Society of the Future: Recompositions 18th Polish Sociological Congress 14-17 of Sep, 2022

Panel: Elites and anti-elitism in contemporary Europe. Struggles over power and voice in the populist moment

Organizers: Elżbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn University, Sweden/University of Warsaw, Poland), Håkan Johansson (Lund University, Sweden)

In today’s politics the word “elite” circulates as a derogatory term, associated with arrogance, snobbishness and alienation from the “common people”. Many representatives of elite groups, including powerful politicians and billionaires, carefully avoid such self-description, trying to stress their democratic views and/or working-class background. “Elite” has became a useful shorthand for exclusion and the abuse of power, and the anti-elitist language has been promoted by both: the right-populist parties and movements, who claim that people can be empowered only by toppling the “liberal elites,” and by the left, who accuses economic and political elites of destroying the planet and democracy. The problem of unequal access to power, resources and voice is being increasingly addressed not only in politics and in economy, but also in civil society as some civil society organizations have become influential political actors in their own right, with considerable power and resources at their disposal. Analyses of the educational and class background of the leaders of civil society organizations show patterns similar to economic and political elites, such as a tendency to exclude women and people from ethnic minorities or economically disadvantaged groups.

This panel aims to discuss new research on elites and the rise of anti-elitist discourses, and modes of organization and mobilization in contemporary Poland and in Europe, from a sociological perspective. We invite analyses which are based on up-to-date empirical studies and/or offer new theoretical perspectives on elites, counter-elites and anti-elitism in contemporary Poland and beyond. The questions we aim to discuss include: a) what qualities, networks and values characterize elites in contemporary societies, and how are they (re)produced; b) to what extent do various elite groups interact or even overlap; c) by whom, on what grounds and with what effects are elites challenged and concentration of power and resources contested; and d) what mechanisms and processes lead to elite consolidation or elite contestations across countries and internationally, and e) what are the consequences of elite existence, reproduction, consolidation and contestation for contemporary societies?

Key words: anti-elitism, civil society, elites, populism, social change

Contact details:,

Panel link: Elites and anti-elitism in contemporary Europe. Struggles over power and voice in the populist moment – XVIII Ogólnopolski Zjazd Socjologiczny

Deadline for abstracts: 15th of March, see website for uploading abstracts.

Call for papers: Panel on how experts organize and interact with the political world – 5th International Conference on Public Policy (ICCP5), Barcelona, July 5th-8th 2021

Panel: « How Experts Organize and Interact with the Political World? The Political Socializations of Experts »

Chair : Valentin THOMAS (IRISSO – Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Université)
Second Chair : Jean-Baptiste Devaux (Sciences PO Lyon)
Third Chair : Muriel Surdez (University of Fribourg)

Submission deadline:  January 29th 2021

Further information and submission form:


This panel focuses on « experts », i.e. actors mandated to participate in the design of public policies in the name of their specialized knowledge (Robert 2010). These groups of policymakers are often approached by addressing the links between the professions or intellectual traditions they represent and the institutions in charge of public policies. These approaches discuss fundamental divisions such as expert/ laymen, science/politics, risk assessment/risk management. By contrast, this panel aims to shift the perspective. It grasps the expert’s stance by questioning their political socializations, which has so far been insufficiently examined, especially by political scientists specialized in public policies studies. When they take on their role, experts confront themselves with objects identified as political, i.e. State, markets, political parties, public problems, instruments of public policies, etc. (Brint, 1996, Lebaron, 2008). It is therefore relevant to pay more attention to the ways in which they learnt to 1) perceive and interact with these political objects ; 2) to establish a boundary between political and non-political issues.

In short, the aim of the panel is to take the experts out of the specificity of their technical activities in order to approach them as ordinary and politicized actors who contribute to produce and legitimize the social and political order.

