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Relational Sociology

This research cluster is all about networking. We want to offer a network of relational thinkers coming from sociology and other disciplines. We have identified six main goals we want to achieve, not necessarily in this order:

  • To encourage and diffuse relational sociology and thinking in Canada and elsewhere
  • To connect Canadian relationists to colleagues working in other countries
  • To announce new events related to relational sociology in Canada and elsewhere (congresses, publications, call for papers, new courses offered in relational sociology, etc.)
  • To offer an updated thematic bibliography on relational sociology (RS and childhood, RS and social movements, RS and N. Luhmann, RS and N. Elias, etc.)
  • To organize the annual panels on relational sociology at the CSA
  • To organize the annual meeting of the research cluster at the annual congress of the CSA

If you are interested to help us to achieve one of these goals, or several of them, or if you have any suggestion, project or idea, please contact us.

Dr. Mónica J. Sánchez-Flores (she/her)
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Environment, Culture and Society (ECS)
Thompson Rivers University ne Secwepemcul’ecw

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Conference Sessions

Member Profiles

Resources

Webinars

International School of Radical Relationism (ISRR) - a subgroup of the Relational Sociology Research Cluster

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 Conference Sessions

Coming soon

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Member Profiles

Learn more about our cluster members - Visit the member profile page

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Resources

Many members of this research cluster are associated with book series, journals and other similar knowlegde mobilizations in various ways (e.g. as editors or members of editorial boards). This list of journals, publications, and websites may be incomplete and not necessarily updated regularly.  Please contact us if you have revisions to this list.

Journals and Series

A list of journals on relational sociology and other related journals.

Relational Sociology Journals and Series

Palgrave Studies in Relational Sociology
N. Crossley & P. Seelg (book series editors), F. Dépelteau (in memoriam, founder)

Digithum
N. Cantó-Milà (editor in chief), F. Dépelteau (in memoriam, former editor)

Other Related Journals and Series

Asian Journal of Law and Society
S. Liu (editorial board)

Cuadernos da Teoria Social
F. Dépelteau (in memoriam, former editorial board)

Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
O. Lizardo (editorial board)

Journal of Social and Political Psychology
R. Jaspal (editorial board)

Journal of World Systems Research
O. Lizardo (editorial board)

Law & Social Inquiry
S. Liu (editorial panel)

Poetics
O. Lizardo (editorial board)

Political Power and Social Theory
J. Go (editor)

Sociological Forum
O. Lizardo (editorial board)

Sociological Theory
E. Erikson (editorial board)

Simmel Studies
C. Papilloud (editorial board)

Theory and Society
O. Lizardo (corresponding editor)

Publications

A selection of publications from our members (please let us know about your coming or recent publications):

Pierpaolo Donati, one of the founders of relational sociology, has just released a new book entitled Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking. The book is published with Routledge. The book is also available in online open access here.

Congratulations for our colleague and friend Peeter Selg for his book Introducing Relational Political Analysis (co-authored with Andreas Ventsel). Their book was published with Palgrave MacMillan as part of the Palgrave Series on Relational Sociology created a few years back by Francois Depelteau.

Website Resources

Website links to related organizations and informative websites.

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Webinars

Our cluster regularly holds online seminars and workshops open to cluster members.  Contact us to learn more about upcoming events.

Relationally Re-imagining Transformational Change: New Approaches to Governing Gender-based Violence?
March 10, 2023. Rebecca Buys, Research Fellow in Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Abstract: A large amount of faith is placed in public inquiries to address difficult problems; much of which is based on a belief in their independence, objectivity and transparency. Mirroring this framing, public inquiries’ scholarship tends to construct such investigations using this triad to describe or critique them. This paper disrupts this binary by adopting a deep relational framework to consider under-explored experiences of engaging with public inquiries—specifically with activists and frontline service providers involved with the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria, Australia). By examining these new insights, the contemporary research focus is stretched beyond an analytical binary. While the participants’ stories included functional descriptions and critical explanations, they cannot be easily compartmentalised into one or the other. Instead, they narrated a process defined more by interdependencies, ambiguities, and opaqueness. Consequently, approaching their accounts through a deep relational framework enables the multiplicities and contradictions of their stories to be held in a way that enables more complex and nuanced understandings to emerge about the possibilities and challenges of addressing pervasive problems through public inquiries.

‘Hell is other people’: solitude and the ‘relational subject’
February 3, 2023. Vince Marotta of Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Abstract: There has been increasing interest in the role that solitude plays in understanding contemporary western societies and the challenges they face. This has been evident in the expansive non-academic work on solitude over the last two decades. I focus on four representative texts: Anneli Rufus’ (2003) Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto, Michael Harris’s (2017) Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World, Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin’s (2018) Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership through Solitude and Debbi Marco’s (2019) The Joy of Missing Out #JOMO: How to Embrace Solitude and Shun FOMO. The paper examines how solitude, and the solitary self are understood in these texts and their connections to freedom, individuality and creativity. Thus, I specifically contextualise the idea in relation to theories of self and other, individualisation, and mass society. Finally, drawing on different theories of relationality, such as from Donati and the work of Dépelteau and Powell, I examine the extent to which the solitude literature adopts a non-relational view of solitude in which solitude is conceived as an entity rather than an entangled process embedded in prior, present and future relations. The overall aim is to investigate the epistemological and ontological relevance of the ‘relational subject’ to the idea of solitude and what relational theories can add to our conceptualisation of the latter.

