ISA Forum Blog

Dear readers,

after a successful Third ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna we invite you to look back on the numerous contributions to the ISA Forum Blog, listed below. The central topic throughout the posts was of course the theme of the third ISA Forum; “The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World”. There were contributions from the Executive Committee and the RCs/WGs/TGs, as well as introductions to the members of the Local Organizing Committee and articles on the history and current state of sociology in Austria and its neighboring countries. Enjoy reading, and see you in Toronto!

– the Local Organizing Committee



Brigitte Aulenbacher, Rudolf Richter, Ida Seljeskog:  The Third ISA Forum of Sociology: Going Local, Going Global

Roswitha Breckner: Visual Life-Stories on Facebook. A Methodological Approach to Old and New Ways of Constructing Biographies

Sina Lipp, Josef Moussa: The murder of Giulio Regeni – The Importance of Safeguarding Academic Freedom for a Better World

Meet the LOC – Ulrike Zartler

Meet the LOC – Roland Verwiebe

Meet the LOC – Frank Welz

Meet the LOC – Martin Weichbold

Emma Dowling: Postcapitalism? Five Orientations from the Perspective of Social Reproduction

Alex Williams: On Realising Postcapitalism

Klaus Dörre: Postcapitalism?

M. Blofield, J. Martinez Franzoni: Busy unequal women, awakening governments, male detachment: Care in Latin America today

Pierpaolo Donati: We need a relational welfare state

Dieter Holtmann: The measurement of the performance of nations and welfare regimes as a corrective for learning societies

Hildegard Theobald: Comprehensive Eldercare: Responsibility, Generosity and Equality

Margaret Abraham: India’s Student Protests: Struggle for a Better World

Meet the LOC – Beate Littig

Ettore Recchi: Is International Mobility Unifying or Dividing the World?

Jochen Tholen: Young People and Politics in Europe –Two Parallel Worlds

Brigitte Aulenbacher: Global Care Gaps, Modernity and Capitalism

Jacklyn Cock: Sociology for Survival: a view from the Global South

Dimitris Stevis: Green Transition? Just Transition?

Meet the LOC – Max Haller

Michael Fine: Care and Caring. Can There Be a Theory and Research Agenda?

Erik Kojola: Labor-Environment Relations: An Enduring Conflict or Transformative Alliance?

Birgit Riegraf: Care, Gender, Justice: Alternative Care Arrangements in Formal and Informal Sectors

Meet the LOC – Jörg Flecker

Raewyn Connell: Masculinities Research and Gender Justice

RC06 Family Sociology: “The Futures We Want” From A Family Studies Perspective

Michael Burawoy: Global Dialogue

Meet the LOC – Alexander Bogner

Ana Mijić: The Benefit of Being a Victim

Maria Pohn-Lauggas: Intergenerational transmission of resistance against National Socialism and Visual Practices of Remembering

Rosemary Barbaret: The United Nations in Vienna – a Sociologist´s Treasure

Meet the LOC – Dieter Bögenhold

Tilo Grenz: From Raised Mediatization to Demediatization? Constructing Wanted Futures

Carina Altreiter, Franz Astleithner: About a Red City and a Pink Building: Communal Housing in Vienna

Sujata Patel: The Challenges of Being an ISA Editor

Rudolf Richter: Real Utopias

Roland Atzmüller, Julia Hofmann: „Austria, Island of the Blessed“? Social Inequality and Wealth Distribution in Austria

Theresa Fibich: SOZNET – Austrian Research Network on Labor and Employment Research

Beate Littig: Sociology beyond the University: The Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna

Dario Azzellini: Persecution and Exile of Austrian Sociological Authors During Fascism

Carina Altreiter, Theresa Fibich: Austria – A Leisure Society? On The Complexity of Working Time Statistics

Meet the LOC – Brigitte Aulenbacher

Michaela Pfadenhauer: A Sociologist as Alien Among Roboticists?

Fabienne Décieux, Katrin Anna Walch: Führerstadt and Heimatgau: Linz and Upper Austria During the Nazi Era

Irene Rieder, Eva-Maria Schmidt: “Parenthood” – The Making Of

Franz Astleithner: Marie Jahoda Summer School of Sociology

Laura Wiesböck: Separating Work From Life – Cross-Border Commuters in Central Europe

Michael Parzer: Music in a Changing Society – Kurt Blaukopf and the Viennese School of Music Sociology

Meet the LOC – Rudolf Richter

The Local Organizing Committee: Welcome


The Third ISA Forum of Sociology: Going Local, Going Global

Ed.: This post was previously published on Global Dialogue. 


