Call for Papers

This Call for Papers is for the interim conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA) Research Network 8 “Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network” (DCSCRN), that is organized in collaboration with the Rector’s Office, the Sociology of Work Laboratory and the Laboratory for Social-Cultural Digital Documentation of the Aegean University and will be held on the island of Lesvos (Greece), on 13-14 September 2012. Venue for the conference will be the amphitheatre of the Chamber of Commerce of Lesvos in the city of Mytilene (www.lesvos-chamber.com). The general theme of the conference is:

THE DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROZONE (EZ): SOCIAL IMPACTS

During the last 4 years and since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Eurozone has been confronted with the greatest economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s. Especially hit are the member-states of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy – the so-called “PIGS” states (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). There has been a lot of debate as to the causes and the ways of responding to this debt crisis. Some attribute the crisis to expanding global capitalism and the competition for new and cheaper labor markets, while others view it as a problem of modernization, national character, and over-consumption in relation to a country’s production capacity.

With regard to the response, the Eurozone member-countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have created a bail-out system for the countries with excessive fiscal imbalances and high public debts. This bailing out was accompanied by a series of austerity measures (e.g. cuts in public and private spending, cuts in salaries, wages and social security income) and large increases of taxes as well by demands for structural reforms in tax, social security, health and occupation systems, labor relations and privatization of public properties. And all these within compressed time frameworks in order to increase the country’s solvency. These measures were first implemented in Greece, then Ireland and Portugal who also have used the EZ and IMF bail-out mechanism. Spain and Italy have so far avoided utilization of the bail-out mechanism by taking “proactive” austerity measures themselves.

Two years of experimentation/implementation of the EZ-IMF austerity model in Greece has not solved the debt problems, either because of the wrong prescription or because of delays in implementation of accompanying demands by the member country. Instead, it has led to a vicious cycle of recession, further dependence on the EU and the IMF, and more domestic austerity measures. The austerity measures have had serious social impacts on business closures and unemployment, on the personal lives of millions of citizens whose life-plans were suddenly undermined, on the relations of citizens to the system of government, as well on the relationships among citizens of the “donor” and “recipient” countries and on the relationships of member states to the emergent European Union institutions. Although some structural progress have been made on the management of the economic crisis of member states, the above social impacts are expected to be aggravated, threatening member countries in the periphery with bankruptcy and social unrest and the EU itself with breakup and/or compartmentalization, unless decisive measures are taken to break once and for all the vicious cycle of recession and austerity measures.

The principal purpose of this mid-term conference will be to explore the various social impacts of the Eurozone debt crisis. Specifically, papers, power-point presentations and works in progress are invited on the following topics:

  1. The Political-economy of the EZ Crisis
  2. The EZ Crisis, Unemployment and Poverty
  3. The EZ Crisis, Migration/Return Migration and Racism
  4. The EZ Crisis, Anomie, Mass Violence and Crime
  5. The EZ Crisis and the Welfare State (Health, Education, Housing etc.) (Health covers both physical and mental health. With respect to the latter rates of depression and suicides would be of special interest.)
  6. The EZ Crisis, Businesses and Tourism
  7. The EZ Crisis and the “Green Economy”
  8. The EZ Crisis, Social Protest and the Civil Society (e.g. indignados movements)
  9. The EZ Crisis and its Impact on Demographic Behavior, Family and Personal relations
  10.  The EZ Crisis, New Social Structures, New Social Institutions and New Identities in Member States and the European Union

The Organizing Committee is also open to submission of abstracts on other social impacts of the debt crisis.

Abstract – Paper Format and Language. The organizers invite theoretically or empirically grounded papers on the above (or related) topics. Special consideration will be given to empirically grounded papers, either comparative or country-based, that focus on the social impacts on the “indebted” countries and their citizens. The language of the abstracts, the papers and the conference will be in English. Abstracts should be about 300 words, and should be accompanied by the name(s) of the author(s), his/her/their affiliation(s) and E-mail(s). Individuals may not participate as senior authors in more than one session. Abstracts should be submitted to Dr. Nicholas Petropoulos, erc@otenet.gr by 15 May 2012. Upon receipt, they will be sent to members of the scientific committee for review. Participants will be notified regarding acceptance the latest on 25 May 2012. Those whose abstracts are accepted are urged to submit their completed papers by 31 August 2012 for publication of the proceedings by RN08 and Aegean University.

On-line registration. On-line registration, along with information regarding the venue, accommodations, tours within Lesvos and across to Turkey, and air travel from Athens to Lesvos and back to Athens, is now available on this website. Depending upon date of request, some assistance for the payment of the registration fees may be available on site (cash refund) for session presenters from debt-ridden EU countries (Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Baltic States).

Important Deadlines

  • Abstract Submission: 15 May 2012
  • Paper Acceptance: 25 May 2012
  • Registration: 30 June 2012
  • Completed papers: 31 August 2012

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