Call for Papers: Sociology of Celebration

  • Guest editors: Ismo Kantola, University of Turku, Turku, Finland and Mihai Stelian Rusu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • Deadline for manuscript submission: February 15th, 2016
  • Send manuscripts at:

Celebration was at the nascent core of the emerging sociological discipline at the turn of the 20th century. It was Durkheim’s seminal insight on the supreme importance of rituals in integrating the social body, masterfully articulated in his sociological forays into The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1995) [1912], that placed the study of holidays in the very center of sociological focus. But after such a fulminant start, postwar sociology regrouped across the Atlantic lost its interest in the nature of celebration. As Amitai Etzioni (2000) has pointed out, neither the index of the sixteen volumes of International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (1968) nor that of the flagship American journals American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology between 1975 and 1995 mention the term “holiday.” However, after a long and undeserved hiatus, celebration is making a comeback in sociological theory. Unsurprisingly, a “sociology of celebration” is taking shape in European sociology, gaining institutional grounding in the European Sociological Association’s Research Stream bearing the ominous name.

Drawing of Berlioz conducting a choir by Gustave Doré, published in Journal pour rire, 27 June 1850

Drawing of Berlioz conducting a choir by Gustave Doré, published in Journal pour rire, 27 June 1850

In editing this thematic issue of The Journal of Comparative Research in Sociology and Anthropology, we seek to celebrate the long-overdue comeback of the sociology of celebration. For this purpose, we invite contributions that explore and reflect upon the following questions, without being limited to those listed below:

-        How is meaning produced in celebrations? What are celebrations designed to signify, and by what social means are they to act as semiotic signifiers in the social world?

-        How are the meanings that celebrations are purportedly meant to display performed in the public sphere (Alexander, 2011)? Which are the performative practices by which the meanings attached to celebrations are put on show?

-        How are religious and political holidays constructed by various celebrative agents and what political purposes are they to play (Zerubavel, 2003)?

In addition to these questions, we also welcome papers which critically engage with the following topics:

-        the social functions of celebration (integration, identity formation, development and maintenance of distinction and taste);

-        the modes and forms of celebration (be they political ceremonies such as national days and historical commemoration or non-political ones including carnivals, orgies, clubbing, and partying);

-        perception of and attitudes to different modes of and phenomena of celebration;

-        theoretical approaches to celebration, focused on deepening our current understanding of the nature of celebration.



Alexander, Jeffrey (2011). Performance and Power. Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Durkheim, Emile (1995). The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press.

Etzioni, Amitai (2000). Toward a Theory of Public Ritual. Sociological Theory, 18(1), pp. 44-59.

Zerubavel, Eviatar (2003). Time Maps. Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Call for Papers: Age and gender codes in media and things

Age and gender classifications have changed through history, yet they remain relevant in many social situations. They are used by organizations in all walks of life, and they are part and parcel of the identities that we invoke and attribute in daily interactions.

Adventure Time Princess Maker

  • Guest Editor: Laura Grunberg, University of Bucharest
  • Deadline for manuscript submission: September 15th, 2015
  • Send manuscripts at:

Taking notice of both their persistent relevance and the significant changes in age- and gender-specific expectations, we invite contributors to examine how these powerful classifications are put to use through media (advertisements, textbooks, films, games, etc) and things – toys, clothing, tools, and other material arrangements.Some questions that might guide reflection include the following, without being limited to them:

  • How do people ‘do gender’ (West & Zimmerman, 1987) and ‘act their age’ (Laz, 1998) in various situations?
  • What is the symbolic and material equipment that people use to display their gender and age-grade affiliation in a variety of communication situations (Goffman, 1979)?
  • How are gender and age done and un-done (Deutsch, 2007) in social interaction?
  • What is the role of specific media – from school textbooks to films, advertisements and video games (Williams, Martins, Consalvo, & Ivory, 2009) – in reproducing and recreating gender and age classifications and resources for their display?
  • In particular, what is the role of social and human disciplines in shaping these classifications? How do current threads of research affirm or dispute the importance of these distinctions and their sources – for example in evolutionary psychology, gerontology, or history?
  • In particular, how do empirical age- and gender-difference studies work to re-construct these classifications?
  • How do specific scientific methods – such as the experiment, document analysis, interview, or the focus group – deal with these distinctions and possibly contribute to their re-creation?
  • Which are lay psychological theories of gender and age invoked in different situations, and to what effects? (Gubrium & Wallace, 1990)
  • What are the similarities and differences between these two social classifications, in different social situations?
  • How does information technology, in its many guises, contributes to shaping and re-shaping age and gender? (Oudshoorn, Rommes, & Stienstra, 2004)


Deutsch, F. M. (2007). Undoing Gender. Gender & Society21(1), 106–127.

