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Invitation to the 2020 World Congress of Rural Sociology

Whose versions of sustainability count in the urban century? How does spatial disadvantage intersect with injustices based on gender, ethnic, linguistic, religious and other dimensions of social difference? What opportunities do flows of people, capital, information and commodities between urban and rural spaces present for sustainable rural development?

As a delegate to the 2020 World Congress of Rural Sociology you will consider these and many other questions relevant to contemporary rural society.

Our venue, Cairns, sits on the traditional country of the Gimuy Yidinji and Yirrigandji peoples. Sandwiched between two World Heritage Areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Tropical North Queensland – and with a vast rural hinterland, Cairns is a hub for tourism and tropical agriculture at the heart of the Asia Pacific.

For information on key dates, session and paper submissions, travel and accommodation, registration and tours, check the Congress website.

President’s Corner: Towards Construction of Social and Sustainable Science

By Koichi Ikegami, President of IRSA

I attended the International Conference on ‘Social and Sustainability Science ASEAN 2018: Agri-Food Systems and Rural Sustainability’ at Chulalongkorn University on 23-25 of January 2018. I was invited as President of IRSA. I had a keynote speech entitled as Ensuring Rural Sustainability in the Unequal Worlds. Major points of my speech were as follows; 1) Major Issues in the 21st Century such as Structuration of the North South Problem, Casino Capitalism or Speculative Capitalism, and Global Warming and Climate Change, 2) Flat World, but Unequal World: Other Side of Globalization, 3) Background of Rise of Alternative Movement , 4)Two Examples of alternative movement: Fair Trade and Creation of FEC Sufficient Territory in Higashi-Oumi city, Japan, 5)‘Mura’ Business: Model of Small Business of Village, by Village and for Village. Of course, I mentioned about next World Congress of IRSA, and asked that most of participants there would come to join us in 2020.

On the following day after Conference, I was also asked to give a mini lecture for establishing MOST School. Required theme is “Rural sustainability and contemporary social science approaches”. I did not realize what MOST meant until that time. It was a very new idea for me. MOST is a UNESCO’s intergovernmental science programme on social transformations. As for this regard, it is important to identify to what direction society transforms. The answer is towards sustainable society.

The both events were organized by Chulalongkorn University and UNESCO. There were lots of participants from ASEAN countries. One of my major impressions was that ASEAN countries paid strong attentions to sustainability. One of reasons for such attraction might be adoption of SDGs in 2015 as well as reflection of the results by development-oriented policies.

SDGs include not only poverty and hunger but also gender and partnership as well as sustainable agriculture. It is uncommon in Japan that the so-called Developed Countries such as Japan are involved in SDGs. One example indicates this fact very well, that a mayor of a city in Shiga Prefecture claimed strongly the SDGs-oriented policy by Prefecture Office of Shiga according to his understanding that SDGs addressed only Developing Countries.
It is an urgent task to build sustainable science in social science. I am strongly confident that rural sociology can contribute to accomplishing this task.

Tenure-track position available at The University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW-Madison is searching for a tenure-track (junior) faculty member with an outstanding record of teaching and research relevant to environment and health. The position requires a Ph.D. in sociology or related field. Candidates from historically underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

The successful candidate will teach and mentor in our top-ranked graduate and undergraduate programs, and will carry out a vigorous research program that improves the ability to understand and intervene on the intersecting social causes and consequences of environmental and health problems. Consistent with the mission of the University of Wisconsin System, the candidate will be committed to service to the community, state, nation, and profession for the benefit of all citizens.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is committed to eliminating the achievement gap between majority and underrepresented students; recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty and staff; preparing all students, staff, and faculty to thrive personally and professionally in a diverse, global, interconnected world; and enhancing the campus climate for inclusion.

Review of applications will begin 15 September 2017.

For further details, including instructions to applicants, a list of possible areas of expertise, and the many opportunities for contribution and collaboration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, please browse for 90808 at

Questions about the position are welcome, and should be directed to:

Call for papers: Metrics in environmental governance: Toward a critical analysis of accountability

Sponsors: RC40 (Agriculture and Food), RC23 (Science and Technology), RC24 (Environment and Society)

Proposal Coordinator: Steven Wolf (RC40)

Abstract & Justification
Analysis of metrics, and standards more generally, has emerged as an important focus within studies of environmental governance. Accountability is attracting increasing attention, as there is a need to address questions about material consequences as part of an effort to move beyond analysis of institutional design.

Heightened attention to metrics has accompanied increasing emphasis on market-based and outcome-based policy designs, but bureaucratic modes of governance have long been predicated on the specification of categories and systems of representation. Metrics can be understood as a resource for democratic accountability, and they can be instruments of authoritarian discipline at a distance. Metrics support empirical analysis and policy learning, but at the same time they obscure knowledge claims, technical uncertainty, and alternative problem definitions. This ambiguity demands attention. Analysis of the metrics of governance, and the governance of metrics, presents opportunities for theoretical and empirical engagement on questions of “Power, Violence, and Justice: Reflections, Responses, and Responsibilities”(2018 Theme).

This collaboration between three ISA Research Committees aims to realize topical, theoretical, and methodological synergies. Linkages between environment and agrifood production and consumption are highlighted in the biological and land-based nature of farming (inputs to agriculture) and by the negative implications of agriculture for water, biodiversity, and climate (outputs of agriculture). Attention to interdependence among discursive constructs, local action, political economic structures, and multiply-scaled material flows characterize both the sociology of environment and agrifood sociology. Science and Technology Studies has served to highlight the socially embedded nature of technical acts including promulgation of standards. Further, this field has championed a methodological commitment to analysis of (grounded, local, actor-centered) practice as a complement to production of overarching histories of design (abstract representations).