Since the Enlightenment onwards, there has been a strong – perhaps the dominant belief about the human society heading towards the better. Industrialisation, technological development and increased complexity of the social order are seen to enable better conditions for individuals and communities in terms of having more freedom, better living standards, and more leisure, all based on the anticipated better developmental performances on a local, national and global level. The question remains however, for whom and when exactly? In the 19th century, industrial workers in the Western Europe could hardly be aware of overall societal progress that had been occurring by then. Nowadays, despite the opportunities linked to globalisation and technological development, huge gaps between the developed and the underdeveloped parts of the world have persisted, individual inequalities in terms of wealth distribution have increased and enormous numbers of people – both in the developed West and in the developing countries feel to be excluded and left behind. Moreover, tremendous ecological pressures have generated additional challenges.
Due to global connections in economic, political and cultural terms, we are supposed to live with the global social transformations – but are they really a way towards a Good Society? While addressing such questions, we need to be aware that the older, more static social patterns have been clearly replaced by accelerated morphogenesis and extended reflexivity. The social transformations are thus even faster, more unpredictable and often unconceivable. In addition, there is an unprecedented role of digital technology, especially in terms of artificial intelligence and its potential uses, changing not just what is social, but also what is human. On the other hand, the controversial nature of the accelerating social transformations has not provoked only the consideration of various alternatives that might better contribute toward a Good Society but also to the tendencies to reverse (or isolate from) the existing trends in terms of steering our society backwards.
The role of social scientists in this regard is to observe, interpret and evaluate these phenomena – and to add the perspectives of their own – well supported, of course, by relevant social theories and rigorous empirical observations.
Within the Conference we will thus deal with these challenges observing them in the interplay among structure, culture and individuals opening a variety of burning issues to be explored. Based on this, our conference shall primarily but not exclusively focus on:
- The Transformations of governance: The rise of populism, nationalism and anti-globalism vs. global citizenship and governance. We may also address and the re-distribution of the global political power and the transforming geopolitical situations.
- The economic transformations: Neoliberal economic practices vs. sustainable production. We will address the exclusive reliance on the market forces as well as the challenges of environmental and social sustainability, their interplays and clashes.
- The cultural transformations: Thick culture vs. thin culture. How have any of them manifested recently? Has instrumental, thin culture prevailed due to accelerated transformations? Do the rooted, thick cultural elements persist and where?
- The individual transformations: Empowered vs. impoverished individuals. How do individuals trigger social transformations and how social transformations have transformed individuals? Are they more reflexive, liberated, active, empowered agents contributing to a Good Society? Or mostly objects or even victims of social transformations?
Margaret Archer, Emeritus Professor, University of Warwick, UK
- Slovenian National Committee of the UNESCO Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST)
- School of Advanced Social Studies / Fakulteta za uporabne družbene študije v Novi Gorici
- International Sociological Association: Junior Sociologists Network
- Slovenian Social Science Association
Deadline for registration – March 30, 2019
Regular fee – EUR 60
Discounted fee for PhD and MA students in Social Science – EUR 30
Accommodation and Travel: Will be covered by the participants.
Meals: reception dinner and coffee breaks snacks will be covered by the organisers