About the conference

Sociologists and those working in related disciplines have often found more of interest on the margins than in the centre. It is where innovation takes place, where the new replaces the outmoded, where ‘outsider’ or heterodox voices challenge the orthodoxy, and where culture creators are most able to follow the laws inherent to their specific region of the cultural field. The margins are where you will find ‘underground’ or ‘cutting edge’ scenes. Moreover, ethnographic traditions in sociological research have produced fine-grained accounts of cultures of subaltern, subcultural, diasporic groups, and the ways in which these groups and individuals engage in counter-hegemonic practices.

At the same time, sociologists have also drawn attention to how those occupying the margins of societal fields are characterized in terms of lack: dominated individuals and groups lack the requisite cultural capital or social connections to get on in life; they are ‘failed consumers’ or they make the wrong choices; they lack the time and resources with which to develop and deploy an aesthetic disposition; and they lack the social power to confer legitimacy on their practices or representations. Those ‘beyond the pale’ are rendered abject, considered to be ‘matter out of place’. Among the social types identified on the margins, there is the Simmelian figure of the stranger who ‘comes today and stays tomorrow’, who is invisibilized and ignored, or hypervisibilized and racialized. Strangers are part of the group and yet do not fully belong. They are set apart from the group with an objectifying distance, and during times of crises, they are the ones blamed when things go wrong. As Skeggs (2004) points out, cultures of the dominated are nevertheless ‘propertized’ by the dominant who, occupying more mobile position are able to plunder the edgy associations and most exciting bits while leaving behind that which is deemed to be ‘the constitutive limit’ and that which has no cultural value.

This conference asks which perspectives, methodologies and methods might help sociologists better understand and make sense of culture(s) on the margins. How might academics address and challenge power imbalances within the field of culture and other societal fields but also within cultural sociological practice? How can academics (the dominated dominant) research the margins without silencing the voices that they seek to hear, and avoiding the position of the researcher or activist who (in the words of bell hooks) silently assumes that there is ‘no need to hear your voice when I can talk about you better than you can speak about yourself’?

The conference explores these and related questions at local, national, transnational, regional and global levels.


We welcome proposals of papers and panels in the following areas:

  • Culture and inequality
  • Hierarchies, divisions and contestations
  • Margins and marginality
  • Field analysis
  • Value and values
  • Communities, spaces, places
  • Migration, diasporas and culture
  • Subcultures
  • Urbanity and rurality
  • Appropriation and appreciation
  • Orthodoxy and heterodoxy
  • Exclusion and exclusivity
  • Authenticity
  • Taste and tasting
  • Bodies, subjectivities, identities
  • History, change and continuities
  • Collective and public memories
  • The immemorial and what we cannot/shall not remember
  • Deviance, protest and resistance
  • Cultural production
  • Cultural consumption
  • Culture, classes and lifestyle
  • Cultural and human geographies
  • Cosmopolitanism(s)
  • Digital cultures
  • Media and mediatization
  • Mediation and intermediaries
  • Social media and their margins
  • Popular and unpopular culture
  • Mapping locations and cultural phenomena
  • Representations of locations, people, cultures
  • Geographies and social regimes – genders, sexualities, classes, ‘races’, ethnicities, religions, disabilities
  • Mobilities and immobilities
  • Movements and flows – voluntary and forced – humans, goods, ideas
  • Gentrification of cities and other locations
  • Social, cultural and sociological theory
  • Cultural sociology (general) 

Paper abstracts

Please submit abstracts of around, but no more than, 300 words. Please include in the submission the name(s) of the author(s), institutional affiliation, and email address(es).

Panel proposals

Please submit a short outline of the panel session (no more than 150 words) and 3–4 abstracts.


Deadline extended: Please submit your abstracts and panel proposals in word or pdf format by 15 March 2022 to ESAPortsmouth2022@gmail.com 

Each author cannot submit more than two abstracts (as first author).

Organising committee

  • Dr Simon Stewart, University of Portsmouth – UK
  • Dr Rita Ribeiro, University of Minho – Portugal
  • Dr Sue Diamond, European Sociological Association RN07 member

Keynote speakers

Important dates

  • Deadline for abstract submission: 15 March 2022
  • Notification of acceptance: 7 April 2022
  • Registration opening: 15 April 2022
  • Early Bird registration closes: 15 May 2022
  • Registration deadline for presenting authors: 15 June 2022


Ticket GBP £
RN Board Fee 80
Student Registration (Early) 90
Student Registration (Normal) 125
ESA Member Registration (Early) 130
ESA Member Registration (Normal) 165
Non-ESA Registration (Early) 165
Non-ESA Registration (Normal) 200

Register for the conference

The European Sociological Association’s Research Network on the Sociology of Culture

European Sociological Association

The European Sociological Association’s Research Network on the Sociology of Culture provides a global network for scholars working on sociological studies of culture and cultural reflections upon sociology. It aims to develop sociological understandings of phenomena such as meaning, symbolism, cultural structures and practices.

Read more about the European Sociological Association.

Read more about the Sociology of Culture research network.