28 - 31 August 2013
Torino, Italy

RN31 – Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

Ben Gidley ben.gidley@compas.ox.ac.uk COMPAS, University of Oxford

At Torino 2013 conference we will hold sessions that focus on theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects of research on racism and antisemitism, especially in a comparative framework. The network’s perspective is to bridge the divide between the understanding of antisemitism and of racism, exploring the correspondences, contiguities and contrasts across the divide. Our over-arching question is to understand what are the material conditions, social contexts and other conditions shaping variations in antisemitism, racism and other forms of intolerance, across time and across different European and global contexts. The general theme of the ESA conference as a whole is Crisis, Critique and Change and we particularly invite papers that address this theme. We propose sessions, which will address the theme in the following way.

Crisis: What new configurations of racism and antisemitism are arising with the crisis? Does crisis necessarily give rise to increased racism and xenophobia? What are the specific conditions under which it might do so? Are there specific forms of xenophobia and intolerance, which flourish in urban contexts?

Critique: How can sociology’s critique deepen our understanding of racisms? How does sociology’s critique relate to social critiques developed by both emancipatory and reactionary social movements? In particular, what are the different forms of denial and disavowal, which structure contemporary racisms? For example, how are European histories of racism and genocide denied or repressed; how are new manifestations of racism disavowed or projected elsewhere? How do social critiques from the historic left contest, intersect or converge with critiques from the historic right? Are there forms of anti-capitalist critique emerging with the crisis that might enable rather than combat intolerance? What can sociology of racism bring to an understanding of populism?

Change: What relationships with the past structure contemporary forms of intolerance? How does social memory (and its repression) contribute both to the perpetuation of intolerance and to its critique? How are old antisemitic motifs used against new groups? How do changing forms of intolerance illuminate the changing constitution of the political across Europe?

We are especially interested in papers that contribute to a European sociology of racisms: that is, to an understanding that exceeds methodological and conceptual nationalism, enables a comparative focus across European contexts, and captures the specificity of European forms and traditions of racism. We are particularly interested in papers that contribute to the development of more robust methodological tools for measuring and analysing antisemitism and racism in this comparative context.


  • 01RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism (open)
  • 02RN31 Cosmopolitanism, Critical Theory and Antisemitism: Thinking with Adorno and Arendt
    Chair Ben Gidley <ben.gidley@compas.ox.ac.uk> Oxford

    This session draws on Critical Theory and other European traditions of social theory to understand antisemitism and other intolerances, focusing in particular on the contributions of Arendt and Adorno in helping us to develop a cosmopolitan form of critique.

  • 03RN31 In the Shadow of Totalitarianism: Post-Holocaust and Post-Socialist Antisemitism and the Politics of Memory
    chair Philip Spencer <p.spencer@kingston.ac.uk> Kingston University

    Explores racism and antisemitism and historical memory in the context of post-Holocaust/post-Nazi Germany and Austria, and post-socialist Eastern and central Europe.

  • 04RN31 Understanding Prejudice and Othering: Transforming and Intersecting Intolerances
    chair Robert Fine <robert.fine@warwick.ac.uk> Warwick

    This session explores the changing nature of prejudice and xenophobia in Europe and its neighbourhood, including how prejudice and intolerance mediate the relation between nation-states and migrants or minorities, how citizenship structures this relationship, and how we might analytically understand processes of othering and prejudice. How can we more rigorously understand antisemitism, xeno-racism, and Islamophobia? How are old intolerances changing in the current climate? What is the role of the far right in generating new intolerances or sustaining old ones?

  • 05RN31 Constructing the Figure of the Migrant: Regimes of Expertise and the Politics of Measuring Violence, Integration and Racism
    Chair Ben Gidley <ben.gidley@compas.ox.ac.uk> Oxford

    In the context of the war on terror, the alleged death of multiculturalism and the European economic crisis, this session explores the politics of migrant integration and of racism and anti-racism. The figure of the migrant is central to constructions of the European today across the continent, but is imagined differently in different national contexts. How do different regimes of expertise and sources of data shape the politics of integration? How do liberal states use forms of knowledge to measure and manage both the figure of the migrant and attitudes towards migrants?

  • 06RN31 Crisis and Critique: Social Movements, Antisemitism and anti-Americanism
    Chair Lena Karamanidou <lena.karamanidou.1@city.ac.uk> City University

    This session explores forms of critique emerging in a time of crisis, including both radical and reactionary critiques developed in social movements. Papers explore anti-Americanism and antisemitism within the anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.

  • 07RN31 Researching Xenophobia, Prejudice and Racism within Europe
    Chair Dario Padovan <dario.padovan@unito.it> Torino

    This session looks at comparative approaches to explaining inequality, xenophobia, prejudice and racism within Europe, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

  • 08RN31 Old and New Forms of Racialization: Changing Antisemitism and Intersecting Intolerances

    This session explores some of the relationships between Islam, Islamism, Islamophobia, antisemtism, nationalism and post-nationalism, in Europe and its neighbourhood, including methodological considerations and problems of combating intolerance.

  • 09RN31 Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination: Discourse, Practices, Narrative, Semantics, Stereotypes
    Chair Sina Arnold <sina.arnold@hu-berlin.de> Technische Universität Berlin

    This session explores the experience and reality of discrimination and prejudice in different national contexts. In particular, it focuses on the epistemological and methodological issues involved in researching prejudice and intolerance from sociological and social psychological perspectives, using the tools and concepts of linguistic, discourse and narrative analysis as well as through exploring state strategies and the deployment of citizenship regimes in constructing minorities.

  • PosterRN31 Poster Session

Joint Sessions

  • 16JS31JS35On Disadvantaged Populations within Health Care Systems in Contemporary Europe: The Case of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities

    Joint session with RN35 – Sociology of Migration and RN16 – Sociology of Health and Illness

    Chair: Adam Burgess <A.Burgess@kent.ac.uk> University of Kent

    The current economic recession and political crisis are being used as arguments to states to cut social welfare. In this context, health disparities between socio-economic groups are widening; healthcare rights are diminishing. The first populations targeted by these cutting politics seem to be deprived migrants and, in a more indirect way, ethnic minorities. Discourses on the supposed economic burden of these populations for European healthcare systems are continuously leaked by the media, but also how professionals and civil organisations are claiming for civil disobedience. How far can these be seen as a direct consequence of economic recession and political crises? What new (?) morality discourses are rising to justify the new colored frontiers within European health systems? What are the actual life stories of persons experiencing such crises in different parts of Europe? And how should we study them, what novel and innovative theories and methods are called for?

Thank you very much to all participants for making esa torino an outstanding conference.