VII SOCIOLOGY GRUSHIN CONFERENCE

«TOWARDS THE FUTURE. FORECASTING IN SOCIAL STUDIES»
Moscow, March 15-16, 2017

"If you do not think about your future, you cannot have one"
John Galsworthy

"Some of those who are afraid to look into the eyes of the future,
are not aware that the future can show them back…"
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
vipload.biz

“Russian Public Opinion Research Center” Foundation is pleased to announce the preparation for the VII Grushin Conference which is held in March 2017 in Moscow.

The 2017 conference main theme is “Towards the Future. Forecasting in Social Studies”.

One of the components in the classical triad of the sociological knowledge – “analysis - diagnosis – forecast” - might be missing when it comes to Russia. Today sociologists are able to measure and analyze (describe) the existing social objects, phenomena, and processes. Most often they are able to make the diagnosis of a given social problem, i.e. to reveal and explain the reason behind the phenomena or processes. But still they rarely give an attempt to forecast the future of these processes; as a rule, their predictions concerning the consequences of managerial decisions and reforms are unsuccessful (not complete, incorrect), and their predictions for social innovations (including groundbreaking changes such as revolutions) are vague. In other words, Russian sociologists are extremely focused on the present (sometimes, even on the past); they do not pay enough attention or do not have enough skills to tackle the future. In today’s acceleration of social processes and social change many researchers may have a professional “fear” of giving a wrong diagnosis, a fear of looking straight into the eyes of the future.

As the Russian sociologists’ tradition suggests, one should start with defining the “problem”, i.e. a discrepancy between what should be and what really is, between what is desired and what is real, to develop a research program. According to a widely held opinion, social change begins with identifying the problem and setting the goals that would help solve it.  However, the development of human civilization is boosted by exploring the new possibilities rather than by solving old problems. The emergence of new technologies gives humans new opportunities and “means of living” that change dramatically human lifestyle and eliminate the “old problems” as a class. But do Russian sociologists really know a lot about technological innovations that are expected to appear in the next two decades? Have they tried at least to assess the impact of emerging opportunities and to predict the changes in social environment and social relationships, the very essence of human being?  

It is a rhetorical question as the answer is known: not too much. And there are a number of reasons for that.

Firstly, over the recent years a relatively stable political development of the country has substantially decreased the demand for forecasts among many policy-makers who act as consumers (sponsors) of applied social research. Secondly, mastering the existing methods of social forecasting by practitioners lags far behind the times; today’s social forecasting methods are still at the 1970-1980s levels. Thirdly and finally, there has been an embarrassing institutional delimitation between applied sociologists and their apparent neighboring partners – futurologists (researchers of the future); and communications between professional associations are almost inexistent.

At the VII Grushin Conference, we would like to try to fill the gaps in the development of the professional sociological community, namely:

  • to review the technological forecasting in the coming decade, the predictions in technologies that shape people’s everyday life, values, public behavior and social structure; to discuss the recent years’ futuristic writings that frame and put forward targets for social researchers;
  • to present and consider the latest achievements in social and marketing forecasting techniques;
  • to present and discuss the results of the forecasts of different aspects of social life such as family relations and childhood, youth social practices, labor and consumer activities, leisure, political moods, etc.
  • to carry out practical collective forecasting (foresight) of the near future of the research industry in Russia and throughout the world.

Discussions with business and political decision-makers with a focus on the actual planning timeframe, the forecast goals, opportunities and limitations of the public presentation of social and political forecasts will also be held. 

As usual, the Grushin Conference general questions - elaboration of new research methods and development of relevant subject areas - will largely be highlighted.

The event is a research and practice conference aimed at a joint discussion of modern methodological and topical issues of the applied sociology in a circle of practitioners who are actively involved in developing and introducing new methods of data collection and processing as well as those who are interested in sociological information such as social managers representing public bodies, political parties, non-commercial organizations, mass media, business entities, etc. 

Historically, the conference is named after the prominent Russian sociologist Boris Andreevich Grushin (1929-2007), one of the pioneers of public opinion polling in the USSR and a founder of the first All-Union network that gave birth to the VCIOM network as well as to most of the current opinion centers in Russia and former USSR republics.

The conference will involve a plenary meeting, sessions, roundtables, a series of workshops and presentations where the participants have an opportunity to show the results of their studies and to discuss the vital problems of the Russian sociology.

The program of the conference is traditionally consists of several series ("lines") of actions which holds in parallel. These lines are the following 1) the line of actions of the basic subject, 2) the line of specialized sections of a constant partners of the conference (VCIOM, FOM, TSIRKON, the Eurasian monitor, etc.), 3) the line of methodical sections, 4) the line of actions devoted to the development of professional community.

The program of each line is based on the offerings from each member of Program committee of the conference. In addition, we take into consideration different offerings which we get from Russian and foreign colleagues. In this year the Program committee of the conference offers to form sections by holding the open competition  (vote). 

Here you can find the offerings from Program committee of the conference.

If you want to give your offerings regarding the organization of events (sections, round desktops, discussions, etc.) within the conference, please send them to the following address  сonf2017@wciom.com.

In the registration form please specify the following aspects:

  1. *) Form of action (section, round table, etc.)
  2. *) Subject
  3. *) Summary on 1-2 paragraphs. Here please describe the main problem, questions to discussion
  4.  Expected speakers (if it is possible)
  5. *) Expected program director of an action
  6. *) A contact information of the applicant and program director (if don't match)

*) obligatory points of the request


The representatives of the research industry, the companies that works with data, the academic environment of the educational institutions can be among the authors of the request. All the requests should be submitted until the 20th of November, 2016.

Requests will be selected by an open voting on the website and to affirm Program committee of a conference. Final confirmation according to requests for actions is planned by December 1, 2016.

The submission for participation in a conference (as a speaker, listener, and author of theses) will be open since December 1, 2016 on the Registration page for Participants.

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