The Eupean Association

CfP: The clash of civilizations in the 21st century

With some exceptions the development in the Arab world after the Arab Spring and its impact on Europe and beyond is obviously related to warfare and violence. This has led to serious consequences for the social sciences and the current debate on the issue at hand. One of the most important consequences was the reemergence of Huntington’s ideas in the academic discourse and in the public debate. His conclusions are, in a nutshell, that a) the Western civilization is superior to all other civilizations, and b) the Western civilization is threatened by the conflict between Christianity and Islam. The clash of civilizations occurs at the domestic level (‘fault line conflicts’), or between nation states or groups of the later (‘core state conflicts’).

These theses are heavily contested, as both his notion of ‘civilization’ and the different level of ‘inclination to violence’ are not accepted within the mainstream of the social science communities. Furthermore, in a normative perspective some scholars argue that civilization and violence are mutually exclusive: for example, both Norbert Elias and Steven Pinker see the apparent gradual world-wide decrease of violence as the result of long term civilizing processes. By contrast, other social scientists see violence as the constitutive phenomenon of civilization: for example, Michael Mann and Charles Tilly argue that the modern state is a product of economic, ideological and political power, hence a result of warfare and military might.

This special issue will tackle the most challenging topic in the current situation from a theoretical perspective. Social science scholars from all disciplines are invited to contribute to the issue. it will comprise the most important contribution of the annual conference of the Croatian Sociological Association as well.

For more information see here

Volume 28 (4) of INNOVATION published online

EDITORIAL

by Dorothea Tommasi

In the aftermath of the European Financial Crisis, the need for Social Innovation is pressing. The current issue of Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research reveals a series of contributions focusing on implications, challenges and approaches to societal transformation on the local, national and global levels. Although then it was not common to use the term ‘Innovation’, Pohoryles insisted in the first issue of this journal that the concept of innovation should be used in the social sciences and that the idea of innovation in the social sciences is relevant both in terms of content as well as methodology and theory building. In terms of content, social innovation is key for the understanding of social change, in terms of methodology, multi-disciplinary research has to move towards a more integrated, hence interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach (Pohoryles, 1988). […]

The full text is available here

CfP: Science Ethics- (Inter-) Disciplinary Perspectives

OPEN CALLS

Call for Papers for Thematic Issue on

SCIENCE ETHICS- (INTER-) DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES

Editors: Ronald J. Pohoryles, Alice BM Vadrot, and Thomas Pfister

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 30 May 2014

In May 2013, UNESCO hosted an interdisciplinary expert conference on Emerging Ethical Issues in Science and Technology under the aegis of the of the 8th Ordinary Session of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). COMEST was set up by UNESCO in 1993 to reflect on the many different aspects of science ethics and to formulate ethical principles which could provide decision-makers with criteria extending beyond purely economic considerations. Whilst everybody would agree in principle that such an endeavour is important, there is not yet enough clarity about what this might mean in practice and what different challenges this might pose to different disciplines against the background of a globalizing world. Since its foundation in 1986, INNOVATION-The European Journal of Social Science Research has been concerned with different aspects of scientific knowledge production and use in different areas of innovation and social contexts. We have published special issues to contribute to related debates in different areas, such as Converging Science and Technologies: Research Trajectories and Institutional Settings in 2007, E-Inclusion and E-Government- Challenges and Policies in 2008, Sociology and Interdisciplinarity in 2009, Steering Biomedicine: Regulatory Dynamics of Therapeutic Technologies in the European Union in 2012, and Privacy and Technology in 2013. Assuming that ‘innovation is not just a technical and economic problem’ (Pohoryles 1988; Vadrot 2011), but enmeshed in social acceptance and politico-institutional change, it is inevitably linked to science ethics.

Against this background, this special issue aims at providing a platform for extending the debate on science ethics within the social science communities in a more systematic and overarching way. The aim is to shed light on the many different facets of science ethics alongside different scientific disciplines, methods and practices. In addition to these important ethical and political questions posed by science and technology to contemporary societies, more specific ethical institutions, rules and codes specify the conditions of scientific integrity; define violations, their consequences as well as the institutions responsible for governing research ethics within the academic community. The question of how to govern scientific knowledge within the margins of scientific freedom and social responsibility is a tricky one, particularly, because the way in which knowledge might impact on the many different aspects of human life and the environments within which we life, often remains unpredictable und fuzzy.

For more information see: https://iccr-foundation.org/call-for-papers/

Veranstaltung zum Thema „Ökonomisierung von Wissen“

18.11.2013, 18:00 – 20:00

C3 – Centrum für Internationale Entwicklung, Alois Wagner-Saal

Was haben GATS und TRIPS mit Vielfalt von Saatgut, Medien und Bildung zu tun?

