Call for Abstracts by the ESRS
The XXVI ESRS Congress: Environmental Justice and social dynamics
By Götz Kaufmann, 2015-01-27
On August 18-21, 2015 the European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) holds its 16th conference in Aberdeen / Scotland. Numerous working groups have been established to work on "Places of Possibility? Rural Societies in a Neoliberal World". This year, the conference welcomes proposals which address questions of how individuals, communities and land-based businesses across Europe negotiate change in the context of neoliberalism and how rural areas become places of possibility and potentiality for everyone.
Five universities (University of Edinburgh, UK; University of Trieste, Italy; Scene Consulting, UK, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK; The James Hutton Institute, UK) have together established the 12th working group called "Environmental Justice and social dynamics: A new balance on proximity"
Addressing distributional environmental injustices and their procedural elements, this session seeks - as the initiators write - "to explore what a focus on social dynamics can offer our understanding of the importance of proximity and scale in environmental justice. We are thus interested in the social structures that shape institutional arrangements and ownership models, suggesting that they may create spaces for deliberative governance which can reduce injustice and lead to more equitable outcomes. We conceive of social dynamics as the interactions between individuals, groups and institutions involved in access to water, re-newables and other ecosystem services; including farmers, land owners, charities, researchers and statutory bodies. We are interested in how social dynamics shape daily resource management decisions and wider policy processes; including thinking through what opportunities are available to individuals in different roles to build social relations, and the ways in which institutional affiliations, historical relations, reputations, personal career trajectories and non-professional identities affect these relationships.
Through this, we seek to understand the impact of social dynamics on knowledge building and exchange, development of shared values, and situations of environmental conflict i.e. what characterizes social interactions that are effective in addressing environmental injustices. We seek to understand how these social dynamics operate along local to distal axes, across urban to rural relations, and within collective and private contexts. Promoting this balance on proximity, we hope, will allow for the identification of new and productive ways forward in addressing environmental justice." (Read the full text here.)

The initiators call for abstracts particularly (though not exclusively) through case-studies involving renewable energy, water resources, and ecosystem services.


Abstract submission 30 January, 2015

Short papers and access scholarship applications 1 May, 2015
Image: © European Society for Rural Sociology