Keynote speakers

The keynote speakers of the annual conference 2017 are professor Christian Borch (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark),  professor Iddo Tavory (New York University, USA) and professor Sarah Green (University of Helsinki, Finland)

thumbnail_christian_borch1_1_stor_largexChristian Borch is professor of sociology at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmak. His research interests include economic sociology, crowds, urban sociology and architecture. His current work centers on how the deployment of fully automated computer algorithms is reconfiguring financial markets. He was recently awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for a project on ‘Algorithmic Finance’ to further study this reconfiguration. His books include Foucault, Crime and Power: Problematisations of Crime in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2015); Urban Commons: Rethinking the City (ed. with Martin Kornberger, Routledge, 2015); Architectural Atmospheres: On the Experience and Politics of Architecture (Birkhäuser, 2014); the award-winning book, The Politics of Crowds: An Alternative History of Sociology (Cambridge UP, 2012); and Niklas Luhmann: Key Sociologists (Routledge, 2011).

Social Avalanching: Excess and Overflow in Crowds, Cities, and Financial Markets

Early sociological observers put great emphasis on how modernity was characterized by a seeming overflow and excess of human material. Both cities generally speaking and urban crowd manifestations more specifically testified to an excess of people, on a scale hitherto unknown. Importantly, these observers concurred, such human overflow required attention not merely due to its quantitative expressions, but more crucially because it was believed to have negative qualitative ramifications. In this talk I will take as my starting point a range of fin de siècle social theories on human excess and overflow in crowds and cities and use it to develop a notion of social avalanching. I deploy this term to describe a modern experience of human excess and overflow leading to homogenizing dynamics. In the final part of the talk I will shift terrain and discuss recent developments in financial markets towards fully automated computerized trading. While these developments might put an end to particular forms of human excess, they seem to mark the beginning of new, non-human, algorithmically driven types of avalanching overflow.

Iddo Tavory’s overarching interest is in the interactional patterns through which people come to construct and understand their lives across situations. He has written on ethnographic methodology, Orthodox Jews in Los Angeles, morality, temporality, humor, as well as sex and AIDS-related topics in Malawi. His book Abductive Analysis: Theorizing Qualitative Research (co-authored with Stefan Timmermans) outlines a pragmatist approach to the relation among theories, method, and observations in qualitative research (University of Chicago Press, 2014). His second book, Summoned: Identification and Religious Life in a Jewish Neighborhood, is an ethnography of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles, as well as a theoretical treatise about the co-construction of identification, interaction and the patterning of social worlds (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Iddo is currently conducting an ethnography of account planning and strategy teams in an advertising agency in New York, as well as a co-authored interview project about not-for-profit work in the advertising world.

Between Situations: A Note on the Importance of Anticipations, Rhythms, and Disruption to Sociological Theory

The talk provides a way to link the interaction order and wider cultural and institutional considerations. Rather than thinking about the ”micro-macro link,” or different ”levels of analysis,” I argue that we should be crafting a sociology that operates between situations, attending to actors’ anticipations, rhythms and moments of disruption in interaction.  Such a sociology focuses attention on actors’ fabrics of everyday life, while allowing us to approach some thorny theoretical and empirical sociological problems in new ways.

Sarah Green has been Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki since 2012, and has previously worked at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. She has been studying the anthropology of location and borders for many years, in addition to studying new information technologies, issues of environment, and the politics of gender and sexuality. Her most recent research concerns the Aegean region, and she has carried out research on the island of Lesvos, and its changing relations with Turkey, since 2006. She is author of Urban Amazons (Macmillan), Notes from the Balkans (Princeton UP) and Borderwork (Jasilti), and has recently been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant called Crosslocations, which will be investigating locating regimes across the Mediterranean region. The lecture draws on work being developed for Crosslocations and for a related Academy of Finland project called Transit, Trade and Travel.

On the logic of moving animals and their diseases across borders: towards an epistemology of animal crosslocations

What does it mean to say that something is in another world? While the media constantly reports on what it calls a border ‘crisis’ in Europe, referring both to the pressure on the Schengen Area and the inability of the Dublin Regulations to deal with the current demands placed on them by refugees and other spontaneous migrants, there is a different border regime that operates alongside the one concerning human beings: it deals with the movement of animals and the spread of animal diseases. That regime has also come under pressure on many occasions, not only in controversies about the condition and treatment of animals while while being moved across borders, but also in terms of attempts to control the outbreak of various animal diseases – foot and mouth, SARS, BSE (mad cow disease), bird and swine flu, etc. Obviously, there are different regulations for moving animals as opposed to the movement of people: different infrastructures, paperwork, inspection and surveillance, and often even different places where the controls occur. More important, the logics guiding the movement of animals on the one hand, and the movement/spread of animal disease on the other, are quite different from the logic guiding attempts at controlling human migration. The paper will argue that these different logics, often guided by the current state of veterinary science as much as by political, economic, technical, bureaucratic, infrastructural and sometimes also moral and religious considerations, come together to generate different relative values and significance of spatial location than is generated by the logic informing the migration of people: a different world. Westermarck was always interested in the interplay between science, religion and moral values; this paper takes those interests in a slightly different direction.


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