I have recently visited Prague to present at the 12th Conference of European Sociological Association and this was the first large scale event (around 3500 delegates) I presented at in a long while. This was also the event that made me thinking about the impact and challenges of sub-discipline boundaries on academic positioning within the field especially in the situation of the overwhelmingly high number of papers and events.
From the beginning the context was new to me. Usually linked to sociology of migration or cultural identity this time I found myself in the Sociology of Consumption network.
While discovering my newly acquired identity as a consumer-sociologist and learning about new angles of research of everyday life I still felt strongly the missing migration context. Then there is post-Socialist identity and my constant interest in visual/sensory aspects of research. As a result, I ended up switching between 4-5 panels dealing with material culture, consumption, migration, arts, post-Soviet identity and food – with a very relative productivity and a constant and ever growing feeling of missing out. Ironically, as being somebody who studies identity I struggled to define my own. In some sense, identifying the dimensions of research help establish the (academic) language a researcher wants to communicate with his/her audiences. Having too many can be equally confusing and messy for both sides. A wishful thinking: a research network which will unite Migration, Identity, and Practices of Consumption or learning a new skill of conference navigation.
Some (random) highlights to note:
Book presentation: “From Intervention to Social Change. A Guide to Reshaping Everyday Practices” by T. Vihalemm, M. Keller and M. Kiisel (Ashgate, 2015). This book is a crossover between social practice theory, everyday consumption practices and implementation of social change. Can see a lot of potential in using it for practice-led modules, including the research methods.
The analysis of transnational human mobility by Emanuel Deutschmann from Jacobs University, Bremen –When comparing mobility and social networks of different social groups (students, highly skilled, refugees) the conclusion is that “the longer distance is the less likely that the move there will occur”. Interested to read more on this.
Presentations by Marta Vilar Roslaes from the University of Lisbon and Oleksandra Seliverstova from Tallinn University provided a good ground for comparison between my data on Russian-speaking migrants’ homes and identities and materialities of Portuguese in Canada and Russian-speakers in Ukraine correspondingly.
My colleagues from Novosibirsk State University Olga Echevskaya and Tatyana Bogomolova presented research into inequalities in education (Echevskaya) and non-financial assets (Bogomolova).
Olga Gurova’s research into young fashion scene in Kalio, Helsinki provides an inspiring example of effective use of participatory and creative approach to presentation and communication of data through a research-based film (see “Take it Slow!” Trailer on YouTube).