Конференция «Complex Gaze at a Complex World: Challenges of comparison in social research», 25-27 мая

Centre for Independent Social Research
Laboratorium. Russian Review of Social Research
European University at St.Petersburg

International Conference
in celebration of the 20th anniversary
of the Centre for Independent Social Research (CISR), St. Petersburg

Complex Gaze at a Complex World: Challenges of Comparison in Social Research
May 25-27, 2012. St. Petersburg, Gagarinskaia str., 3

Program (download pdf)


The notion of the ever-increasing interconnection and interdependency of processes and phenomena in a globalizing world largely determines the methodology of contemporary social research. Social research teams engage with international discourse, which requires a broadening of a narrowly focused research gaze, juxtaposition and comparison of multiple cases and contexts.
Such a perspective lays down the foundation for manifold and complex research designs: one research news may require fieldwork in several localities (for ex. multi-sited ethnography), and/or a team of researchers coming from different disciplines, different cultures and scientific traditions.
The goal of the conference «Complex Gaze at a Complex World» is to contribute to the discussion, designed to articulate the benefits, possibilities, problems, and effects of the social studies of complex designs.
We invite social researchers with experience in conducting empirical comparative, multidisciplinary, and multi-sited newss either individually or as part of a team. By exploring and contrasting specific case studies, we intend to discuss the benefits and limits of complexly designed studies. Special attention will be given to the issues and strategies of comparing research outcomes across sites, the reflections of participants in collective research newss on the organization and execution of fieldwork, data analysis and interpretation, and collaborative work on co-authoring reports, articles, and books.
During the course of the conference we hope to discuss the following questions:

  • What should be compared in social research, and how should it be compared? Is there a problem of «incomparable» data?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of comparative research newss (as opposed to empirical research designs, which do not include a comparative dimension)?
  • What are the different approaches to managing co-thinking, co-working, and co-writing?
  • Is there a link between an increased complexity of research design and the depth and quality of sociological conclusions?
  • How does the institutional context (international funding programs, competitive grant and fellowships), and the market conditions, and pressures influence the choice of research designs?

The working language of the conference is English; the roundtables will be conducted in both Russian and English.
The conference will result in a publication of a special issue of the international peer-reviewed journal LABORATORIUM

For all questions please contact
Anastasia Meylakhs and Elena Bogdanova
email: russianfield.info@gmail.com
Centre for Independent Social Research
Ligovsky pr., bld. 87, office 301
191040 St.Petersburg, Russia
phone/fax 007(812)7183796
mob. +7 921 758 9782