RISC 2011 Conference
The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion
Social cohesion: The missing link in regional integration?
Rustenburg, South Africa, 30 November – 3 December 2011
Organizer: Department of Politics, University of Johannesburg
CALL FOR PAPERS
Social cohesion exists when the relationship among different individuals and groups within society as well as the relationship between the state and civil society are characterized by a set of attitudes and norms that includes a sense of belonging, of trust and of a willingness to participate and help. Regional integration, in turn, refers to increasing interactions between territorial entities in the political, economic, security, social and cultural domains, leading to the creation of rules and institutions and the formation of new identities and political communities. Regional integration can occur between different areas within a country, specific areas of adjacent countries, a number of neighbouring countries, and all states in a particular continent or geographic region.
The key question to be addressed is whether social cohesion (or elements thereof) is a prerequisite for or a product of regional integration schemes. More concretely, does greater regional integration among the states of Southern Africa, for instance, require more social cohesion between the different national populations, or will higher levels of social cohesion be a consequence of deeper integration?
There will be three keynote panels, with pre-selected central presentations:
• Panel 1: “Factors influencing social cohesion in different societies”
• Panel 2: “Levels of regional integration”
• Panel 3: “The interplay of social cohesion and regional integration”.
RISC’s working groups, in association with the RISC conference organizers, will also convene six open panels. Paper proposals are invited for any of these six panels (explained fully below). Proposals must have a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words and be sent directly to panel coordinators (email addresses listed below) by 10 MAY 2011. Please keep a copy of your proposal for reference purposes. You will be notified by the end of May if your abstract has been accepted for the conference.
The conference allows for presentations made in English, Spanish or French, with simultaneous translation being provided by the conference organizers.
The RISC Consortium will pay for four nights’ hotel accommodation and meals of all speakers (one per paper) participating in the conference. Depending on the availability of funds, a fifth night’s accommodation might be paid for participants from abroad. Travel arrangements are the responsibility of conference participants or their home institutions. The RISC Consortium does not have grants available for either international or domestic travel to and from Johannesburg (the nearest major airport to the conference venue outside the town of Rustenburg).
General enquiries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Working Groups: Open Panels
Panel 1: Comparative Border and Migration Politics: Inclusion and Exclusion in Border Regions
Working Group: Comparative Border and Migration Politics
Group Coordinator: Harlan Koff, University of Luxembourg (email@example.com)
Panel coordinator: Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, University of Victoria, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Proposals to this panel should address issues of inclusion and exclusion in border regions. Regional integration, defined through market pressures, political cooperation and cultural exchange, may bring together contiguous border regions and unify borderlands in coherent and integrated polities. Migrations, however, may also affect economic, political or cultural flows across borders and further enhance mechanisms of exclusion or selection of either individuals or goods, thus affecting social cohesion. Paper proposals should engage with those issues both from theoretical or empirical perspectives so as to illustrate and discuss fundamental normative issues as well as illustrate their articulation in daily practices of border crossing.
Panel 2: Citizen Security and Social Cohesion: Complementary or Contradictory?
Working Group: Urban Conflict, Violence and Citzen Security
Group and Panel Coordinator: Juan Carlos Vélez Rendón, University of Antioquia, Colombia (email@example.com)
Citizen security, understood as a set of policies intended to ensure the rights of people, can become a means of social cohesion. Access to individual, civil, social, political,
economic and environmental rights is a key issue for social inclusion, the promotion of relationships between people, groups and the state, the development of solidarity, the promotion of interaction, and the strengthening of political identity.
When understood only as an instrument to combat “crime” and “criminals” and focused on the protection of property rights, leaving aside the fulfilment of rights related to health, education, housing, jobs, and access to basic services, among others, citizen security becomes a means of social division, disintegration, isolation and segregation. In that sense, citizen security affects poor people, especially children, young people, and women.
This panel investigates the relationship between citizen security and social cohesion, both when citizen security promotes inclusion, solidarity, interaction, association and identity, and when it produces fear and distrust and tends towards discrimination and social segregation. The panel coordinator invites papers that interrogate these two dimensions of citizen security.
Panel 3: Public Health Policy at Real and Imagined Borders: Regional Strategies for Public Health Integration
Working Group: Civil Society, Vulnerable Populations, and State Policies of Health and Well-being
Group and Panel Coordinators: Robert Dover (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Claudia Puerta Silva (email@example.com), both from University of Antioquia, Colombia
In the absence of an integration that addresses social issues, the social sovereignty of the state is not so secure in frontier regions and among border populations. Porous borders, formal and informal immigrant workers, floating populations and displaced persons, ambiguous –shared, ethnic, traditional– national identities, vulnerable indigenous populations, all challenge these state jurisdictions, particularly as regards social policy.
One of the social areas most affected by this situation, and one that transcends the idea of national and regional boundaries, is the question of health. It is in the attempt to articulate public policies between states or regions that different ideas regarding the state’s role in health care, different insurance regimes, and different levels of institutional capability confront each other even when the socio-environmental conditions are similar, when the flow of people across borders confounds the different jurisdictions, and when epidemiological issues are not constrained by political or administrative borders.
Our panel seeks to examine to what extent an integrated socially-centered cross-border health policy is a necessary condition to achieve regional integration. There are certain issues and themes that are fundamental to this discussion:
• What constitutes successful integration of regional public health policies?
