3rd Social Sciences Conference
‘State and Society of Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities’
13-14 May 2015
Venue: Higher Education Commission, Islamabad
The Social Sciences cover diverse aspects of society and have a wide range of content studied under different disciplines. The major disciplines under the umbrella of social sciences have distinct methodologies that often justify the preservation of academic boundaries. However, at the same time the demarcations between the disciplines need to be opened up and a plurality of approaches may be applied to understand this overlapping phenomenon. Such opening up may also blur the categorical boundaries between various faculties such as Arts, Humanities, Natural, Physical and Social Sciences. It is important to reinstate the significance of the social sciences by not only highlighting their increasing relevance in today’s context, but also by pointing to their indispensability in laying the foundations of an analytical and creative mindset. This will also help in investigating the otherwise complex social problems of countries such as Pakistan.
Unfortunately, research in Social Sciences in Pakistan is still far behind other disciplines due to the consistent negligence on the part of policy makers. By and large the state and society of Pakistan have paid dearly for this disregard. The socio-economic and political conditions of Pakistan are precarious. Despite enormous international attention (since 9/11), this unfortunate state is distraught by weak democratic institutions, praetorian state apparatuses, conservative socio-cultural ethos, exclusive and contending religious ideologies, increasing social stratification, infiltrating globalization, identity related contestations, exploitative economic structures and agencies, vulnerable security structures and competing global power interests. However, despite all these challenges Pakistan has shown resilience through its fight against one of the toughest conflicts of the modern time. Moreover, continuous economic growth, active civil society, expanding popular activism, rising of dissident voices and encountering hegemonic discourses through virtual spaces (i.e. social media), are few instances that demonstrate vibrancy and flux in Pakistani society.
The above understanding of the situation in Pakistan reflects the challenges as well as opportunities that require academic attention. Moreover, there is a need for a vibrant rational tradition in the social sciences, the theoretical perspectives and empirical research upon which sound national and regional level policymaking ought to rest. A regular and meaningful discourse among scholars of various disciplines of the social sciences is essential to forge an intellectually coherent and action-oriented research agenda. Only then it will be possible to address the complexity of Pakistan.
In line with the above understanding HEC’s Committee for Development of Social Sciences and Humanities in Pakistan (CDSSHP) – in collaboration with University of Peshawar – has organized a Two-Day International Conference on the theme of ‘State and Society of Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities’ involving social scientists from within and outside the country on 13-14 May 2015.
Within the broader theme a set of sub-themes are identified below. These sub-themes are representative of diverse and wider scope of the social sciences. They also demonstrate the need to see various social problems through inter-disciplinary approaches.
Ø Theories and methods: emerging trends in social science.
Ø Arts, Humanities and Sciences: blurring boundaries.
Ø Developing institutional capacity for promoting Social Sciences
Ø Socioeconomic development and education in Pakistan
Ø Social transformation and conflict in the region.
Ø Civil Society and Neo-liberal State.
Ø National integration and ethno-linguistic contestations.
Ø Democratic Governance and Development.
Ø Security paradoxes, regional and global powerpolitics.
Ø Media and cyber space: alternative venues for contesting discourses.
Ø Folklore and the quest for identity.
Besides these sub-themes abstracts relevant to the main theme of the conference can also be submitted to the organizers.
We request abstracts of no more than 500 words from academics and practitioners on either of the topics listed above, along with a short biography, to be submitted to the conference organizing committee before March 1, 2015. Abstracts should include a title, research questions, information about potential methodological and theoretical frameworks, and a summary of the main argument. After reviewing by the academic committee, the selected paper presenters will be contacted on March 15, 2014. The Conference will take place in Islamabad. The selected paper presenters will be provided with accommodation, food, travel costs. The presenters are expected to submit full papers before the conference. Selected papers will be published as conference proceedings. Guideline format for paper submission will be provided later. For abstract submission and other information, please contact Mr. Muhammad Faheem at firstname.lastname@example.org