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Date(s) - 13/10/2017
12:00 am


Identity, Community and Social Solidarity
Call for Papers
Rights, Violence and Crime Stream
Sociology of Rights – Call for Papers
British Sociological Association, 10-12 April 2018

In recent years issues around identity, privilege, intersecting and over lapping sources of oppression have come to illuminate debates both within and without the academic community where the nexus between rights and society is concerned. The failure of earlier waves of struggle in the 20th century to sufficiently acknowledge the varied histories and present realities of oppression, privilege and inequality, arguably frustrated attempts to forge unities that spanned different locales, groups and social needs. However, some have argued that the rise of concepts such as intersectionality and identity politics hinders rather than encourages unity and solidarity within and between communities and ultimately undermines the raison d’etre of human rights and other moral discourses: social solidarity; This is problematic given the inherent indivisibility and holistic nature of rights, both internationally and domestically.

However, in recent years a New Right has begun to articulate a powerful discourse which seeks to dismantle the social gains made by emancipatory movements, precisely by exploiting the politics of difference and simultaneously refuting the ethical and metaphysical foundations of the recognition of histories and present realities of ‘difference’ in oppression, exploitation and inequality. How do we overcome the tensions between ‘difference’ and social solidarity,’ both ethically and practically? Can we articulate an inclusive rights discourse that meets the challenge of the ‘New Right’ and forges unity without marginalizing particular identities and groups. Moreover, one that can still furnish clarity of theory and analysis and by extension, effective political movements.

We are interested in papers that examine the relation between rights, human rights and societies, and how polities of identity, privilege and intersectionality are raised, juxtaposed and eventually negotiated. We welcome papers that provide theoretical, methodological, and empirical insights on rights. In particular, we welcome papers that bridge theory and practice and which suggest how sociology can make a distinct contribution to the study of rights.

Of particular interest are papers which:
• emphasise the distinctive contribution of professional, critical, public and policy sociologies to the study of rights and human rights;
• address the relationship of human rights practitioners and activists to research in sociology;
• address the relationship between theory and practice and the problematic of ‘critically engaged activist scholarship’;
• engage sociological perspectives, theories and methodologies in the analysis of the tension between theories of identity, intersectionality, privilege theory and social solidarity and their balancing and negotiation;
• critically challenge mainstream human rights discourses and policies and how these impact on the construction, deconstruction but also erosion of the notion of identity and intersectionality;
• explore the rise of new identities forged around shared experiences of environmental destruction and degradation in the age of the Anthropocene and climate crisis;
• explore the systemic drivers of the violations of rights in the examination of the ‘social life’ of rights as such;
• explore how rights and human rights support the creation of a shared ground for social protest and public engagement on a variety of topics;
• focus on processes of negotiation and implementation of rights and human rights in different venues, inside and outside institutions;
• address disciplinary and emancipatory uses of the discourse and law of rights and human rights;
• analyse emerging rights and human rights and how this new vocabulary provides new conceptual umbrellas for connecting people and rights and/or enhance a sense of inflation and dispersion that is potentially damaging for rights and human rights;
• address a broad range of themes and issues including (but not limited to): poverty, class, employment and living wage, health care, equality and discrimination, asylum-seeking and refugees, slavery, genocide, ecocide and environmental harms, war and conflict, social media and new technologies, climate change, women’s rights, transitional justice, sexuality, religion, indigenous peoples, children’s rights, and cities;
• emphasise the importance of context and space for a sociological understanding and analysis of practices of rights and human rights;
• address current struggles around rights and human rights in the UK and elsewhere.

If you would like your abstract to be included in this sub-stream, it is *essential* to write ‘sociology of rights/human rights’ clearly at the top of your abstract; conference organisers have requested this to enable abstracts to be organised into a sub-stream.

How to Submit
All paper abstracts and proposals for other events can be submitted online at:

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 13th October 2017.

For further information contact the Sociology of Rights study group co-convenors:
Michele Grigolo E:
Martin Crook E:

Alternatively, contact the BSA Events Team:

Important Dates:
13 October 2017 – Abstract submission deadline
24 November 2017 – BSA will send email acceptance/rejection as soon as possible after this date
12 January 2018 – Presenter booking deadline
10-12 April 2018 – BSA Annual Conference 2017