23rd Nordic Sociological Conference / 23:e Nordiska Sociologikongressen

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The university of Turku

Åbo akademi

Nordic Sociological Association

Design 2005 by
Mika Elmeranta
for the
Congress Office


Congress Theme

The sociological idea of society was a leading theme in classical and modern sociology. It legitimated the sui generis nature of sociology and its demand to stand as an independent scientific discipline. Social forces were seen as formative of society and the collective sphere as well as the individual during the historical period of democratization through the influence of large popular movements.

To what extent has sociology in late modernism or postmodernism, with increasing cultural individualism and social differentiation, moved away from the idea of collective forces in society? Is such a change a threat to the claims of sociology to hold the key which helps to
understand the socially formative nature of mankind and existing societies?

Also the “cultural turn” in sociology may be viewed as turning away from questions about “society”. Structural macro theories about society have increasingly been
challenged by theories focusing on individual actors, usually in a micro or a global network.
Finally sociologists may view dissolutive tendencies concerning the structures and institutions of present day societies, e.g. concerning the family, church/religion, political organizations and parties, work and employment etc.