Mid-term conference of ESA RN22

4 – 5TH October, 2018

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU)

Kaunas, Lithuania


Complexity poses distinctive challenges to citizens, policy-makers, social organizations and systems and, moreover, to the social scientists studying them. Core concepts within social scientific studies of risk and uncertainty, such as trust, have been understood by some (most notably Luhmann) primarily in their function as reducing complexity in everyday encounters and relationships. Renn’s studies of risk governance, meanwhile, suggest that policy-makers’ approach and depth of engagement with publics should reflect the relative causal complexity around the risks being addressed. These are two more established analytical orientations among many theoretical frameworks addressing complexity, and each has its own particular ways of defining and conceptualizing various forms of complexity, and of relating complexity to wider socio-physical environments.

Studies of risk and uncertainty furthermore involve methodological complexities, often interdisciplinary in nature, and these will be also addressed in the conference.

This meeting – the Mid-Term Conference of the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty research network (RN22) within the European Sociological Association – will address the salience of complexity for studying social processes around risk and uncertainty, through keynotes, panel discussions and a number of paper sessions.  Although the event will have a more specific focus on the theme of complexity, this is an open call for papers which explore aspects of risk and uncertainty across a broad range of sociological and interdisciplinary perspectives


Sakari Taipale, Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Research Group Leader in Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Editor of “Social Robots from Human Perspective” (Springer, 2015), “Digital Technologies and Generational Identity” (Routledge, 2018)

Esther Versluis, Professor of Regulatory Governance, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Editor of Balancing between Trade and Risk. Integrating legal and social science perspectives (Routledge, 2013)

Sylvia Walby, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Lancaster University, UK. Author of Complexity and Contested Modernities”( Sage 2009), “Crisis” – (Polity 2015)

Thematic sessions:

  • Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (General Session)
  • Theoretical Advancements in Risk and Uncertainty Studies
  • Methods and Methodologies in Risk and Uncertainty Research
  • Public Discourses and Media Representations of Risk
  • Risk, Uncertainty and Transformation of Urban Space
  • Risk, Uncertainty and Inequality
  • Risks in Health and Social Care
  • Responses to Complex Climate Change Risks
  • Risk and Uncertainties in Digitization

We welcome paper abstracts addressing complexity in its relation to risk and uncertainty and/or other close concepts. You can apply for a thematic session or for the general session.

Our previous mid-term conferences have included a fantastic mix of researchers from across the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and beyond, and we hope to receive abstracts from a similarly diverse range of disciplines and analytical approaches this time. We look forward to meeting you in Kaunas!

! The intensive PhD workshop Researching Risk and Uncertainty” will take place on 2nd – 3rd October, 2018, as a pre-conference event. More information here.


Please send your abstract of 300 words to by 1st  May, 2018.

Abstract submission form can be found here – ESA_Abstract Submission form.

Notification of acceptance: 20th May, 2018.

Early bird registration: 30th June, 2018.

Late registration: 30th August, 2018.

Fee will include coffee breaks and conference dinner (Thursday)

Early bird (by 30th June):

Regular: 150 Euros (members of ESA), 180 Euros (non-members of ESA),

PhD students: 100 Euros (members of ESA), 130 Euros (non- members)

Late-registration (from 1st of July to 30th August):

Regular: 200 Euros (members of ESA), (250 Euros non-ESA members).

PhD students: 150 Euros (members of ESA), 180 Euros (non-members of ESA)

The Conference will take place in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania and European Capital of Culture 2022. Kaunas is easily accessible directly by plane to Kaunas Intl Airport, or by train/ bus from Vilnius.

Conference is hosted by research group Civil Society and Sustainability in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at KTU (A. Mickevičiaus st. 37, Kaunas).


Research network coordinators:

Chair: Aiste Balzekiene, Kaunas university of Technology. Email:

Vice-chair: Patrick Brown, University of Amsterdam. Email:

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more or switch them off if you prefer. However, by continuing to use the site without changing settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
I agree