Abstract submission is OPEN.
2021 marks the 70th Anniversary of the annual British Sociological Association conference, it will also be a year where societies continue to try to create futures which will either be framed by recovering from, or living with, Covid-19. What to do now? Find out more about the conference streams and read more about the theme of the conference below.
Alongside macro and micro experiences of tragedy, which require acknowledgement and accountability, how might we learn from what has happened and create different futures to where we are now? What might those different futures look like for different groups, communities and global locations? Such questions are sociological, interdisciplinary and international in scope. They require different voices who have often been silenced; a greater space for different forms of listening and exchange is more crucial than ever. At the same time, it is important not to frame our understanding of the present and the future through a Covid-19 lens exclusively. There is a risk that other societal, political and economic harms are excused if we solely engage with Covid-19 as the catalyst for thinking about the future differently. The environment remains under threat; economic precarity and austerity are very much at the core of many people’s lives; racial injustice is prevalent across societies; hostile national boundaries to migrants and refugees are being cemented; higher education and the role of critical social science within it remain under threat.
For all of these reasons there is an urgency for sociological insights into what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. It is impossible to understand Covid-19 without thinking about the societal dynamics which have shaped and have been influenced by the turmoil encountered. This is as much a social, political and economic crisis as it is a health crisis, made worse by macro-level failures of governmental response. This is leading to issues such as: existing multiple inequalities contributing to people’s vulnerabilities to both the virus itself and governmental responses to it; Covid-19 as a justification for the removal of rights and abuses of power; neo-liberal approaches to both economies and health and social care inhibiting responses to the pandemic’s most lethal affects; and the significance of global exchange in dynamics of spread, sitting alongside nationalist self-interest as a barrier to international responses to it. Yet we are also experiencing all these Covid-19 impacts at a micro-level, either personally or via continuous media representations of such.
Our aim is the conference becomes a space to participate in thinking about and planning for different futures. Papers do not need to be framed by, or address Covid-19; instead we encourage people to use their research to explore re-making, re-thinking, re-imagining varied futures. This can draw from existing sociological ideas, but also from new modes of thinking from different places and draw from different critical social science registers. We also hope that the virtual spaces and dialogues we will create will be inclusive, safe, expansive, social, creative and innovative. Ideas for interaction and presentation can be different. This is a key moment for sociology as it looks forward, this includes thinking about what role we can play in rethinking what lies ahead.
BSA Events Team