Goffman, E. (1979). Gender Advertisements. Harper & Row.

Gubrium, J. F., & Wallace, J. B. (1990). Who Theorises Age? Ageing and Society10, 131–149.

Laz, C. (1998). Act Your Age. Sociological Forum13(1), 85–113.

Oudshoorn, N., Rommes, E., & Stienstra, M. (2004). Configuring the User as Everybody: Gender and Design Cultures in Information and Communication Technologies. Science, Technology, & Human Values29(1), 30–63.

West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing Gender. Gender & Society1(2), 125–151.

Williams, D., Martins, N., Consalvo, M., & Ivory, J. D. (2009). The virtual census: representations of gender, race and age in video games. New Media & Society11(5), 815–834.

Call for Papers: Video Games and Insightful Gameplay

Call for Papers – Video Games and Insightful Gameplay

Video games are increasingly used and discussed as a medium for creating and sharing meaning – be it as a form of learning [1], self-knowledge [2], persuasion in fields such as politics or advertising [3], or a way of mending a “broken reality” with a layer of meaning [4].

Gameplay has also been used for distributed problem solving in science, with ‘Foldit’ as a notorious example [5], public awareness of distressing psychological conditions such as depression [6]–[8], or for historical commemoration [9], among other goals.

We invite research articles and notes that explore the varied landscape of insightful gameplay, and we welcome texts from multiple disciplines, genres, and personal histories of gameplay.

Guest editor: Doris C. Rusch, DePaul UniversityExtended Deadline for manuscript submission: June 6th, 2015

Send manuscripts at:

Manuscript details: For this special issue there are no requirements concerning manuscript length or structure. We invite full articles, short papers, works in progress, essays, journals, and also fiction works and manuscripts in other genres that address the topic of insightful gameplay.

Some orienting questions include:

-          How can games stimulate players’ insights into the world around us, or how can they fail to do so?

-          How do players derive and formulate insights when playing? How do people make meaning from gameplay?

-          How can games occasion moral reflection and moral experiences [10], [11], or avoid it?

-          How can games encourage empathy [12] – or discourage it?

-          What is the role of various elements of a game (fictive worlds, mechanics, textual elements) and of the game paratext [13] (player forums, reviews, markets etc.) in shaping gameplay as meaningful experiences?

-          What is the diversity of meaning acquired by various people playing a game, or same persons in various instances of play? How do players relate to this multi-voicedness of gameplay?


[1]         J. P. Gee, What Video Games have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

[2]         D. Rusch, “Mechanisms of the Soul: Tackling the Human Condition in Videogames,” Proc. from DiGRA, 2009.

[3]         I. Bogost, Persuasive Games. The MIT Press, 2010.

[4]        J. McGonigal, Reality is Broken. Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. New York: The Penguin Press, 2011.

[5]         S. Cooper, A. Treuille, J. Barbero, Z. Popović, D. Baker, and D. Salesin, “Foldit.” [Online]. Available:

[6]        Z. Quinn, P. Lindsey, and I. Shankler, “Depression Quest,” 2013. [Online]. Available:

[7]         D. C. Rusch, T. I. Ing, and R. Eberhardt, “Elude.” Gambit.

[8]        D. C. Rusch and A. Rana, “For the records.” [Online]. Available:

[9]        Ubisoft, “Valiant Hearts. The Great War.” 2014.

[10]       M. Sicart, “Wicked Games: On the Design of Ethical Gameplay,” in DESIRE’10, 2010, pp. 101–111.

[11]        M. Sicart, The Ethics of Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009.

[12]       J. Belman and M. Flanagan, “Designing Games to Foster Empathy,” Cogn. Technol., vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 5–15, 2010.

[13]       M. Consalvo, Cheating. Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.

Call for Papers: Doing Things with Stories

Deadline for manuscript submission: September 15, 2014

Expected date for volume publication (online): December 30, 2014

Send articles, research notes, essays, and book reviews to:

The Mock Turtle's Story in Alice in Wonderland, by Mabel Lucie Attwell

It’s story time…

We tell, listen, and engage with stories at bedtime, in scholarly articles, when fighting, when flirting, while selling things or ideas, and in so many other occasions.  Stories formulate versions of reality and persuade others and ourselves.

