Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty Research Network 22 (ESA)

Call for papers

Mid-term conference

Risk, Uncertainty and Transition

University of Stuttgart, Germany

8-10 April 2015

The European Sociological Association’s (ESA) Risk and Uncertainty network plays a major role in the ESA’s general conferences, held every four years. In between these events we also convene ‘mid-term’ events of our own, with the next one to be held at the University of Stuttgart.

We aim to stimulate sociological and interdisciplinary research and debate into how risk and uncertainty are perceived, constructed, managed and/or neglected by social actors – individuals and organisations – as well as the impact of these responses in society. Modern sociological theory describes the modernisation process as a transition from stable, calculable and predictable societies, so-called modern, industrial societies, to a new type of society where stable structures are replaced by fluid arrangements. The term ‘risk’ is increasingly supported by a focus on uncertainty. Following Beck, a risk and uncertainty perspective allows insights into contemporary society and has become one of its defining features. When individuals, organizations and societies are planning for the future, they are fundamentally exposed to complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity.

Although the event will have a more specific focus on the theme of transition, this is an open call for papers, which explore aspects of risk and uncertainty across a broad range of sociological and interdisciplinary perspectives. Papers will be grouped into themes after acceptance around topics such as: sense-making of risk; health risks; environmental risks, technological risks, risks of energy supply, risk governance; risk and crime; professional approaches to risk; biographical risks; risk and emotions; trust; risk management and uncertainty; inequality and risk; risk, resilience and everyday life; and social theories of risk. Other risk related issues are welcome.

Our previous mid-term conferences have been very successful and we hope you’ll join us in Germany for stimulating discussion and reflection on the latest European risk research.

Keynote speakers

Ortwin Renn is Professor of environmental sociology and technology assessment, Dean of the Economic and Social Sciences Department and Director of the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS) at the University of Stuttgart, and President of the Society for Risk Analysis. He has published extensively on risk, risk governance, risk assessment and management.

Åsa Boholm is Professor of Social Anthropology at Gothenburg University, Sweden, and has published on historical, cultural, organizational and institutional dimensions of risk.

Gabe Mythen is Doctor of Sociology at University of Liverpool, and has published on the relationship between risk, security and control based on research in the intersection of sociology and criminology.


The conference will take place at University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, and will be hosted by ZIRIUS (Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies) and the Department of Sociology of Technology and Environment of the University of Stuttgart


Abstracts, 300-350 words plus full name, institution, and the author(s) contacts, should be sent by December 20th, 2014 to the following e-mail address: [email protected]

Notification of acceptance will be announced by February 15th 2015.

Registration and registration fee

Participants will be required to pay a nominal registration fee of 100 Euros (150 Euros for non-members of ESA) by February 28th 2015. This will include coffee breaks, lunch and one dinner. Late-registration (from 1st of March 2015 onwards) will cost 200 Euros (250 Euros non-ESA members). Information about registration and payment of registration fee will soon be available at the SoRU-webpage,

To register send the fee to

Bank: BW Bank

Holder of the Account: Universität Stuttgart

Bank Account: IBAN     DE51 6005 0101 7871 5216 87,  BIC         SOLADESTXXX

Purpose: Fonds  86027665, Abt. Sowi V

Mark the payment with the participant’s name.

Travel and accommodation

Participants will need to make their own travel arrangements and hotel reservations. Conference organizers will provide information about accommodation, as well as suggestions about different alternatives for travelling to Stuttgart. This information will be made available nearer to the end of the year.

Additional information about key note speakers, registration and payment of conference fee, and more, will be regularly updated on the SoRU-webpage, see

Research Network co-ordinators: Anna Olofsson ([email protected]) and Adam Burgess ([email protected]).

Local organizers (in case of inquiries of the local organization): Juergen Hampel ([email protected])