CfP: Translating Knowledge: From Theory to Praxis

Translating Knowledge:  From Theory to Praxis, June 2-3, 2023

Sociology and Social Anthropology Graduate Conference, Central European University, Vienna

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023

Keynote speakers:

John Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, The Open University, UK

Shahram Khosravi, Professor of Anthropology, Stockholm University, Sweden 

Translating academic knowledge into social praxis has always been a central question for critical theory. This is particularly true in an age of polycrisis. Neoliberal globalization has intensified the exploitation of natural resources, the financialization of social reproduction, and the precarization of labor. Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and housing precarity yield a unique moment that urges us to consider how to bridge the gap between academic and practical knowledge. Moreover, the rise of chauvinist discourses and authoritarian political regimes around the world, often accompanied by outright attacks on knowledge production, has narrowed the potential for social scientists to communicate and impact public discourse. In this conference, we aim to explore the ways to overcome these challenges and translate our work into meaningful social action.

Translating knowledge into action has long been integral to grassroots activism in housing, migration, gender equality, and environmental justice. Academics continue to take an active part in social movements, working together with NGOS and mobilizing/ bottom-up initiatives.  We understand translation not only in the linguistic sense, but in a broader sense as interpretations, associations, and representations that mediate between different contexts. As Clarke et al. (2015) remind us, translation has a double significance “as both an act of domination (the means through which power, hierarchy, and rule are re-inscribed) and a condition of possibility in which dialogue, talking back, and building connections and solidarities [...] become possible.”  We take this double significance of translation as both a potentiality for engaged social research and a methodological tool in need of serious critical reflection.  This conference asks: What can be gained or lost in the translation of knowledge? How can translation be used for community-oriented social research? How can it be used as a critical methodological tool? We invite papers that draw on empirical analyses as well as theoretical ones which focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Theoretical frameworks and conceptual models that investigate the role of translation in emancipatory knowledge production, such as critical pedagogy, collaborative research, or participatory action research.
  • Alternative methods, research designs and strategies for knowledge translation in the social sciences and beyond, such as visual artwork, digital media production, or engagement with policy makers, activists, and journalists.
  • Challenges and methodological limitations of translation (i.e., power dynamics between researchers and research participants, policymakers, and activists or other social agents).
  • Constraints and difficulties in creating and translating knowledge in academia under neoliberalism.
  • Rethinking and conceptualizing the interactions between the domains of policy, activism, and academia.
  • Ethics and social responsibility of Participatory Action Research (PAR).
  • Roles and contributions of sustainable institutions and collectives within and beyond academia for translating knowledge into social action and/or for creating inclusive educational and learning environments.

We welcome submissions from scholars and practitioners from various disciplines including sociology, anthropology, geography, economics, political science, and related fields.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Abstracts should be no more than 200 words
  • Submissions should be in English
  • Submissions should include the title of the presentation, the author's name, institutional affiliation, geographical provenience and contact information (as some travel support might be available on a need basis)
  • Submissions should be sent to by April 30th, 2023.