It is as depositories of knowledge legitimized by a specific background – typically a professional experience – that experts are mandated by political actors. Traditionally, work in political science devoted to expertise thus addresses the groups of experts through this mandate. On the one hand, it highlights the way in which expert knowledge is produced, selected, and affects the governance of public problems (Stampnitzky 2013; Demortain 2020). On the other hand, it sheds light on the socio-professional identity of the actors involved in public decision-making. Some researchers have questioned the professional trajectories of experts, as those working in think tanks (Medvetz 2014). Other work examines the legitimization of public decision making. It highlights the growing role of the government-dedicated sciences in the production of public action (Ihl, Déloye, and Joignant 2013). More recently, scholars have also questioned the loss of legitimacy of the specialized knowledge on which the authority of experts is based (Eyal 2019) to emphasize the importance of their networks and their alliances. All in all, this work tends to reduce experts to their « technical » skills or to the specialized knowledge for which their assessment is required.
This panel, instead, explores how experts learn and update the cognitive frames with which they « organize the political world » (Conover and Feldman 1984; Sigel 1989) and how they assimilate and activate certain visions of the social and political order available at a given time (Duchesne and Haegel 2004). For example, some researches addressed this question regarding senior officials in the French administration who designed immigration policies (Laurens 2009). Other researchers have studied the primary and secondary political socializations of people in the engineering profession, retracing the process which leads these professionals to perceive themself as having a « scientific », « objective » and “neutral” way of seeing political issues (Sainsaulieu, Surdez, and Zufferey 2019). The panel’s ambition is to open this research perspective to the different groups of experts appointed in the construction of public policies.


This panel will bring together authors interested in the politicization of experts committed to the production of public policies. For example, how do economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or at the European Central Bank (ECB), conceive and have learnt to conceive the role and legitimacy of the State, private economic actors, social movements or of their own institutions? How do the scientists and physicians of the World Health Organization (WHO) or national health agencies deal with the tension between individual and collective responsibilities in understanding (and acting on) pandemic phenomena? What attitudes do toxicologists at the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) have towards « technical progress », economic productivity, ecology, etc.?
Paper submissions should draw on empirical materials that will be specified. They will conduct empirical studies that highlight the social trajectories, lifestyles and political subjectivities of the experts, specifying how they contribute to the panel’s questions. They may focus on groups of experts appointed in a commission or part of a more flexible national or international network. They may also focus on a single actor. The panel is open to a variety of methodological perspectives, technique and material. For instance, papers can draw on interviews, archives, observations or questionnaires and process these data in various ways, be it qualitative or quantitative.
We suggest four lines of research that can be mixed or explored separately:

  1. Addressing the primary, secondary and professional political socializations of experts allows us to question various ways to grasp political objets. An interesting approach could be to revisit the process of expertise as a sequence structured by the long-term process of political socialization,be it shaped by explicit activist activities or not. From this perspective, the experts’ careers have to be connected with their social, professional and political trajectories.
  2. Papers could address the way in which the actors mandated as experts apprehend the social, institutional and political order as « ordinary citizens »: vote, interaction to public administrations (taxes, welfare system, transport, police, army, etc.), social distance or proximity to political arenas and professional politicians, etc.
  3. Papers could address expertise as a product of ordinary social practices and relationships. We wish to question the way in which experts’ positions and activities structure and are structured by their lifestyles (everyday experiences shaped by class, gender and race reality, by family relationships, by recreational or cultural activities). These elements indicate positions in the social space that are often hidden by the institutional dimension of the expert’s mandate.
  4. The sociology of the professions has shown the links between certain groups of experts and certain areas of public policy. It could be interesting to ask whether or not these various sectors produce different forms of political socialization. Conversely, one might also ask how struggles between groups of experts for involvement in the same area of public policy affects the political socialization of actors.


Brint, Steven. 1996. In the Age of Experts. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Conover, Pamela Johnston, and Stanley Feldman. 1984. ‘How People Organize the Political World: A Schematic Model’. American Journal of Political Science 28 (1): 95–126.Demortain, David. 2020. The Science of Bureaucracy: Risk Decision-Making and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Duchesne, Sophie, and Florence Haegel. 2004. ‘La politisation des discussions, au croisement des logiques de spécialisation et de conflictualisation’. Revue francaise de science politique Vol. 54 (6): 877–909.

