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Conference 2010

Inaugural Conference of desiguALdades.net:

Social Inequalities and Global Interdependencies: Latin American Configurations December 2 – 4, 2010, in Berlin


Download: Conference report

Download: Conference program

Download: Paper abstracts with biographical notes


The Conference “Social Inequalities and Global Interdependencies: Latin American Configurations” was the Inaugural Conference of the Research Network on Interdependent Inequalities in Latin America. The conference brought together an international set of scholars to explore the potentials and challenges of a new transregional paradigm for research on social inequality in Latin America.

Since colonization, the economic, social, and political developments of the Latin American subcontinent have been shaped by entanglements with other world regions. However, for the field of social inequalities these transregional entanglements have not been systematically addressed. Today, it is particularly the junctures and disjunctures produced by the multidimensional processes of globalization that make it necessary to tackle the issue of social inequality from a transregional perspective, and to analyze how socio-economic, socio-political and socio-ecological dimensions of inequality are constituted, transformed and contested by growing transregional and global interconnectedness.


Thursday, December 2

2:00 - 3:00p.m. Welcome Addresses

Georg Schütte is State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. He received his PhD at the Universität Dortmund. Between 2001 and 2003 he was Executive Officer of the German American Fulbright-Commission. From 2004 to 2009 he was Secretary General of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-foundation in Bonn.

Peter-André Alt is President of the Freie Universität Berlin. He was Professor for Contemporary German Literature at Univerisität Bochum, Universität Würzburg and currently he is professor at the Freie Universität Berlin. From 2008 to 2010 he was Director of the Dahlem Research School (Center for Graduate Studies). His research concentrates on German literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, history of literature and knowledge, theatre of the early modern period, literature and systems theory.

Hermann Parzinger is President of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. In addition he is Honorary Professor at the Institute for Prehistoric Archaeology of the Freie Universität Berlin. Between 2003 and 2008 he was President of the Deutsches Archäologisches Insitut. He is an expert on Eurasian ancient cultures, in particular the Skythian. Currently he is a member of the multi-institutional research cluster "Topoi. Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations".

Sérgio Costa is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Lateinamerika-Institut at the Freie Unviersität Berlin, Germany. He is also Associate Investigator at the CEBRAP (Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning, Sao Paulo). Studies in economics and sociology, his disciplinary interests are political sociology, comparative sociology and contemporary social theory. He has specialized in democracy and cultural differences, racism and anti-racism, social movements and transnational politics.

3:00 - 4:00p.m. Keynote Speech
Chair: Marianne Braig is Professor of Political Science at the Lateinamerika-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her research interests are political culture, gender and the labor market, social policy in Latin America as well as the impact of transnational security governance in Mexico and Central America. Her current research is focused on the processes of globalization from below and their effects on social mobilization in Latin America.

Göran Therborn is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK, since October 2006. Previously he was Co-Director of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, and University Professor of Sociology at Uppsala University. His research interests are capital cities as representations of power, global processes of inequality, and other global processes and comparisons, in particular of sex-gender-family relations, contemporary radical thought and forces of possible change, pathways into and out of modernity. (download Abstract)

4:30 - 6:30p.m. Panel I
Social Inequalities Unbound? Developing a New Research Paradigm for Social Inequalities in an Entangled World

Chair: Barbara Göbel is Director of the Ibero-Amerikanisches Insitut (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) Berlin, Germany. Her main areas of interest are human-environmental relations, intercultural comparison of risk perception and management, gender relations and social indentity, and the cultural, social and economic dimensions of globalization. Between 2002 and 2005, Barbara Göbel was the Executive Director of the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), co-sponsored by ICSU and ISSC.