We invite articles, research notes, and biographical essays that reflect on how we do things with stories in various places and times, paying attention to their productive and transformative power when applied to people, things, relationships, and time, among others.

Authors may address some of the following questions and related topics of interest:

  • How do people use stories in interaction, and to what effect? How are stories useful for managing social situations, in various institutional settings – from doctor-patient interactions to sales or job interviews and Facebook posts?
  • How do stories transform things, granting them added power or diminishing their force? When and to what effect do people tell stories about objects?
  • How do we use stories as resources for other creations, from scientific articles to digital games?
  • Last but not least, what do we accomplish, as scholars, by minding stories, inciting them, analyzing them, and using them to organize scientific accounts?

This Call for Papers is supported by the research project “Sociological imagination and disciplinary orientation in applied social research”, with the financial support of ANCS / UEFISCDI with grant no. PN-II-RU-TE-2011-3-0143, contract 14/28.10.2011.

Call for Papers: Stories in social organization

Guest Editor: Alexandra Georgakopoulou-Nunes, King’s College London

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: March 15th, 2014

Send articles, research notes, essays, and book reviews to:

Social organization relies, among others, on accounts of action, involving the use of social categories and vocabularies of motive (Mills, 1940) to portray meaningful characters engaged in intelligible missions. Stories are often used in accounts, offering a valuable form for rendering experience intelligible.

We invite contributions that explore the use of stories for social organization, at multiple levels and in various settings (De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2012).

Some of the research questions that may guide reflections include, without being limited to, the following:

-               How are stories produced in conversation? How do speakers organize talk sequentially to mark the delivery of stories (Jefferson, 1978; Stokoe & Edwards, 2006), and how do they respond to storytelling?

-               What types of actions can be accomplished through story formatted sequences and what are their affordances compared to other formatting options (Sidnell, 2010)?

-               How can we analyze stories by taking into account the social interaction in which their authors are involved (Norrick, 2007)? How are ‘small stories’ (Georgakopoulou, 2006, 2007) designed for situated exchanges, and what are their interactional effects?

-               How are stories used in organizational settings (Blazkova, 2011)? How are stories resources for concerted action in organizations, portraying types of members, or actions that are possible, impossible, Quixotescue, or heroic?

-               How is storytelling learned, and how is it adapted to various stages and settings of life (Bruner, 1990)? How do adults tell stories to children, and how do children tell stories to adults? How is storytelling institutionally organized – in courtrooms, in hospitals, in schools, at workplaces?

-               How are selves sustained through storytelling (Dennett, 1992)?

-               How are stories used for identity making (Schwalbe & Mason-Schrock, 1996)  and display, including gender or age performances (West & Zimmerman, 1987; Laz, 1998) ?


Blazkova, H. (2011). Telling Tales of Professional Competence: Narrative in 60-Second Business Networking Speeches. Journal of Business Communication, 48(4), 446–463.

Bruner, J. S. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

De Fina, A., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2012). Analyzing Narrative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dennett, D. (1992). The self as a center of narrative gravity. In F. Kessel, P. Cole, & D. Johnson (Eds.), Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives (pp. 103–115). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

Georgakopoulou, A. (2006). Thinking big with small stories in narrative and identity analysis. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 122–130.

Georgakopoulou, A. (2007). Small Stories, Interaction and Identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Jefferson, G. (1978). Sequential aspects of storytelling in conversation. In J. Schenkein (Ed.), Studies in the Organisation of Conversational Interaction (pp. 219–248). New York: Academic Press.

Laz, C. (1998). Act Your Age. Sociological Forum, 13(1), 85–113. doi:10.1023/A:1022160015408

Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive. American Sociological Review, 5(6), 904–913.

Norrick, N. (2007). Conversational storytelling. In D. Herman (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (pp. 127–141). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schwalbe, M. L., & Mason-Schrock, D. (1996). Identity work as group process. Advances in Group Processes, 13, 113–147.

Sidnell, J. (2010). Conversation Analysis: An Introduction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Stokoe, E. H., & Edwards, D. (2006). Story formulations in talk-in-interaction. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 56–65.

West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125–151.

This Call for Papers is supported by the research project “Sociological imagination and disciplinary orientation in applied social research”, with the financial support of ANCS / UEFISCDI with grant no. PN-II-RU-TE-2011-3-0143, contract 14/28.10.2011.

