Welcome to the 2015 CSA Conference
Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14
Conference Theme: Social Realities, Social Change: The Importance of Global Context
Keynote Speaker: Dr. William Robinson
UC Santa Barbara
Of course, there is a rather robust area of current sociological research directly focused on understanding global political economy and world cultural influences. We now see a vital sub-field of what we might call “global sociology” that studies distinctive aspects of worldwide change: international divisions of labor, population dynamics and migratory flows across the entire earth, global geopolitical relations, planetary communications, the unequal spread of science, technology and innovation, the worldwide dynamic of today’s ecological crisis, etc. Professor William Robinson, drawing on his new book Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity, will offer the keynote address at this year’ s CSA conference that touches on many of those issues. But my conference theme is based on a more fundamental premise: that virtually all the social dimensions and changes that we study today as sociologists are, in fact, impacted by global forces. Virtually every subfield and nearly all research – including that which seems to have a narrow geographic focus on, say, the United States, or California or even more “micro” units of analysis – can be enriched by “bringing the global in” to the discussion and “locating” the specific sociological facts in term of their places in a matrix of various worldwide “vectors” of global influence, flows, and structures. Indeed, our own state is geographically positioned on “the Pacific Rim” and, increasingly is at the center of what may be the most dynamic cores of networks of world trade, commerce, communication, migration, and technological change: studies that don’t attempt to grasp the significance of these wider worldwide patterns and the way that various influences “touch down” on our shores and impact various types of social change, invariable “miss” something important. So “the global,” truly, is a relevant context for most (maybe all!) sociological research and discourse, even when processes and patterns seem, at first glance, to be grounded in differentcdynamics. We need to expand our sociological imagination to incorporate the global context across the many specialized fields of our discipline.
David A. Smith, Professor of Sociology, UC-Irvine
President-elect, California Sociological Association