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Rethinking Social Change

Social Theory Conference (RN29), European Sociological Association
August 29 - 30, 2016, Barcelona, Spain

The ESA Social Theory Conference is the midterm meeting of the 'Research Network 29 Social Theory' of the European Sociological Association.

Programme Theme Call for Papers  Barcelona Accommodation & venue Travel & Leisure  

The local organizer of the conference is:
Marta Soler Gallart (ESA Social Theory RN29 Coordinator) & Esther Oliver, Universitat de Barcelona


Rethinking Social Change


The emergence of new political movements and citizens’ actions is transforming the contexts in which social theory was created and has been developed since. Alongside, we observe a questioning today of traditional bureaucracies and their production of inequalities, but also questioning of the social theories that had traditionally interpreted societies and proposed social changes. Habermas clarifies that within democratic revolutions, citizens decided to govern themselves and created social sciences in order to know themselves. In addition, different authors have argued that social theory and the interest to read it and study it has evolved (to more and less intensity) in relation to efforts to changing society.  

Looking back, some sociological theories wanted to consolidate the capitalist order (i.e. Comte, Parsons); others wanted to make a revolution to achieve a different order (i.e. Marx, Mills, Marcuse). However, whatever orientation they took, the theories which achieved greater social influence and higher motivation from young students were the ones that linked social theory development to the social transformations of their times. Weber warned about a bureaucratisation process, which has not only affected capitalist enterprise and the modern state, but also the social sciences. Great parts of social sciences have actually lost their original meaning when detaching themselves from current social transformations.  

In 2011 Catalunya Square, just some metres away from the Catalan Academy of Sciences where we will have our Social Theory venue, witnessed the “Spanish revolution” (seed of the occupy movement). Since then, everything is changing in the political arena, in the relations between citizens, administration and private sector, in the personal relations among individuals, and in the relations between social sciences and society. New social conceptualizations are slower than the actual social processes, and they are often more useful to explain the past than to comprehend future tendencies. However, the Research Network 29 on Social Theory of the European Sociological Association is eager to stand ahead and calls for this Mid-term Conference in Barcelona to inquiry and debate about new elaborations from social theory that can help to interpret the present and to collaborate, from our field, in the building of a better future for all citizens worldwide. We welcome papers reflecting on these topics as well as other current debates informed by social theory.


Call for Papers


Call for papers


Abstract submission: 31st May, 2016
Notification of authors: 15th June, 2016
Conference early bird registration: 30th, June, 2016
Final registration 15th, August 2016 


Please submit your proposal (max. 250 words) by email to:

Conference fees:

Early bird registration:
60 EUR (for ESA members 40 EUR, students 25 EUR)
Late registration:
80 EUR (for ESA members 60 EUR, students 30 EUR) 




Conference venue in Google maps

Accommodation & conference venue



Institut d’Estudis Catalans (Catalan Academy of Sciences)
Carrer del Carme 47
08001 Barcelona

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