From ESA – Strategies & Activities

President's Message Marta Soler-Gallart
RN Reports – RN21 Quantitative Methods Jochen Mayerl
NA Reports – (Public) Sociology in Times of Crisis - The German Experience Birgit Blättel-Mink
NA Reports – Coronavirus as an X-Ray of Politics - The Case of Israel Lev Grinberg
NA Reports – Bergamo, March 2020: The Heart of the Italian Outbreak Roberto Lusardi
NA Reports – The Difficult Question: Will We Remain Socially Alive? - Concerns from Portugal João Teixeira Lopes
Thesis Spotlights – Importing Memory: Using Other Nations' Collective Memory in Political Speeches Tracy Adams
Thesis Spotlights – Religion and International Politics in Second Modernity: Reassessing the Role of the Religious Factor in EU Policy-Making Chrysa Almpani
Thesis Spotlights – The Hipster Economy: An Ethnography of Creative Food and Beverage Microentrepreneurs in the Italian Context Alessandro Gerosa
Thesis Spotlights – Assimilation or Integration: The Case of Hungarian-Serbian Intermarriages Tibor Ladancsik
Thesis Spotlights – Greening Industrial Production in China: Reinvent a Cleaner Future through Policy, Strategy and Technology Yuan Zheng Li
Thesis Spotlights – Social Resilience and Negotiation of the Yazidi Survivors of the Islamic State in Germany Mais Masadeh
Thesis Spotlights – Exploring Iranian Urban Everyday Life By Analysing Iranian Cinema Habib Moghimi
Thesis Spotlights – How Is the University Influenced by Neoliberalism? The Composition and Practice of Accountability in Taiwanese Higher Education Ming-Te Peng
Thesis Spotlights – Symbolic Consumption of Print Media: How Physical Newspapers Allow Romanian Readers to Do Identity Work Laura Toma

Doing Sociology – Funding, Teaching & Opportunities

Making and Re-Making Public Spaces: The Co(Vid)-Creation of Music Festivals Signe Banke
Producing Knowledge in a Pandemic Crisis – The Relevance of Researchers’ Work and Working Conditions Teresa Carvalho
Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times? The Terrible Opportunity for Sociological Inquietude Magda Nico
From “Face-to-Face” to “Face-to-Screen”: Virtual Classrooms as Synthetic Situations Michael Knapp

Discussion – Key Debates, Viewpoints & Interviews

Theorising – The Social Definition of the Corona Pandemic Sandra Maria Pfister
Theorising – Praise of Biopolitics? The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Will for Self-Preservation Jörn Ahrens
Theorising – Problematising Categories: Understanding the Covid-19 Pandemic through the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (RN22) Patrick Brown
Theorising – Crises? What Crises? Conceptualising Breakdowns in Practice Theory Deborah Giustini
Theorising – If We Lose Our Humanity, We Lose Ourselves Mirjana Ule
Theorising – “It’s (Not) the End of the World as We Know It and I (Don’t) Feel Fine”: Through the Looking Glass Mirror of the Coronapocalypse Victor Roudometof
Working – Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Pandemic, Equal Pay and the Sociologist as Expert Hazel Conley
Working – Fashion in the Time of Corona: What Can the Sociology of Fashion Reveal? Anna-Mari Almila
Working – Work Disruption in a Context of Pandemics: Social Bonds and the ‘Crisis Society’ (RN17) Claudia Marà
Gendering – Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Femicide Shalva Weil
Gendering – Budgeting Gender Equality: The Israeli Central Bank and Finance Ministry, and the Covid-19 Crisis Orly Benjamin
Gendering – Be Safe, Take Care: On the Matters of a (Feminist) Pandemic Ellie Walton
Living – Overcoming the Unsouled City Carlos Fortuna
Living – Cities in Lockdown: A Few Comments on Urban Decline and Revival under the Covid-19 Pandemic Maciej Kowalewski
Living – Six Researchers in Search of A Meaning In Lockdown: A Collective Essay (RN03) Lyudmila Nurse
Living – Irony: One of the Italian Ways to Cope with Pandemic Fear and Isolation? Marta Fanasca
Living – Home Confinement and Deterioration of Social Space: Quasi-Ethnographic Notes from Córdoba Jorge Ruiz Ruiz
Masking – “I Wear My Mask for You” - A Note on Face Masks Annerose Böhrer
Masking – Corona-Masquerade, or: Unmasking the New Sociology of Masks David Inglis
Masking – The Sick and the Masks Cornelia Mayr
Health, Illness and Medicine – Together Apart? Securing Health Amid Health Inequality During the Covid-19 Outbreak in Europe (RN16) Ellen Annandale
Health, Illness and Medicine – From AIDS to Coronavirus: Who has the Right to Care? Jaime García-Iglesias
Health, Illness and Medicine – Coronavirus News: What Do All Those Numbers Mean? (RN21) Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen
Health, Illness and Medicine – Ethical Principles versus Algorithms and AI Medical Biases in Pandemics Ana María López Narbona
Health, Illness and Medicine – The Double Exclusion of Older Adults During the Covid-19 Pandemic Alexander Seifert
Political Economy and Politics – Covid-19, Critical Political Economy, and the End of Neoliberalism? (RN06) Bernd Bonfert
Political Economy and Politics – It’s the End of the World... As We Know It: The Last Capitalist Pandemic? Mariano Féliz
Political Economy and Politics – The Corona-Shuttle: Arriving Mentally in the Anthropocene? Ludger Pries
Political Economy and Politics – Pandemic Diplomacy: Peace in our Time? (RN08) Ilan Kelman
Being Cosmopolitan and Anti-Cosmopolitan – The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Cosmopolitan Moment Peter Holley
Being Cosmopolitan and Anti-Cosmopolitan – The Complex Risks of Covid-19: The Demand to Move from the ‘Society of Normalisation’ to Global Medical Surveillance Sergey A. Kravchenko
Sociological Experiencing and Reflecting – Letter to a Godchild Clemence Fourton
Sociological Experiencing and Reflecting – The Covid-19 Emergency and the Sociological Memory Teresa Consoli
Sociological Experiencing and Reflecting – Contemplative Diary Krzysztof Tomasz Konecki
Sociological Experiencing and Reflecting – The Loss of World in Times of Corona Martin Repohl

