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PhD Lab

ISA 15th International Laboratory for PhD Students in Sociology

University of Adam Mickiewicz.jpg

The 2017 Laboratory Struggles for Substantive Citizenship, Community Building in Troubled Times for Democracy is organised jointly by the International Sociological Association, the Institute of Sociology of the University of Adam Mickiewicz of Poznan, and the Haverford Institute of Public Sociology

September 17-23, 2017
Poznan, Poland
Applications: June 15, 2017

International Sociological Association received 50 applications for its 15th International Laboratory for PhD Students in Sociology but only had the funds to accept 13 applicants. Because there were so many excellent applications, the selection process was extremely difficult. Congratulations to the selected participants!


selected participants and topics of their PhD dissertations (in alphabetical order):

  • Ms. Scholastica ATATA, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
    Biafra Renaissance and the MASSOB in Communities in South-Eastern Nigeria
  • Mr. Israel R. BLACKIE, Botswana University, Botswana
    The Impact of Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme on Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Ngamiland & Chobe District Areas in Botswana
  • Ms. Shiwei CHEN, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
    Negotiating Ethnicity and Nationalism: A Case Study of Ethnic Minority Koreans in North Korean-China Borderland
  • Ms. Tatiana DARÉ, University of Coimbra, Portugal
    Peace for Locals and Peace by Locals: The Role of Community Justice in Promoting Peace in Slums and Poor Urban Neighborhoods in Brazil
  • Ms. Oksana DUTCHACK, National University Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Ukraine
    Factors of Bargaining Power and Labor Strategies in Ukrainian Done-for-Brands Garment Industry
  • Ms. Petra A. HONOVÁ, Charles University, Czech Republic
    Where are Boundaries of Politics?: Symbolic Boundaries between Politicians and Political Activists
  • Mr. Biniyam Bogale LAKEW, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
    Human Trafficking Victims Socio-cultural Adaptation with in Transit Areas of Ethiopian Somali Region, Ethiopia
  • Ms. Swati MANTRI, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India    
    Marwaris of Kolkata: Community, Identity, and City    
  • Mr. John MASHAYAMOMBE, University of Pretoria, South Africa
    Planning for Resilience: the Spatial Orders of Post-Apartheid Mines in South Africa
  • Ms. Natalia NOVIKOVA, University of Tsukuba, Japan
    Mapping Post-Fukushima Local Activism
  • Ms. Arpita PHUKAN BISWAS, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, India
    Drawing to a Limit: Hijra Liminality in Caste
  • Ms. Magdalena TOMASZEWSKA, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
    Exploring the Gendered Effects of Immigration Control in the Prison System in England and Wales: A Case Study of Female Eastern European Prisoners
  • Mr. Martín URTASUN, La Plata National University, Argentina
    Actors and Objects Weaved Behind the Cameras. An Ethnography of Electronic Surveillants in Local Video Surveillance Systems
  • PHD students from the host country:
  • Mr. Jakub BARSZCZEWSKI University of  Bialystok, Poland,  Boaventura De Sousa Santo's Concepts of Counter-Hegemonic Globalization and cCognitive Justice
  • Mr. Krzysztof MACZKA, University of Adam Mickiewicz, Poland  Ecosystem Services in Environmental Disourse: Application of Ecosystem Services Concept in Poland

Faculty Members at the Lab

Members of the ISA Executive Committee:
FIlomin Gutierrez, PhD
Prof. & Chair of Sociology Department,
University of Philippines

John Holmwood, PhD
Prof. of Sociology
University of Nottingham

SImon Mapadimeng, PhD
Prof. of Sociology
North-West University, ( Mafikeng Campus)

Poznan Host Faculty Members:
Suava Zbierski-Salameh, PhD
President of Haverford Institute of Public Sociology

Marek Nowak, PhD
Prof. of Sociology & Vice Chair of Sociology Department
University of Adam Mickiewicz, Poznan

Preliminary Program


Click Here for the PhD Lab Program Agenda

To get more information about ISA LAB or to contact organizers,
please visit pages:

