ESA RN22 Mid-term Conference „Complexities of Risk and Uncertainty“


4 – 5th of October, 2018

Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas Lithuania

Complexity poses distinctive challenges to citizens, policy-makers, social organizations and systems and, moreover, to the social scientists studying them. Core concepts within social scientific studies of risk and uncertainty, such as trust, have been understood by some (most notably Luhmann) primarily in their function as reducing complexity in everyday encounters and relationships. Renn’s studies of risk governance, meanwhile, suggest that policy-makers’ approach and depth of engagement with publics should reflect the relative causal complexity around the risks being addressed. These are two more established analytical orientations among many theoretical frameworks addressing complexity, and each has its own particular ways of defining and conceptualizing various forms of complexity, and of relating complexity to wider socio-physical environments.

Studies of risk and uncertainty furthermore involve methodological complexities, often interdisciplinary in nature, and these will be also addressed in the conference.

This meeting – the Mid-Term Conference of the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty research network (RN22) within the European Sociological Association – will address the salience of complexity for studying social processes around risk and uncertainty, through keynotes, panel discussions and a number of paper sessions.  Although the event will have a more specific focus on the theme of complexity, this is an open call for papers which explore aspects of risk and uncertainty across a broad range of sociological and interdisciplinary perspectives


Sakari Taipale, Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Research Group Leader in Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Editor of “Social Robots from Human Perspective” (Springer, 2015), “Digital Technologies and Generational Identity” (Routledge, 2018)

Esther Versluis, Professor of Regulatory Governance, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Editor of Balancing between Trade and Risk. Integrating legal and social science perspectives (Routledge, 2013)

Sylvia Walby, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Lancaster University, UK. Author of “Complexity and Contested Modernities”( Sage 2009), “Crisis” – (Polity 2015)

Thematic sessions:

  • Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (General Session)
  • Theoretical Advancements in Risk and Uncertainty Studies
  • Methods and Methodologies in Risk and Uncertainty Research
  • Public Discourses and Media Representations of Risk
  • Risk, Uncertainty and Transformation of Urban Space
  • Risk, Uncertainty and Inequality
  • Risks in Health and Social Care
  • Responses to Complex Climate Change Risks
  • Risk and Uncertainties in Digitization

We welcome paper abstracts addressing complexity in its relation to risk and uncertainty and/or other close concepts. You can apply for a thematic session or for the general session.

Our previous mid-term conferences have included a fantastic mix of researchers from across the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and beyond, and we hope to receive abstracts from a similarly diverse range of disciplines and analytical approaches this time. We look forward to meeting you in Kaunas!

You can apply or find more information here.

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spalio 4 d., 2018 10:00 - spalio 5 d., 2018 17:00

KTU Socialinių, humanitarinių mokslų ir menų fakultetas (A. Mickevičiaus g. 37)

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