The local organizing committee welcomes sociologists from all around the world to the Third ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna.  

We, the local organizing committee welcome you, the global community of the ISA, to the Third ISA Forum in Vienna. We would like to highlight some of the ways in which the local and global will be interwoven at the forum.

Going local – Insights in Austria’s everyday life and history of sociology

We are very honored and delighted to host the Third ISA Forum of Sociology at the University of Vienna, a university with strong traditions in philosophy and social sciences. The local organizing committee has already been preparing for more than two years in order to make the forum a success, work which would not be possible without the support of collaborating Austrian universities and sociological institutes of Innsbruck, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna, and our colleagues in Hungary.

We would like to welcome you to “go local” with us, to meet, to talk and to get inspired by the atmosphere of the international city of Vienna. In addition to the official program of the forum, we encourage our guests to better get to know each other and the hosting city and country through an array of touristic and sociological tours and get-togethers.

Enjoy visiting a traditional Viennese wine-tavern, for a walking tour of the city or for a night cruise on the Danube River, as part of our touristic tours. One of the highlights of our sociological tours will be two guided visits of the Marienthal museum in the village of Gramatneusiedl outside of Vienna. In their path-breaking research “Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal” or “Marienthal: the sociography of an unemployed community” Marie Jahoda, Paul Lazarsfeld and Hans Zeisel showed how unemployment destroys individual and social life. Their findings and their method-mix have inspired a lot of research and remain impressive until today.

The sociological legacy of Vienna and Austria can only be studied within its greater historical and societal context. On the one hand we have the “Red Vienna” of the early decades of the last century. But on the other hand, later, hundreds of Austrian sociologists, including the abovementioned, were forced to flee Austria during the Nazi regime. Several posts reflecting on the history of fascism and its effect on Austrian sociology and society can be found here on our ISA Forum blog.

Going global – the struggles for a better world

As sociologists hosting the forum in Vienna, Austria and Europe we also have to take up ISA’s theme “Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World” and the agenda to build up a global sociology by reflecting on the global and the local from our local perspective.

You will see that Vienna is a profoundly international city, it is located in the center of Europe and strong influences from neighboring countries can be found in the culture, cuisine and language. The city is host to several international institutions, such as the House of the European Union and the Viennese UNO-City, supporting the forum as a site for international discourse. Nevertheless, looking at Vienna, Austria and Europe the theme from the World Congress in Yokohama, “facing an unequal world”, still hasn’t lost it significance. When inviting sociologists from all around the world to come together in Vienna, we have to acknowledge the current challenges faced by Austria and Europe to assume their responsibility for equality, freedom, justice, democracy and human rights. The war in Syria, catastrophes and poverty in large parts of the world – and the colonial and postcolonial capitalist history behind such developments – are again forcing people to escape and migrate.

One path taken in the last years and months – as a way of struggling for a better world – indeed has been to intensify protest and initiatives against violence and inequalities. But another path – enforcing boundaries and inequalities – is characterized by politics of exclusion conceptualizing Austria and Europe as a closed society. The forum will come to Vienna during a historic moment when issues such as asylum, forced migration and politics of integration are challenging the European societies and right wing movements are again growing and connecting to create a Europe closed to “non-Europeans”, in a chilling parallel to an all-too-recent part of European history.

Austria’s sociology is facing all of these issues and Austrian sociologists are strongly connected globally. This is reflected in the composition of our plenaries, in which global topics and their local manifestations will be discussed by speakers from many countries. The themes of the international plenaries are “Facing the Multiple Crises in Europe and Beyond”; “Overcoming Boundaries and Polarizations between Centers and Peripheries” and “Sociological Thought and the Struggle For a Better World”.

Last but not least the ISA and the local organizing committee have invited local as well as international publishers to present their books in the exhibition hall and to organize a publishers’ lounge. There books of special sociological and public interest will be presented by and discussed with the authors. In the exhibition hall it will also be possible to get informations about the Austrian institutes of sociology, research foundations and programs for those who want to apply for studies or fellowships.

