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Sociologists to explore social conflict at annual meeting in Las Vegas, Aug. 20-23

More than 5,000 sociologists will convene in Las Vegas, Nevada, this August to explore ideas and scientific research relating to sociology and social conflict, as part of the American Sociological Association's 106th Annual Meeting. While conflict is constantly in the headlines, it's also under the surface of everyday life. Wherever there is change, struggle, or domination, there is conflict.

The conference will feature nearly 600 sessions and 3,200 studies covering such timely topics as same-sex marriage, the recession, war, religion, immigration, sex, race, bullying, crime, families, politics, relationships, technology, poverty, health and healthcare, education, and many others. Given the diverse range of topics that will be covered, ASA's Annual Meeting provides a wealth of information for journalists assigned to nearly any beat.

WHAT: The American Sociological Association's 106th Annual Meeting: "Social Conflict: Multiple Dimensions and Arenas"

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 20, through Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 (Opening Plenary Session is Friday, Aug. 19 from 7 to 9 PM)

WHERE: Caesars Palace Las Vegas (3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109)

REGISTRATION: Complimentary media registration is now open. Download the press policy and registration form online at The early registration deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 9.

PROGRAM: Visit for the meeting's searchable preliminary program. PDFs of the preliminary daily program schedules can be found here:


  • Conflicting Visions of the American Family
    Saturday, Aug. 20, 2:30 4:10 PM

    Over the past few decades, there has been considerable discord regarding the form and functions of the American family, and the roles constituent members should play. Because of demographic changes (the increasing prevalence of cohabitation, marital delay, and high levels of female labor force participation) and economic challenges (wage stagnation and unemployment), substantial proportions of Americans of all ages must deal with different family realities than those they were raised with. Often, the American media portrays the situations resulting from these changes in an amusing light (alpha wives, cougars, and men fleeing commitment or grappling clumsily with being fathers). However, outside of the spotlight, there are significant tensions inherent in men's and women's beliefs of what the family is supposed to be. This panel examines flash-points in heterosexual intimate relationships and the factors challenging their formation, stability, and quality.

  • Adjustment and Reintegration of Combat Veterans
    Saturday, Aug. 20, 4:30 6:10 PM

    The long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have required the largest deployment of both active duty and reserve military personnel by the United States and its allies since World War II. For a variety of reasonsincluding the relatively low lethality of insurgency weapons used in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major advances in protective equipment and battlefield medicinethese wars have resulted in few fatalities relative to past wars. However, these long wars, which have required multiple deployments of personnel, have produced large numbers of combat veterans, a significant percentage of whom bear physical and psychological scars from their experience. This panel will present research by leading scholars on the decompression and post-service integration of personnel who have served in the regular and reserve armed forces of the United States and the United Kingdom in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

  • The Middle Class at the Bottom: How the Recession Harmed Average Americans
    Sunday, Aug. 21, 8:30 10:10 AM

    The Recession of 2008 drew back the curtain on the financial nightmare that millions of middle-class American households were livinga paycheck-to-paycheck and debt-burdened existence. Join scholars from sociology, law, and economics to discuss some of the most crucial causes and consequences of the financial struggles that so many middle-class Americans continually confront: consumer debt, consumer bankruptcy, mortgage lending and home foreclosure, and strained familial relationships. The panelists will discuss their research specifically and the issues more generally.

  • Bullying, Harassment, and School Violence
    Monday, Aug. 22, 8:30 10:10 AM

    This session will showcase new sociological research on bullying, harassment, and school violence. While bullying in school has long been identified as a problem, research on the topic has tended to focus on psychological aspects rather than on social dimensions. More recently, however, sociologists have identified the role that bullying and harassment play in creating and maintaining social conflicts and inequalities along the lines of race, gender, and sexual orientation. The means of harassmentphysical, verbal, and virtualhave also come under scrutiny by sociologists. Moreover, schools' differential responses to various forms of violence may exacerbate inequalities, as offenses involving weapons are treated with zero tolerance while harassment that does not involve weapons may be unseen or ignored by authority figures.

  • Political Conflicts Over Same-Sex Marriage
    Monday, Aug. 22, 4:30 6:10 PM

    Whether or not same-sex couples can access the social institution of marriage is one of the most divisive social conflicts of our time. This conflict has resulted in political outcomes such as national legislation to restrict the federal definition of marriage and the repeal of same-sex marriage at the ballot box in states like California and Maine. This session will explore same-sex marriage in the electoral and legislative arenas, contextualizing these conflicts within a larger history of social injustice in the United States and elsewhere.

  • Local Responses to Immigrant Populations
    Tuesday, Aug. 23, 12:30 2:10 PM

    This session will bring together a variety of research agendas whose focus is on the response of local governments to a growing immigrant (including non-citizen and undocumented) population. While federal governments (in the U.S. and abroad) set the agenda for immigration policy, state and local governments have begun to craft their own immigrant policies, some of which are testing legal limits. Research from political sociology has indicated two emerging trends. On the one hand, some local governments are enacting more restrictive policies, such as empowering local law enforcement to carry out federal immigration mandates, restricting landlords from renting to undocumented residents, and deputizing state workers to report undocumented clients. On the other hand, some cities and counties have opted to stretch the boundaries of membership, and have spurred policies such as expanded healthcare for undocumented residents, non-citizen voting, and municipal IDs. This session will explore the contested political and bureaucratic processes that local governments undergo to enact these immigrant policies as well as the impacts on immigrant communities.


Contact: Daniel Fowler
American Sociological Association

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