Like many of my fellow socbloggers, I will be in Boston for the weekend for the American Sociological Association meeting, all equipped with my ASA Bingo card (courtesy of uber socblogger, Kieran Healy), which I should be able to fill with zero trouble at all if past experience is any indication!
Hopefully, I’ll have some interesting stuff to report back here.
This year’s theme is Worlds of Work (yay!):
"The 2008 ASA program will focus on the interconnections between work—broadly conceived—and society. Work is one of the most basic of social activities and institutions and has far-reaching correlates and consequences. The title—Worlds of Work—points to two main sub-themes. First, it underscores the increasing diversity by which work is organized and experienced in societies. Work activities can: take place formally in organizations or informally between individuals; be labeled as illegal or legal; be unpaid, well-paid, or poorly paid; and involve considerable security for some or be unstable for others. People may also regard their work activities as more or less important to them at various stages of their lives. Second, the program title emphasizes the cross-national and historical diversity in work activities, work-related institutions, and the experience of work. Outsourcing of production, global human rights, immigration, and cultural differences all provide fertile ground for a comparative understanding of the many varieties of work.
The 2008 program will emphasize social change and the dynamic connections between changing patterns of work and social life. We will highlight how social, economic, and political forces are transforming the nature of work in society as well as the consequences—both intended and unintended—for social institutions and individuals. For example, we hope to learn how changing worlds of work affect and are affected by: social stratification and racial, ethnic, age, and gender inequality; immigration; migration; geographic mobility; crime; and the cultural meanings of work. We will assess the ramifications of these changes in work for diverse institutions such as families, schools, state policy, and communities. We will also consider how changes in work influence outcomes for individuals (e.g., mental health, identity, problems of caring, experience in low-wage and often “dead end” jobs, and coping with job insecurity and unemployment).
This wide-ranging focus on work and society is grounded in both classical and contemporary sociological concerns and draws upon many of our discipline’s theories and research traditions. Accordingly, the 2008 program theme embraces diverse sociological approaches, including political economy perspectives, organizational and occupational sociology, social psychology, and cultural and ethnographic studies. It also draws upon relevant insights from disciplines such as economics, psychology, history, and geography. The 2008 program especially seeks to demonstrate the relevance of social science research for public policy and for efforts to address social inequities and inequalities through activism around work-related issues—such as transnational labor movements, union-based movements, and community organizing. The program thereby attempts to contribute to the debates that are likely to surface in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and to promote the continuing emphasis on public sociology.
Arne L. Kalleberg, President, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill"
Hope to see some of you there!