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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

Call for papers. The Quest for Normativity: Challenges and New Directions in Social Research

Civic Sociology, June 2021.

Papers are invited for a special collection on normative turns in social research. A number of normative turns have arguably taken place in recent decades within social research. From the capabilities approach to moral anthropology, from the anti-utilitarian movement in the social sciences to feminism, and from critical realism to the sociology and ethics of care -- numerous authors and research communities have argued for the desirability and need of bringing together social inquiry and ethical reflection. Be it through calling for a normative branch of sociology, seeing sociology as moral philosophy, or bringing practical reason to the core of sociological practice, there exist numerous ways to rethink what Albert O. Hirschman called the “durable tension” between moral argumentation and explanation in social science.

Civic Sociology aims to be a forum for the cultivation of normative inquiry within the discipline, and to offer a space for the many conversations that different ethical turns have spurred. In order to contribute to this vision, this call for papers invites contributions from across the social sciences and humanities that address questions related to the challenges and opportunities derived from these different normative turns. It also welcomes papers that reflect on the history of ethical reflection within social research, and on the possible futures opened by different forms of ethical engagement in the social sciences. Some of the questions that could be addressed include, among many others:

History How to make sense of the history of normative engagement within social research? What histories remain to be told?

Challenges and future directions How to respond to Andrew Abbott’s call to develop a normative branch of sociology? What are the challenges for the realization of this vision and how to address them?

Pedagogy How best to cultivate ethical literacy among social researchers and their students? An Open-Access Journal

Politics and Praxis What has been the role of ethical reflection within the social research landscape during recent struggles/movements for social justice, such as Black Lives Matter? What is the link between ethical inquiry and political praxis? Institutions What institutional environments have facilitated/obstructed the cultivation of normative reasoning within different social scientific disciplines and national contexts?

Submission of papers If you are interested in contributing to this call, please submit an abstracts of around 250 words to Rubén Flores <ruben.flores AT> and Elisabeth Becker <elisabeth.becker-topkara AT mwi.uni-heidelberg. de> no later than 30 November 2021. Articles will be peer reviewed. Accepted contributions will become part of a special collection on normative reasoning within the journal. It is expected that papers will appear in the course of 2022 and the first half of 2023. Please note: Papers accepted for publication before mid-2022 will be exempt from article processing charges (APC) and will be open access free of charge.

Civic Sociology Civic Sociology is an open access journal from the University of California Press that aims to reconstruct the disciplinary knowledge of sociology by re-focusing research in three particular directions: problem-solving and professional practice, local and regional issues, and normative and ethical reflection.

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