From ESA – Strategies & Activities
While we do not yet know where the next ESA conference will be held the preparations for its scientific themes are well underway.
At the October 2021 Paris meeting the new ESA executive meeting discussed ideas for the conference title, the themes that we think that delegates might address and suggestions for plenary speakers.
There were a great many ideas put forwards and a lively debate followed. As you would expect the process was guided by the need for the title to have contemporary relevance at the same time as giving opportunities for sociologists to see how they can adapt their work in order to contribute to the connotations of the theme.
Past conference titles are a good starting point in this process as by looking at these we can observe how past executives have understood how the relevance of sociology can be articulated in the context of that time. Examining those titles was also informative to the extent that the relevance of some of these previous titles persists to this day.
The backcloth to the discussions included the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on societies the world over. Covid has not, however, stopped other persistent and emergent drivers of societal inequalities and divisions. Arguably, the ways in which societies across the world have dealt with Covid has been in some ways correlated with regionally specific longer range socio-cultural traditions. No country has been immune to the tensions of societal limitations on working and family life, not least in the form of travel restrictions. Similarly, there is manifest variability in the trust that people have of scientists and policy makers responsible for dealing with Covid.
The conference title will reflect these persistent themes that sociology is able to bring to contemporary debates about how society can be transformed for the better. We look forwards to revealing both the title and our explanatory narrative of it in the near future.
Author: Gary Pollock
Institutional affiliation: Manchester Metropolitan University