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Controversies in Contexts

Social Theory Conference (RN29), European Sociological Association
September 9 - 11, 2010, Prague, Czech Republic

The ESA Social Theory Conference at Villa Lanna, Prague, is the midterm meeting of the RN29 Social Theory of the European Sociological Association. 52 scholars from 22 states will attend the conference.

The Introductory Keynote will be delivered by John Holmwood (Nottingham). For the full program please download thepdf Conference programme.

Theme Reports Call for Papers  Prague Accommodation & venue Travel & Leisure  


Controversies in Contexts


Controversies in contexts accentuates two types of background assumptions of social thought: the development of theory is contingent on controversial argumentation; and the construction of any knowledge inevitably evolves in contexts.

The conference theme is intended to provoke exchange related to a set of core social theoretical concerns: (a) Is knowledge determined by context? While theoretical paradigms shape our understanding of society, does society also shape controversies regarding the relevance of specific theories? (b) Considering the institutional dimension of sociology, the theme invites transnational comparisons, without ignoring sociology’s heterogeneous traditions. Which are the ongoing or pathbreaking debates in national scientific communities, asynchronized as they are?

Participants are encouraged to go beyond the well-established and homogenizing debates – e.g. on objectivity in the social sciences, the structure/agency debate in Britain, individualism/class in France, culture/structure in the U.S., or the qualitative vs. quantitative debate in Czech sociology, and the positivism dispute as well as the conflict between systems and action approaches in Germany.
Indeed, discussing controversies on knowledge in their concrete intellectual or institutional or social contexts will enable participants to rethink and compare their own traditions of thought.
Thematic sessions will be arranged on the basis of papers submitted and themes proposed, but participants are suggest proposals at an early stage, thus enabling the organizers to announce a number of discursive forums in advance
In the past, popular themes at the RN’s social theory conferences have included debates in contemporary, classical and critical theory and in the philosophy of social science.


Please find reports on the meeting in the following journals


Masaryk Czech Sociological Association 2011, No.1 Czech  
Teorie vědy / Theory of Science 2010, Vol. 32(4), 553-555 Czech Jan Maršálek (Prague)

Call for Papers


See pdf Conference programme.

Abstract submission deadline: 23rd May 2010

Please submit your proposal (max. 250 words) by email to: ESA Social Theory Research Network (RN29)
℅ Frank Welz (coordinator), Innsbruck University,




- capital of the Czech Republic

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Accommodation & conference venue


The following hotels are situated close to the conference venue Villa Lanna:

There are rooms set aside for reservations in this villa for ESA Social theory conference participants. Rooms are available from xx EUR to xx EUR. The deadline for making a reservation xx month 2010.

Conference venue:
Villa Lanna, V Sadech 1, 160 00 Prague 6 - Bubenec, Czech Republic
phone +420 224321278, fax: 224 320 316     How to reach the Academy residence Villa Lanna (in all details)

Since 1957, Villa Lanna belongs to the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Reconstructed to serve as a unique accommodation facility for guests of the Academy and to host small-size meetings.

The local organizer of the conference is Jan Balon, Charles University Prague

Travel & Leisure Activities


We plan to organize the conference dinner on Friday evening, September 10th, 2010, at



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