CfP for the 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association

The 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA) 2015 will be held in Prague from Tuesday 25th August to Friday 28th August. The theme for the conference is 'Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination'. A profound challenge that the social sciences, and sociology in particular, are now called upon to confront has to do with the depth and extraordinary acceleration of global processes of social and cultural change. The major issues that the global sociological community now has the responsibility to tackle arise from the exponential increase in social inequalities. Recognising and acknowledging the multiple expressions of difference are vital when it comes to gaining insight into the ‘multiple positioning’ that characterises contemporary individuals. And this entails rethinking the meaning of integration today. We need to work together to examine the intricate interweave of social, cultural, economic and political dynamics contained in the processes of change occurring in the twenty-first century. The ESA-conference has always been open to all areas of the sociology, also of the arts, since the Research Network aims to bring together researchers and supporting interchange and mutual learning. For this reason, we invite experienced and young scholars from various disciplines submit papers until February 1st 2015.


ESA 2015 Conference uses on-line application ConfTool for the abstract submission. Deadline is 1st  February 2015:

Please note that abstracts submitted for ESA 2015 should be on a topic relating either to the Conference’s Research Networks (RN) or Research Streams (RS). The number of submissions is limited to 2 per person.

List of the topics for RNs: About Research Networks

  • RN2 - Sociology of the Arts
  • RN7 - Sociology of Culture
  • RN18 - Sociology of Communications and Media Research
  • RN35 - Sociology of Migration

List of arts management related topics for RSs: About Research Streams

  • RS1 - Arts Management
  • RS2 - Design in Use
  • RS5 - Sociology of Knowledge

RN2 - Sociology of the Arts

Coordinator: Prof.Dr. Dan Eugen Ratiu, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania 

With Differences, Inequalities and the Sociological Imagination, one may associate the questions of how do the arts play in the acceleration of global processes of social and cultural change, and how sociology of the arts does confront this challenge. Art’s position within society and politics has always been complex and ambi­valent. Artists may raise a critical voice or offer ideological legitimation for a dominant, hegemonic image of society. The attitude of the arts towards contemporary major issues – such as the increase in social inequalities engendered by economic crisis, the ensuing threats to democracy and justice, the forms of domination and the multiple expressions of difference and integration today – has never lost its  relevance. Therefore, we would like to invite papers on this theme and to create special sessions with the expectation that they may include a broad nexus of sub-issues around the relation and commitment of arts in society as well as the ways for sociological imagination to renew the theoretical and empirical exploration of the intricate interweaving of social, economic and political dynamics contained in these processes of change. We invite scholars from various disciplines sensitive to social inquiries into the arts to  submit papers:

  • 01RN02 - Developments in particular domains in arts, including architecture, urban planning, applied arts, arts within the domain of popular culture (e.g. film, television, and popular music) as well as traditional 'high' arts (e.g. music, visual arts, literature, theatre, etc.).
  • 02RN02 - The process of production, distribution, promotion and commercialisation of works of art, including artistic practices, the impact of technology, new means of production, forms of collaboration, the formation of art theory, the development of arts markets, the process of valuation, etc.
  • 03RN02 - The process of presentation and mediation of arts, including art criticism and publicity in all domains of the arts, museums, theatres, concerts, audience studies, attitudes towards the audience, educational programs, etc.
  • 04RN02 - Professional development, including amateurs and semi-amateurs, vocational education, art schools, professional differentiation, artistic income, artistic reputation, etc.
  • 05RN02 - Arts organisations (not only museums and theatres, but also festivals and artists’ unions) – investigation of historical development, power relations, effects, managerial processes, program selection, processes within the organisations such as gate-keeping, leadership, etc.
  • 06RN02 - Arts policy (especially the sociological aspects thereof), including legal issues, public and private funding, public discourse and debates (e.g. classification of art, arts and religious symbols, arts and sexuality, arts and racism), censorship, analysis of the impact of arts, sustainability, lobbying associations, cultural ministries or other government bodies.
  • 07RN02 - Social and cognitive effects of the arts, including arts and identity formation, arts and bodies, aesthetic experience, arts and ethics, coding and decoding, gender related practices, ethnographic aspects, art for social transformation, arts in communities, and arts as a part of urban culture.
  • 08RN02 - Arts from a macro-sociological perspective, including (de-) institutionalisation, economisation, globalisation vs. localism, digitalisation, mediamorphosis, arts and social cohesion, arts and ethics, arts and hegemony and arts and power.
  • 09RN02 - Theoretical development in arts sociology, such as the production of culture approach, (post-) structuralism, field theory, system theory, praxeology as well as methodological issues.
  • 10RN02 – Arts and everyday life, including relations between art worlds and day-to-day worlds, the experiential and the sensory, embodied and mediated elements of practice and places, the social and cultural significance of the senses, the aesthetics of everyday life, and sociological or interdisciplinary approaches to the everyday and to daily and organisational life.
  • 11RN02 – Sociology of the Arts (open): papers that do not fit into one of the suggested sessions above should be submitted to this open session.

