7th Slovenian Social Science Conference

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1 We are pleased to invite you to the 7th Slovenian Social Science Conference on After the Berlin Wall: 25 years of transformations organized by the Slovenian National Committee of the UNESCO Management of Social Transformations Program (MOST) Junior Sociological Network of the International Sociological Association and the School of Advanced Social Studies (Fakulteta za uporabne družbene študije), that will take place in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, from 21 th - 23 th August Keynote speakers: Sari Hanafi (Vice-President of the International Sociological Association, American University of Beirut) Jason Marc Cross (Duke University) Elena Danilova (Russian Academy of Science) Rajko Muršič (University of Ljubljana) Scope of the conference:

2 Last year, a quarter of the century has passed from the great historical event of November 9 th in 1989, namely the fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided Western and Eastern Berlin for more than 28 years and represented not only an indicative case of oppression but also a symbolic boundary between the capitalist West and the communist East. Its fall represents the symbolic fall of the Communism and its false promises. However, the fall itself generated new promises and great hopes for freedom, democracy and prosperity, which do not seem to be fulfilled completely within a broad varieties of transformations that followed from the Adriatic to the Yellow Sea and ranging from Western-style democratization to new forms of authoritarianism and even to communist regimes staying in power while fully embracing the market economy. Democratization, marketization, the emergence of the new nation states on the map was accompanied with substantial changes in social order, which still seem to be most relevant in the present days. The scope of the conference also addresses various dimensions of communist legacy explored on the different levels of social reality ranging from the structural changes on the macro level of social systems and intimate perceptions of individuals on the micro level. The focus is on systemic transformations resulting in political, economic and social spheres and also on narratives, life-stories and everyday experiences of individuals responding to those transformations. The period of transition in newly established political systems was signified with various economic and political strategies, which caused different dynamics of modernization and democratization. Postcommunist countries have been facing similar challenges for more than two decades, but due to specific historical-political contexts, transition strategies have been substantially different. Contemporary situation of these countries can be seen as a combination of specifics in communist legacy, transition strategies and nowadays political and economic tendencies. The micro dimension of those phenomena results in a variety of historical and cultural memories, attitudes, identifications and future projections. In order to consider the influence of the communist legacies, transition processes and nowadays situation in post-communist countries in a broad spectrum of social reality, the conference will include panels dealing with cultural, economic and political issues. The fall of the Berlin Wall will be (re)considered as a demarcation of the new social and political order, which signified the postcommunist countries in the global context, The conference welcomes all contributions addressing the various aspects of these transition processes and its implications on today s society on different levels referring to the macro and micro dimensions of the listed phenomena. Comparisons with other types of transformations, such as those taking place in Latin America and Africa are also encouraged, as well as placing the East ant the West in comparative perspectives. Culture The fall of the Berlin Wall is a symbolic initiation of the transformations in the structural order, which caused certain changes in the cultural sphere. The emergence of the new political formations led to a break with the cultural concepts of the former system. Particular social and political memories, myths and symbols entered the public sphere and discourses and started to serve as a construction material for the processes of nation building. New cultural codes