Issue 45: Pandemic (Im)Possibilities vol. 1


Dear Fellow Sociologists,

On 16 March 2020, the by-now much-proclaimed ‘new normality’ established by Covid-19 also struck the European Sociological Association: the host institution of its office, located in Paris, closed down and cancellations of the ESA Research Networks’ midterm conferences started to come in. We confronted the initially very vague feeling that something major was happening a few days later, by proactively launching a new project: a call for articles for The European Sociologist around “Pandemic (Im)Possibilities” which impact on – but also emerge from – all forms of social life.

The reaction was overwhelming. When we invited the European sociological community to reflect on what the pandemic means (to them, or to society at large), how it is unfolding, and what social consequences it is having already, or is likely to have in the future, they responded enthusiastically. We received classical sorts of sociological analysis as well as pieces of initial, tentative fieldwork, personal diaries as well as letters, recountings of what happened to research projects, as well as poems and other reflections. It seems that lockdown unleashed a burst of creativity in sociologists that should never lie hidden, Coronavirus or not, and at some point we should take the time to think about how conventional modes of doing social science (including the ones getting funding) shape research and research results in a conventional way. 

It was particularly striking how many of ESA’s members were thankful for this initiative. It was as if you felt that your voice was not heard, and someone was ready to listen. Where did all that come from? We think that particularly at the beginning of the crisis – when worldwide everyone was still negotiating what the new Coronavirus was and what it meant – the concrete and visible work of doctors, nurses, and all other workers ‘of systemic importance’, humbled us to some degree. Sociologists started to wonder what they had to contribute which could be considered of systemic importance. How can doing sociology ever make the world better (and let’s be honest: that’s what we all wanted when we were undergraduates…), when it implies observing people and then writing texts – a seemingly petty activity compared to saving lives?

But this is where sociology comes in: we can call this a division of labour. We don’t know how to save lives. We have learned different things, we have different skills. We observe people (and ourselves) react to the pandemic in a multitude of ways. We recognise patterns and variations – across social groups, across countries, across time. Then we sit down and write texts and inform others (and ourselves) about what it is our societies do when confronted with a virus which we have come to label as a threat. This in turn allows us to correct mistakes in our (re-)actions, or to change our opinions about what is happening, or to understand what we actually want to be ‘of systemic importance’. This is the kind of work that you have committed yourselves to when you answered to the Call. This is the kind of work that sociologists know how to do.

In this issue, we have identified a number of clusters, not of erupting infections but of themes which many of you deemed to be worth exploring: Theorising; Working; Gendering; Living; Masking; Health, Illness and Medicine; Political Economy and Politics; Being Cosmopolitan and Anti-Cosmopolitan; Sociological Experiencing and Reflecting. Among these, you will find contributions from the ESA Research Networks 03 (Biographical Perspectives), 06 (Critical Political Economy), 08 (Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis), 16 (Health and Illness), 17 (Work and Employment), 21 (Quantitative Methods), and 22 (Risk and Uncertainty). Next to these, you can find contributions by representatives of the Sociological Associations in Germany, Italy, Israel and Portugal, in the section “From ESA”. There are also four contributions reporting on how the pandemic and its societal effects and consequences directly influence what “Doing Sociology” means.     

We initially planned to have one special issue of TES concerning the pandemic. But so magnificent and voluminous was the response by ESA members to the call for contributions, we decided to create two special issues – this one (TES 45) and a forthcoming one (TES 46). Both editions can present only some of the almost 250 (!) submissions that were received. The upcoming TES issue, 46, will therefore be part two of what we believe to be a valuable historical document which illustrates how the trans-national sociological community responded both analytically, imaginatively, experientially and emotionally to the crisis which unfolded around them, and how it felt to be a sociologist in what are, in some ways, unprecedented historical and social contexts.

Stay healthy!

Dr. Dagmar Danko, Editor (ESA Director)
Prof. David Inglis, Co-editor (ESA Communications committee Chair)