papers, by 15th of May 2016, using the conference online platform.

Raluca Rusu, Land Forces Academy “Nicolae Bălcescu” Sibiu,
Carmen Buzea, Transilvania University of Brasov,

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Sustainable Community Development: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities

Very much has been said about the causes of the present situation in Europe marked by growing tensions, fears, security threats, instability, as well as diffused uncertainty and societal discomfort. Regardless the explanations or factors identified as main culprits of instability, all these pressures and changes bring to the local communities new challenges on how to face, (re)interpret and overcome risks of different kinds, and how to identify, elaborate and promote sustainable solutions. The emergence of new realities requires new approaches in the field of community development. In this sense, the present call for papers seeks for original contributions that can make use of sociological imagination and interdisciplinary research in order to critically approach some key issues such as how risks and uncertainty are constructed, perceived and managed by individuals and communities. There are strongly encouraged paper submissions on a wide spectrum of topics which include, but are not restrained to: community development, community change, social responsibility, environmental risks, threats and community change related to industrial and mining activities, climate of risk, risk management, risk governance, community resilience.

Dan Chiribucă, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca,
Ionela Răcătău, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca,

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General Papers

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