RN7 - Sociology of Culture

Coordinator: Mark D. Jacobs, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

The sociology of culture is central to inquiry into the themes of the 12th ESA Conference. “Differences,” after all, are cultural classifications that hinge on entire classification systems.  These classifications help both enforce and reflect varied structures of “inequality,” hard realities requiring for their legitimation a set of discourses, narratives, and moral ontologies. The “sociological imagination”—which as C. Wright Mills famously noted, has the power to recast private troubles as public problems—can foreground, unpack, and counter these discourses, narratives, and ontologies.

How does culture help ground political power, economic compulsion, collective memory, and civic status?  How do they in turn help ground culture? Politics and economics are realms of compulsion;  within limits of ecological constraint, culture is a realm of relative freedom. Cultural analysis cuts through to the root issues of freedom and necessity, existence and identity. Culture is of special relevance to “differences, inequalities, and sociological imagination”  because it has the capacity to de-naturalize and re-envision categories of understanding them.

The concept of culture is no less contested than culture itself.  The sessions devoted to cultural sociology should contribute to a focus on the semantic tensions framing that concept.  In what ways is it a structure, or a site of agency? Instrumental or expressive? Essential or constructed? Global or local? Repressive or emancipatory? These semantic tensions play out variably (and not as simple binaries), according to the specifics of the empirical case.

We welcome case studies, statistical analyses, and other empirical investigations along with more theoretical exegeses relevant to the concept of culture. Of course, we welcome submissions of any empirical or theoretical orientation. Members of the Board of the Research Network will judge submissions on the basis of the significance of the research problem (i.e., the degree to which it alters the conversation about culture and the themes of this conference), the cogency of the proposal, and the strength of warrant of the evidence considered.

RS1 - Arts Management

Coordinators: Constance DeVereaux, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA; Nina Tessa Zahner, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Kerry McCall, Institute of Art, Design, and Technology Dublin, Ireland

The Research Stream on Arts Management is interested in paper presentations that push the boundaries of arts management research and practice from a sociological perspective. As the fieldcontinues to develop there is a need for forward thinking inquiry as well as contextualization of thediscipline’s norms within the trajectory of its past development. The ESA Research Stream Arts Management invites abstracts on all aspects of arts management theory andpractice. We express a special interest in papers addressing the following themes

1. General session

2. Special session. Arts Management: Differences, Inequalities, and Sociological Imagination

How do arts managers in practice and arts management scholars in research confront issues of differenceand inequality? It is well known that despite efforts to increase access to people of color, disability, age,different ethnicities, religion, or other characteristics of difference, the production, dissemination, contexts,participation, and many aspects of art systems present closed doors. Is there room for sociologicalimagination in addressing these challenges through management of the arts? If yes, what does it look like?Are there ways that sociological research and practice can ameliorate the harm that inequalities anddifference bring in the arena of arts and culture? We are looking for papers that put imagination at theforefront in terms of new ways of doing, innovative strategies, programs and projects that addressdifference and equality through arts management practice or that provide insight through arts managementresearch?

3. Special session. Theories and Methods in Arts Management

Arts management as academic discipline, but also as practical activity, lacks field specificmethods and theory. This is partly due to the fact that arts management is a hybrid disciplineand activity that has to deal with a number of conflicting issues all at once: Questions ofefficiency, cultural policy, aesthetic theory, art history, various self-conceptualizations of artistsand audience members, as just a few examples. Arts management as an academic discipline hasto systematically investigate these heterogeneous pressures and reflect on how they affect theproduction of art and culture, as well as the practice of arts management. But it also has toreflect on its own methods and theories. We would like to bring together theories and methodsthat are being applied in arts management in the present and discuss their impact on artsmanagement as an academic discipline. We are not only interested in successful, proven methodsand theories, but also “works in progress” in terms of those theories and methods that you may benewly developing or borrowing from other disciplines that you are trying to work out.

