Conceptualizing and Applying Relational Sociology III

Tuesday May 17 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
Virtual Platform

Session Code: RES2C
Session Format: Regular Session
Session Language: English, French
Research Cluster Affiliation: Relational Sociology
Session Categories: Regular Session

Relational sociology is a research field that has been on the rise in recent years as demonstrated by the works of Donati, Emirbayer, Crossley and Dépelteau. This is an exciting moment since the field is still in the making. This marks a great opportunity for researchers coming from different theoretical backgrounds and studying different empirical objects to engage in a dialog with each other to explore the dynamic and processual aspects of social life. Tags: Culture, Networks, Social Structure, Theory

Organizer: Monica Sanchez-Flores, Thompson Rivers University; Chair: Monica Sanchez-Flores, Thompson Rivers University


Chiara Piazzesi, Université du Québec à Montréal

Selfies as a Relational Gesture: Expectations and Gazing in Women's Online Practices

Against a popular, mainstream understanding of selfie-taking and sharing as self-centered, narcissistic, selfish practices, I will propose a reading of selfies as relational gestures within online social relationships. Selfies are a specific, wide-spread form of self-expression on social networking sites, which media, specialists, and general discourse often criticized as futile and self-serving. Based on a 2-year fieldwork with a small sample Canadian women taking and sharing selfies on social media, I will provide insights into women’s motivation, expectations, intentions, and communicational strategies while “doing selfies”. My paper applies Fushe’s operational definition of social relationships (Fuhse 2013) to online visual communicational practices: I analyze selfies as self-representational acts of communications, embedded in a network individual, shared, and normative expectations, through which they are crafted, circulated, and appraised by other users. Such networks of expectations are visible in the precautions, anticipations, and assessments described, during my interviews, by those who produce and circulate selfies. Hence, I argue that “doing selfies” is a carefully reflected relational practice, involving awareness of social norms of acceptability and visibility for women’s bodies, as well as direct and indirect experience of implications of exposure and relationship-building online.

Noé Klein, Université du Québec à Montréal

Amitiés, couples et fréquentations : proposition d'un outil d'analyse de la formation de relations intimes

L’approche relationnelle permet de contourner un écueil récurrent en sociologie de l’intimité, à savoir une conception fixiste associée à une définition préalable des relations intimes étudiées. Dans le cadre d’un mémoire de maitrise portant sur les relations amoureuses et amicales entre Québécois·es et Français·es, l’adoption d’une perspective relationnelle processuelle permit de joindre l’étude des conceptions de l’intimité à celle des pratiques dans une approche cohérente. L’objectif de cette étude était de parvenir à comprendre la manière dont les relations devenaient amicales ou amoureuses au cours de leurs formations, et ce, dans un contexte interculturel. Pour ce faire, le concept de « cadre relationnel » développé par Fuhse (2013) permit de faire émerger le processus par lequel une relation intime parvient à se définir, et de rendre compte de la manière dont les individus conçoivent, interprètent et transforment la relation vécue. L’analyse d’une dizaine d’entretiens approfondis ayant pour thème la formation de relations intimes vécues permit l’élaboration d’un schéma d’analyse sur lequel on peut situer et comparer les dynamiques relationnelles intimes en fonction de deux dimensions cruciales : l’affinité et l’intégration. En analysant les processus relationnels à l’aune de ces dimensions, les différences culturelles concernant les attentes associées à l’amour et à l’amitié deviennent saillantes. Ce faisant, il devient possible d’établir les tendances principales en matière de modèles relationnels ainsi que leur intégration aux dynamiques étudiées provenant du processus relationnel lui-même. Grâce à cette approche, il fut possible de déterminer la manière dont les amitiés se définissent en dépit d’une absence de modèles relationnels clairement définis. Cette étude mena également au constat que les relations amoureuses québécoises et françaises reposaient sur des modèles différents, mais des dynamiques similaires, ce qui conduit les partenaires de cultures différentes à s’accorder explicitement sur le cadrage de la relation vécue.

Dilsora Komil-Burley, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

Dialectical Radicalization: Analyzing the Relationship between the State and Islam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan using Relational Framework

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, rigorous revival of Islam was observable in the post-Uzbekistan. The “home-grown” radicalism of local Muslims ended up forming one of the most daring extremist and terrorist organizations – Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which became an international threat (Khalid, 2007). Thousands of Uzbek men and women went to Syria to join ISIS. Within the framework of five “Mehr” (compassion) operations exactly 531 women and children were brought back to Uzbekistan by the government.  Radicalization is a process (Nasser-Eddine et al 2011; Schmid 2013) and it is political rather than religious or cultural (Neuman 2016). At the core of extremism is the idea of “us vs. them,” either with some groups claiming superiority, or feeling victimized. In short, the hidden spaces of hate and hurt are a home for radicalization. The historical repertoire of interactions between the state and Islam under and after the Soviet rule includes repressive laws and policies, attacks on Islamic belief systems, purges and persecution of Islamic leaders and their followers and targeted surveillance, on one hand; forming underground Islamic organizations, expressing disagreement and anger towards the existing political system, mobilizing people against the state, and using Islamic ideology and victimhood to stimulate political aggression on the other. The Karimov government intended to wipe out all opposition to his government, religious or non-religious, and used Islamic radicalism and terrorism to justify its politics. Della Porta (2018) states that “radicalization is a process of escalation from nonviolent to increasingly violent repertoires of action that develops through a complex set of interactions unfolding over time.” I use a relational framework (Alimi et al. 2015) to analyze dialectical radicalization between the political and the religious in Uzbekistan between 1991 and 2016, during the Islam Karimov presidency.