Call for Papers: Motives and Social Organization

Motivating others, asking for their motives and offering motive accounts are central features of social organization (Blum & McHugh, 1971; Housley & Fitzgerald, 2008; Mills, 1940). Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology – Compaso invites papers that explore the uses of motives in various spheres of day-to-day, professional and scientific life, for its Winter 2013 issue.

Guest Editor: Richard Fitzgerald, University of Queensland

Deadline for manuscript submission (extended): July 31, 2013

Volume publication (online): December 15, 2013

Send articles, research notes, essays, and book reviews to:

Please distribute this CfP: pdf version

Asking for motives and offering motives

As a rule, people present motives if challenged to account for their behaviour. People make use of vocabularies of motive (Mills, 1940) to  present (meaningful and justified) actions to other people who stand to evaluate them. The motives asked for and motives given in return are shaped in three different contexts (Johnatan Potter & Hepburn, 2008):

-          A rhetorical context: one formulates motives with an eye to the plausibility of alternative versions, some of which one may want to entertain, and some of which one may want to undermine;

-          An interactional context: people give motives as specific answers to specific questions, as part of ongoing interaction in which they have something at stake;

-          An institutional context: the interactions in which people are asked to formulate motives may vary widely as regards their accountability rules; one can be in a school, at the doctors, in a Courtroom, with a counselor, at Alcoholic Anonymous, etc.

Some research questions that may address this topic include (without being by any means exclusive):

1)       What are the vocabularies of motive or interpretive repertoires (Jonathan Potter & Wetherell, 1987) associated with a given type of action (such as smoking, accepting a scientific theory, divorcing etc.)?

2)      How are motives used to coordinate interaction?

3)      How are motives rhetorically formulated, in order to support a version of reality in interaction with specific interlocutors in specific situations?

Motives and motivation

People often anticipate specific reactions to specific actions, including answers to questions about motives. They design some activities such as to ‘motivate’ other people in a certain direction, to frame their situations and environments in order to direct them. Such ‘motivational’ actions make visible the order on which they are based, the order that grounds expectations.

Possible questions related to this topic include:

1)       How do people present a specific situation or action to others, in order to motivate them to react in a preferred way?

2)      What are the lay and (quasi-)scientific theories of motivation that people bring to bear in their daily interactions with others?

3)      How are motives embedded in objects? How do users adapt and react to these pre-programmed motives?

Working with motives as a professional

There is a vast body of research and literature on motivation, including motivating oneself, in fields such as psychology, sociology, consumer research, human resources, human-computer interaction, education studies and so on. Some motivational schemes have reached global fame, including Maslow’s pyramid of motives or Hertzberg’s hygiene or motivational factors. Professionals in various fields design, apply and evaluate complex models of human motivation, and embed them in their more-or-less material products.

We welcome papers that discuss the production and use of professional vocabularies of motive, and the reactions of various publics to the socio-technical systems that put them into practice. Some guiding questions include:

-          How do we (and other specialists) study motives, in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research?

-          How do professionals’ public products (technologies, policies, clothing, scientific theories…) incorporate specific models of human motivation?

-          What is the ‘moral career’ of motivational classifications, in various spheres of life – such as Maslow’s pyramid, or the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?

-          How do we encounter and react to professional motivational designs in various institutional environments?


Blum, A. F., & McHugh, P. (1971). The Social Ascription of Motives. American Sociological Review, 36(1), 98–109.

Housley, W., & Fitzgerald, R. (2008). Motives and social organization: sociological amnesia, psychological description and the analysis of accounts. Qualitative Research, 8(2), 237–256.

Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive. American Sociological Review, 5(6), 904–913.

Potter, Johnatan, & Hepburn, A. (2008). Discursive constructionism. In J. A. Holstein & J. F. Gubrium (Eds.), Handbook of constructionist research (pp. 275–293). New York: Guildford.

Potter, Jonathan, & Wetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and social psychology: beyond attitudes and behaviour (p. 216). London: Sage.

This Call for Papers is supported by the research project “Sociological imagination and disciplinary orientation in applied social research”, with the financial support of ANCS / UEFISCDI with grant no. PN-II-RU-TE-2011-3-0143, contract 14/28.10.2011.

Call for Papers: Further reflections on (mis)understanding people

For the next issue of Compaso, scheduled to appear in June 2013, we invite articles, essays, and research notes that continue reflection on Ways of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people. We also invite commentaries on articles published in Issue 2/2012.

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: 6th of May 2013

Send articles, research notes and book reviews to:

Please check the Journal’s website for guidelines on manuscript submission.