Eyal, Gil. 2019. The Crisis of Expertise. 1st Edition. Cambridge, UK ; Medford, MA: Polity.

Ihl, Olivier, Yves Déloye, and Alfredo Joignant, eds. 2013. Gouverner par la science: perspectives comparées. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble.

Laurens, Sylvain. 2009. Une politisation feutrée. Paris: Belin.

Lebaron, Frédéric. 2008. Central Bankers in the contemporary global field of power: a “social space” approach. The Sociological Review, 56(1)121-144.

Lefébure, Pierre. 2009. ‘Les rapports ordinaires à la politique’. In Nouveau manuel de science politique, by Bernard Lacroix, Antonin Cohen, and Philippe Riutort, 9–20. La Découverte.

Medvetz, Thomas. 2014. Think Tanks in America. Illustrated Edition. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.

Michel, Hélène (dir.). 2006. Lobbyistes et lobbying de l’Union européenne : Trajectoires, formations et pratiques des représentants d’intérêts. Strasbourg: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg.

Robert, Cécile. 2010. Chapitre 11 : Expertise et action publique. Presses de Sciences Po (P.F.N.S.P.).

Sainsaulieu, Ivan, Muriel Surdez, and Éric Zufferey. 2019. ‘Parcours de socialisation politique d’ingénieurs au travail’. Revue francaise de science politique Vol. 69 (3): 439–59.

Sigel, Roberta S., ed. 1989. Political Learning in Adulthood: A Sourcebook of Theory and Research. 1st Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stampnitzky, Lisa. 2013. Disciplining Terror. How Experts Invented ‘Terrorism’. New York: Campbridge University Press.

CfP: Conference ‘Ideologies, Values, and Political Behavior in Central andEastern Europe’, Timișoara, Romania, 4-6 December 2020

Invitation to the 18th edition of the International Symposium ‘Ideologies, Values, and Political Behavior in Central and Eastern Europe’

Organized by the Department of Political Science, West University of Timișoara
The Symposium will be held on December 4-6, 2020, in an online format.
Deadline for proposals: 20 November 2020. Selected participants will be informed before 27 November 2020.

It is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the upcoming 18th edition of the International Symposium Ideologies, Values, and Political Behavior in Central and Eastern Europe. This edition marks the 20th anniversary of the Department of Political Science at the West University of Timișoara, Romania.

The event aims to bring together researchers interested in Central and Eastern European politics. We welcome paper proposals from scholars on political topics in Central and Eastern Europe as detailed below. The proposal should be no longer than one page and it should include a short Curriculum Vitae.

Selected papers will be included in the forthcoming volume of the Political Studies Forum journal, published yearly by the Department of Political Science and relaunched in 2020:

The Symposium will include panels such as:

  • The European Union at crossroads: political, social, economic and cultural challenges
  • The specter of populism: continuity, change, diversity
  • Diplomacy and international relations: shaping the 21st century
  • 30 years since the reunification of Germany: regional and international implications
  • Intelligence and security studies: challenges and opportunities

These are just some of the scientific topics that will be addressed during the conference. We welcome contributions on similar topics from the fields of political science and international relations.

There is no participation fee. For further information, details and for sending the application please contact Dr. Emanuel Copilaș at

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our event!

CfA – Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences 2020

Please find below the call for abstracts for the 10th Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences.


Linking Theory and Empirical Research

Berlin, July 20 – 30, 2020

We are delighted to announce the 10th edition of the Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences. The summer school aims at supporting young researchers by strengthening their ability in linking theory and empirical research. The two-week program creates an excellent basis for the development of their current research designs.

