Each year, ASA’s president chooses a theme on which to focus some of the programming for the ASA Annual Meeting—a tradition that ensures our meetings reflect the rich diversity of perspectives and subject matter in our discipline. 2017 ASA President Michèle Lamont chose the theme “Culture, Inequalities, and Social Includion across the Globe." Her conception of her theme is below.
Culture, Inequalities, and Social Inclusion across the Globe
Rising inequality has brought the unequal distribution of material resources to the center of political debates in the United States and Europe. Social scientists routinely mobilize their deep knowledge of the structures of economic inequality to inform decision-making and conversations in the public sphere. Yet our understanding of the cultural dimensions of inequality lags far behind, despite the omnipresence and the urgency of cultural polarizations as manifested in anti-immigration rhetoric, international refugee crises, domestic racial confrontation, and increased class segregation. The 112thAnnual Meeting of the American Sociological Association will make its central goal the improvement of our understanding of the nexus of culture, inequalities, and group boundaries in order to promote greater social inclusion and resilience, collective well-being, and solidarity in the United States and globally.
The program committee invites sociologists to consider: 1) the role of cultural processes, such as stigmatization and racialization, in the production and legitimation of inequalities and social exclusion; 2) meaning-making in social processes typically associated with inequality, such as domination, discrimination, exploitation, and opportunity hoarding; 3) Cultures of inequality (e.g., occupational or class cultures) and the cultural differentiation of sexual, ethnoracial, gender, and religious groups; and 4) how political processes, institutions, and public discourses (at the local, national, and global levels) shape material and cultural inequalities.
We also hope for analyses of cultural repertoires, symbolic boundaries, institutions, frames, and schemas as analytical tools for the study of inequality, poverty, and insecurity. We equally welcome papers on social inclusion, dynamics of cultural and social change, and the bridging and transformation of group boundaries across the globe. New comparative, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods for the systematic empirical study of cultural processes will also be on the menu. Because sociologists are uniquely equipped to study inequalities in all their dimensions, it is high time to focus on the politics of social recognition and their interaction with and impact on the distribution of social and material resources, including how they are mediated by and/or manifest themselves in education, labor, immigration, consumption, law, social movements, health, science, the family, the economy, and beyond.
Michèle Lamont, ASA President-elect and Chair of the 2017 Program Committee, Harvard University