Plenary sessions

Plenary I: Contemporary Colonialisms within the Global North

Chair: Elina Oinas (University of Helsinki)

Speakers: Karla Jessen Williamson (University of Saskatchewan) and 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.


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) and 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.


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) and 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.


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

Chair: Sverre Wide (Dalarna University)

Speakers: Willy Guneriussen (University of Tromsø) and 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.


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