3 permeated various aspects of social reality referring to value-systems on a macro level and also to personal negotiations of those changes resulted in the everyday social order. On the one hand, cultural sphere can be observed as the platform for operation of political and economic subsystems. In that regard, one can notice not just the differences in the level of development between post-communist and the Western countries, but also the differences amongst the former. On the other hand, one can observe a variety of cultural transformations on the micro level. Newly introduced cultural discourses drew, for instance, on the invented traditions and on the ideas of once again united Europeans. Individuals absorbed cultural information or reflectively deliberated upon them in a variety of ways. The process of internalization of new cultural codes was not always straightforward and often contested, which emphasizes the role of the communist legacy. The panel will gather presenters whose papers will address various issues referring to the legacy of communism in the cultural sphere. Culture can be explored in terms of macro dimensions resulting in the changes of structural value-systems, which has led to certain paths of social development. It can also be explored as a mnemonic tool substantiating the construction of new discourses, narratives, myths and collective belongings expressed in the everyday lives of individuals.. Economy In general, communism rejected the of capitalist market economy. However, there were significant varieties in this regard and economic performances differed according to the initial communist legacy (Stalinism, Titoism, etc.), geopolitical position and time-period. Each of the (post)communist countries operated also on the basis of its own specifics. Those dimensions have appeared to play a particular role also in the processes of transition and nowadays economic strategies. Economic aspects of (post) communist legacy can be observed on the macro level of country s internationalization, competitiveness and general financial state. Unique dynamics of economic performances result also in differential abilities to overcome the financial turmoil after Economic dimensions can also be observed through concrete situations of individuals or social groups, who have differently coped with the challenges of market economy. Those differences have resulted in very different living standards of individuals, growing inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The panel welcomes contributions dealing with analysis of the general (and/or more specific) economic topics related to the communist legacies, post-communist economic policies and practices, addressing their consequences ranging from the macro levels to the lives to individuals. Politics The communist regimes were signified by the specific establishment of political elites, which guided the overall policy developments in all areas, including the cultural and economic one. The break of the communism led to specific transition processes, which greatly influenced also the introduction of the market economy and democratization processes. Although post-communist countries have shared similar goals, one can observe different dynamics in the formation and the

4 roles of the (new) political elites. The presence of the old political cultures and structures has certain impact on political pluralism and consequently manifests itself in the differences in the ability to manage and solve problems in other social-subsystems. Those differences can, for instance, be detected in unequal abilities to tackle with the global crises and their local manifestations after Political dimensions of the (post)communist legacy can also be explored on a basis of political strategies of various political actors, through public discourses, the dynamics of the civil society, mythical horizons of political community and rituals. The Panel welcomes all contributions addressing the political situation in the times of communism but particularly its impact on the current political situations as manifested at the macro and micro levels.. Students panel This panel will gather papers on topics described above, presented by B.A. and M.A. students. In the case of high-quality and elaboration of a paper, the latter will be included in other panels. Participation, papers and registration The broad range of topics and their interdisciplinary nature implies that we welcome social scientists and experts dealing with the conference topic in the field of sociology, psychology, cultural and political sciences, economics, anthropology, psychosocial counseling, law, etc. Whenever possible, all the papers should address theoretical, empirical and practical (policy) issues of the communist legacy. Conference will be held in English. We are looking forward for your early expression of interest, which can be done by sending an e- mail with the title of your paper and an abstract, of no more than 150 words, before 22 th May The authors will be notified about the acceptance of their papers before 1 st June The participants register for the conference by paying the conference fee. The final deadline for the payment is 31 st July A selection of full papers presented at the conference and delivered until 31 st September 2015 will be published in a scientific journal or the edited volume, if passed the review. Paper abstracts, requests for participation and additional questions should be sent to: Please do not hesitate to contact us. Yours sincerely, Matej Makarovič, PhD

5 President of the Slovenian MOST-UNESCO National Committee; Dean of FUDŠ/SASS

6 Financial issues As organization of the event implies several expenses, the registration fee should be paid prior to the conference, on SASS bank account specified below. The conference fee will cover the conference materials, coffee breaks and welcome dinner. The organizers will provide information about the accommodation options if needed. Conference registration fees: Presenters/ot hers Authors and co-authors presenting papers Other participants (i.e. not presenting a paper) Category Regular participant individual payment Regular participant or student paid by institution Students (B.A., M.A., PhD) individual payment Regular participant (not a presenter) individual payment Regular participant as a student (B.A., M.A., PhD) individual payment Paid Paid until 15 th after June 15 th June free free PLEASE NOTE: If presenters cannot attend the conference out of legitimate reasons, they should inform about their absence, no later than 3 rd August SASS will return 25% of the paid amount. If SASS will not be informed about your absence or you will notify us about the latter after the specified date, presenters are not entitled to a refund. Fees of other participants (i.e. who attend the conference, but do not present a paper) do not cover the expenses of a dinner, thus these participants will have to pay for dinner individually. Bank address and account: Nova ljubljanska banka Trg republike Ljubljana Slovenia School of Advanced Social Studies Gregorčičeva Nova Gorica Slovenia IBAN: SI SWIFT: LJBASI2X

7 Reference:

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