Carlos Reboratti is Professor at the Institute of Geography, Unversidad Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Director of the Master Program in Environmental and Territorial Policies. His research interests include migration and rural development (esp. in Argentina and Brazil), landuse and biodiversity conservation.
Title: Agroindustry: Transregional Differences and Similarities (download Abstract)

Sérgio Costa
Title: Global, Transnational or Entangled? Analyzing Inequalities in Latin America beyond Methodological Nationalism
(download Abstract)

Roberto Pereira Guimaraes is Coordinator and Professor of the MBA Programs on Environmental Management of the Getulio Vargas Foundation and Coordinator of NAPSA-Social and Environmental Analysis Group, Rio de Janeiro, and visiting Professor of the Program on Environment and Society in Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has worked in social and policy analysis and on environmental questions for the United Nations.
Title: Environment and Socio-Economic Inequalities in Latin America: Notes for a Research Agenda (download Abstract)

Discussant: Merike Blofield is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Miami. She directed the Observatory on Inequalitiy in Latin America (2007-2009), financed by the Ford Foundation. Her research focuses on gender and class inequalities. She is the editor of the forthcoming book, The Great Gap: Inequalitiy and the Politics of Redistribution (Penn State, 2011). Her book titled "The Politics of Moral Sin: Abortion and Divorce in Spain, Chile and Argentina" came out with Routledge in 2006, and she has a forthcoming book on domestic workers' rights in Latin America. Her articles have appeared in Comparative Politics, Latin American Research Review and Latin American Politics and Society.

Friday, December 3

9:00 - 10:00a.m. Keynote Speech

Chair: Hauke Brunkhorst is Professor of Sociology, Director of the Institut für Soziologie and Member of the European Studies Program, Universität Flensburg, Germany.".

Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz is Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA and Professor Titular at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina, His current research focuses on global patterns of income inequality, social stratification and mobility, and on historical and current patterns of political change in Latin America.
Title: Rethinking Historical and Contemporary Trends of Inequality in Latin America (download Abstract)

Discussant: Ana Sojo is a researcher at the Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL/ECLAC), División de desarrollo social, Santiago, Chile. Her main research interests are citizenship, equality and development, social vulnerability, insurance and risk diversification in Latin America and current reforms in health care management in Latin America.

10:30 - 12:30p.m. Panel II
Socio-Economic Inequalities in a Globalizing Context

Chair: Barbara Fritz is Professor of Economics at the Lateinamerika-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her research foci are development economics, macroeconomics, money and finance, as much as migration and remittances. Her regional focus is Latin America..

Stephan Lessenich is Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Department of Comparative Sociology, Friedrich-Schiller-University and Dean of the Faculty for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Freiderich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany. His research focuses on welfare state theories, comparative macro-sociology, comparative research on welfare states, political sociology, institutional change and social transformation.
Title: Welfare States and Social Inequalities: Statics, Dynamics and Interdependencies (download Abstract)

Manuela Boatca is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Lateinamerika-Institüt of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her research interests include world-systems analysis, sociology of development, gender and violence research and postcolonial studies in historical comparative perspective, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and Latin America. (download Abstract)

Steffan Mau is Vice Dean and Professor of Political Sociology and Comparative Social Research at Unversität Bremen, Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), Germany. His research focuses on social inequality, welfare states, europeanization, transnationalism and state borders. He is head of a large-scale research project on the transformation of state borders in the OECD world.
Title: Mobilitiy and Immobility in a Globalized World (download Abstract)

Discussant: Philipp Lepenies is Senior Economist at the Strategy Department in German Development Bank KfW, Frankfurt a.M., Germany. He has worked as a part-time lecturer at the universities of Berlin and Frankfurt and as a visiting Junior Professor at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin. His research foci are the historical, philosophical and cultural foundations of the modern concept of development and on development and poverty reduction.

1:30 - 3:30p.m. Panel III
Power Asymmetries and Social Inequalities Beyond the Nation State

Chair: Bert Hoffmann is Senior Research Fellow at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Germany. His research is mainly focused on the crisis and transformation of Cuba, the political implications of transnational migration and the socio-political utilization and effects of new information and communication technologies.

