Congress 2016 Session Descriptions and Abstracts

Dear cluster members and fellow congressists,

You will find below a list of all sessions and meetings of the Canadian Network of Durkheimian Studies/Réseau canadien d’études durkheimiennes (CNDS/RCED) cluster held at Congress 2016 in Calgary, AB. Note that all information is correct at the time of publication, but might still be subject to modifications. All sessions and meetings are listed in order of occurence on may 31st.


Session Code: CDRC_1

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 31  9:00am‐10:30am
Location: Science A‐109

This  session  proposes  to  delve  into  durkheimian  theory  to  explore  new  religious movements,  religious  reconfigurations  and  heterodox  solidarities  that  arise  when the  old  Gods  are  no  more,  and  that  the  creative  effervescence  of  troubled  times allows  for  new  ones  to  emerge.  We  will  explore  how  those  new  (and  not  so  new) forms  of  collective  consciousness  are  (un)able  to  foster  solidarity,  as well as reflect in the ability of such  phenomenon to energize communities, as per the theme of this year’s  Congress.  More specifically,  research work for  this  session  can  relate  to religious  changes  and  reformulations  of  the  sacred,  religion  in  contemporary society,  new religious movements, implicit religiosities and heterodox solidarities, as well as contributions to theories of  collective or social representations, ideology and symbolic representation.

Session Organizer and Chair: Katy Maloney, Université du Québec à Montréal


1. Robin Willey, University of Alberta
Baby Oil and Bachelor Parties: Collective Effervescence and the Reification of

Abstract: Bachelor parties exemplify both the best and worst aspects of masculinity. On the one hand, they exist as a relic of an archaic form of masculinity that stands to separate men and woman as dichotomous social-beings. On the other hand, the ritualistic and liminal aspects of these parties cement friendships amongst men and allow for a celebration of these friendships—rituals that are all too rare for many men. This presentation explores the relationship between moments of “collective effervescence” and “liminality,” and the reification of hypermasculinity. Prominent masculinities scholar Michael Kimmel uses the concept of “Guyland” to describe the spaces and times where “guys” (usually between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six) can obsess over sports and cars, perpetually putting off adulthood, and understand women solely as the objects of male satisfaction. Guyland is a liminal time and space where the gains of feminism are put on hold, and hypermasculinity is rampant. The author argues that we can extend the concept of Guyland to men and women over the age of twenty-six.  In short, the author argues that, although Guyland primarily effects those aged sixteen to twenty-six, we ritually summon Guyland back into existence in specific times and places to renew the vows we made with it in the past. In addition, the author makes use of a particular personal experience on a bachelor party in Reno, Nevada to further explicate his argument.

2. William Ramp, University of Lethbridge
Love and the sacred self: religion, affect and social media

Abstract: In 1914, Durkheim speculated that new, more universalistic religious forms in Europe would arise from the same social location as new forms of solidarity: namely the working class. However, in the First World War, solidarity was focused on the nation rather than class. In the century since, hopes for social solidarity have been pinned on a number of different social and cultural formations, including populist coalitions such the Trump and Sanders campaigns in the United States. But there is a markedly individualistic tone to both these campaigns; their leaders personify less a collective than a type of person; a subject. Aside from these partisan exercises, social media messages — memes in particular — often feature appeals to a kind of human universality which individuals represent by identifying with and loving each other. This paper will inquire into the extent to which individualistic appeals to such a universalistic love could be called religious in a Durkheimian sense, and whether Durkheim is still useful for parsing the political consequences of a seemingly post-solidarity universalism.


Session Code: CDRC_3

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 31  10:45am‐12:15pm
Location: Science A‐109

In  recent  decades,  Durkheimian  sociology  and social  theory have  been  the  sites  of new debates, dialogue and controversy, informed and inspired by new research by new research on a wide range of contemporary social phenomena. In line with a history reaching back to Durkheim himself (and his équipe), these developments treat theory-building and substantive research is inseparable and intertwined at every stage. This session will showcase contemporary research into social life and its transformations which also meaningfully engages with Durkheimian, neo‐Durkheimian or post‐Durkheimian theory (e.g. work by any of Mauss, Hubert, Halbwachs, Hertz, Davy, Caillois, Bataille, Parsons, Bellah, Steiner, Lévi‐Strauss, Lukes, Bourdieu, Badiou, Althusser, Foucault, Taylor, Joas, etc.).

