Risk, Social Stratification, and Changes in Institutions
International symposium to be taken place at Bryn Mawr College on February 3-4, 2011
Abstract Submission deadline: October 20, 2010
In the context of globalization advanced industrial societies have become more diverse and their local institutions have adapted to the changing environment. In this context, risk has increased, and it is likely to have affected some segments of the population more than others, such as non-regular workers, women, the elderly, immigrants, and racial/ethnic minorities.
The long-term employment practice in Japan, for example, has become weaker because many of the firms with the practice can no longer maintain it due to their increasing exposure to global competitions. This deterioration of the practice has naturally led to the increase in risk of the livelihood of workers. Workers who used to enjoy high job security and decent income under this practice now face lower salaries or even risk losing their jobs, as Japan’s labor market becomes more fluid. Furthermore, the rapid increase in the share of non-regular workers has made regular workers vulnerable to fall into the non-regular work sector. Given substantive differences in income, job security, and social security between regular and non-regular workers, becoming a non-regular worker increases the risk of one’s livelihood, especially if he/she is a single bread-winner.
However, the above-mentioned argument misses one important aspect of society—social stratification. While the long-term employment practice has clearly deteriorated, it is less clear whether it has affected all workers in the same way. Some studies report that workers at large firms and in the public sector are still protected by the practice, while workers at small and mid-sized firms have been hit particularly hard by recent changes.
This symposium attempts to widen the scope to understand the dynamic interplay between institutional changes, risk re-allocation, and social stratification in the age of globalization. We are especially interested in exploring the issue in comparative perspective.
To collectively address the issue, we propose to organize a two-day workshop at Bryn Mawr College on 3-4 February 2011 to discuss such topics as risk of non-regular workers, minorities and immigrants, risk and institutions, change in mobility regime, divorce, and risk and social stratification. With financial support from the Center for the Study of Social Stratification and Inequality, Tohoku University, we are able to cover the cost of transportation, accommodation, and meals for 5-10 participants. We will consider publication of submitted papers in a special issue of an academic journal or an edited volume. One purpose of the workshop is to discuss and improve papers that will have been circulated beforehand.
If you are interested in participating, please send us (see contact information below) an abstract of about 300-400 words with contact information and a brief CV by 20 October 2010. You will hear from us by the beginning of November 2010.
Yoshimichi Sato (CSSI, Tohoku University)
Ayumi Takenaka (CSSI, Tohoku University and Department of Sociology, Bryn Mawr College)
Jun Imai (CSSI, Tohoku University)
Center for the Study of Social Stratification and Inequality, Tohoku University, Japan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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