Conference report: Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), Kyoto 2018
By Dr Maria Rieder, School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics
From Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th June the international Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics held their annual meeting at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, and I was delighted to be able to attend this prestigious and major global conference. It was the first meeting to take place in Asia and close to 1,000 delegates joined the conference to discuss questions of the effect of globalisation on political, economic and social practices.
The special theme of this year’s meeting was “Global Reordering: Prospects for Equality, Democracy and Justice” and sought to provide a platform to explore the ways in which the processes of reordering occurring across the globe are impacting traditional research areas and paradigms of analysis. What made the conference so interesting was not least it’s multi- and transdisciplinarity and the many high-profile invited keynote speakers. Prof Christine Parker from the University of Melbourne, for instance, spoke about regulation and the politics of consumption, particularly the discursive construction of food labelling. Another distinguished and well-known speaker, Professor Wang Hui from Tsinghua University focused on the crisis of equality-in-difference in an impressive historical-philosophical lecture.
I myself participated in a panel on ‘Economic experts in discourses: communication, specialist knowledge & democracy’, chaired by Dr Brendan O’Rourke (DIT) and Jens Maeße (Univ. of Giessen, Germany), which sought to address issues of economic experts in public and professional discourses in the context of global restructuring of power relations, inequality, rising populism and exhaustion of expertly constructed global economic architectures. My own contribution, co-written with Dr Henry Silke (UL, School of Culture & Communication) and Hendrik Theine (Vienna University of Economics and Business) and with the title ‘Thomas Piketty in the News: A Critical Analysis of Representation of a ‘Celebrity Economist’’ discussed the influence of different types of economic experts, among them Thomas Piketty, on policy formation and debate, as well as their reception by the political and civic society.
It was a big privilege to attend this conference which was not only a fantastic and inspiring academic and professional experience, but also a successful social and cultural event during which I made valuable contacts with researchers from diverse fields. Moreover, the programme was packed with traditional Japanese performances, (see link below).