Reckoning with Authoritarianism, Reengaging with Macro-Sociology?

Conference Highlights, Hybrid, Panels and Plenary
Research Advisory Subcommittee

The events of the past few years, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe, global supply chain issues, the rise of far-right and nationalist parties to power in Sweden and Italy, continued strength of anti-democratic forces in the U.S. and Canada, and the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan, and the crackdown on ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ protests in Iran have all contributed to the need for re-reckoning with authoritarianism. Many studies have tried to delve into the dynamics of the authoritarian turn on the micro-level. Hochschild’s study of the American right comes to mind. But this picture cannot be complete without the revitalization of macro-sociological imagination and the rise of a new generation of thinkers that can offer an understanding of global trends and their consequences. Social thought is already rich in this tradition with prominent figures mostly in the Marxist tradition (Immanuel Wallerstein) but also non-Marxist figures such as Hannah Ardent and Ulrich Beck. What are the contours of a new sociology of authoritarianism? What does this sociology have to offer us presently? Does democracy have to learn to co-exist with authoritarianism? What are our social and ethical responsibilities? What are the conditions of effectiveness of resistance against authoritarianism? What do the present and the future hold for us? Is democracy/authoritarianism a false binary? These are among the potential questions that speakers at this panel might address.

Moderator and Discussant: Zohreh Bayatrizi, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta


Abdie Kazemipur, Professor of Sociology and Chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Calgary

Neil McLaughlin, Professor of Sociology at McMaster University

Paul Joosse, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong

Ozgun Topak, Associate Professor of Social Sciences at York University

Organizers: Kyle Willmott, Simon Fraser University, Zohreh Bayatrizi, University of Alberta, Lisa Kaida, McMaster University, Neda Magbouleh, University of Toronto