Event INSTITUT-SoMuM International Study Days - Vulnerabilities, resistance, social recognition (October 11-12, 2023)

- FR- EN

The International Study Days on "Vulnerability, Resistance and Social Recognition" are organized by the SoMuM Institute (Sociétés en Mutation en Méditerranée), with the Aix Marseille Université laboratories (CNE, LEST, LPED, IREMAM, MESOPOLHIS, PRISM), the ED 355 doctoral school, the Aix Marseille Université sociology department, and the ECUMUS laboratory of the Sfax FLSHS (Faculté Langues et Sciences humaines et sociales). They will take place on October 11 and 12, 2023 at Campus Schuman, Le Cube, 29 Avenue Robert Schuman, 13100 Aix-en-Provence.

With contributions from the following AISLF (Association internationale des Sociologues de Langue française) Research Committees and Working Groups: Sociologie de l’environnement (CR 23), Éducation, formation, socialisation (CR7), Film et recherche en sciences sociales (GT 06) Éducation et diversité (GT 13), Héritage et patrimoine (GT 14), Résistance ordinaire et reconnaissance sociale (GT 34 with the ECUMUS FLSHS-Sfax laboratory).

Against a backdrop of growing social, economic, political and environmental uncertainty, there is an urgent need to take stock of what we know about their effects in terms of vulnerability, resistance and recognition. It is a major challenge for the human and social sciences, and sociology in particular, to provide keys to understanding the social transitions that cross and reshape societies, while shedding light on the diversity of modes of commitment and action, from the most discreet to the most violent.

The aim of these international days is to revisit the notions of vulnerability, resistance and social recognition, and their complementarity, on different objects of study and in different countries, based on the analysis of recent profound transformations affecting the social body. Vulnerability in particular will be studied from three angles: that of public action, which is making it an increasingly prominent category in policies to individualize social action; that of the mobilization of collectives working for the recognition of rights; that of the ordinary experience of populations in survival who face it daily in a discreet way.

Three round tables - October 11, 2023


Round table 1 - "Social attachment and the forms and foundations of human solidarity, based on Serge Paugam’s book".

The morning session on Serge Paugam’s book L’attachement social et les formes et fondements de la solidarité humaine (Social attachment and the forms and foundations of human solidarity ) will provide an opportunity to define these notions, which are at the very heart of research traditions that have analyzed weakened social ties and changing solidarities. This round-table discussion will put these notions into perspective against a backdrop of growing inequality, job insecurity, nationalist withdrawal and the retreat of generalized social protection.


In the afternoon, two round-table discussions will continue the debate along two lines: processes of otherness of certain groups and individuals, and their forms of resistance; territorial vulnerabilities and their contestation through social mobilizations for the recognition of new social, ecological, urban and other rights.

Working on these sensitive and renewed themes also requires a reflexive analysis of the researcher’s approach, particularly at certain key stages: access to information, feedback to respondents and dissemination of research results. With this in mind, the workshops will discuss these experiences.

Round Table 2 - "Processes of alterization of certain groups and individuals and their forms of resistance".

Alterities, Alterations

Alteration is an important dimension of social vulnerability. The term refers to the fact of being distanced from the central norms of social identity, whatever the characteristic concerned (sex, gender, sexual orientation, supposed origin, skin color, religion, economic situation, age, etc.). The attribution of otherness orothering can expose an individual’s body or group to discredit, segregation, discrimination, racism and the denial of full partner status within social interactions.

Recent research has focused on ’post-2010’ social movements against attacks on human dignity. Resistance practices are part of a process of (re)building self-esteem through social recognition of groups who, by challenging the norms of integrated society, are considered deviant.

However, social control does not always allow citizens to freely resist stigma, and de facto limits the emergence of social movements. In these contexts, practices of resistance can take sub-political forms, even in artistic and cultural expression.

This round-table discussion will put into perspective contextualized analyses of relations of otherness, and the resistance these relations generate among individuals and groups who are thus assigned to the margins of society or national identities, and denied their social dignity. It will question the modes of recognition or denial of recognition that these individuals and groups receive from public institutions, notably at school, on the job market, in access to rights, health care etc., and more broadly in society and the social interactions that punctuate daily life.

Round Table 3 - "Territorial vulnerabilities and their contestation through social mobilizations for the recognition of new social, ecological and urban rights".

Vulnerabilities and territories

Since the 1970s, mobilizations around the issue of vulnerability have undergone recent transformations, in terms of their modes of expression, their international or global reach, their social recruitment and their arguments. Environmental mobilizations are a good example of the evolution of these registers and modalities of action: occupation of lawless spaces or event-based mobilization logic, social recruitment of young or even very young activists, federating local causes around global issues. The issue of vulnerabilities linked to the environment and climate is increasingly focused on the urgency of action, attracting actors who had previously stayed away from mobilizations (Scientist Rebellion). Recognition of environmental commitment is structured at the interface between individual, everyday gestures (generating specific communities) and collective action through movements whose watchwords circulate and are punctuated by IPCC reports.

The vulnerabilities uncovered also call into question the legacy of the societies with which they have to contend: cumbersome legacies such as polluting industries and contaminated soils, as well as ordinary, neglected heritages that intersect with problems of poor housing. This quest for recognition also relies on expertise - or citizen/profane counter-expertise - which calls on sometimes divergent forms of knowledge. These require actors to assimilate or produce knowledge in order to assert their status as victims ("climatic", so-called environmental illnesses linked to polluted living spaces, etc.).

The round table aims to bring together empirical approaches that explore the links between vulnerability, mobilization and recognition processes in a given territory. It will look, for example, at changes in the logic and modalities of mobilization around environmental and urban issues. These mobilizations bring together groups affected by various types of vulnerability, to put up resistance and influence public decision-making so that the status of "victim" is recognized by the relevant authorities.

Two workshops (in parallel) - October 12, 2023


Workshop 1 - Creating a digital journal from A to Z for and by young researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences: feedback from experience

Mutations en Méditerranée (MeM) is an open-access scientific journal whose editorial board is made up of doctoral students. It welcomes contributions from young researchers from a wide range of humanities and social science disciplines. To coincide with the launch of the first issue in autumn 2023, a workshop will be organized for researchers and publishers involved in digital publishing to discuss the processes involved in creating and publishing a journal. Three discussion sessions will punctuate this workshop: (1) Digital as a medium: creation, transition and frontiers; (2) Working with digital: from AAC to issue publication; (3) Publishing in the context of open science: issues and prospects.

Workshop 2 - Alternative writing in sociology: focus on images

The place of images in sociological research is changing, thanks to new possibilities in the digital age. Alternative ways of writing sociology are also emerging. Following on from a GT06 workshop at the Sfax meeting in 2022, and in preparation for a major cross-disciplinary session at the Ottawa congress in 2024, this workshop will share a few experiences and invite researchers in the audience to share their questions about projects they might have in mind when they find echoes in the presentations.

The detailed program is currently being drawn up. It will be available in September.

October 11 and 12, 2023

Campus Schuman, Le Cube, 29 Avenue Robert Schuman, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France

Sociology students and researchers at Aix-Marseille University