Guest Speakers

Grażyna Skąpska
Civil Society, Democracy and the Wave of New Populism
(Paper prepared for ISA Ph. D Lab, Poznan, Poland, September 2017) 
This presentation ponders upon the relationship between democracy and civil society in the light of the disturbing new developments in Eastern Europe (on the examples of Poland and Hungary) on the one hand, and Latin America (on the example of Venezuela) on the other. Only few years ago Hungary presented a relatively success story especially with regard to relations between the Constitution and the state. In Hungary, the rule of law has been astonishingly well established, and civil rights seemed to be rather well protected. Again, only a few years ago, Poland seemed secure from authoritarian populism, given its sustained economic successes, joining Europe, and the protection of civil rights and liberties too. Presently, both Hungary and Poland find themselves on the verge of populistic authoritarianism. At the other end of the world, in Latin America, the destruction of liberal democracy led to the establishment of an authoritarian government, and the present events indicate that a form of dictatorship is possible in that country. The disturbing political events  are also visible Europe or in the United States, and make one wonder about the future of liberal democracy, and the possible role of civil society in its protection, but also in its remodeling. These political developments, the “state capture” by the proponents of authoritarianism and their supporters are strongly opposed by thousands of citizens on the streets, and many organizations, international and local.

I am going to debate the wave of new populism that leads to the destruction of democracy and the protection of civil rights and liberties by the introduction of the “reflexive democracy” concept. I will argue that a broad, social consensus on the most important values and norms presents a condition of democratic government. In the formation of such a consensus the transformative and emancipatory role of civil society will be debated.
 Key-words: civil society, reflexive democracy, overlapping consensus, new populism
Prof. Dr. hab. Grażyna Skąpska works at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, Sociology of Public Sphere Department (Chair). Until June 2017 President of the Polish Sociological Association, member of the International Association Executive Committee. Her interests are focused on civil society, transitional justice, constitutionalism and the rule of law.She was a member of the Trustee Board of the American Law and Society Association (1994 -1998), Vice-President of the International Institute of Sociology (2001-2003). Her book
”From Civil Society to Europe. A Sociological Study of Constitutionalism after Communism” Brill: Leiden-Boston 2011, won First Prize of the Polish Ministry of Science and High Education in 2012.



Jan Sowa, PhD
Political power as the common – rediscovering Polish „Solidarity” 
mergence of “Solidarity” – an enormous trade union with 10 million members – shook the very foundation of the Soviet bloc in early 1980ties. However, in today’s public discourse it remains one of the most mystified and distorted events in Polish history. It is usually presented as a national liberation, pro-market movement of anti-communist opposition. A closer look at the documents and statements produced by “Solidarity” – from the famous 21 Postulates articulated during strikes in August 1980 to the program elaborated by hundreds of delegates during the union’s congress in October 1981 – reveals a different, much more complicated and puzzling reality: “Solidarity” far from being pro-market and pro-capitalistic was as a matter of fact an enormous call for what using the terms of contemporary social theory should be labeled as “commoning”: people’s struggle to put basic resources and mechanisms of social life under their direct democratic control. It encompassed various spheres of political and social reality including phenomena and processes not even nowadays subjected to democratic regulation, mainly the economy (both in workplace in the form of workers’ self-management and on a more general level as socialized central planning). “Solidarity” wanted more than just a simple transformation of post-Bolshevik regimes into parliamentarydemocracies. It looked farther and dreamed bolder striving for what even today seems like a radical political program: establishment of a genuine “common-wealth” as it is understood by such social theorists as Antonio Negri or David Graeber.
he talk will be devoted to rediscovering the radical legacy of “Solidarity” and framing it in contemporary conceptual terms of “the commons”.

Jan Sowa (born 1976) is a materialist dialectical social theorist and researcher. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and University Paris VIII in Saint-Denis, France. He holds a PhD in sociology and a habilitation in cultural studies. His research and teaching assignments took him to several institutions in Poland and abroad, recently, University of São Paulo, Warsaw University and Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. Jan Sowa edited and authored several books and published numerous articles in Poland and abroad (in France, United States, Mexico, Czech Republic and others). He is a member of the Committee on Cultural Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.


PhD Lab Format

Each participant provides a thesis chapter, of approx 8,000 words, decided in discussion with PhD adviser.

The 2017 PhD Lab in Poznan follows a format well tried and tested during the previous ISA PhD Labs : in Birmingham, Singapore, and Sydney. Each day of the Lab will include the morning and afternoon two-hour workshop sessions.

Each two-hour workshop will be assigned to two student participants (one hour each). Students will be paired based on matching their dissertation topics as far as possible. Each participant will discuss her/his submitted work for about 10 minutes. Their presentation will be followed by a 5 minutes of a lead-off academic discussant and a general discussion will take place during the remaining time. All participants are required to read all papers and take part in discussing their fellow PhD students' work.

There will be a projector available, should there be a need for it.