4. Special session. Sociology of Arts Management

This session addresses Arts Management as an object of sociological research and theoryformation. We are looking for different sociological theories and empirical methodologies thatare being applied to arts management as a practice, an institution, a social field, as a sub-systemof society, and as a subject and object of arts policy. The aim is to stimulate the sociologicaldebate on the management, the mediation, and co-ordination of the production, exhibition, andperformance of artistic and cultural expression in their many forms. What are the insights thatdifferent sociological theories and empirical research projects come up with when it comes toarts management? Can arts management be seen as a social field? If yes, what are the insightswe gain form field-reconstructive research or field theory? What happens when we treat artsmanagement as a practice or if we take a system theory approach or a knowledge theory one?What insights do we gain by choosing a specific sociological view? And what assumptions onarts management or the arts and management are transported by these perspectives?

5. Special session. Foucault and other Challenges of Arts Management Practice and Theory

Scholars and researchers in arts management often strive to find a theoretical framework thatmakes sense of the unique field that is the management of the arts. While the field, asinterdisciplinary and hybrid, borrows heavily from other disciplines, the over reliance onstandard, knee-jerk, and even somewhat tired theories is sometimes seen as hampering ratherthan enhancing inquiry. The title of this themed session evokes the expressions someresearchers have voiced at many past conferences. This session is for those who may feel thesame and are interested in very fresh approaches or in exploring why Foucault, Habermas,Derrida, Heidegger, Bourdieu, and other seminal, though standard, thinkers may not provide the best direction for future arts management research.

Notes for authors

Authors are invited to submit their abstract either to the general session or any specific session. Please submit only to one session. After abstract evaluation, coordinators will have the chance to transfer papers between sessions where applicable.

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Each paper session will have the duration of 1.5 hours. Normally sessions will include 4 papers. Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below.

You can create a new account and submit your contribution through Abstract

How to create a new account?

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link 'Create an account and submit a contribution'.
  3. Fill in all mandatory fields (marked with *), and you can also fill in optional fields. Choose a username and password as your login details. You can also choose the option to have a username and/or password generated automatically for you. If your password is automatically generated, you will be sent the the password in a separate e-mail. You can change your password at any time.
  4. Confirm your registration by clicking on "Submit and Begin With Submission of Contribution" to proceed to submission of your abstract or confirm your registration by clicking on 'Create User Account Only, Submit Contribution Later' to finish your abstract submission later.
  5. The system will send you a confirmation e-mail at this time. When you receive it, please validate your e-mail address through the link sent in the body of the e-mail. This will help us to avoid future problems with incorrect e-mail addresses.

Note: If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail and you remember your user name and password, please log into the ConfTool system and revise your details by clicking on 'Edit User Account Details'. Otherwise please contact the organisers at

How to submit your abstract?

  1. Once you have a user account, you can log in with your username and password under 'Registered Users'. If you have forgotten your password, a new one can be obtained through the 'Forgotten your password?' link.
  2. Select 'Your Submissions' and select the type of contribution (Research Network/Stream) you want to submit (see image)
  3. Please enter all required details for your contribution into the submission form and proceed. If you would like to sign your contribution up for a specific session or joint session (if available in the particular RN/RS), please fill this information in the field 'Remark / Message to the Programme Committee and Chairs'. In the next step you can review your contribution details and return to the preceding step. Please note that you have to click on 'Complete Submission' to confirm and save your contribution.
  4. Until the closing date for submissions (1st February 2015), you can update your details or withdraw (and resubmit) your contribution. The last uploaded version at the time of the closing deadline for submissions will be considered for review, unless the contribution was withdrawn after submission.

After your contribution has completed the review process you will receive a message from the RN/RS Coordinators by e-mail. The review results will be made viewable to the authors via the ConfTool system. There you will see the final outcome of the review and the scores as well as the reviewers' comments. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in early April 2015.

European Sociological Association also invites applications for junior scholar grants to attend the ESA conference in Prague 2015.

To see the CfP for all topics and streams, and the submission instructions click here.

Management Topic: Policy & Research
Cultural Area: Public+Academic Sector
Submitted by editor-in-chief on Jan 13, 2015