International Research Laboratory (LIA) Workshop « Doing fieldwork and crossed practices in Post-Western Sociology (3) : Inequalities, mobilization and citizenship »

6 – 10 février 2017 –  ENS de Lyon

Organizer : CASS (Académie des Sciences sociales de Chine (CASS) “Post-Western Sociologies in China and in France”), Institute of Sociology, Beijing – International Research Laboratory (LIA) CNRS/ENS Lyon

Co-Organizer : Triangle, CNRS, ENS of Lyon

We already began to identify Post-Western Sociology during the creation of the LIA Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China in 2013 on the 9th and the 10th of november 2013, with the Chinese Opening Conference at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and on the 23 and the 24, with the French Opening Conference at the ENS of Lyon in 2014 January.

Then, with the Beijing University Conference on the 17th, 18th and 19th of October 2014 The fabric sociological knowledge, drawing on French and Chinese experiences, the Shanghai University Conference Metropolis, Urban Governance and Citizenship in China and in Europe on November the 28th and 29th, and the ENS de Lyon Conference Doing Post-Western Sociology on the 24th, 25th, 26th of June 2015, we analyzed how a post-Western sociology has come into being a space in which sociological knowledge is emerging that is both specific and shared and in which theoretical methodologies are gathered on the basis of very different histories and traditions.

After the ENS Lyon Workshop Doing fieldwork and crossed practices in Post-Western Sociology (1) on the 18th, 19th and 20th of july 2016, and the CASS Workshop Doing fieldwork and crossed practices in Post-Western Sociology (2) on the 19, 20, 21th of September 2016, we are going on examining how research practices and sociological knowledge are constructed by analyzing the similar and different forms of field experience in Chinese and European sociology.

Here is the new and third workshop Doing fieldwork and crossed practices in Post-Western Sociology (3), during which we will focus on Inequalities, mobilization and citizenship.

In Europe like in China the wage-earning societies went through a dramatic change as the inequalities between social positions increased. Access to ressources and goods is becoming less and less common, while there are more and more people who lack resources and face the risk of the space public material poverty, while being less and less protected and cared by the welfare system. Mass unemployment, growing uncertainties in work relations and labor, the decline of institutions and the recomposition of new institutional forms, new modernity is mostly about the wavering of an actor relentlessly forced to define again and again his place and his identity. On the one hand, social, economic and ethnical inequalities keep growing, along with new forms of exploitation, reject, stigmatization and even destitution of the “weakest”. On the other hand, cultural domination, recognition denial and disrespect create situations of injustice. Exploited workers, young people facing high uncertainties, migrants, and ethnic minorities subject to racial discrimination, are all prime examples of these processes. Citizens in Europe and in China have to develop individual and collective mobilizations to access to the public space and « to be a citizen ».

Recognition demands thus increase with the rising number of conflicting socialization and recognitions situations, as the actors have to keep redefining their place and identities as citizens. As violence and sufferings become more common in public space, recognition demands are upheld disclosing structural emergencies, anomie areas, all symptoms of social, cultural and economic breaching. Many recognition policies were enabled to respond to these demands, paradoxically producing micro-segregations as the different forms which socially confirm or support the individuals are thoroughly tested. Recognition demands are indeed expressed in many different ways. Less qualified young people living in segregated neighborhoods, the long-term unemployed, unauthorized migrants, all of which upheld different recognition demands, are more or less visible or quiet in the public space. These recognition demands arise from social, economic and ethnical inequalities and the experience of disrespect, social domination and recognition denial. Demands for recognition can break into public space at any time as social movements, riots, rebellions (for example in workers’ neighbourhoods). In such instances, they force a redistribution of social and public recognition and redefine the hierarchy of identities by questioning what is “common decency” in a given society (Margalit 1999). So what about a survival’s policy ? What does it mean « to be a citizen » in contemporary societies ? How to access to public space ?

Arrangements and disjunctions between different places of knowledge production are constructed through scientific fieldwork and sociological methods. Here, this raises the issue of the development of sociological knowledge in a Post-Western conceptual space. It is thus necessary to show the similarities of uses of sociological methods in Europe – especially in France – and in China, which reveal active constructions in the circulation of knowledge.

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