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TASA Conference 2020

Beyond the familiar discourse of crisis, the theme of Broken World seeks to raise new questions about the problems of repair, maintenance and continuity of ecologies, sociality, animals, media, institutions, health, economies, polities, movements and sexualities. Attending to conditions of fragility, breakdown, disaster, disorder, and collapse, we invite contributions that bear on approaches to mending, curing, treating, fixing, survival, eeking-out, hanging-on, crafting, healing, stitching and hacking. We encourage consideration of how sociology can voice or sustain experimental and practical understandings of planetary, social, technical, constitutional and economic limits, by attending to breakdown, maintenance and repair.

The idea of 'broken world thinking' (Jackson, 2014) provides one lead in this direction. It takes decay, erosion and breakdown as a point of departure, rather than as an endpoint for thinking about infrastructures and devices. Increasing doubts in political sociology about even elective affinities between capitalism and democracy move from similar premisses. A concern with repair and maintenance also lie at the core of ethnomethodological understandings of everyday social action and orderings and in the cultural sociology of civil spheres. Attention to breakdown and loss has a rich history in phenomenological, psychoanalytic and critical accounts of experience. In recent forms of critical race theory, in contrast, the very notion of repair is announced as a refusal to recognise the unpayable debt at the heart of sociality. From such points of view, the challenge is to grasp the brokenness of contemporary reality, without the imperative to get back into credit through a form of fixing.

In any event, it is this broad theme of Broken World that is the provocation of the conference and we welcome diverse attempts to contribute to the conversation.

Conference papers and panels could plot trajectories of:

  • broken promises
  • extinctions
  • disintegrating public spheres
  • crowds, riots, protests, populisms and rebellions
  • indigeneity
  • debt and indebtedness
  • illnesses, therapies and rehabilitation
  • social, technological and mental ecologies
  • capitalism, growth, accelerationism
  • democratic breakdown and repair
  • failure and/as transformation
  • broken bodies, entities, ecologies, transmissions, knowledges, polities, institutions, realities and societies
  • please extend this list
Jackson, S. J. 2014. 'Rethinking Repair'. In: Gillespie, T., Boczkowski, P. J. & Foot., K. A. (eds.) Media Technologies: Essays on communication, materiality, and society. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 221-39.


 

 

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