Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN29_01: Refigurations, Reflexivity and Rebellion
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Frank Welz, University of Innsbruck
Location: GM.325
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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(Not) Beyond The European Perspective Of Social Theory: Analysing Relationship Within New Service

Kornelia Hahn

University of Salzburg, Austria

Most of the classical theory of sociology is conceived in reference to European culture. There is a need to contextualize even the most fruitful concepts and to prepare them for contemporary empirical phenomena. The social context of e. g. Karl Marx, Max Weber and Georg Simmel is the so-called bourgeois society which is based upon dichotomous private and public spheres. While theory most prominently deals with the rather “public” spheres of work, production and consumption, the “private” bourgeois household is not exactly included into the analyses. This holds particularly true in regard to domestic service, hierarchy, or status communication. In the course of the twentieth century, we witnessed refigurations of European life style. Status representation changed, domestic service got (seemingly) replaced by machines and the industrial labour market became more attractive. As a consequence, domestic service declined.

Probably due both to the decline and the gap in theory, service in Europe had been often neglected in sociological analysis. However, the transformation of European private life style, influenced by global phenomena like digitalization or migration, gives rise to new service. It produces a specific social relationship different from that of the former master/lady and servant relationship. I want to show how the characteristics of this new relationship can be observed by innovatively referring to classical theory in order to highlight dimensions of inequality, division of labour and status communication beyond traditional class and gender concepts.

The Refiguration of Society

Hubert Knoblauch

TU Berlin, Germany

The paper is addressing a general diagnosis of contemporary societies. In the recent decades, sociology has been either highlighting aspects of modernization such as differentiation, individualization on the one hand postmodern tendencies in societies on the other, such as globalization, glocalization, transnationalization and the transgression and hybridization of structures and identities often grasped in terms of poststructuralism. These tendencies have been expressed in the rather optimistic visions of cosmopolitanism, world culture or world society, or in rather dystopic concepts of surveillance society, the anthropocene or heterotopia. While sociology had little doubt in the continuing dynamics of these tendencies, in the last years and decade we have witnessed the rise of tendencies, such as the ideological rise of nationalism, the reinforcement of nations and quasi imperia, the return of modern wars. Most of these phenomena are not mere reactions to postmodernization; rather, they inhibit those features which have been part of the classical modernity, such as the nation state and consequently the national society, the role of central organisation, hierarchies etc.

By the notion of re-figuration I want to underline that these recent developments are the results of the conflictual nature between the sociologic of modernization vs. postmodernization. This sociological becomes particularly visible if one looks at the spatial order but other evidences will be hinted at too. Refiguration, we will argue is a broad category which designates the re-ordering of societies resulting from these conflicts.

The paper will present this theoretical argument – which seems quite adequate to a session in social theory. It will provide empirical support for this argument and will try to present a model of refiguration which can be discussed in the session.

Market Reflexivity, Media Reflexivity and Reflexivity in Japan

Machiko Nakanishi

Chukyo University, Japan

The purpose of my presentation is to discuss the transformation of reflexivity and to suggest Market Reflexivity, Media reflexivity, comparing reflexivity in Japan with it in the West.

Reflexivity is the concept of reflecting on oneself in the presence of others, and changing oneself in relation to others. By repeating this process, the agent changes. Scott Lash criticizes the reflexive modernization theory of Urlich Beck and Anthony Giddens, as they presuppose that reflexivity is essentially cognitive and institutional. Lash draws attention to the aesthetic dimension of reflexivity over the cognitive. He insists capitalism opens up possibilities for, not only cognitive but also aesthetic reflexivity. He also discusses hermeneutic reflexivity. In a global information society, reflexivity changes the reflexive tying together of knowledge and action, so that there is no distance between them, which Lash terms phenomenological reflexivity.

I suggest that new reflexivities can be born and transform in and through markets, which I call market reflexivity. I also suggest media reflexivity, which can be born and transform in and through medias.

Lash and John Urry discuss Japanese systems involve collective reflexivity. Collective reflexivity is so effective, that ‘Kuuki’ is dominant factor in Japan. Sometimes Japanese society and policies are changed without explicit discussion. Market reflexivity and media reflexivity with collective reflexivity work very well in Japanese society. In the global information society, they will continue to change us ever more radically and quickly.

I conclude, compared with Western society, it is important for the Japanese, to be conscious of market reflexivity and media reflexivity with collective reflexivity, to predict its future affects of our society.

The Everyday Spatiality of Rebellion

Csaba Szaló

Masaryk University, Czech Republic

The work of Michel Foucault represents a powerful critique of the established accounts of human freedom. His genealogy of the modern individual revealed how places ruled by the optics of power separate and rank individuals. His theoretical model of individualising disciplination was challenged by his critics because of his alleged technocratic functionalism and masked biologism. For instance Michel Pécheux claimed that this theoretical model conceals a distinction between the procedures of animal domestication and subjection of human individuals. I would like to address this critique by drawing upon the concept of counter-memory, to single out what, in regions of everyday spatiality can give a rise to rebellion.

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