Die Ökonomisierung des Wissens in der globalen Informationsgesellschaft

Präsentation des JEP 2/2013 und Diskussion mit:

Thomas R. Eimer (Radboud Universität, Nijmegen),
Alice Vadrot (Universität Wien, ICCR Foundation)
Oliver Prausmüller (Arbeiterkammer Wien)

Moderation: Werner Raza (ÖFSE)

Der weltweite Prozess der Ökonomisierung von Wissen und Wissensverbreitung wurde seit den 1990er Jahren auch mit den internationalen Abkommen der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) vorangetrieben. Wissen – etwa im Bereich kultureller und technologischer Erfindungen – wurde, reduziert auf „geistige Eigentumsrechte“, im Kontext des TRIPS-Abkommens verhandelt und abgesichert. Im Rahmen der GATS-Verhandlungen wurde angestrebt, die vielfältigen Praktiken der Verbreitung von Wissen – etwa im Bereich Biodiversität, Medien oder Bildung – als handelbare Dienstleistungen zu standardisieren. Diese Prozesse verliefen jedoch nie widerspruchsfrei. Umkämpft war ebenso die konkrete Ausgestaltung der internationalen Abkommen wie deren Umsetzung in unterschiedlichen Ländern im globalen Norden und Süden. Im Rahmen der Diskussionsveranstaltung werden neuere Entwicklungen dieser Prozesse vorgestellt. Diskutiert wird dabei auch die Rolle unterschiedlicher – transnationaler, nationaler, lokaler – Akteure im globalen Süden und Norden und deren Perspektiven sowie die Frage nach möglichen Handlungsspielräumen.

Programm

Eine Veranstaltung der Reihe „Bildung im C3ntrum“ im C3 – Centrum für Internationale Entwicklung.

http://www.centrum3.at/veranstaltungscentrum/verstaltungskalender/

Volume 26 (3) of INNOVATION published: Editorial

Global Governance and Democratic Legitimacy: A Bottom-up Approach

Jan Wouters, Stephanie Bijlmakers, Nicolas Hachez, Matthias Lievens, Axel Marx *

This special issue aims to contribute to the debate on the democratization of global governance. Its starting point is that, two decades after the emergence of the concept of ‘global governance’ in scholarly literature, the empirical specificities of the transforming political landscape that it seeks to describe remain largely unsettled. Literature in various disciplines has identified key trends in governance beyond the nation State. These suggest that global governance envisions a growing role for variegated (non-)State actors that act through multi-level and multi-dimensional regulatory networks and processes to tackle global challenges in a wide range of issue areas and in the absence of a central public authority. Yet, global governance is a highly diverse, complex and continuously changing phenomenon. How it manifests itself empirically depends on a variety of factors, like the respective governance modes, processes, logics, agents, outcomes and subjects involved, as well as the timeframe and issue area in which a particular governance arrangement is embedded. Global governance arrangements thus display a great diversity, from the more institutionalized and intergovernmental formats to networks, private regulatory schemes and standards, public-private partnerships (PPPs) or multi-stakeholder initiatives.

However, certain themes of inquiry run across the academic literature on global governance. The most prominent question may be that of the legitimacy of some of these innovative and peculiar governance schemes. Global governance initiatives, and notably PPPs, have often been praised for their problem-solving capacity with regard to cross-border issues that challenge State authority and domestic regulation. Their effectiveness has served as an important source of legitimacy, or in Scharpf’s terminology, output legitimacy.[1] A normative critique of global governance in legitimacy terms however arises from the fact that global governance arrangements are often authoritative and their outcomes govern or have an indirect or direct impact on the daily lives of people.[2] As a result, there is increasing support for the view that global governance, like more traditional types of modern government, ought to derive its legitimacy from its democratic character.

Recent debates about the democratization of global governance have witnessed efforts by political scientists, philosophers and legal theorists to explain and conceptualize democracy beyond the nation State at a general level. These efforts underline the interdisciplinary nature of global governance as a field of study, as well as the potential that can be reached if academic scholars bridge disciplinary divides in order to achieve a better and more nuanced understanding of global governance. However, the debate on the democratization of global governance tends to take global governance for granted as an analytical category, and seldom pays due attention to the great diversity of particular schemes and initiatives. Therefore, the efforts at building a theory of democratic global governance often appear abstract and detached from reality. In particular, critics have emphasized that global democratic theory is too radical or idealistic and fails to present governance actors with concrete suggestions to buttress the democratic quality of their initiatives.

