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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AAA CFP: "The Social," This Time: Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies of Social Analysis

CFP: "The Social," This Time: Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies of Social

Organizers: Stephanie Lloyd (McGill University) and Kevin Karpiak (Eastern
Michigan University)

"Society does not exist, only individuals and families", to paraphrase
Margaret Thatcher. While this may be one of the most oft-paraphrased
statements about society, this panel will take truth claims such as
Thatcher's as provocations which point to debates that have raged for more
than a century among social scientists, politicians and an array of other
invested experts about the nature and description of collective life. In
social theory and philosophy these have been given expression in
everything from the bitter exchanges between Émile Durkheim and Gabriel
Tarde at the turn of the 20th century, to the rediscovery and adaptation
of the latter by such authors as Gilles Deleuze and Bruno Latour at the
turn of the 21st. In political-economic theory and policy they can be
seen in the debates which surrounded the rise of neoliberal economic
policies in the 1980's through the neo-Durkheimian driven European social
policies of the 1990s on social exclusion, to contemporary dis-ease with
global capital and political representation.

Whether in the guise of the social's "end" (Baudrillard 1978), "death"
(Rose 1996), "retreat" (Kapferer 2005) or "reassembly" (Latour 2005) in a
"post" form subsequent to, but not detached from, previous organizational
forms, many theorists have been troubled by, and sought to give conceptual
shape to, the nature of collective existence in order to offer cogent
critical analyses of these problems. As well they should, for such
reconceptualizations of the social – about its form and its very existence
– have impacts not only on the institutional existence of individuals in
terms of the services they will be offered, the support they will have
economically and politically, but also on their very ontological status as
biopolitical beings.

In this panel we are looking for ethnographically-informed contributions
that will shed light on the ways in which various concerned actors,
embedded in contexts and living with quotidian challenges to their notions
of their role in society, make use of, challenge and reconceptualize
versions of the social in order to shape and make sense of their lives.
In particular, we are interested in papers which augment the more
well-trod debates over "the social" indexed above by focusing on how such
concerns permeate lived realities in what Macintyre (1981) has called
"those intricate bodies of theory and practice which constitute human

Please email abstracts to<>
and<> by 1April

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