In the first week, we address the key methodological challenges of concept-building, causation/explanation, and micro-macro linkage that occur in almost all research efforts. We strive for a clarification of the epistemological foundations underlying methodological paradigms. In the second week, these methodological considerations are applied to central empirical fields of research in political science, sociology, and other related disciplines. In this second part of the program, participants are assigned to four thematic groups according to their own research topic. The thematic areas covered are: « Global Governance & International Relations », « Citizenship, Migration, and Identities », « Social Struggle and Globalization », and « Democracy at the Crossroads ».

The program is characterized by a varied format comprised of lectures, workshops, seminars, and a one-to-one consultation. During the summer school, participants will also have the opportunity to present and discuss their own work extensively. Participants will be provided with hands-on advice for their research designs.

The school brings together a faculty of renowned international and Berlin-based scholars. Among the confirmed international lecturers are Ann Swidler (UC Berkeley), David Stark (The University of Texas at Austin), Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore), Felix Berenskoetter (SOAS University of London), Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield) and Vera Troeger (University of Warwick).

The Berlin Summer School was co-funded by the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Details on the location and tuition fees can be found on our webpage

The international summer school is open to up to 60 PhD candidates, advanced master students, and young postdocs. The call for applications is currently open. Applications can be submitted online via the application form on the summer school webpage until March 22, 2020.

The decisions of the selection committee will be announced to the applicants in April. If you have any further questions, please contact the organizing team at

Call for Papers: ‘Current Sociology’ Special Issue on ‘Lay’ or ‘Citizen Expertise’

Dear colleagues,

for a special issue on ‘lay’ or ‘citizen expertise’ (to be published by Current sociology), we are still looking for 1-2 contributions.

Abstracts can be sent until February 15th to both guest editors: Taina Meriluoto ( and Eva Krick (

Our special issue deals with the involvement of citizens in the role of experts through a range of practices (e.g. service user involvement, participatory governance, citizen juries, citizen science etc.).
All these initiatives promise to accentuate the views of the public and include alternative forms of knowledge at the same time. We want to take a critical look at these practices, map the different types and discuss their effects for democracy, society and the roles of citizens and experts in particular.

Contributions should address the following key questions:

  • What kind of knowledge is being generated by lay experts? What is the core of what can count as expertise, and what are the boundaries?
  • How are the role of ‘citizen’ and ‘expert’ reconciled in these practices? How are questions of power and inequality between citizens and experts affected?
  • What are the democratic legitimacy implications when public participation is being expertised? Which democratic legitimacy criteria do these practices speak to?

We are especially looking for case-based studies and we welcome democratic theory perspectives in particular.

Papers should make sure to address the issue of lay expertise from a sociological perspective.

The deadline for a first draft of the paper to be sent to the guest editors is 1st of June 2020.

The deadline for papers submitted to Current sociology will be in September 2020.

We are very much looking forward to your proposals!

Best wishes,

Eva Krick and Taina Meriluoto

Call for Panel and Paper Proposals: Political Sociology Section at the ECPR General Conference 2020

We are happy to inform you that our section “Society-State Relations in Post-Democracy: Illiberalism and Populism and their Alternatives” has been accepted for the ECPR General Conference at the University of Innsbruck 2020 with seven panels. See below our section description.

The call for panels (with 4-5 papers) and papers is open until midnight UK time on 19 February 2020. You can submit your abstracts for panels and papers via the ECPR website.


Our section proposal:

Title: Society-State Relations in Post-Democracy: Illiberalism and Populism and their Alternatives

Chair: Laura Landorff, Aalborg Universitet

Co-Chair: Oscar Mazzoleni, Université de Lausanne


This session addresses several topics crucial for political sociology, regarding severe threats to the liberal democratic political order brought on by the emerging illiberal nationalist and populist agency in different European countries. These new threats on the political scene build up their ideological and practical challenges from being against a set of heterogeneous and interchangeable targets, such as established national and EU political elites, global economic powers, migrants and refugees, underserving people, minorities, intellectuals, and others. In addition, growing social inequalities increasing risks and uncertainty, and the crisis of the political representation of different social groups create a specific context in which these tendencies have proliferated. New digital technologies offer innovative instruments and patterns of communication with the electoral body, and are often well used by nationalist and populist leadership. What will be the political consequence of these post-democratic illiberal trends? How do these challenges transform the relations between society and state? What kinds of alternative political discourse are emerging to contest these phenomena?

