UMASS Social Theory Forum on Conflict, Social Movements, And Social Change – Call For Papers

The Ninth Annual Social Theory Forum will be held on April 18th – 19th 2012 at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, social movements have electrified world attention yet again for their roles in fomenting social change.  Typically, these movements seek to provoke change through constructive conflict in a peaceful manner, but their opponents may not react in similar fashion.

What are the implications of these and other social change-oriented movements for social theory, conflict analysis, and conflict resolution?  How have new technologies, social and cultural shifts, and political trends altered the shape and impact of recent social movements?  What role can conflict resolution theory and practice play in managing conflicts that may result from movements or the backlash from status quo actors?

Interdisciplinary, theoretical, and empirical perspectives on social change, social justice, collective action, group dominance, structural violence, and other related topics that take into account recent developments around the world are particularly welcome.

Papers may touch on some of the following themes:

  • Technology, social networking, and social movements
  • Conflict resolution theory, peacemaking, and social movements
  • Structural violence, social justice, collective action, civil disobedience
  • Case studies on the Arab Spring, Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street/Boston/etc., the Tea Party, and other movements worldwide
  • Labour movements, social change, and conflict
  • Self-determination movements in the international system and the capacity of diplomacy to resolve such conflicts
  • Civil society groups, conflict, and social change
  • Transitional justice and reconciliation
  • Immigration, conflict and new social movements
  • Theorizing the nation, the border, and the meaning of “security”

The conference will feature both invited and submitted papers and presentations, as well as audiovisual materials.

Please send a one-page abstract or proposals as email attachment (MSWord Format) to Darren.Kew@umb.edu or Jorge.Capetillo@umb.edu by February 1st 2012 to be considered.

Upon selection and notification of approval by the organizing committee, submitters must send completed presentation paper manuscripts (around 12-15 pages, preferably double-spaced in Times 12 typeface) by March 30th 2012.

Organizing Committee

  • Siamak Movahedi – Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston
  • Glenn Jacobs – Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston
  • Jorge Capetillo-Ponce – Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston
  • Eben Weitzman – Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston
  • David Matz – Professor of Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston
  • Darren Kew – Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston
  • Rezarta Bilali – Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston
  • Samuel Barkin – Associate Professor of Global Governance and Human Security, UMass Boston
  • Maria Ivanova – Assistant Professor of Global Governance and Human Security, UMass Boston
  • Robert Weiner – Professor of Political Science, UMass Boston

About the Social Theory Forum

Histories of sociology tell us how the discipline was formed in the nineteenth century struggles to understand the combined upheavals of socio-political revolutions and the industrial revolution that gradually expanded throughout the world. These events radically changed the established order and posed various questions that are still with us today: questions about class, race, community, gender, the nature of social integration, and processes of social change, among others. But as we all know, the world again changed radically during the twentieth century, with great implications for social theory.

The Social Theory Forum (STF) is an annual conference organized jointly by the sociology and other departments, interested faculty and students at University of Massachusetts Boston, in order to creatively explore, develop, promote, and publish cross-disciplinary social theory in an applied and critical framework. STF offers faculty and students of UMass Boston and other area colleges and universities an interactive medium to discuss various aspects of the way in which particular theoretical traditions can be relevant to present everyday issues, as well as to the current state and the future of social theory.

STF’s goals are:

  • To critically engage with and evaluate classical and contemporary social theories in a cross-disciplinary and comparative cross-cultural framework in order to develop new integrative theoretical structures and practices;
  • To foster individual and collective self-reflexivity in exploring social theories in global and world-historical contexts to aid people effectively address social problems;
  • To foster an interactive and dialogical learning experience and research in theory within and across faculty, students, and community divides on and off campus; and
  • To foster exchange of ideas open to constructive and integrative exploration of diverse and conflicting viewpoints, modes of thinking, and world-views.
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