In light of the above, this special issue brings together philosophical, legal, and political science expertise to provide a critical assessment of the democratization project for global governance by analyzing the democratic credentials of a variety of global governance initiatives. The concrete initiatives studied cover various fields, including health, forestry, food safety, climate change, fisheries, corporate social responsibility, and form a broad sample of the shapes that global governance can take. The approach of this special issue is thus not to espouse certain generalizations about the concept of global governance, but rather to advocate a bottom-up approach which does justice to the empirical reality of particular global governance arrangements. These highlight the diversity in global governance initiatives, as well the importance of appreciating their unique features when embarking upon the project of analyzing their democratic pedigree.

* Corresponding authors. Email: name.surname@ggs.kuleuven.be. This special issue features papers presented at the international workshop on ‚Inequality in Global Governance: Causes and Consequences of Unequal Representation and Decision-making in Global Governance Institutions‘, Leuven, 8-9 November 2011. This workshop was funded by the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (FWO-GRESI).

[1] Scharpf, F.W., 1998. Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? Oxford University Press, New York.

[2] De Búrca, G., 2008. Developing Democracy Beyond the State. Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, pp. 101-158.

For further information please see: Volume 26 3 Special Issue: Global governance and democratic legitimacy: a bottom-up approach

„Falter“ Article on Science Communication featuring Innovation and Alice Vadrot

In the recent edition of it’s science supplement „Heureka“, the Austrian weekly magazine „Falter“ gave space to a broad discussion on the current state of science communications and the reporting of scientific results. The article also featured Alice Vadrot, Member of the Editorial Boad of Innovation, who shared her views on the scientific reporting and scientific publication market.

An online version of the article can be found here.

The new website: not a re-launch, but not a face-lift either

You might have realised it already: the ICCR Foundation has re-designed its website. It now contains more information, will be updated more regularly and will offer news about the institute and beyond. It will inform you about events worthy of note; staff members who participate in these events will report on them on the website.

The new website looks nicer and is more user-friendly than the older one; it seems to me at the same time to be more functional. But it is just an element of a strategic new orientation to adapt to the needs of society. When I started to do social science, it was still performed in an ivory tower. Research outside the university’s confines was far from common, at least in Europe. Patrick Moynihan’s famous definition of social sciences – his idea of social scientists becoming professional reformers – was unknown in Europe.

Within the mainstream of European social sciences, interdisciplinary work, or task-oriented research, was disregarded as not being academic, fast and dirty, or was even considered to undermine the reputation of the discipline.

It was a major challenge for those working in the field in independent, private, non-profit research organisations. Together with my colleagues at the ‘Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in the Social Sciences’ we met this challenge not only by doing serious, mostly interdisciplinary research, but also by starting the journal ‘INNOVATION in Social Sciences Research’, that became a little later ‘The European Journal of Social Science Research – INNOVATION’. Its success was a sign that we were up to the challenge: Innovation has celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

At the time, in 1991 I co-organised with some colleagues the First European Conference of Sociology as vice-chair of the organising committee. Selected papers were published in 4 special issues of Innovation. On this occasion I gave a paper that challenged the traditional view of social sciences: ‘Between Society, Politics, and the Market’ (Innovation Vol. 6, Issue No. 2, 1993). I argued that the mission of the social sciences was to serve society by developing concepts and methods to promote the knowledge society, based upon well-informed citizens, evidence-based politics and policies and responsible entrepreneurs. Instead of over-specialised disciplines, this calls for overcoming disciplinary boundaries as much as the separation between societal actors and researchers. The locus for such a venture is rather non-university research organisations that do not work in an ivory tower, stubbornly keeping to their disciplines, but work in a less superficial way than consultants. Furthermore, their independence allows for an impartial and fresh look at specific problems, based upon creative concepts and serious target-oriented methodology. Not without a certain pride, I can say that both the institute I was leading then and the ICCR Foundation, that I am leading now, prove the case.

Needless to say, I value disciplinary work, and even insist that any academic education needs to provide a solid disciplinary grounding of the students. And I certainly do not underestimate the importance of basic theoretical work by decent scholars, most of them based at universities. Rather, I am concerned about changes in the academic system that seems to promote mere vocational training instead of creative and critical thinking. But, as I argued then, and as I still argue, there are different types of knowledge providers that deserve mutual respect.

A lot of things have changed since then. At the time when this paper was published, nobody could have predicted that Europe would undergo a deep change by enlarging and deepening at the same time. New research topics emerged and the transformation of Europe had to be dealt with adequately.

But enough history: in the comparatively short life of the ICCR Foundation, we have had to adapt to ongoing developments as well. We have discussed new strategies by focusing on three main themes, Green Economy (Environment, Energy, Transport, Biodiversity); Research Policy, Innovation & New Technologies; and, finally, Health & Social Policy. At the same time we will expand our field of activity beyond research by adding Consulting & Policy Advice and Think Tank Activities through increased dissemination and publication within and without the academic communities.

All of this while remaining faithful to our general vision: serving society better by offering ‘useful’ concepts and contents.