28 - 31 August 2013
Torino, Italy

RN32 – Political Sociology

Virginie Guiraudon virginie.guiraudon@sciences-po.fr Univeristy Sciences-Po Paris, France
Hans-Jörg Trenz trenz@hum.ku.dk Unversity of Copenhagen, Denmark

On occasion of the 2013 ESA General Conference in Torino the political sociology network will offer again a forum for debate on the ongoing transformation of political order and authority in Europe and beyond. It invites general contributions in the fields of citizenship, governance and political institutions, political attitudes, political communication, forms of political participation, democracy and democratisation. The thematic focus will be on how the 2008 crisis and its aftermaths have redefined the ways citizens interact with the state. We are particularly interested in (a) how vulnerable groups of society interact with the welfare state and in the representational functions of civil society organisations at different levels of governance; (b) the emergence of new cleavages and their political expression; (c) the impact of the crisis on attitudes towards ethnic minorities and migrants and the resurgence of right-wing populist movements; (c) changes in the structure of political communication, the role of the new and social media and their impact on political legitimacy.


  • 00RN32 those not coming

    papers not coming

  • 01RN32 Economic Crisis, Political Polarization, and electoral consequences
    Chair: Hans-Jörg Trenz, Univeristy of Copenhagen, trenz@hum.ku.dk Discussant: Mark Swygedouw, university of Leuven, Marc.Swyngedouw@soc.kuleuven.be
  • 02RN32 EU Civil Society and the Changing EU Equality Regime
    chair: Alison Woodward, Free university of Brussels, Alison.Woodward@vub.ac.be discussant: Michèle Lamont, Harvard university, mlamont@wjh.harvard.edu
  • 03RN32 The Aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis and International Civil Society
    chair: Carlo Ruzza, university of leicester, carlo.ruzza@gmail.com Discussant: Juan Diez Medrano, university of Carlos III, jdiezmedra@hotmail.com

    We are interested in presentations, which explore the impact of the crisis on international civil society. The 2008 crisis and its aftermath affected in multiple ways and often undermined the legitimacy of supranational and international organisations such as the EU and the World Bank. This has in turn affected the role and functions of international civil society groups interacting with them. Secondly, declining donors’ budgets have negatively impacted the viability of several civil society organisations in both their advocacy and service delivery functions. Thirdly, certain civil society groups such as those combating racism and xenophobia have also directly been affected by the cultural consequences of the crisis. For instance, mounting right-wing populism and mounting social rivalry within EU Member States for resources of the welfare state have undermined the political opportunities of these civil society organisations. In this context, presentations will explore the changing roles, resources and cultural framings of international civil society.

  • 04RN32 Citizens’ Resilience in Times of Crisis

    How are the meaning and the practice of citizenship renegotiated in times of crisis? The multiple crises of Europe have arguably stretched the idea of European citizenship as a stabilizer of an integrated European social, economic and political space beyond its limits. Instead of economic and social harmonization, the Euro crisis has exposed the thinness of European citizenship and the seemingly insurmountable differences that divide the people of Europe. Has citizenship now come to symbolize again the cleavages and tensions among the people in Europe? Or can we observe that citizens, who are most affected from crisis, develop new forms of activism in political life? Are there new forms of activating European or transnational citizenship rights in times of crisis, e.g. through the boost of social mobility (e.g. young people moving to the North) or through the emergence of new movements of social and political protest? The panel seeks to explore the conditions under which crisis perceptions and responses either lead to a new re-nationalising politics of exclusive rights and belonging or facilitate a new politics of transnational civil society that asks for the extension of rights, participation and democratic control of economic governance.

  • 05RN32 Business Meeting
  • 06RN32 Crisis and Change in Northern Europe: From Nordic Welfare Systems to Welfare Chauvinism?
    chair: Dietmar Loch Discussant: Cristian Norocel

    The Nordic welfare system, which is commonly underpinned by comprehensive labour force participation, promotion of gender equality, egalitarian and far–reaching levels of redistribution and benefits, and comprehensive fiscal policy, has been confronted with the sweeping wave of neo–liberal ism and economic globalization. Even more so, the ongoing economic crisis has had a polarizing effect also in the Nordic context (particularly in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden). It has been accompanied by the emergence of strong appeals for exclusionary politics, such as the bold emergence of radical right populist parties at the forefront of parliamentary politics across the region, and the sharpening of the debate about the future of the Nordic model of welfare state. With this in mind, this panel proposal should reunite papers that explore the emerging political cleavage along the nationalism vs. cosmopolitanism value dimension. Particular emphasis is put on the emerging dichotomy between particularist nativism (the narrow definition of the modern Nordic societies as welfare chauvinistic projects), on the one hand, and universalist cosmopolitanism (the integrative and accommodating definition of the welfare state in the age of globalization), on the other.

