The ISA is organised into ‘research committees’ which further divide into small panels on specific themes. Research committees are a big thing at the ISA, which I didn’t really understand until I got there. Choosing what you want to attend is best done by locating the broader research committees of interest and then sifting through the numerous and various research projects that people are discussing in the different committee panels. I’m pretty sure that this was the only way to tackle the largest conference program I’ve ever seen (you can download the electronic book, but make some disk space because it’s 10MB and there aren’t even abstracts, which you can download separately if you can find a further 13MB).
|The Pacifico Yokohama, right next to the 'second largest sky scraper in Japan'.|
|I was joined by Sam Burgum (Warwick) nd Alex Simpson (York)|
I wanted briefly to mention just a few of the many papers I saw over the week of the conference. Here are some tweets and summaries:
Harries' qualitative research focused on place and how they are racialized? She called this a 'cartography of race in the city' and focused in on the idea of denying racism. Particularly, she talked about how some of her participants experienced what we’d term racism, yet denied that they had been the recipient of it. She raised an interesting question: were some participants possibly worried that they'd offend a white researcher by relaying their experiences of racism from white people. Becares, who spoke on the same paper, discussed the contraints of ‘measuring’ racism quantitatively by discussing her use of survey data. The feeling of being unsafe, an experience of verbal abuse or physical harassment that respondents thought had happened because of their ethnicity, religion or nationality were considered to be racist encounters. This obviously raised fundamental definitional questions not least of racism but also race.
Exciting paper from @GKBhambra on @isa_sociology modernities panel today: "the histories we acknowledge shape the contours of the concepts"
— ros williams (@roswillz) July 14, 2014
It's thanks to the power of Twitter, which was overdrive for the week of the conference, that various papers, panels and streams were advertised and live-tweeted.
Saeid Yarmohammadi – RC46 Clinical Sociology
Focusing on Iran, Yarmohammadi’s paper explored the difficulties of implementing clinical sociology as a field of study in Iran and advocated its potential uses in the country. The paper presented research regarding the hegemonic position of other disciplines over Sociology - a 'dominance of other fields of science'. No Iranian sociologists or humanities scholars are included in international lists of influential academics. Along with this, Yarmohammadi discussed the role of ideology in Iranian government - with the prevalence of religion, sciences (including sociology) aren't given space to contribute to problem solving. The paper moved on to explore the difficulties of implementing clinical sociology in Iran, where the field is 'emergent' compared to its near century-long history in other countries such as the US. Siginificant overcoming of this obstacles would be needed for Iranian sociology (and clinical sociology) to have a more significant input in the future of the country.
Poignant data from Baptiste Godrie today at #ISA2014 Sociology of Health stream @isa_sociology pic.twitter.com/yOtYyiqGN7
— ros williams (@roswillz) July 18, 2014
The paper analysed posters for public health issues such as breast screening and obesity. Blondet noted, for instance, that obesity campaigns focused on the urban middle class and not the working class neighbourhoods or underpriveleged suburbs. Why were rural and working classes excluded? The presumption was that they move around more, and yet there is a prevalence of higher risk practices and obesity in these very demographics. The paper used survey data to demonstrate how the messages embedded in these posters and their accompanying TV advertisements had indeed percolated into the population, but that very few who recalled them had actually implemented the advice. Of the method of trying to address an entire nation through one campaign, Blondet stated quite poignantly that 'by addressing everyone, it finally speaks to noone'.
Margaret Kelaher:aboriginal groups' involvement in collab gov on pub health "A lot more red dots than yellow" #ISA14 pic.twitter.com/gHsQ4nrLsR
— ros williams (@roswillz) July 19, 2014
It was brilliant to travel to Japan for the ISA. I met a number of people working in really engaging areas, and got an insight to the huge array of research going on just outside of my own remit of study. Of course, it was also an opportunity to meet up with old friends - I hadn't even realised Dharmi Kapadia and Gareth Thomas would be there. The Welcome and Farewell Parties were well-attended, and I bumped into lots of people who I'm more accustomed to seeing in the cloudy North of England.
|Before the ISA Farewell party with Sam Burgum, Alex Simpson, John Holmwood and Gurminder Bhambra|