February 18, 2013

CRRC Armenia 2013 Conference on Social Capital

Because of the utmost significance of the concept of social capital and also the controversies associated with it, the CRRC-Armenia is pleased to announce a special Conference on Social Capital (SC Conference) – Social Capital: Definitions, Applications, Cultural Contexts. The conference will be held on June 5-6, 2013, in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia.

Throughout decades, the concept of social capital has often been used as a conceptual tool of social sciences. Almost all social disciplines have included the social capital in their research frameworks - from development economics to social psychology, from social health research to education attainment studies, from criminology to anthropology. While the social capital concept has generally been accepted in most of the societies and cultures, it has, however, no lack of criticism either. Critics spend their time and direct their intellectual efforts particularly towards the issues of measurement of social capital.

Although different disciplines define social capital differently, they tend to converge in one characteristic of this complex phenomenon. They share the idea that social networks, social contacts (or their absence) affect the productivity of individuals, groups and polities, much like the polity’s accumulated physical capital and educational attainments do.

Identification, establishment and/or strengthening of desirable forms/types of social capital constitute a central concern for any society. These things cannot be achieved overnight. They are bound to raise difficult questions: What type of social capital does a polity have at its current level of economic and social development? How can social capital contribute or hinder a country’s economic and social advancement? What can educational reforms do to speed up, or slow down, the creation of advantageous forms of social capital (e.g., in Armenia, also from the perspective of Armenia’s comparison to other countries)? How do social capital and Internet relate to each other? What are cultural implications of social capital, e.g., in the Armenian context, also in comparison with other South Caucasus countries? Which type(s) of social capital are more conducive to higher economic efficiency and social performance of developing polities? How does civil society impact the formation of a particular type of social capital? How does social capital relate to changes in women’s role in society? Can social capital deepen, and even generate, social inequality? How does social capital impact migration/emigration dynamics? These and a whole range of even more issues, relating social capital to youth studies, civil society, poverty, happiness, crime statistics, health – are all welcome to be presented, discussed and debated at the SC Conference. 

SC Conference Format

Contributors are hereby invited to submit proposals to the SC Conference. The proposed papers should address one of the following broadly defined subjects. Contributors may also choose more narrow subjects closely related to these.
  1. Definitional Issues and Typology of Social Capital
  2. Social Capital, Democracy and State Cohesion; Connectedness; Social Capital, Social Cohesion, Solidarity
  3. Methodology: Evaluation and Measurement of Social Capital; Emerging Research Opportunities
  4. Social Capital and Reciprocity: Trust in Social Norms and Institutions.
  5. Social Capital and Gender Issues: Prominent Role of Women in Society, Women’s Engagement in Politics and Business
  6. Cultural Implications of Social Capital
  7. Misunderstanding and Misusing the Social Capital: Negative Social Capital and Reproduction of Inequality
Both empirical papers and theoretical/conceptual contributions are equally welcome.

The SC Conference will serve as a forum for discussion, debates, generation of ideas. The Conference will also be a socializing and networking event, precisely the type of event to promote, propagate and publicize the concept of social capital.

The Conference will include three panels for discussion and debates. The three panels are broadly dubbed “theoretical,” “empirical” and “cultural”
  1. The Theoretical Panel will discuss and debate definitional issues and typology of social capital concept, bonding vs. bridging types of social capital, possible relationships between social capital, efficiency of democratic institutions and therefore stability of state cohesion; connectedness and solidarity, social networking, trust in institutions and social norms, accompanied at the same time by possibilities of individual choice – these and related exciting theoretical general musings are the subjects to be raised, debate and pondered upon by the participants to the panel.
  2. The Empirical Panel will devote its attention to methodological and practical aspects of measurement of social capital, newly emerging research opportunities. Possible relationships between social capital and the Internet will await consideration. Problems that can arise from misunderstanding and misusing the social capital also fall in this category. Participants will discuss the so-called “negative social capital”, its possible and much debated connection to reproduction of inequality.
  3. The Cultural Panel will hold talks of cultural implications of social capital, particularly its manifestations in the contemporary Armenian society. Comparative perspectives and contrasting reviews of South Caucasus states, characteristics of social capital in countries of other culturally diverse regions of the world will be particularly welcome. Social capital and the role of women in different societies, opportunities for women’s economic empowerment in relation to a culture’s social capital are also bound to generate fruitful discussions.
Terms of Participation and Selection Criteria

The SC Conference will host social scientists, scholars, researchers, think-thank and NGO representatives, Master of Arts and PhD students, individuals from academic faculties, government agencies, representatives of international organizations – all those who will demonstrate scientific and professional interest in the above mentioned subjects and related fields. The potential contributors will submit abstracts (no more than 300 words) of their proposed papers. Abstracts can be submitted either in Armenian or in English. No discrimination will be made with regard to race, gender, religion, citizenship, social, political and/or other affiliations of participants.

Abstracts will be submitted by March 7, 2013 to: conference@crrc.am

The Conference Steering Committee (CSC) will select the Conference speakers on a competitive basis. Individuals whose paper abstracts will have been selected by the end of selection process will further be contacted by the CSC to submit full papers.

The CSC will notify authors of accepted abstracts by e-mails by March 29, 2013.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate submitted abstracts:
  1. Abstracts should contain no more than 300 words, including the following information: the title, the name(s), contacts, and institutional affiliation(s) of the author(s).
  2. Abstracts must bear relevance to one of the subjects described in the Section 2: SC Conference Format.
  3. Abstracts must be logically coherent and must accurately reflect the purpose, structure, argument and conclusions of the paper.
  4. Abstracts must NOT contain unsupported assertions, ethical judgments, call-ups for violence, terrorism, etc.
  5. Citations must be equipped with accurate references to the sources.
Requirements for full papers will be provided individually to the authors of selected abstracts.

The paper should NOT incorporate materials that could be interpreted as a popularization and/or propaganda of an individual, political party, public or international organization.

The best papers and speeches will be published within two months after the completion of the SC Conference.

Conference Languages
The SC Conference will be conducted in Armenian and English. Simultaneous translation will be available. 

Contact Information
For questions please contact Ms. Anna Sarkisyan
Program Manager, CRRC – Armenia
Abovyan St. 52, room 312
(37410) 58-13-30 and 58-14-50
E-mail: conference@crrc.am

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