Knowledge Societies

Call for Papers


Deadline for submissions: April 15, 2023

Knowledge in terms of formal and informal qualifications is both a collective and an individual resource. Societal dynamics are driven by the accessibility and composition of knowledge at a macro level. For example, an educated population is a prerequisite of prosperity and social order. At the individual level, knowledge is imparted through participation in the educational system and constitutes an essential condition for social integration: knowledge and education influence the way we live (e.g. individual health, consumer behavior, leisure time) and are important determinants of participation in political and cultural spheres. As claimed by the prophets of the knowledge society, the way knowledge production takes place must therefore be of key interest to all societies.

The social sciences offer a variety of theories and research results on the role of knowledge and education in modern societies. Sociology of education clearly indicates that the acquisition of knowledge and education results in cumulative (dis)advantages in the individuals’ life course. Individuals’ knowledge, education and certified qualifications result from socialization in families, social networks, and the educational system and grant access to the labor market. As such, inequality in knowledge and education leads to the reproduction of inequalities in terms of social stratification, economic welfare, and political power. However, on the one hand, less is known about individuals’ subjective view on the role of knowledge and education and its change across historical periods and generations. Specifically, there is a lack of profound research on individuals’ subjective views on social inequality, social change towards digitalization and the rise of knowledge society. On the other hand, open questions deal with the objective description of social inequalities and the subjective views of social structures and their changes across historical periods. How open are knowledge societies today and are modern societies yet perceived as open societies? How do people associate the need of current knowledge production in course of digitalization with their social life? How is social change in terms of digitalization evaluated by different social groups? How and why does the social change towards a knowledge society result in different social action in terms of political voting, consumption of culture, or economy-related migration?

How are people dealing with the current challenges at different stages in their life course? How and why do the social, political, and economic crises shape their life? Related to these questions are also aspects of democratic principles that may be supported or challenged by modern (digital) forms of knowledge dissemination – free flow of information and pronounced connectedness on the one hand, fake news, echo chambers, and political polarization on the other. Recent crises such as climate change, the Corona pandemic or the war in Ukraine provide ample evidence on the fragility of knowledge societies and on how opinion dynamics can shape social realities.

How are all these issues connected to well-known gender and ethnic inequalities in education, work and economic sectors? How are these issues related to economic crisis, changes in the occupational structure and digital transformation in several societal areas in the upcoming knowledge societies?

These topics are at the key focus of the fourth Academy for Sociology Conference to be held August, 28-30, 2023 at the University of Bern (Switzerland). Scholars who address the topics from an analytical-empirical perspective in sociology, in particular, or from perspectives of other social sciences such as political science, demographic research, communication and data science, or the economics of education are invited to present and discuss their research in a stimulating format.

Particularly, contributions dealing with the main theme of the congress are welcome, addressing one of the following topics and connecting it to knowledge societies, inequality, and subjective perceptions:

  • Conflicts, war, and climate change
  • Covid-19 pandemic and the life course
  • Migration and social integration
  • Digital transformations and digital divide
  • Politics, social movements, and societal cleavages
  • Health and well-being in the life course
  • Social mobility, economy and labor markets
  • Educational system
  • Gender
  • Methodology of research and data to address the main theme

Open category: Organizers also warmly welcome research contributions on other topics of analytical-empirical research that do not deal with the main topic of the congress. As in the past, these contributions will play a prominent role in the conference.

The Conference is intended to foster interdisciplinary and international exchange. The conference language is English. We expressively encourage international scholars to participate in our conference. Some travel stipends will be available. Some sessions will allow a hybrid format.

Scholars are asked to submit a complete paper or an extended abstract (2-3 pages) using the conference management system (see the conference website for details). Closing date for submissions is April 15, 2023. Acceptance decisions will be communicated by the end of May 2023. The presentations are limited to 20 minutes (including discussion).

All (presenting) authors must register as participants. Young scholars can apply for a travel grant.