June 15 to 17, 2022
Hosted by: CASA | Location: Virtual
The Sociology of Crisis and the Crisis of Sociology
In 2020, the Caribbean, like the rest of world, was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic stimulated reactive social adaptations such as: the deployment of various categories of workers and resources, the repurposing of agencies and institutions, and the rethinking of existing development paradigms. In the Caribbean, for many sociologists, the pandemic served as a wakeup call – a call to revisit and redraft the development script we have been acting out since the Washington Consensus in the 1990s.
Compared to many countries in the Global South and North, Caribbean countries generally have relatively lower number of cases of COVID-19 but the economic fallout is still very high. Take Anguilla for example. It had about 15 cases on average for the entire period before December 2021, but the economic downturn was projected at between 25% to 30%. That is partly because, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the region was confronting various other crises and the advent of COVID-19 merely worsened and compounded these crises. The combination of these crises affected the financial health of Caribbean governments at the very time that fiscal stability was most needed.
Other examples can be found throughout the region. In Barbados for instance, COVID-19 struck while the island was during an austerity program. Additionally, this small island has had to battle simultaneously crises of an environmental nature, namely storms and volcanic ash fallout. Similarly, in the Lesser Antilles, the peoples and government have not even started to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands when COVID-19 struck. The people of Guyana also had a political crisis to deal with, namely, an election marred by accusations of rigging which sent shockwaves across the region and the Western Capitals and deepened a social crisis the country was battling with since its inception, namely racial/ethnic tensions.
Taken together, all these crises made it difficult for the countries to be able to satisfactorily and sustainably help their citizens to climb out of poverty based on their own industriousness and ingenuity and to tackle the many other social problems with which they are faced on a daily basis. It is within this context that sociology is called upon to reclaim its role as a science of crises, having been the product of a period marked by major disruption, transitions, and crises in all areas of human life in the 19th century. Citizens and governments are thinking about alternative ways of organizing society so that all groups would have equal opportunity of meaningfully contributing to desired futures. But how could Caribbean sociology and other related fields step up to the demands of the region when it is facing an epistemic crisis itself? How can we build context-specific, historically sensitive sociological knowledge to help make sense of and provide practical insights into collectively responding to these many challenges and crises? That is the main question being pondered by this conference.
Towards this end, a call is being made for individual papers as well as panels addressing the following themes and subthemes from various conceptual, theoretical, methodological, empirical, and public policy perspectives. Papers addressing similar subthemes not listed below will also be welcome. We encourage sociologists, social scientists, and other researchers from the Caribbean and the diaspora, to reinvigorate the scientific discussion around sociology and the perennial crises in the Caribbean with fresh perspectives and data with the aim of building sociological knowledge in the pursuit of the long-desired development and change.
For more information or to submit an abstract visit: https://caribsociology.org/call-papers-and-submission-2022