Hilda Sábato is Professor of History at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Research Fellow of CONICET in Argentina. She is primarily concerned with political history, with an emphasis on nation-builduing, the development of republican institutional frameworks, and the shaping of citizenship in Latin America. She has been a Fellow at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in behavioral Sciences at Stanford and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, as well as Tinker visiting Professor at Stanford University.
Title: Citizenship, Equality and Inequalities in the Formation of the Spanish American Republics (download Abstract)

Marisa Belausteguigoitia Rius is Director of the Programa Universitario de Estudios de Género (PUEG), and Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature at the UNAM, Mexico. Her work analyzes forms of cultural representation and the emergence of social movements in the northern and southern borders of Mexico. She studies the relations between gender, race identity and culture.
Title: Inequality and Decolonization: From Disgust as Separation to the Hermeneutics of Love

Veronica Schild is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She has published extensively on Latin American feminism, on feminists and the women’s movement in Chile, and on neoliberal institutional government, including reconfigurations of gendered citizenship. She has been an active member of the Latin American scholarly feminist community for nearly two decades and has been invited to present her work in Latin America, Europe, the U.S., and Canada.
Title: In the Name of Rights: Gender, the State, and Neo-Liberal Latin American Recon-figurations of Citizenship (download Abstract)

Discussant: Víctor Hugo Acuña is Associated Researcher of the Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica of the Universidad Centro-americana de Managua and Fellow at desiguALdades.net, Berlin, Germany. He was Professor and Researcher at the Universidad de Costa Rica between 1978 and 2008. His main research interests focus on social, economic and cultural history of Central America from the 18th to the 20th century.

4:00 - 6:00p.m. Panel IV
Framing Socio-Ecological Inequalities in a Transregional Perspective

Chair: Jeffrey Lesser is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Latin American History and Director of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, USA. His main research interests are modern Latin American history, focusing on ethnicity, immigration and race, with a local focus on Brazil.

Imme Scholz is deputy director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Between 2002 and 2009 she was head of the environmental department at DIE where she set up the climate change team of the institute. The team has a strong focus on issues at the interface between adaptation and poverty reduction. She is a member of the North-South advisory board of the Heinrich Böll foundation and of the Chamber of Sustainable Development of the Evangelical Church in Germany. In 2009, she was a member of the ISPC Open Science Meeting (International Program on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change - IHDP). She has published extensively on climate change and development; capacity development in environment; institutional development and environmental policy in developing countries; natural resource management, particularly sustainable forest use. In the 1980s, she studied sociology at Freie Universität Berlin where she also obtained the degree of Dr. phil. for a thesis on the determinants for entrepreneurial innovation capacity in the Amazon tropical timber industry. She started her professional career as assistant to the economic attaché of the Chilean Embassy in Bonn (1990 – 1992) and became a research fellow at DIE in 1992. Between 1999 and 2002, she was on leave and worked as an environmental policy advisor in the Brazilian Amazon for the German development cooperation.,
Title: Reducing Local Socio-Ecological Inequalities in the Amazon: Opportunities and Risks of the Global Climate Regime

Dörte Segebart is Junior Professor of Geographical Development Research with a focus on Gender Research at the Faculty of Geography at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her research focus is on gender, sustainable development, sustainable resource management, climate change, governance with a local expertise on Brazil, China, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Title: Socially and Environmentally just Climate change? Mapping Social Inequalities and Global Interdependencies in a Socio-Ecological Context (download Abstract)

Discussant: Martin Coy is Professor of Geography at the Geography Institute of the Universität Innsbruck, Austria. His research interests include economic and social geography, geographical development research, urban geography, sustainable development in South America, Brazil, Argentina and France. 

