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BISA 40th Anniversary Conference 2015

September 26, 2014

Conference Theme: The Worlds of Inequality

Inequality remains a – if not the – concern that unites the contemporary discipline of International Studies. Its prominence has been both underlined and heightened by the extraordinary impact of Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century, exploring afresh the relationship between capitalism, wealth and inequality across the world. The landscape of global security studies remains dominated by questions about inequalities of power and the uses to which those inequalities are put. Conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and many other parts of the world have thrown a spotlight on vast asymmetries in political power in national and global contexts. Responses (or their absence) to those conflicts have re-invigorated debates about the responsibilities of institutions and political actors deemed to hold power in the international context. Those conflicts, the renewed surge of racist politics in European elections, the daily documenting of violence against women across the world, the patterns of marginalisation, disenfranchisement and exploitation that attach to global migration, and a huge range of other issues focus our attention on the place of the ‘powerless’ in global society and the global economy. We remain preoccupied by what the emergence of ‘rising powers’ means for the contours of global inequalities of power, wealth and security in the future.

The 40th anniversary conference of the British International Studies Association will explore the expansive terrain of contemporary global inequalities, across all of the subfields of the discipline. Under the conference theme, we welcome submissions of proposals for panels and papers which address the following (and cognate) questions:
1. What theoretical, empirical and methodological innovations are needed in our discipline to understand the worlds of inequality with which we are concerned?
2. How are we to understand current and emerging relationships between power and inequality in the global system?
3. What are the connections between economic, social and political inequalities in the contemporary world?
4. Does or should the reordering of global power relations reshape our understanding of inequalities and their future contours?
5. Where are the political resources to deal effectively with global inequalities?
6. Does the sheer extent of global inequalities signify a failure of global governance?
7. How does and could our discipline accommodate attention to powerlessness alongside its traditional preoccupation with power and the powerful?
8. Is inequality inevitable?