The ubiquity of these transformations posits challenges not only in terms of empirical knowledge but also in terms of a new theoretical reflection, re-assessment, and renewal. For instance, what can social theory say about populism in confrontation with the new forms of nationalism? How do populism and nationalism alter the European supra- and trans-national integration? How do they reshape the European and global borderscapes? In what ways do these new trends affect the most vulnerable social groups? How might we rethink political dis-engagement and re-engagement of individuals and groups in our societies? In what ways do new technological tools and their ordinary uses challenge the significance of expertise? Finally, what political and social alternatives to the illiberal trends can be identified today in the European context?

These questions will frame the focus of the session, but others may be proposed as well. This Section invites Panel proposals from various disciplinary angles and multiple methodologies to address key theoretical debates and empirical research in political sociology regarding the challenges of illiberalism and populism.

These questions will frame the focus of the session, but others may be proposed as well. This Section invites Panel proposals from various disciplinary angles and multiple methodologies to address key theoretical debates and empirical research in political sociology regarding the challenges of illiberalism and populism.

Call for Paper Proposals: Joint Session Workshop on Lefts and Nationalisms, 14-17 April 2020, Toulouse

We are happy to announce that the Workshop proposal on the Lefts and Nationalisms, supported by our SG, has been accepted for the next Joint Sessions, that will take place in Toulouse between 14th and 17th April 2020.

You can find it also on the website of the ECPR:

Proposals, in English, must include a title, a summary of 300 words maximum and 3 to 8 keywords, and must be submitted online here:

Deadline: 5th November 2019 (midnight UK time).

The two directors of the Workshop invite those interested to contact them beforehand to discuss their communication project:



Call for papers: Panel « Thinking Reflexively about the Political Sociology of the EU » at 2019 ECPR General Conference

The political sociology panel proposal « Thinking Reflexively about the Political Sociology of the EU » for the upcoming ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw is still looking for further paper contributions. If you are interested in submitting a paper, please get in touch with dswartz[at] before February 18, 2019.




Thinking Reflexively about the Political Sociology of the EU



In European politics today, new forms of transnational power are emerging that challenge the traditional parameters of action by nation states. New actors are creating new spaces of contest that may overlap but do not snuggle fit with the traditional spaces of political action.   This has called into question both institutional and constructionist perspectives that neglect underlying forms of power at work. New forms of solidarity and differentiation, both in terms of knowledge and social groups, are being created. The purpose of this panel is to encourage a more critically reflexive practice of the tools of political sociology in order to better account for these new political realities.  The panel draws inspiration from Niilo Kauppi’s 2018 book Toward a Reflexive Political Sociology of the European Union: Fields, Intellectuals and Politicians.  We are looking for papers that employ types of reflexive thinking to assess the recent political changes in the EU.

Call for papers: Conference on « Internet and new forms of political participation »

Lille (France), March 28-29th, 2019

With the support of the CERAPS (University of Lille), the CEDITEC (UPEC), the CEVIPOL (Free University of Brussels) and the CReSPo (Saint-Louis-Brussels University)

Deadlines :

  • Deadline for proposals submission : December 31st, 2018
  • Answer: January 15th, 2019
  • Sending of communications: March 15th, 2019
  • Conference: March 28th and 29th, 2019

To download the detailed call for papers, please click here.

Political Sociology section at the next ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019

We are very happy to inform you that our section ‘Political Sociology: Contemporary Challenges to State-Society Relations’ with eight panels has been accepted for the next ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019. The steering committee of the SG with the support of its advisory committee took the initiative for the section. Hence, now it is time to come forward with some very interesting suggestions for panels and papers. The call for panels (with 4-5 papers) and individual papers is open since December, 5th via the ECPR website. It will close on 18 February 2019. See the section description here: