Impressions of the 8th Congress of Sociology in La Serena

Having come newly to the Congress of Sociology will be interesting to declare some of the impressions of what I could see of the Congress. By the way, only commented on the papers which to me were interesting –there are several which, being good in themselves, not to me they called me the attention.

Wednesday, October 22.

The first sessions that I attended were of the GT 25 of Work. The study of Pamela Caro on migrant workers in two wine valleys (one in Mendoza and Casablanca) showed as two situations that can seem similar (migrant workers, precarious workers) are actually very different. In the valley of Mendoza we have international immigration of families, that move itinerantemente from valley to valley; in Casablanca we have immigration to the national good of the individual, and people tend to stay in Casablanca.

Then I went to the Panel organized by the COES on social networks and cohesion –that was one of the high points of the Congress I think. Stated Gabriel Otero of the UDP showing the fundamental concepts of network theory. Then Oscar Vasquez of the DII of the U of Santiago, showing their attempts to formalize the experiments of degrees of separation of Milgram, using notions of effort and incentive, and elements of the theory of principal-agent. It looked interesting –although I don’t know how to understand those who do not know about the topic, not so much the math but the lack of context of the problem. Then Philip Link of the PUC that showed a study done very well on personal networks in popular sectors of greater Santiago. Everything in the presentation was perfect I think. The result is one that has already appeared in other studies, showing that networks of popular sectors are very dense and local, but with little ‘out’ to the city as such. Strengthens, deepens, and makes it possible to advance our knowledge in this respect. Finally Alfredo Joignant spoke of the closure of the political field, where it is apparently developing an approach more general to the different social capital. But we will have to wait for the book to better evaluate these ideas.

Thursday, October 23

The day was started in the GT 11 of Discomfort. Here, it is to say that the discussion back to the exhibition was particularly interesting. Valentina Olivares outlined an approach freudian to the topic of discomfort, Carla Azocar of the U of Chile spoke of the relationship of discomfort with the mental health, and was exhibited in an investigation of the U of Concepcion, where, in principle, exposed Bernard Castro, but finally he exposed another person to the research team, on the construction of distrust. The discussion will center on how it relates to the discomfort with statements of well-being (we have signs, for example, of upset individual in mental health, how this relates to the fact that people declare themselves to be satisfied? What goes on there?); in the construction of political unrest (one of the assistants, which is the part next to Him in the group of Mayol, spoke of an expression of spasmodic discomfort, precisely how to organize the subjectivity); and the relationship of the State with the discomfort (the people ‘ask’ State, but at the same time there are expressions of rejection of him). A morning productive I think.

At noon I went to the GT 15, Science and Technology. Being a specialization relatively new, I must say that this field is pretty good in Chile apparently. I was not, but I was told several times, to an exhibition of Claudio Ramos on the networks and work of Brunner, Moulián and Morandé, which it seems was brilliant –but Ramos always works well I have to say. On Thursday, Gabriel Otero showed us two ‘ideal’ forms of sociological work that are in play today in the academy, and how they have evolved: The step in the traditional way –who writes books on the general situation of the country and is related to the policy – a professional manner (I don’t really like using that word, but it’s good to use one to describe the phenomenon) –who writes papers ISI on specific topics and without regard to the policy. Jorge Gibert showed us the networks of collaboration in two disciplines –Biochemistry and Information Science – and its variations (Biochemistry with more integrated networks and kernels of collaboration, rather large) and the impact of such variations in productivity. Alejandro Espinoza showed a study of networks of collaboration but in this case in Astronomy in Chile. The results was very different from the earlier statement, but I think that this is due in part to the difference in methodology (Gibert examined networks of people, Espinoza networks of papers). Jose Coloma presented a study on networks of co-occurrence of words in the investigation of the UFRO to identify thematic areas of research, beyond what the discipline. As the methodology I might be useful for some things I want to do, I found it very interesting. Carolina Pinto presented a study of interviews on graduate students, and we emphasized the continuing relevance of the homogamia university (i.and do classes at the U X who studied in the Or).

Finally, I went to the GT 24 Sociology of the Individual. Here, being a group of very diverse people, they called me a lot attention on two particular studies. The first, presented by Karol Moral of the Or Valpo on the ways in which from a public policy intended to the beneficiaries. First they are seen as trapeze artists (initially I thought that was a name you gave the investigating team, but after I showed the name to be used effectively, in the same official documents) –or those who can risk and take advantage of opportunities because public policy gives them a safety net if they fail in those risks. Felipe Acuña talked about subjectivity of teachers, and showed a methodology that is very interesting to be able to make explicit elements that may be less prepared (to make visible the unprecedented feasible using the concepts of paulo Freire). The use of metaphors, which he called themes generators (which relate to how you approach problems that must be solved), a study on phases (first you do a focus more normal, then show the group what is the focus to go beyond those impressions). The presentations not described not because they were not of quality (for example, Oriana Bernasconi presented a study on an incubator of entrepreneurs very good but as the topic does not interest me not so much elaborated on him).

Friday 24 October

In the morning I went to the GT 12 Methodology (where I gave, but obviously I will not speak of my exposure). Then Emmanuelle Barozet (U of Chile), and Oscar McClure (Or The Lakes), we were introduced to the methodology of games that have been used in the framework of his studies of inequality. A game of classification (to the people they are presented with a series of cards where there are specific individuals that should be grouped together, and as they do in group also must do to play and validate their criteria), a game of unknown (aimed to discover which of the criteria people use to identify socially to the people) and the play of the dictator (in which a person distributes weights fictitious between several characters that serves to discover guidance on inequality). Very interesting. Then Salvador Vargas showed us how he managed to validate an indicator of disaffection policy using LAPOP, and well, this is another example of how the methodological work is always complex when one takes her seriously. Hector Mora of Temuco gave a presentation on the rhetoric of scientific, and in particular on the rhetoric of objectivity: How to present data, researchers often choose to (and sobreusan) a presentation objetivizante, which in reality do not realize what they are doing. Some examples –of things that have been published or presented – they were well clear of the exaggerations of the style objetivizante (a few graphics well horrible to tell the truth). I liked the group to tell the truth.

Mid-morning I went to the GT 5 Sites to Sociology (which in reality, was mentioned by the coordinators of the group occupies a bit position of ‘many’). First exhibited Nicolás Sanhueza of the UAH on the theory of the actor-network, which led to a discussion very interesting about Latour’s (in any case, I have the impression that Bernasconi is creating school at the UAH). Then Adela Bork of the U of Valparaiso on as our practices of teaching and academic discipline and close more than allow us to be open to what happens in the society. Finally Felipe Rivera of the UCEN more than anything else, we announced a theme –that of Big Data, which I think is very central to understand what comes to us: it Is effectively a site, something others do that brings into play what the Sociologìa has to say. But, as he himself said, it is the beginning of a reflection.

Finally I was at the GT 25 of Work, because it also touched me to expose (and, again, I will not say anything of my exposure). The two presentations of greatest interest, and that generated most discussion were the following: Maureen Berho of the UDP stated on the insurance of unemployment and how it affects the subjectivity –that was always a welcome fact and attitude of say, well one of our hypotheses did not work, but at least you are other did. In any case a study well seriously multilevel comparative at the global level. Alexander Páez Foundation Sun talked about the debt and their relationship with the world of work. Basically, the idea is that debt levels are not explained by individual factors (which are consumerist etc) but by the issue of low wages (which in recent years have not followed the increase of the productivity) that causes many people to not be able to meet their living expenses with their salaries and require the use of the credit.

And it all concluded with a conference Cristián Bellei on, finally, as he exercised the profession of sociologist in Chile –that was very interesting, to tell the truth. But as the reality is that these talks end do not reflect what happens in Congress, what we leave out of our report.

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