Saturday, December 4

9:00 - 10:00a.m. Keynote Speech

Chair: Günther Maihold is Associate Director of Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) Berlin, Germany, and Honorary Professor at the Lateinamerika-Institut of Freie Universität Berlin. His main research interests are foreign policy and international relations in Latin America, Inter-American relations, democratic processes of transition and consolidation.

Elisa Reis is Professor of Political Sociology at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has been visiting professor at several universities including UC San Diego, Columbia University, MIT, and the Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich. She has held leading positions in scientific activities such as: Chair, Interdisciplinary Research Network on Inequality; President, National Association for the Social Sciences (ANPOCS); Secretary General, Brazilian Sociological Society; and elected member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-national Political Science Association (1988-1994) and the International Sociological Association (2006-2010). She is member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences
Title: Inequality and Difference from Diverse Perspectives (download Abstract)

Discussant: Maurizio Bach

10:30 - 12:30p.m. Panel V
Between Methodological Nationalism and Globalism: Understanding Inequalities from a (Trans-Regional Perspective)

Chair: Frank Adloff is Professor of Sociology at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. His main research interests are religious movements in modern states, state-society relations, social milieus, civil society, reciprocity in modern societies with regional focus on North America and Europe.

Anja Weiß is Junior Professor for Sociology with a focus on macro-sociology and transnational processes at the Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She is currently developing a transnational model of social inequality. Her theoretical interest in social inequality, is based on empirical research on the transition of highly skilled migrants into the labor market, on (institutional) racism and ethnic conflict, and on transnational methodologies and qualitative research design.
Title: Contextualizing Capabilities in a World of Territorial Containers, Political Closure and Social Functionings (download Abstract)

Adalberto Cardoso is Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos of the Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His main research interests are in the field of sociology of work: class formation, class and labor relations, trade unions, labor market dynamics, occupational and spatial work mobility, inequality and poverty.
Title: Methodogical Nationalism, Idiographic Arguments and Inequality. Global Trends and Local Dynamics (download Abstract)

Juan Pablo Pérez Sainz has been a researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Costa Rica, since 1981. His research focuses on labor markets, local development, social exclusion and social inequalities in Latin America with special interest in Central America.
Title: Rethinking the Global-Local Nexus from the Perspective of Inequalities (download Abstract)

Discussant: Gunnar Folke Schuppert is the Managing Director of the Rule of Law Center at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Berlin, Germany. Since 2003 he holds a Research Professorship for New Forms of Governments at the WZB. Until 2008, he was a Full Professor for Public Law and Administrative Science at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His main research interests are rule of law and transnational rule making, contract governance and governance and religion.

1:30 - 3:00p.m. Concluding Discussion
Researching Social Inequalities in an Entangled World

Moderator: Hans-Jürgen Puhle is Professor em. of Political Sciences with focus on the comparative analysis of liberal-democratic systems and theories of democratization at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe-Universtität Frankfurt a.M., Germany. His main research interests are social and political history of Europe, North and Latin America, modernization problems from a comparative perspective, development politics, political systems, parties, social movements, associations, transformation and democratization, nationalism, populism, and the welfare state.

Frank Adloff  is Professor of Sociology at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. His main research interests are historical comparative sociology, religious movements in modern societies, state-society relations, social milieus, civil society and patterns of reciprocity with regional focus on North America and Europe.
Elizabeth Jelin is Senior Researcher at the CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigación Científica) and Academic Director of the  Núcleo de Estudios sobre Memoria at the IDES (Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research interests and publications encompass issues of human rights, citizenship, social movements, gender, family and memories of repression.(download report) in Spanish.
Steffen Mau is Vice Dean and Professor of Political Sociology and Comparative Social Research at Universität Bremen, Bremen Interna-tional Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), Germany. His research focuses on social inequality, welfare states, europeanization, transnationalism and state borders. He heads a large-scale research project on the transformation of state borders in the OECD world.


The conference was held at the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Germany, from December 2 to December 4, 2010.

Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Potsdamer Str. 37
D-10785 Berlin


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