Going global and going local – come together at the ISA Forum

What we can learn from ISA’s discussion over the last decade is that we have to be sensitive for the interrelations of the global and the local. And, indeed, many contemporary local struggles are caused by global tendencies like the marketization of labor and nature, the transnationalization of work and politics, and far-reaching changes in statehood within dictatorships and democracies. When we will meet in Vienna in July all these issues will be on the agenda and must be discussed in their global and local manifestations, following the example set by sociologists all around the world. The forum will be the next window of opportunity to come together and to continue this global dialogue. Therefore: We welcome you very much from all around the world to Vienna, Austria, Europe and to the Third ISA Forum of Sociology!

AulenbacherprofilBrigitte Aulenbacher, Johannes Kepler University Linz/Austria, member of ISA Research Committee on Economy and Society (02), Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy (RC 19), Sociology of Work (RC 30), and Women in Society (RC 32) and Vice-Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of the Third ISA Forum of Sociology, Vienna 2016.



Rudolf Richter, University of Vienna, Austria, member and former president of ISA Research Committee on Family Research (RC06); Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of the Third ISA Forum of Sociology,Vienna 2016


Seljeskog cv foto

Ida Seljeskog, University of Vienna, LOC Project Coordinator for the Third ISA Forum of Sociology, Vienna 2016

Visual Life-Stories on Facebook. A Methodological Approach to Old and New Ways of Constructing Biographies

breck2.pngWith the rapidly developing online-communication new practices of creating images breck2of the self, of biographies and identities occur. However, we also can observe continuation of socially established practices to produce ‘snapshot versions’ of our lives (Chalfen 1987).

In my project I explore the specific relation of textual and pictorial narratives in Facebook-communication as to understand how biographies are created visually, especially by organising photographs in albums. By analysing the visual performance of contrasting examples of Facebook-communication, I introduce a specific combination of visual and narration-based methodologies as in-depth case reconstruction. By the method of Segment Analyses (Breckner 2010, 2012), selected images will be interpreted as to reveal implicit configurations of visual self-presentation, complemented by hermeneutic text analyses of captions and comments with which the interactional contexts and the negotiation of the meanings of the images is reconstructed.

The following questions guide the analysis: What kinds of experiences are visually constructed? In what way did the manner of creating visual images of oneself change and which stylistic forms of portraying and photographing social situations prevail? To what extent are traditional ways and functions of creating photo albums (Chalfen 1987; Hirsch 1997/2002; Pauwels 2008; Rose 2010) continued by means of new technology, and in what way new patterns of ‘doing biography’ emerge?
With in-depth-case analyses I provide insights to how the concept of ‘biography’ that has developed as a relevant social practice in modern societies undergoes more or less deep changes in the ongoing media shift.

Visual Segment Analysis reconstructs how from the relationship and formal organisation of various pictorial elements an image emerges, thereby creating, at the moment of viewing, partly determinable and partly indeterminate meanings and connotations in discursive contexts.
In this case we can observe a rather more conventional staging of commonality which can be characterised as ‘Me and the Others’.

Breckner, Roswitha. 2010. Sozialtheorie des Bildes. Zur interpretativen Analyse von Bildern und Fotografien. Bielelfeld: transcript
Breckner, Roswitha. 2012. Bildwahrnehmung – Bildinterpretation. Segmentanalyse als methodischer Zugang zur Erschließung bildlichen Sinns. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie (ÖZS) 2/12 143-164
Chalfen, Richard. 1987. Snapshot Versions of Life. Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press
Hirsch, Marianne. 1997/2002. Family Frames. Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory. Cambridge/Mass: Harvard University Press
Pauwels, Luc. 2008. A private visual practice going public? Social functions and sociological research opportunities of Web-based family photography. Visual Studies 23 (1): 34-49
Rose, Gillian. 2010. Doing Family Photography. The Domestic, The Public and The Poliltics of Sentiment. Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate

breckRoswitha Breckner is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Vienna, spokesperson of the Research Area Visual Studies in Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social Sciences (, and President of the Research Committee Biography and Society of the International Sociological Association ( Her current research interest focuses on visual communication in Social Networks from a biographical perspective.

Meet the LOC – Ulrike Zartler

In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.

ZartlerWhat is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?

