Scientific program


10.15–10.30  Opening remark

10.30–12.00  Keynote: Prof. Emerita Raewyn Connell (University of Sydney, Australia): A more powerful, more loving, more radical sociology is possible

The global patterns of centrality and marginality in social science have been increasingly recognized, and contested.  This talk will first reflect on the multiple ways that organized knowledge about society has been shaped by social power, including class power, patriarchy, colonialism and race.  It will then examine some of the powerful counter-agendas for building knowledge “from below”, the historical conditions in which this becomes possible, and the formations of knowledge that result – including their capacity to expand, but also to contest, academic knowledge systems.  Some key questions concern the social agents involved, and how a more democratic knowledge-making process can be sustained despite global neoliberalism.

13.00–15.30  Paper sessions I

16.00–17.30  Paper sessions II



09.00–10.30  Plenary I: Contemporary Colonialisms within the Global North

Chair: Elina Oinas (University of Helsinki)

Speakers: Karla Jessen Williamson (University of Saskatchewan) & Lydia Heikkilä (University of Lapland)

This plenary session is sponsored by the International Sociological Association through the Norwegian Sociological Association.

The plenary session raises key themes about contemporary colonialism and the historical legacies on which they build within the Nordic region by focusing on longstanding concerns of indigenous peoples’ epistemologies and status. Is it fair to say that there is a hesitance to view our own colonialism and marginalised minorities as key issues in mainstream social science? How do alternative epistemologies and realities fit into the sociological framework? How can sociology be effectively challenged, and why should the North matter for scholars in the Nordic South? The plenary session also discusses strategies for survival in academia when working against the mainstream.

11.00–12.30  Keynote: Prof. Giampietro Gobo (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy): Creolizing sociological methodology

Europe and USA have been the cradle of methodology. Consequently, most of the contemporary methodological knowledge has been invented by Western academic culture. Throughout the twentieth century, this indigenous culture has been transformed into a type of general knowledge, and social science methodology has become one of the most globalized knowledge. However, the limits of globalization are evident in many fields, from economy to politics, from marketing to culture and social life. Methodology is not free from these limits. There is an emerging need for finding postcolonial methodologies and making culturally flexible contemporary research methods. The author explores the proposal for a creole methodology, the possibility of thinking (methodologically) global and acting (methodologically) local, and its ambiguity. Finally, contemporary indigenous methodologies and participatory action research are questioned as effective ways out of methodological colonialism.

13.30–15.30  Paper sessions III

16.00–17.30  Plenary II: Sociology and Economics: Can There Be a Dialogue?

Chair: John Holmwood (University of Nottingham)

Speakers: Patrick Aspers (University of Uppsala), Markus Jäntti (University of Helsinki) & Anu Kantola (University of Helsinki)

Contemporary political discourse about the state of the economy in the Nordic countries involves heated debates about meta-level trends such as economic globalization, population aging and the future of the welfare state. The disciplines of economics and sociology each have a role in commenting on economic decision-making. Public sociologists and public economists are thus potentially competing experts, trying to capture the limelight. This panel brings together a sociologist, an economist and a communications scholar to discuss and debate the role of academics and their disciplines in public discourse.



09.00–10.30  Paper sessions IV

11.00–12.00  Semi-Plenary I: New Iron Curtains: Civil Society in Post-2013 Russia

Chair: Anni Kangas (University of Tampere)

Speakers: Olga Davydova-Minguet (University of Eastern Finland), Suvi Salmenniemi (University of Turku) & Elena Zdravomyslova (European University at St. Petersburg)

The Ukraine crisis of 2013 was the culmination of geopolitical changes globally and in the European context in particular. Many saw it as a strong indication of how superpower politics had returned with a vengeance. In the context of growing political tensions related to recent terrorist attacks in Western-European capitals, new iron curtains seem to be materializing as divisions between Russia and the European Union in particular. This raises new challenges to civil society. The panel brings together experts on civil society and Eastern Europe to discuss the constraints and opportunities for activism, political participation and academic knowledge production in contemporary Europe today.

11.00-12.00  Semi- Plenary II: Publishing in National Languages: To Whom and Why?

Chair: Sverre Wide (Dalarna University)

Speakers: Willy Guneriussen (University of Tromsø) & Eeva Luhtakallio (University of Tampere)

In the Nordic countries, as elsewhere, the practice of international publishing (mostly in English) has since long co-existed with native language publishing in national journals. But given the changing form of the scientific infrastructure, the increasing globalization of the scientific community and the accentuated forms of scholarly ranking, it is important to discuss the function and purpose of native language publishing – that is: function and purpose for the individual scholar, scholar communities and other interested parties. Such a discussion is the topic of this session in which the organizers invite the audience to play an active role.

12.00–13.15  Keynote: Prof. Gurminder K. Bhambra (University of Warwick, UK): Rethinking the State in/of Sociology: Nations, Citizenship, and Rights

The idea of the political community as a national political order has been central to European self-understanding and to European sociology. Yet, many European states were imperial states as much as they were national states – and often prior to or alongside becoming national states – and so the political community of the state was always much broader and more racially stratified than is usually acknowledged. This presentation takes the increased media attention on the ‘refugee crisis’ to rethink our understandings of citizenship and rights in light of the challenges being posed to Europe.

The Nordic Sociological Association is an alliance of the national sociological associations in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.