Session Organizer and Chair: William Ramp, University of Lethbridge


1. James Cosgrave, Trent University Durham
Durkheim Plays the Lottery

Abstract:This paper considers the widespread presence of legal gambling and lotteries from a Durkheimian theoretical perspective, drawing also from the work of Mauss, Caillois, and Bataille. Particular attention will be paid to lotteries. Lotteries are the most popular form of gambling worldwide since legalization and expansion began in the 1960s and 70s. Lottery jackpots have increased significantly in national lotteries in the last twenty years, and large lottery jackpots stimulate greater ticket purchases. The discussion locates contemporary state lotteries in relation to economic structures and ideologies in which the state itself participates, providing justification for the lottery form. The symbolic, circulatory, and redistributive aspects of contemporary legal gambling/lotteries will prompt consideration of their collective representationality.

2. Bernard Bertrand, UQÀM
L’impact du numérique sur les nouvelles formes de la solidarité: une analyse
néodurkheimienne des communautés internet

Abstract: À la lumière de la révolution numérique et ses implications sur les formes de sociabilité (création de nouveaux espaces d’échange, réseaux sociaux, sites de rencontre, blogs, etc.), le visage de l’univers social peut paraitre modifié. Ainsi, partant des concepts de solidarité organique et solidarité mécanique tel que théoriser par Émile Durkheim, la prochaine conférence tentera de comprendre comment ce nouvel espace numérique vient modifier les différents rapports dans la société et, par le fait même, vient modifier le lien social.

3. Steve Rose, Queen’s University
Facilitating Occupational Transitions: A Durkheimian Model of Working

Abstract: In contemporary social life, individuals are tasked with identity construction through an increasingly eclectic array of symbolic references and institutional arrangements. Distinct from homogeneous traditional contexts with clear symbolic orders and a low division of labour, our contemporary neoliberal state of organic solidarity relies on a high degree of occupational specialization. In addition to specialization, rapid technological development and global economic forces have subjected individuals to an increasing number of occupational transitions. This paper analyzes the impact of occupational transition on identity. Building on prevailing models of self-identity and social identity, this paper argues that a sociological concept of working identity is better suited to understanding the anomic impact of occupational transition. A Durkheimian model of identity is constructed by integrating contemporary psychological research on working identity with Elwin Humphreys Powell’s Neo-Durkheimian concept of anomie. By understanding the impact of occupational transition on identity formation, sociologists are better able to diagnose anomic transitional social conditions and are better prepared to make policy recommendations regarding potential intermediary institutions to help facilitate occupational transitions.

4. Steven James Cole, Bishop’s University
Cultural Order Amidst Online Over‐Commodification

Abstract: One of Durkheim’s lasting legacies lies in understanding the socio-cultural creation and maintenance of order. While Durkheim’s most vivid work examined the maintenance of the sacred order, a host of less “spectacular” practices also maintain order via cultural schema. For example, Kopytoff examines group practices that counter/balance the homogenized world of mass produced commodities by instilling objects with singularity and uniqueness. My research uses Kopytoff to investigate how online communities re-establish uniqueness and singularity amidst a wash of commodification. Using an inductive approach, I examine the ways actors “use use-value’ to differentiate themselves from mere consumers and re-establish order and balance within online groups that foster a culture of consumption via the continual discussion and display of musical instruments.



Date and Time: Tuesday, May 31    12:30pm – 1:30pm
Location: Science A‐109

The bilingual Canadian Network of Durkheimian Studies/Réseau canadien d’études durkheimienne (CNDS/RCED) was formed in the spring of 2012, becoming a Research Cluster of the CSA in the fall 0f 2013. The Research Cluster is oecumenical in its approach to Durkheimian sociology as exemplified in the session and paper topics at Congress in 2014 and 2015 that combine empirical, theoretical, historical, and textual research together with considerations about political and religious practice. Its activities are also closely tied with those of the Laboratoire d’études durkheimiennes de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (LED-UQAM). Our 2015 annual meeting introduced a new co-secretary structure with students and professors, preparations for 2016-2017 meetings, communications protocols, research priorities, activities and  possible publication projects for the 100th anniversary of Durkheim’s death in 2017. CNDS/RCED is officially affiliated with: The British Centre for Durkheimian Studies, Oxford University; the Brazilian Centre of Durkheimian Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, at Porto Alegre, Brazil; and La Société Française d’Études Durkheimiennes, Paris.



