From ESA – Strategies & Activities

Airi-Alina Allaste
Consuelo Corradi
Lise Widding Isaksen
Milda Ališauskienė
Vidmantas Vyšniauskas

RN Reports – RN15 Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Sociology

Issue 41: Metrics Wed 18 Apr 2018 0

Marco Caselli, RN15 Coordinator 2017-2019
Peter Holley,
RN15 Co-coordinator 2017-2019

The World is a Single Place
ESA RN15 “Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Sociology” counts at present forty-nine individual members from twenty-one countries (Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States) and one institutional member.

ESA RN15 was established in 2011, replacing a pre-existing RN on “Globalisation” which had been quiescent for a long time. Vincenzo Cicchelli served as the first Coordinator of the new RN and he was supported by Manuel Ahedo as Vice-Coordinator. The first event autonomously organised by RN15 was its Mid-Term Conference “Towards a Supra-National Sociology at the beginning of the 21st century”, held in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, on 21st and 22nd March, 2013, in which 17 scholars from 6 different countries took part. Previously, in August 2012, RN15 organised one single panel on the occasion of a wider Conference held in Tampere.

At the 2013 ESA Conference in Turin, Vincenzo Cicchelli and Manuel Ahedo were confirmed as Coordinator and Vice-Coordinator. At the 2015 ESA Conference in Prague, Pertti Alasuutari was appointed as the new Coordinator of the RN, and he was supported by Marco Caselli as Vice-Coordinator.

Following the 2017 ESA Conference in Athens, Marco Caselli became the new Coordinator of the RN. He is assisted by Peter Holley who now serves as RN Vice-Coordinator. RN15’s current Board members are Pertti Alasuutari, Sylvain Beck, Pierluca Birindelli, Karel Cada, Tiina Kontinen, Victor Roudometof, Sanna Saksela-Bergholm, Jukka Syväterä, Valtteri Johannes Vähä-Savo, and Dobroslawa Wiktor-Mach.


RN15 Board 2017-2019 in Athens, August 2017

The rationale of RN15 is clearly illustrated as follows in its webpage:

“Sociology has traditionally worked with the nation-state as its main unit of analysis. However, recent world-wide developments made it necessary to advance existing sociological methods to understand increasingly transnational and global levels of social reality. Therefore, on the one hand, this Research Network focuses on the study of social structures and processes that transcend or go beyond the national level. The field covers a wide range of phenomena, some of them emphasising consciousness of the world as one place, others transnational by definition, still others with a global-local relational nature, and some that may be rooted in a nation-state but have important transnational dimensions. On the other hand, the overriding reason for proposing this RN is the substantial lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the emergence of transnational shared practices, cultures and patterns of affiliation.”

Over the last few decades, a sizeable body of cross-disciplinary research has focused on the development and impact of a global society upon individual lives. One of the widely accepted consequences of the globalised society is the development of individual outlooks, behaviours and feelings that transcend local and national boundaries. Within this broad scope, researchers from RN15 address the dynamics of formation and transnational spread of ideas, institutions and practices in a broad range of areas, for instance in social movements and civil societies, politics and policies, management and organisation, religion, and popular culture and the arts. Moreover, our proposal is to develop a transnational approach by considering Europe as part of global processes as well as by comparing it with other regions, with which Europe’s existing mobility and exchanges are now stronger than ever. The network aims to connect and synergise the independent work of members within the guidelines set by ESA.

So, in order to develop cooperation and networks, among scholars working on these topics and areas of interest, RN15 has promoted a number of panels and special sessions at ESA Conferences in Turin, Prague, Athens, and it has organised its own Mid-Term Conferences. In particular, in planning for the ESA Conference in Athens 2017, RN15 received 74 paper proposals. The network then organised some eleven panels (forty-three oral presentations and three distributed papers) and one special session (Author Meets Critics: Victor Roudometof’s book Glocalization: A Critical Introduction) at this conference. 

Stemming from ESA RN15’s Mid-Term Conference held in Milan in April 2016, the network published a book, edited by Marco Caselli and Guia Gilardoni, titled Globalization, Supranational Dynamics and Local Experiences (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). In this volume, the authors (many of whom are active members of the RN) both reflected upon transnationalism and cosmopolitanism in a globalised world, and set about studying the relationships between global processes, glocal experiences and local answers. To continue from this starting point, RN15 is planning to publish a further book based on the contributions to be presented at the incoming Mid-Term Conference “The Challenge of a Global Sociological Imagination” (Helsinki, 19th-20th April, 2018). This new Mid-Term Conference is going to see four keynote speeches and a number of thematic panels, for which sixty-four abstracts have been submitted from across the globe.

As the network continues to grow and establish itself, we (the RN15 board) hope continue to arrange activities open to all ESA members and to further a meaningful sociological engagement with global phenomena. Lastly, as one might expect, RN15 “Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Sociology” will be proactive in organising several RN workshop sessions and perhaps more special and joint sessions at the 14th ESA Conference in Manchester in 2019!