• How do different political and social entities arrive at a common understanding of health, health care, and public health policy?
• To what extent is multiculturalism and pluri-ethnicity accommodated in regional and individual state health policy?
• In the absence of an integrated regional health policy, what strategies do local border populations pursue to obtain adequate health care or to address public health emergencies?
• To what extent is health and the lack of an integrated policy a motive for migration?
Panel 4: Can Border Environmental Management Promote Social Cohesion and therefore Regional Integration?
Working Group: Management of Strategic Resources, Environment and Society
Group and Panel Coordinator: Carmen Maganda, University of Luxembourg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Most definitions of social cohesion (e.g. Durkheim, Bourdieu, Mann, Pahl, Kearns, Forrest) do not include environmental politics/policy/management as a social element to reinforce such cohesion. Environmental concerns are addressed outside socio-economic and development debates because the environment is conceived of as a separate natural-physical object to be preserved. The global environmental agenda is already suffering from this selective approach and the regional integration debate is not exempt either. Because environmental problems are related to development patterns and socio-economic and socio-cultural conditions, and because we believe border environmental management may be a key element to foster border cohesion and regional integration, this panel invites reflection on the implications of border environmental governance/management for social cohesion and regional integration.
Panelists should try to respond to the following research questions, amongst others:
• Who takes decisions and how are they taken with regard to the management of shared environmental resources?
• How can regional institutions affect cross-border politics and institutional participation for shared environmental management?
• What is the role of local border institutions and how do they impact on cross-border politics?
• What is the role of non-institutional cross-border actors (environmental NGOs, local communities) and how do they affect cross-border environmental politics?
• What are the positive experiences of regional environmental governance, and what is its role in regional integration debates?
• In legal terms, what is happening concerning border environmental regulation at the regional level?
• What happens in those countries that share environmental resources but lack bi-national agreements for their management?
Panel 5: Disaster Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change: Does Social Cohesion Offer a Framework for Vulnerability Reduction?
Working Group: The Social Construction of Risk and Disaster
Group Coordinator: Fernando Briones Gamboa, CIESAS, Mexico (email@example.com)
Panel Coordinator: Juanita López-Peláez, Eafit University, Colombia (Center of Urban and Environmental Studies) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The conceptual perspective of the Working Group on The Social Construction of Risk and Disaster treats disasters as the manifestation of the development gaps that result in unsafe conditions.
If social cohesion is the capacity of a society to guarantee the well-being of all individuals and to minimize inequalities, the distribution of environmental risks is a clear indicator of existing exclusion mechanisms. Both at a local and global level, the spatial distribution of disasters coincides with the lowest ranking on the Human Development Index (HDI). Likewise, the negative effects of climate change are distributed unevenly, posing major challenges of adaptation for developing countries.
The panel encourages conceptual reflection on the relationships between vulnerability and social cohesion, climate change and regional integration, and social actors at different levels, as well as case studies that articulate conceptually and methodologically disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change frameworks. Among the specific questions requiring attention are the following:
• How is social cohesion a condition for the success of disaster risk reduction and adaptation policies? Which case studies illustrate this relationship?
• In what way is disaster risk management a toolkit for climate change adaptation?
• What are the conceptual links between vulnerability, social cohesion and adaptation?
• What is the role of local disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change in regional integration projects?
Panel 6: Social Cohesion, Citizenship and the Quality of Democracy as Imperatives for Improved Regional Integration
Working Group: The Quality of Democracy
Group Coordinator: Leonardo Morlino, LUISS, Italy (email@example.com)
Panel Coordinator: Victoria Graham, University of Johannesburg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the continually evolving literature on democratic quality assessment, several core characteristics of stable democracies have been identified. These include the rule of law, participation, freedom, equality/solidarity and responsiveness. The significant presence of these characteristics and the overall success of any good quality democracy is informed by the level of social cohesion enjoyed by the democracy. This means that the commitment of government, civil society and citizens to actively participate in the betterment of their society, impacts profoundly on the strength and stability of their democracy.
The working Group on The Quality of Democracy welcomes paper proposals focusing on any of the following suggested areas:
• Nationhood, citizenship and the rule of law
• Xenophobia as a consequence of immigration and refugee movements and as a barrier to regional integration
• The notion of trust, rights and access to justice
• Civil society, active citizen participation and characteristics of freedom, equality and solidarity as instruments of social cohesion.
Abstract submission deadline: 10 May 2011
Notifications: End of May 2011
Conference: 30 November - 3 December 2011
RISC 2011 Conference Scientific and Organizing Committee:
Deon Geldenhuys (UJ, chair)
Yolanda Sadie (UJ)
Chris Landsberg (UJ)
Suzanne Graham (UJ)
Victoria Graham (UJ)
RISC Consortium Scientific Committee:
Maria de Lourdes Dieck Assad (ITESM, Mexico)
Virginia García Acosta (CIESAS, Mexico)
Deon Geldenhuys (Department of Politics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Harlan Koff (UNILU)
Leonardo Morlino (LUISS, Italy)
Lucelly Villegas Villegas (INER, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia)
Prof. Deon Geldenhuys
Department of Politics
University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524
South Africa Email: email@example.com Visit the website at http://www.risc.lu
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