Global Solidarity as Deep-Relational Self-Interest; the COVAX Facility and Its Colonial Attempt at Transnational Crisis Governance
December 16, 2022. Monica Sanchez-Flores, Associate Professor of Sociology in Thompson Rivers University.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most important global crisis of this century with whole-world consequences that public authorities, finances, markets, supply-chain and various industries are still grappling with to this day. Sanchez-Flores addresses some substantive and decolonial consequences of the deep-relational ontological commitments of assigning conceptual primacy to relations as well as seeing relations as constitutive of its elements when looking at social/political phenomena. She proposes that this two-pronged deep relational ontological commitment gives rise to deontological or substantive revision of traditional liberal individuality in the current geopolitical framework where substantialist thinking enables certain assumptions of the liberal cosmopolitan worldview (such as reliance on hyper-individualism). Sanchez-Flores proposes that the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) effort towards global vaccine equity is an example of substantialist colonial thinking. She says that the traditional liberal-democratic conceptual ways of approaching governance of global public issues conceals “coloniality” within the paradigm and a racial hierarchy that results in inadequate and simplistic solutions that are self-defeating. From a deep-relational and processual framework, this is an attempt to theorize Global Solidarity in transnational governance within the relational field of a global set of public crises, such as COVID-19.

What Relations Matter?
November 11, 2022. Ben Klasche of Tallinn University and Helsinki University and Birgit Poopuu of Tallinn University.
Abstract: What relations matter? This question sits at the heart of this article and addresses in a more thoroughgoing way the methodological and ethico-political problems that some relational thinkers have debated. We are interested in deep relationalism and the methodological problem of delineating which relations matter in a reality defined by an ever-unfolding web of relations. By acknowledging the relationality of Critical IR theories, this methodological puzzle is explored by recognising the situatedness of relations that are being analysed. Moreover, this helps us to start a conversation on the ethical and political dimensions of deeply relational approaches. By placing the ontological work of deep relationalism in dialogue with the epistemological and ethico-political aspects of critical theory we are putting forth an account of critical relationalism. Furthermore, we are not only arguing for a critical approach to relationalism but also adding to one of the main methodological debates in relationalism that asks us to carefully consider which relations matter (for our analysis) and how we should access them? Finally, this piece advocates for more plural grounds for relationalism in IR to critically reflect on which relations our theoretical approaches can take us to and why this matters.

Radical Relationism Redux
October 21, 2022.
In this session, Christopher Powell from the Toronto Metropolitan University discusses his notion of radical relationism beyond his 2013 chapter Radical Relationsim: A Proposal. He includes an analysis of power, domination and the imperative to decolonize social theory from a radical relational perspective.

Social Networks of Communication and Meaning
For our virtual workshop on February 25, 2022, we were very lucky to have a presentation by Jan Fuhse. His presentation was entitled “Social Networks of Communication and Meaning” and it was based on the book he recently released with Oxford University Press (see here).

Educational governance and normative agency
Another month, another virtual workshop! For January 2022, we had the pleasure of having a presentation by Jitka Wirthova from the Centre for Science, Technology and Society Studies (Prague, Czech Republic). Jitka presented on “Educational governance and normative agency as plural event: social conditions of normative action over education.”

On the need for ontological bookkeeping in relational sociology.
Joonatan Nogisto

A Process-Relational Approach to Race and Racism
Monica Sanchez-Flores, Thompson Rivers University

International law can only fail in the Anthropocene: a processual-relational argument for planetary Earth law.

Benjamin Klasche, School of Governance, Law and Society at Talinn University (Estonia).

Jean-Sebastien Guy on the movie Pandora
Jean-Sebastien Guy, Dalhousie University, Halifax. Jean-Sebastien examined the movie Pandora, along with three more scenes from other movies, to show the distinction between two types of story. He then discussed how this distinction can help us reflect on our social conditions.  We had a technical hiccup around 35:26, but we’re back at 36:24.

The Society of Speculation
Péter Csigó, Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Creativity as Intra-Action: Relational Entanglements and Creative Becoming in the Space of Schooling
Kevin Naimi

Radical Complexity
Chris Powell from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Chris is of course well known within the RS community, notably for having co-edited Conceptualizing Relational Sociology as well as Applying Relational Relational Sociology with Francois Depelteau. For his presentation, Chris talked about complexity theory and how sociology can be useful for lay actors.

Introducing Relational Political Analysis: Political Semiotics as Theory and Method
Peeter Selg, Talinn University, Estonia.

The online far right
Melodie Devries, PhD student from the department of communication and culture at Ryerson University, Toronto.

Virtual relational sociology mini-colloquium
This year, the CSA’s annual conference was cancelled due to COVID-19. In replacement for this, the relational sociology research cluster held a virtual mini-colloquium on Zoom on June 12, 2020.

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