Exploring Everyday Responsibilities

Convenors: Salvatore La Mendola (University of Padova) & Morena Tartari (University of Antwerp)

Contacts: salvatore.lamendola@unipd.it, morena.tartari@uantwerpen.be

In Western societies, individuals’ actions increasingly are assessed in terms of responsibility and accountability. Professionals, scholars, entrepreneurs, educators, teachers, parents, and so on, feel pressure to responsibility, accountability and transparency. Some individuals and activities seem to be more exposed than others to this pressure: professionals, nurses, carers, physicians, teachers (to name a few). Institutions and organizations ask these actors for taking responsibility for themselves and for their clients, patients, children, pupils and so on. However, clients, patients and so on are not exempted from this assumption of responsibility and its consequences.

These changes have affected the language, by which we nominate actions and social actors. Behaviours and social actors can become objects of social and legal sanctions if they fail in properly performing responsibility and accountability. Responsibility can be attributed to individuals and systems, with different origins and consequences, roles and functions. Studies have not yet defined effectively a culture or cultures of responsibility. However, “culture of blame”, “culture of safety”, “no-blame culture” and “just culture” may appear as or contain different declinations of responsibility and accountability.

How this increasing pressure does affect our actions and practices? How do we show or perform our responsibility and accountability? Can we outline cultures of responsibility other than those already defined? How these cultures are changing? How these cultures are affecting our performance? How do institutions, organizations and social systems support and promote or counter these cultures? Are there successful practices that negotiate different meanings, views or regimes of responsibility?

We are interested in proposal (and then full papers), which try to answer these questions and which explores the everyday life dimensions of responsibility through ethnography and other qualitative approaches and different disciplines (e.g.: everyday life sociology, sociology of culture, organization studies, socio-legal studies, sociology of work and professions).

In particular, submissions relating to the following specific themes and issues are welcome:

- The micro-social practices of everyday life;

- The hidden work of social actors, institutions and organizations;

- The (sub)cultures of responsibility;

- Responsibility and social change;

- Responsibility, gender issues and intersections;

- Responsibility and citizenship;

- Responsibility in organizations, institutions and systems;

- The innovative qualitative methods that analyze and give voice and visibility to the frontline social actors, workers, organizations, institutions.

Posted in