American Sociological Association

Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium


Sociology in Practice Mission Statement
As applied and active sociologists in non-academic work environments, we are fundamentally sociologists at work. In our day-to-day working lives, we aim to: 

  • Promote the discipline and the sociological imagination as a paradigm for understanding; 
  • Advocate for, and encourage others to explore, sociologically-informed career pathways outside of academia that provide fulfillment and dignity, and
  • Contribute to ethical and justice-based approaches to social and institutional transformation. 

About the Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium
Sociologists employed in government, non-profit organizations, commercial industry, research centers, and other practice settings are invited to submit abstracts that address the context-specific opportunities and challenges of their work to the third annual Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium in San Francisco. The symposium will consist of four back-to-back sessions including “lightning,” panel, roundtable presentations, and interactive workshops. In addition, we invite submissions to a “special topic” panel on “Activism at Work” (details below). 

Practitioners who wish to present traditional research papers are encouraged to consider submitting their papers to the Section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology or another topic-specific section. 

Submission Guidelines
Symposium submissions can address a broad range of topics including: advice and examples of how you have responded to challenges (e.g. methodological, substantive, communicative, expectation setting, working with teams, satisfying stakeholders, etc.) in your organization. We also invite submissions on the use of theory and sociological methods in the workplace, work/life balance, decision-making, and company culture. Submissions providing a case study of a specific application or implementation of sociological science in a practice setting are also welcome. 

Special Topic Panel: “Activism at Work”
How do we “live” as sociologists at work? What challenges, compromises, and moments of delight shape and define our working lives? What does a sociological praxis look like in practice settings, and what is the role, future, and responsibility of sociologists working in these “traditional” workplace settings? Does work in practice settings open up more freedoms or create restrictions for activism? 

When making your submission, the following will be required:

  1. Preferred format: 10-minute lightning presentation (quick, dynamic presentations meant to engage the audience on a specific topic or challenge); 15-minute informal roundtable discussion; 20-minute panel on special topic, “Activism at Work;” or 45-minute workshop (training experiences organized around specific learning goals and audience engagement).
  2. Title.
  3. Structured abstract (300 words), including a brief statement of the specific practice-setting problem/challenge to be addressed, the approach used to address the problem, and how the presentation will be useful to audience members.
  4. Names, affiliations, and contact information for each presenter.
  5. Additional Information. Please indicate if you require AV equipment other than the standard LCD projector. If you wish to use additional AV equipment (beyond a standard LCD projector), that request should be noted when you submit your proposal. We want symposium to be a high-quality learning experience, however charges for AV can be expensive so please limit your request to essential equipment. A request is not a guarantee that the equipment will be made available.

The Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium Committee includes:
Terceira Berdahl, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality    
Juanita Chinn (Chair), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Augie Diana, National Institute of Nursing Research
Sidra Montgomery, Insight Policy Research, Inc.    
Jillian Powers, Idea Couture/Cognizant
Matt Rafalow, Google    
Rita Stephan, U.S. Department of State
Scott Whiteford, People Plus

If you have any questions about submitting a Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium proposal, please contact: Nicole Amaya at

To submit:

  1. Log in with your ASA username and password
  2. Click on the link "2020 Annual Meeting Submissions" listed under Annual Meeting
  3. Click on "Submit or Edit a Proposal" listed under the Submitter Menu
  4. Select "Submit to the Sociology in Practice Settings Symposium"