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ISA World Congress of Sociology (July 11.-17. 2010)


von Jessica Schwittek


Participants at the ISA World Congress of Sociology: Jessica Schwittek from Wuppertal University and Maria Sibireva from St.Petersburg State University


The “ISA World Congress of Sociology“ in Gothenburg was held under the title „Sociology on the Move“. Michel Wieviorka, the former president of the International Sociological Association, who had chaired the congress, introduced his welcome address with the declaration, that the sociological discipline was no longer characterized by the intellectual hegemony of certain countries in Europe and North America, but that sociology, as it became globalised, was now thriving throughout the world, including the Global South. This issue of being ‘on the move’ was also picked up by several keynote lectures, which were held by speakers of different disciplines. They brought across the point that the influence of sociological research and theory was still underrepresented in several fields and problems of the globalized world, and called for more cooperation with other fields like biology, chemistry, law studies, cultural studies etc. Another aspect of sociology being ‘on the move’ was the notion of the division between strictly scientific activities on the one hand and those aiming at more practical, political influence on the other hand. Many speakers and papers criticized this division and promoted more exchange between these domains for mutual benefit.

In the various joint sessions that were held between different research committees this idea was also carried forth with presentations and lectures focusing on new fields for sociological research as well as possibilities for more cooperation between different branches within sociology. As for my own research, I presented a paper with the title „Growing up in Kyrgyzstan – Children‘s Issues and how to define and measure Good Childhood“ in a joint session of the Childhood Research Committee and the Social Indicators Research Committee. This session was interesting as it was visible that three of the four papers which were presented in that session were sharing my ‚demands’ concerning studies about child wellbeing although focusing on other aspects of the issue. The fourth paper rather stuck to the ‚traditional’ way, and the design of the study included all the elements that were criticized by the other speakers. So I found it interesting to see how the different approaches and positions in this specific research domain met at that session and how they were presented and discussed by their advocates; this rendered me a picture somewhat more ‚alive’ of the otherwise rather abstract process of the development of research practices, their critiques and modifications. I was very happy to see that my paper received good feedback, and that contacts were established which are promising for further projects and joint research activities.