My main fields of interest are family sociology and childhood sociology. Over the past years, I have been particularly engaged in research on post-divorce families and have asked why the nuclear family still serves as an ideological code. These research interests go along with a strong focus on the sociological analysis of legal frameworks that shape families’ and children’s lives.

What characterizes your scientific work?

In my research, I adopt a concept of families as broadly defined varieties of being related. In my empirical research, I try to capture as many perspectives as possible and to include different family members. This usually gives tremendously divergent pictures about the – apparently – same family. I especially like to conduct studies with children, because they are so unpredictable and demand a particular openness and flexibility.

What is the main professional activity you are engaged in?

Doing research, writing papers, teaching and supervising are the everyday basic features. Furthermore, I am Deputy Head of the Department of Sociology, a Board member of the ESA RN 13 (Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives) and of the Austrian Society on Interdisciplinary Family Research (ÖGIF).

What are your next projects or publications?

I am currently preparing journal manuscripts on the following issues: Children’s networks in post-divorce dual residence arrangements; Intergenerational relationships at the transition to parenthood; Multiple perspectives in qualitative longitudinal family research.

Ulrike Zartler is an assistant professor of family sociology at the University of Vienna, Department of Sociology. Her research interests cover family sociology, childhood sociology, divorce and post-divorce families, legal aspects of family and childhood, and qualitative research methods.

Meet the LOC – Roland Verwiebe

In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.

VerwiebeWhat is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?

All issues related to social stratification and social inequality. Research on migration and the labor market using quantitative as well as qualitative research methods has been my major focus during the last 10-15 years. I was living in Berlin when I started to work in this field. In the mid-1990’s the city changed dramatically. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, one driving force was a newly emerging migration to Berlin, mainly from European countries (e.g. UK, France, Sweden, Poland) and the US. Continue reading

Meet the LOC – Frank Welz

In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.

frank_welzWhat is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?

My main field has been interest-driven, historically-anchored theory. For C.W. Mills individual lives reflect societal transformation. For studying, for instance, the impact of the Great Recession on the lives of individuals, it can’t work without theory. Theory raises the big questions, such as the transformation of sovereignty in the current global era. It provides guidance in the face of sociology’s internal fragmentation and it pervades the discipline by providing conceptual tools for sociological research. We all draw on theory for building our arguments — but we hardly have time to reflect on it. If sociology should have an impact on society, the eye of the needle is the theory of society. Continue reading

Meet the LOC – Martin Weichbold

In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.

WeichboldWhat is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?
I am mostly interested in methods and methodology; empirical data are the basis for all sociological analyses and a poor quality of data affects all findings. It’s astonishing to see that some researchers put a lot of effort and know-how into statistics and use very sophisticated data analysis methods, but don’t wonder about the origin of the data they use and how they were constructed.
Continue reading

Postcapitalism? Five Orientations from the Perspective of Social Reproduction

Maiconfz, CC0 1.0

Where austerity, recession and ‘regressive recovery’[1] occur, the experience of economic crisis is as a crisis of social reproduction, a crisis in the reproduction of livelihood.[2] This crisis is both gendered and racialised in just who picks up the tab for cuts to social services or a rise in unemployment.[3] Given the contradiction between capital’s reliance on the reproduction of labour power on the one hand, and its propensity to externalise the cost of this reproduction on the other, any particular social organisation of reproduction is shaped by struggle. Who bears the cost of social reproduction and how it is organised are political questions circumscribed by the ways in which reproductive labour moves between households, communities, state institutions and business organisations, and where individual reproductive activities are located along a paid and unpaid continuum. Feminism has challenged the gendered and racialised social division of this labour and demanded that the unpaid work of social reproduction be acknowledged.[4] Continue reading

On Realising Postcapitalism

Maiconfz, CC0 1.0

Wither postcapitalism? Across Europe, there are signals today of an evolution or mutation of neoliberal forms of governance, towards a more rapacious and authoritarian genus. But there are also signs of fragility and increasingly metastasising risks. There are rising political populisms in both leftist and right-wing variants that threaten the continued predominance of existing elites.[1] The fragility of austerity as an economic programme which has suppressed growth while failing to restore state finances to pre-crisis levels points towards future, and even more unmanageable, economic and fiscal crises.[2] The current refugee situation across Europe indicate potential lines of tension for existing structures at the EU level.[3] Continue reading