  • 07RN32 Social Media and Public Opinion: Conceptual and Empirical Challenges
    chair: Hans-Jörg Trenz, university of Copenhagen, trenz@hum.ku.dk discussant: Mauro Barisione, university of Milano, mauro.barisione@unimi.it

    The notion of “social media” has come to identify the public space and communication process on the Web in which the former audience of traditional media takes part in terms of self-expression, interaction, content production, and online action. Therefore, social media are also a new space both for the formation and expression of public opinion and for online political participation. However, contrary to traditional public opinion polls, social media – especially blogs and microblogs like Twitter – entail self-selection, i.e. individuals actively willing to express their opinions and to participate. New “big data” research techniques, such as blog sentiment analysis, are monitoring opinion trends on the web concerning salient political issues on a daily basis. This engenders a new potential conflict between social media opinion and poll-based public opinion about which should be considered the legitimate and politically more influential form of public opinion. Nonetheless, opinion trends as seized via social media and opinion polls might also disclose roughly convergent results and public orientations. The economic crisis over the past four years, in Europe and beyond, is providing an extraordinary case for the analysis of citizens’ political opinions and reactions via these two different channels. This session is especially interested in papers that analyze cases of possible divergence/convergence between these competing forms of public opinion.

  • a08RN32 Changing Meanings of Civil Society Involvement
    chair: Julien Talpin discussant: David Paternotte
  • b08RN32 Urban Governance and Local Politics
    chair: carlo Ruzza Discussant: Julien O’Miel (TBC)
  • 09RN32 The Populist Radical Right in Europe in the Aftermath of the Crisis, country studies
    Chair: Cristian Norocel Discussant: Dietmar Loch

    The rise and establishment of populist radical right parties in Europe is no more a new phenomenon. Yet, the economic and financial crisis and the dismantling of the welfare state have demonstrated how so far “free zones” in Northern and Southern Europe have been affected by radical right wing populism (e.g. the rise of the Greek “Golden Dawn”), and the decline of old industrial areas goes on strengthening classical national-populism like that of the National Front in France. Nevertheless, the impact of capitalist modernization has always been necessary, but not sufficient to understand and explain the extreme/radical right and populism. Cultural issues turned against migrants build the core of these movements, if linked to religious difference in liberal society or to the ethnicization of status politics for “modernization losers”. Hence, this panel wants to analyze the simultaneity and the relations between these economic and cultural issues. Thus, it focuses on cross-cutting conflicts in the new cleavage structure of national party systems in Europe, where the populist right with its nationalistic and protectionist positions is the spearhead of a larger renationalization process directed against positions of supranational and global integration. Comparative contributions stressing the correspondent similarities of these parties and movements in Western and Eastern Europe are as welcome as those which underline regional and national differences in case studies.

  • 10RN32 The Populist Radical Right in Europe in the Aftermath of the Crisis, a comparative perspective
    Chair/discussant: Björn Fryklund
  • 11RN32 Migrants in the Aftermath of the Crisis
    chair/discussant: Dietmar Loch, Dietmar.Loch@upmf-grenoble.fr

    One can surmise that the economic and financial crisis has amplified the already growing urban segregation in European cities. This spatial form of exclusion has become particularly visible before and within periods of socio-economic vulnerability, for instance in the French riots of 2005 and those of London in 2011. Immigrants and young people of immigrant descent are particularly concerned by urban segregation in Europe, as they constitute a large part of the urban underclass. Their living conditions are not only characterized by residential and school segregation, but also by political exclusion, although they often have full citizenship. In this context, this panel focuses on the political dimension of urban segregation. It is interested in representative democracy, i.e. in the voting behaviour of naturalized immigrants and young people of immigrant descent (party choice, ethnic electoral lists, low voter turnout, etc.). It is also interested in the forms of participatory democracy in poor neighbourhoods, where civil society organizations are weak, and (the absence of) citizenship becomes manifest in the participation in associations, in (political) violence, in the withdrawal into the private sphere and also in religious radicalism. What does citizenship and political participation of immigrants and young people of immigrant descent in poor neighbourhoods mean? Which are the relations between the political choices of exit (e.g. withdrawal), voice (e.g. riots) and loyalty (e.g. voting)? The panel is interested in either case studies or comparative analyses conducted in European cities.

  • PosterRN32 Poster Session
  • RN32 Citizens’ Resilience and Political Activism in Times of Crisis
    chair: Paul Blokker discussant: Hans-Jörg Trenz

    follows same theme as 09RN32 put in same room

  • 7RN32 Social Media and Public Opinion: Conceptual and Empirical Challenges
    chair: Mauro Barisione discussant: Lorenzo Mosca

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