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Call for Abstracts: ›1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods‹ (SMUS Conference) / ›1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana‹ (23.09–26.09.2021)

Call for Abstracts (Deadline: 31.05.2021):

I. Session: Researching the History of Postcolonial States with Qualitative Methods

Session Organizer: Johannes Becker (University of Göttingen, Germany): johannes.becker(at)

In this session we welcome contributions which deal with the social history of postcolonial states from the perspective of the biographical trajectories and family histories of everyday actors. How did they experience, navigate, and shape state and institution building, and the gradual establishment of borders, and what did this mean for geographical and social mobility up to the present? Further questions concern the methodological possibilities to approach these topics: which methods are suitable for studying such complex socio-historical processes (e.g. multi-generational interviews, family discussions, analyses of photographs, mappings)? Which possibilities do case studies offer in such a research context? What are the limits of these approaches?

II. Session ›Interpretative and Multi-Method Approaches to Global-South-Migration

Session Organizers: Steve Tonah (University of Ghana, Legon-Accra, Ghana) and Arne Worm (University of Göttingen, Germany), stonah(at) / aworm(at)

This session aims to discuss potentials and challenges of, as well as innovative approaches to interpretative research on migration and mobility in the context of the Global South. Migration research – especially in societies of the ‹Global North› – tends to have a narrow and state-centered view on migration (e.g. focusing predominantly on economic ‹worth› of migration, bordering or on questions of ‹assimilation› or ‹integration›). It oftentimes neglects the complex and changing social realities of migration and mobility towards, within, and more specifically, outside of the ‹Global North›. Interpretative methodologies seek to understand social phenomena by giving priority to the level of everyday life, meaning of experiences, (life-)histories and (inter-)actions of ›individuals‹ and collectives, and the relations or figurations between them. Furthermore, an important principle of interpretative methodology is to be sensitive, open and adaptive towards the nature of the phenomena under research. In the context of migration and mobility, this means dealing with very dynamic processes connected to social changes on different levels. We welcome contributions, which are empirically based on qualitative-interpretative research and discuss how interpretative methods and their combination contribute to a better understanding of migration and mobility within and between societies of the Global South and Global North.

About the Conference

The ‹Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability› (GCSMUS) together with the Research Committee on ‹Logic and Methodology in Sociology› (RC33) of the ‹International Sociology Association› (ISA) and the Research Network ‹Quantitative Methods› (RN21) of the European Sociology Association‹ (ESA) will organize a ›1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods‹ (›SMUS Conference‹) which will at the same time be the ›1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana‹ from Thursday 23.09 – Sunday 26.09.2021, hosted by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana. Given the current challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will convene entirely online. The conference aims at promoting a global dialogue on methods and should attract methodologists from all over the world and all social and spatial sciences (e.g. area studies, architecture, communication studies, educational sciences, geography, historical sciences, humanities, landscape planning, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban design, urban planning, traffic planning and environmental planning). Thus, the conference will enable scholars to get in contact with methodologists from various disciplines all over the world and to deepen discussions with researchers from various methodological angles. Scholars of all social and spatial sciences and other scholars who are interested in methodological discussions are invited to submit a paper to any sessions of the conference. All papers have to address a methodological problem.

Please find more information on the above institutions on the following websites: