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July 31, 2007

Over 600 Innovative Social Science Topics to Be Presented at the 2007 ASA Annual Meeting in New York City

The Future of Cuba, The Social Significance of Cyberspace, The Future of American Politics, Environmental Problems and Politics,
and Popular Culture and Social Identity Are among the Many Panels and Sessions

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Sociological Association’s (ASA) 102nd Annual Meeting, whose theme ("Is Another World Possible?”) will draw nearly 6,000 attendees to the Hilton New York and Sheraton New York on August 11-14, 2007. In addition to an opening address by Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, and a session with Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) on the future of American politics, the 2007 American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting will feature more than 600 sociological sessions and panels.

The New York City meeting will be held at the Hilton New York (1335 Avenue of the Americas) and at the Sheraton New York (811 Seventh Avenue). Members of the press can register free. Email Sujata Sinha ( for a media registration form or register at the ASA Annual Meeting Press Office in the Hilton August 11-14. For more information, or to search the online program, visit

Listed below are just a few of the thought-provoking discussions to be held at the Annual Meeting.

Democratic Transition: The Example of Chile

Friday, August 10, 7 - 9 PM, Hilton New York

With the world’s eyes on Iraq and Afghanistan, President Ricardo Lagos’ opening panel, “Democratic Transition: The Example of Chile,” will explore how the peaceful establishment of at least one democratic government was attained in the 1980s and 1990s. Ricardo Lagos played a central role in the tumultuous events that defined Chilean history for the past three decades, from the rise and overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende, through the bitter years of military dictatorship, followed by the successful establishment of a social-democratic government. What distinguished the Lagos period, and recommends it for scrutiny and perhaps for emulation, is the relatively peaceful transition from the brutal Pinochet regime to the current Chilean democracy.

The Future of American Politics

Monday, August 13, 8 - 9:30 PM, Hilton New York

With the 2008 U.S. presidential election looming, this plenary is a dialogue on the next steps in American politics, featuring Rep. John Conyers, Jr., a veteran member of Congress, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as Barbara Ehrenreich, pundit and humorist, and author of the best-seller Nickle and Dimed, and the much-praised Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy.

The Future of Cuba

Monday, August 13, 4:30 - 6:10 PM, Hilton New York

Cuba, a land of hurricanes, beautiful beaches, strategic location and tumultuous history, is once more at a crossroads. After half a century, the Cuban Revolution has outlasted ten U.S. Administrations and survived an invasion, a missile crisis, countless assassination attempts, trade and travel embargoes and blockades with the avowed aim of regime change, the collapse of the USSR and the resultant “special period in a time of peace,” natural and economic disasters, and the exile of more than a tenth of its population. Cuba has defied but not succumbed to the world’s sole superpower, and yet it remains linked to the United States by “ties of singular intimacy.” And, while Cuba has managed to protect its sovereignty, it has changed socially, culturally, and economically, not least as an unintended consequence of the diasporas’ commitment to helping family in the homeland. At a time of rapid political and ideological change in Latin America, newfound economic growth, the aging of Cuba’s revolutionary leadership, a generational transition in both the island and the diaspora—and with the U.S. mired in Iraq, consumed with its “war on terror,” facing unprecedented global disapproval of its unilateral policies and projection of U.S. power worldwide—the prospect of a different future, both in the island and in U.S.-Cuba relations, is palpable.

A distinguished panel, including Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, Ruben Rumbaut, a member of ENCASA/US-Cuba, a group of Cuban-American scholars and artists and Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine, and Julia Sweig, Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will reflect on Cuba’s possible futures in light of its past and of the confluence of contemporary political, economic and social forces, both nationally and internationally.

Web 2.0 and Beyond: The Sociological Significance of Virtual Worlds Supplanting Cyberspace

Sunday, August 12, 5 – 8:30 PM
Location Details: On the web on SecondLife, in the SecondLife University Project at

For the third year in a row, the Communication and Information Technology Section (CITASA) of the American Sociological Association will hold a Mini-Conference as part of the ASA’s annual meeting. The venue for CITASA’s MC3.0 will be held in SecondLife ( SecondLife is a 3-D virtual world with nearly 8 million residents, whose lifelike avatars participate in a wide range of economic, social, educational, and recreational activities. The virtual location for MC3.0 will be the Virtual Centre for Digital Media, created by the Masters of Digital Media Program at Great Northern Way Campus (Vancouver, BC). The physical location of the conference will be wherever the participants find themselves—in New York and elsewhere—at the time.

The Mini-Conference will focus on three broad areas:
• Social Networking Sites (SecondLife, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc.)
• Videogames & Gaming (World of Warcraft, console games, etc.)
• Virtual Worlds (SecondLife, Active Worlds, etc.)

Key questions that will be addressed include: (1) What is the sociological significance of the Web2.0-mediated (and beyond) form of social interaction? (2) How can these forms of online interaction serve as bases for sociological research? (3) What specific research do we have and can we do on the pedagogical value of the virtual world experience?

Globalization and Environmental Governance: Is Another World Possible?

Saturday, August 11, 2:30-4:10 PM, Sheraton New York

Global environmental politics are an essential component of addressing the 2007 program theme, "Is Another World Possible? Sociological Perspectives on Contemporary Politics." Rapid acceleration of global flows of natural resources and manufactured goods have been accompanied by escalation of global warming, increasing scarcity of clean air and water, and growing trafficking in toxic wastes. In this session, several renowned social scientists offer empirically and theoretically based insights on the nature of these transnational environmental flows, their social and environmental impacts, and the development of political processes and institutions to address them.

Popular Culture and Social Identity

Saturday, August 11, 8:30 - 10:10 AM, Hilton New York

How do we become the people we are? For sociologists, social identities come from social institutions, practices, and processes. We have long studied how different social institutions produce particular personalities and identities, how the routines of work, family, school, and citizenship shape who we are and how we act.

This session explores how seemingly trivial and casual engagements with entertainment, leisure, and recreation give distinct inflections to people's social roles. Stef Aupers of Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Kristin Lawler of the City University of New York reveal how people learn to be citizens and shoppers through recreational involvement in playing video games and surfing the internet, respectively. Laura Grindstaff of the University of California-Davis explores the ways in which television talk shows imbue social class with distinct racial appearances and inflections. Neal King of Virginia Tech and Natasha Kumar Warikoo of the University of London look at aging and youth through representations of aging police officers in crime films and in the subcultural practices of second-generation Blacks in London and New York. All of these presentations reveal how important aspects of our individual and collective identities can emerge from unexpected sources and sites.

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.