Research profiles of members

  • Alikhani, Behrouz (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Soziologie, Germany)
Behrouz Alikhani completed his Masters degree at Teheran University in political sciences and his PhD in sociology and social psychology at the Leibniz University of Hanover. Currently, he is a lecturer at the Institute of Sociology at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University in Muenster in Germany. His main research focus is on democratisation and de-democratisation processes in differently structured societies.
  • Dépelteau, Francois (Laurentian University, Canada)
Inspired by various approaches such as G. Tarde’s work, figurational sociology, the actor-network-theory, symbolic interactionism and pragmatism, Francois Dépelteau is developing what is called a transactional sociology or deep relational sociology. Deep relational sociology rejects any form of hard social determinism and soft social determinism (or co-determinism) based on dualisms such as social structures and agency or society and individuals. Social phenomena are fluid, dynamic social processes with no causal powers on the interactants. In fact, social processes we call couples, organizations, institutions, nations or global economies constantly emerge from interactions between human and non-human interactants (or interdependent actants). Deep relational sociology is based on an ontological tension between the identification of more or less temporary social patterns we need to know in order to survive in this complex world, and the comprehension of the creativity (and the unpredictability) of social relations.
  • Lizardo, Omar (University of Notre Dame, USA)
Omar Lizardo is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications. His research deals with various topics in sociology, social psychology, cultural sociology, network theory, and cognitive science. These range from the role of institutional logics in social movement organizing (Larson and Lizardo 2015), the relationship between belief, action and fields (Strand and Lizardo 2015), conceptual connections between network theory and organizational theory (Lizardo and Pirkey 2014), the link between identity theory and the sociology of emotions (Lizardo and Collett 2013), the connection between cultural breadth and the activation of weak ties (Lizardo 2013), the relationship between macro-level institutional change and micro-level patterns of cultural taste (Lizardo and Fishman 2013), the role of social mechanisms in generating patterns of cultural taste and aesthetic judgment (Lizardo and Skiles 2012), or the way in which conceptual metaphors related to dirt and cleanliness figure in moral reasoning (Lizardo 2012). His work has appeared in such venues as American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Sociological Theory, Poetics, Cultural Sociology, and Social Forces. With Jessica Collett, he was the  guest-editor of the June 2014 special issue of Social Psychology Quarterly dedicated to advancing the connections between Social Psychology and Cultural Sociology.
  • Papilloud, Christian (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg GSZ, Germany)
Christian Papillouds’ works in relational sociology deals with a macro-sociological – hence theoretical – investigation of reciprocity considered as the core meaning of the word “relational”, and the basis for a sociological concept of the relation. Most of the sociological theories embedding a relational scheme consider the relation as an automatic re-production process of society taking reciprocity for granted as a norm of social processes often represented as a bidirectional flow which would not be affected in time by the transformations of societies. Instead, Papilloud regards reciprocity as an expandable flow embedding all possible social actors in the relation, and affected by society. Affected by society means that reciprocity is impacted by more or less powerful societal closing mechanisms applied by the actors at both collective and individual levels in order to control its expansion, which leads to scaling effects within society, and to the formation of hierarchical social structures. Relational sociological theories explain that these hierarchies will be maintained by maintaining their closing mechanisms. This often rests on the assumption that they ideally benefit of unlimited collective and individual resources, i.e. that they can count either on a constant flow of actors, or on a constant fulfilment of the social criteria which these structures depend on. However, this ideal assumption can hardly be met in practice and in the long run – hierarchical societal structures hardly get a total control on reciprocity and on its expansion, as well as on the closing mechanisms they apply on it. This brings some of these structures to fail, other ones to renew or to rebuild their closing mechanisms. Consequences for the actors, as well as for the meaning of reciprocity as the dominating scheme of the relation in our societies are investigated. Furthermore, Papilloud reconstructs the debates about the relation in sociology where they have been given the most attention – at the crossroad of the french and the German traditions.
  • Powell, Chris (Ryerson University, Canada)
Dr. Christopher Powell works on the uses of relational thinking for radical social change.  He has developed a relational theory of genocide and state violence in his book Barbaric Civilization: A Critical Sociology of Genocide (MQUP, 2011). He is also the co-editor, with Dr. François Dépelteau, of Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues and Applying Relational Sociology: Relations, Networks, and Society (Palgrave, 2013). His current research explores the epistemologically relativist implications of applying relational thinking to the sociology of knowledge. Dr. Powell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University in Toronto.
  • Widdop, Paul (Leeds Beckett University, UK)
Paul Widdop is a Senior Research Fellow in culture and sport at Leeds Beckett University. His main interests are in the sociology of consumption and production, focusing on exploring how social networks impact upon these fields, especially within ‘Sport and Music Worlds’. His most recent book is Social Networks and Music Worlds’ through Routledge. Furthermore, his research has been published widely in journals relating to consumption and consumer culture, namely, Journal of Consumer Culture; Cultural Trends; and Leisure Sciences.