#cfp "Towards Polycentric Social Sustainability" #cfp

Aleksandra Bartoszko

Call for papers: “Towards Polycentric Social Sustainability”

8-9. June 2023 at VID Specialized University, Oslo


The research group HumanHarm (Human Rights and Social Harms) at VID Specialized University, Oslo is pleased to invite to the conference “Towards Polycentric Social Sustainability” and submission of abstracts.


The Brundtland Report defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Social sustainability can be framed as the reduction of social harms — the generally unintended and often unacknowledged consequences of social action that undermine the needs of present and future generations.

Social sustainability works together with economic and environmental sustainability. Through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the United Nations and its Member States raise awareness of sustainability issues beyond climate change and biodiversity loss, including social inequalities and discrimination. Scarcity and uneven distribution of natural, economic, and social resources lead to increasing inequalities, which in turn can affect security, democracy, and the rule of law adversely. Against this background, and to promote social sustainability, we suggest reimagining the boundaries of the social.

Social sustainability and the reduction of social harms are often conceived within anthropocentric, Eurocentric, androcentric, and State-centered epistemologies. We suggest decentering this dominant discourse to counteract social, epistemological, and ontological inequalities and injustices. This conference will start a conversation on polycentric social sustainability.

We invite contributions from across the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, theology, law, social work, psychology, gender studies, political science, and related disciplines. Empirical, theoretical, and methodological papers are welcome.

We consider the following three areas particularly relevant to conceptualizing polycentric social sustainability: restorative justice, relational worldviews, and fluid boundaries. Submissions addressing any aspect of these three areas are particularly welcome. Read more about the theme and the areas at the conference site or the attached invitation: https://www.vid.no/en/events/conference-on-polycentric-social-sustainability/?language=1031

Abstracts should be of max. 300 words and contain the title of the paper, as well as the name, title, and affiliation of the author(s). Please submit the abstract together with a short bio (max. 100 words) by 1 March 2023 to Carola Lingaas (carola.lingaas@...). Only one abstract per author will be considered. Joint submissions are possible. Selection will be based on the quality and originality of the abstract as well as its capacity to engage with other proposals and to foster a collaborative dialogue, and on diversity criteria. We will inform all interested parties by 15 March 2023 about the outcome of the selection.

Selected papers will be published in the form of an edited volume or as a special issue of a peer-reviewed international journal. Further information on publication plans will be provided at the end of the conference.

Travel grant: A limited amount of funding is available to help bear the costs for selected individuals to participate in the conference. The travel grants are awarded to scholars who may otherwise be unable to attend the conference. If you wish to be considered for financial assistance, please attach a short application (max. 500 words).