Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA)

Social Justice in times of uncertainty

June 28—30, 2021

University of Geneva  |  UNIGE
Geneva School of Social Work, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland — Geneva  |  HETS, HES-SO Genève

With the participation of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Introducing the congress

Social Justice in Times of Uncertainty takes as a starting point the health pandemic that erupted in 2020, which led societies across the world to cope with disruptions in the provisioning of goods and services, means of livelihood, and fundamental freedom – not least, that of movement. The crisis also revealed global and local inequalities, translated into who has the right to live or not, and raised new questions around (in)justice in the contemporary world. In light of the turmoil experienced, as a globalized society and within our communities, this congress emphasizes the relevance of social and environmental justice in the making of a fair society, asking the question: in times of uncertainty, what does it mean to live a good life in a just society?

For the first time, the Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association will be hosted in Geneva, through a partnership between the University of Geneva and the Haute Ecole de Travail Social de Genève (HETS GE/HES-SO), and with the participation of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Congress program

The program of the Congress is now online!

>> Download the program here (pdf, 4Mo) – last update: 01 April, 2021

Online event

Given the current sanitary situation, the 2021 edition of the SSA Congress will take place entirely online, via the Zoom platform. We are confident that we will be able to deliver a high quality and engaging event for the nearly 500 contributors from Switzerland and from more than 30 countries around the world.


Schedule at a glance

Keynotes speakers

Amita Baviskar

Amita Baviskar is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology & Anthropology at Ashoka University and Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.  Her research addresses the cultural politics of environment and development in rural and urban India. Currently, she is working on food and changing agrarian environments in central India and studying the social experience of air pollution and heat in Delhi.

Baviskar received a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University. Her first book, In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, and other writings explore the themes of resource rights, popular resistance and discourses of environmentalism. Her recent publications include the edited books Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes (with Raka Ray) and First Garden of the Republic: Nature on the President’s Estate, and the 2020 monograph Uncivil City: Ecology, Equity and the Commons in Delhi.  Baviskar’s contributions to developing the field of environmental sociology in India and to the study of social movements have received peer recognition.  She was awarded the 2005 Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies, the 2008 VKRV Rao Prize for Social Science Research, and the 2010 Infosys Prize for Social Sciences.

Ota de Leonardis

Ota de Leonardis is retired Professor of Sociology of Culture at the Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano-Bicocca.

She is president of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies of Nantes (France), and member of scientific board of the Research Centre CSM in Rome (Centro Studi per la Riforma dello Stato), of COPERSAMM (Conferenza Permanente per la Salute Mentale nel Mondo) in Trieste, and of the Research Centre for Urban Policies URBAN@IT in Bologna.

Her main research focuses on institutions, on the management and instrumentation of the public sector, particularly in the social policies field, and on the transformations of the public sphere, citizenship and democracy. O. de Leonardis, S. Negrelli, R. Salais, eds., Democracy and Capabilities for Voice. Welfare, Work and Public Deliberation in Europe, Bruxelles: PIEeter Lang, 2012; O. de Leonardis, F. Neresini, eds., “Il potere dei grandi numeri”, Special Issue, Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, 3-4, 2015; O. de Leonardis et al., eds., Tour du monde de la Covid-19, Manucius, Paris, forthcoming.

Michèle Lamont

Michèle Lamont is Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. She served as the 108th President of the American Sociological Association in 2016-2017 and she chaired the Council for European Studies from 2006-2009. She is also the recipient of a 1996 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2014 Gutenberg research award and the 2017 Erasmus prize (for her contributions to the social sciences in Europe and the rest of the world). She is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from five countries (Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK).

A cultural and comparative sociologist, Lamont is the author or coauthor of a dozen books and edited volumes and over one hundred articles and chapters on a range of topics including culture and inequality, racism and stigma, academia and knowledge, social change and successful societies, and qualitative methods. Her most recent publications include the coauthored book Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel (Princeton University Press 2016); the 2017 ASA Presidential Address “Addressing Recognition Gaps: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality” (American Sociological Review 2018); the 2018 British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture: “From ‘Having’ to ‘Being’: Self-Worth and the Current Crisis of American Society”; and a special issue of Daedalus on “Inequality as a Multidimensional Process” (coedited with Paul Pierson; summer 2019). Lamont is Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University and she served as Co-director of the Successful Societies Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research from 2002 to 2017. An Andrew Carnegie Fellow for 2019-2021, she is spending 2019-2020 on sabbatical at the Russell Sage Foundation, where she is writing a book on self-worth and inequality in the United States and Europe.

Peter Wagner

Peter Wagner is Research Professor of Social Sciences at the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and at the University of Barcelona as well as temporarily project director at Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg.

His main research areas are in historical-comparative sociology and in social and political theory. His recent publications include the books Collective action and political transformations: the entangled experiences of Brazil, South Africa, and Europe (with Aurea Mota, 2019), European modernity: a global approach (with Bo Stråth, 2017), and Progress: a reconstruction (2016).