Session Code: CDRC_2

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 31  1:45pm‐3:15pm
Location: Science A‐109

La séance sera l’occasion pour les chercheurs de présenter leurs travaux visant à clarifier le sens de la théorie et des concepts durkheimiens par l’’étude du contenu ou du contexte de l’œuvre. Les écrits d’Émile Durkheim occupent une place privilégiée dans l’appareil référentiel des sociologues contemporains. Cette sur-utilisation des théories du premier sociologue universitaire français laisse place à plusieurs écarts et confère une certaine ambigüité à plusieurs de ses éléments. L’étude du contexte intellectuel, politique, culturel ou institutionnel dans le cadre duquel se développe la sociologie durkheimienne éclaire le sens des concepts et les les préoccupations partagées par Durkheim et ses contemporains. L’analyse textuelle du corpus, quant à elle, est fondamentale en ce qu’’elle rend possible la description lexicale nécessaire à la circonscription d’’un objet d’étude particulier au sein du vaste corpus durkheimien et l’analyse de sa place dans la logique théorique qui se déploie. Cette double appréhension de la théorie durkheimienne (textuelle et socio-historique) s’inscrit résolument dans l’histoire sociale des sciences sociales en ce qu’elle sonde sociologiquement le passé théorique de manière à éclairer la théorie sociologique contemporaine.

Session Organizer and Chair: Bernard Bertrand, UQÀM


1. Edith Wilson, University of Guelph
“A Stubborn Dreamer and Quiet Extremist”: Durkheim and Anarchism

Abstract: This work explores links between the anarchist uprisings of Europe in the later 1800’s and the development of Durkheim’s work as a foundational figure in sociological thought. Throughout Durkheim’s life, anarchist action was sweeping both France, and more generally, Europe. Given this, I wish to place the development of Durkheim’s thought in its historical context, where he was surrounded by (among other things) a student body that was increasingly radicalized by the repressiveness of the French government at that time. I draw on the portions of Durkheim’s work that possess points of conversation with anarchist theorists such as Bakunin, as well as Fournier’s 2014 biography of Durkheim. No attempt will be made to draw a causal link between Durkheim’s thought and anarchism, or to suggest that Durkheim was secretly a radical socialist of any kind. However, I argue that certain unintentional points of conversation exist that can enrich our understanding of both theoretical traditions.

2. Peter Mallory, St. Francis Xavier University; Patricia Cormack, St. Francis
Xavier University
Where’s Durkheim? Searching for Contemporary Durkheim in Sociology Textbooks

Abstract: N/D

3. Katy Maloney, Université du Québec à Montréal
Sociology or social psychology? Comparative analysis of Durkheim and Serge
Moscovici’s theories of collective/social representations

Abstract: This presentation will draw upon theories of social/collective representations in social psychology, through the works of Serge Moscovici, and in sociology, through the works of Emile Durkheim, in an attempt to form a comprenhensive interdisciplinary understanding of symbolic representations of the social. For Moscovici, drawing upon the social psychological approach of Gabriel Tarde, a thinker Durkheim was heavily in dialogue with, social representations stem from individuals. Therefore, Moscovici’s interest for non-hegemonical, minority social representations and their subversive potential seems in stark contrast with Durkheim’s more holistic conception of collective representations as distinct from, though in relation with, individual representations. Both thinkers adress the problem of socio-symbolic processes from radically different angles, one from a macro-sociological standpoint, the other at a more micro, individual scale. Our idea is to consider both theories, and to try and establish an interdisciplinary concept of social representations, one that adresses the micro-macro link and attempts to overcome the mutual critiques and perceived limitations of both approaches. To Durkheim, both disciplines were, although comparable, « relatively independant » sciences : but do we have to pick sides between sociology and social psychology? Can they otherwise be « partners in crime », to forge a more comprehensive understanding of social and individual symbolization processes?

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