Great Transformation


27 September 2019
Great Transformation
Image: Sarah Cords

Please mind that only events in English language will be presented on this page. Please check the corresponding German pagede for all events.

All events shown below are in chronological order.

Philip S. Gorski (New Haven, US): The Future of the United States' Left

Keynote at 9–10 a.m. // Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, Lecture Hall 1

Prof. Dr. Philip S. Gorski is Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) at Yale University. Main areas of work include: comparative and historical sociology, political sociology, social movements.

Die Welt befindet sich am Ende einer zweiten Großen Transformation. Wie zum Schluss der ersten Großen Transformation, setzt sich nun eine massive Gegenbewegung in Gang. Die rechte Variante heißt dieses Mal „Populismus.“ Die linke Variante formt sich erst, v.a. in den USA. Dabei lassen sich drei Strömungen unterscheiden: liberal-demokratisch, sozial-demokratisch und multikulturell-demokratisch, deren politische Hauptwerte jeweils Freiheit, Gleichheit und Inklusion lauten. Daraus ergeben sich verschiedene, teils widersprechende, strategische und politische Zielsetzungen. Wie und wie weit sie miteinander zu versöhnen sind, sowohl taktisch als auch sozialpolitisch – davon hängen die Zukunft der Linken in den USA, ihre Richtung und Erfolge, entscheidend ab.  

Global Sociology, Global Dialogue

Podium discussion at 10–11.30 a.m. // Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, Lecture Hall 6

Organised by: Johanna Grubner (Linz, AT), Christine Schickert (Jena)

Discussants: Margaret Abraham (Hempstead, US), Karina Batthyány (Executive Secretary of CLACSO; Montevideo, UY), Sari Hanafi (President of the ISA; Beirut, LB), Ngai-Ling Sum (Lancaster, UK), Raquel Varela (Lissabon, PT)

Facilitating international exchange and advancing sociological knowledge globally are among the aims of international sociological bodies as well as international conferences in the social sciences.

Producing and discussing sociological findings across borders also seem more necessary, given the scope of current challenges societies face today. Among the trends that can be observed globally are the erosion of democracy, the climate crisis, growing migration flows and growing inequality within countries. These issues are too big to be researched and debated solely in national contexts, what is needed are truly international discussions on these phenomena.

In addition, sociology as the science of society should also aim at relevance beyond the sociological community and engage and intervene into public debates. Becoming more visible as sociologists and participating in public debates with sociological knowledge is one aim of the International Sociological Association’s magazine Global Dialogue.

Thus the panel discussion will focus on the following questions: How can sociologists from all over the world come together and really engage with each other? Which means would be helpful? How can Global Dialogue further strengthen the exchange of ideas and debates that are relevant beyond the core of the discipline?

Ecosocialist Transformation and Outlines of an Ecosocialist Society

Forum event (›Shapes of Post-Growth Societies‹) at 10.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. // Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, SR 306

Organised by: Hans Rackwitz (Jena, DE)

Climate and earth scientists are continuously warning about an rapidly closing time frame to face the crisis of the world ecology in time. In spite of all declarations of intent and efforts, there is a lack of factual successes to substantially halt or slow down the overexploitation of resources and the depletion of ecological sinks and the worsening of the ecological crisis. Apparently, the ability of capitalist market economies to co-ordinate the necessary social transformation is failing. Capitalism is an economic and social system that must permanently expand in order to stabilize itself. Unlimited expansion on a finite planet inevitably leads to an disruption of the planet's reproductive cycles.

This is the background against which ecosocialist thought has experienced a certain upswing in recent decades, both as independent initiatives as well as in green and left-wing parties and social movements. Ecosocialism does not imply a single fixed contend and program. Common to ecosocialist perspectives is that they see the organization of the economy and, above all, the organization of work as the key to a sustainable transformation of society. The panel will discuss various types of ecosocialist crisis analyses and societal visions and will primarily focus on differing ecosocialist transformation strategies.

  • Bruno Kern (Mainz, DE): Das Märchen vom grünen Wachstum und Konturen einer ökosozialistischen Gesellschaft
  • Ariel Salleh (Sydney, AU): EcoSocialism: An ecofeminist class analytic perspective
  • Frieder Otto Wolf (Berlin, DE): Ecological and socialist politics in times of an escalating global crisis
  • Christian Zeller (Salzburg, AT): An internationalist ecosocialist strategy and an urgency programme for Europe

Public Sociology Today – Challenges and Prospects

Talk followed by discussion at 11.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. // Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, Lecture Hall 2

Michael Burawoy (Berkeley, US): Public Sociology – The Project and its Future

As an academic discipline sociology distinguishes itself by its responsiveness to the empirical world it inhabits. Sociology develops its theories to accord with that world. Thinking globally, the last decade has seen two political reactions to the deepening of capitalism and its inequalities – a progressive reaction followed by an authoritarian reaction. To understand this bipolar response, I draw on Karl Polanyi's canonical treatise: The Great Transformation. But it needs reconstruction: a theory of capitalism that recognizes successive waves of marketization; a theory of commodification that includes the commodification of knowledge alongside the commodification of nature, labor and money; a theory of the production and dissemination of knowledge that recognizes the central role of the university in advancing research and defending truth but also in expanding public engagement; finally, a theory of social media that is responsible for the transformation of the public sphere. These issues set the sociological agenda for the foreseeable future and pose new challenges for any sociologist wanting to engage closely with civil society.

Discussants : Birgit Blättel-Mink (Frankfurt am Main, DE), Annette Treibel (Karlsruhe, DE), Brigitte Aulenbacher (Linz, AT)

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