Should the study of 'class' be conceived in narrow terms and focus solely on class divisions, or should it be defined more widely to embrace other forms of stratification? Must 'race', gender, religion and other factors be inscribed at the heart of class, or should class remain tied to its more specific roots?
Should class and social stratification be researched exclusively using quantitative methods and techniques, the dominating form that such analyses have taken in English-speaking sociology? Or is there room for qualitative approaches and studies concerned with such topics as the relationship between class and education, culture and class identities?
Should the analysis of class and stratification derived from the UK and North America be replaced by more genuinely international and comparative concepts which 'travel better'? Perhaps 'class' itself represents a western form of conceptualising problems around stratification and there are alternative concepts being developed and operationalised in other parts of the world?
This 'call for papers' is concerned with initiating a debate on these and related questions - but in a new form than previous debates and making full use of the capacity of Sociological Research Online to reach sociologists in parts of the world which other journals do not do to the same extent.
Of course there have been many debates and much research on class and class analysis over the years within the discipline of Sociology, and recent forms of these debates have appeared in International Sociology, Sociology and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. These debates have been constructive in identifying new areas of research, including the interrelationships between changing patterns of organisation, work and employment and class, the interdependence between 'race', gender and class, and the relationship between education, culture and class. However, to date these debates have been dominated by contributors from North America, Australasia and Britain and there have been few contributions from sociologists from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This is perhaps surprising when one thinks of the important economic, social and political changes which many of these nations and continents are experiencing. It raises the question as to whether there are other issues which should be central to the study of class and stratification which have been neglected by predominantly English-speaking sociologists, or even whether the basic concepts are so charged with, so tainted with, western ways of thinking, as to be less than fully relevant to the rest of the world.
Thus this call for papers is an attempt to initiate a genuinely more comparative and international discussion, by specifically targeting contributions from those sociologists working on issues around class and stratification - or on alternative conceptual schema - in the countries of Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Papers on any aspect of class and class analysis as this pertains to Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America are sought, including theoretical work, and work which conceptualises or operationalises alternative ways of thinking about and researching stratification and inequalities.
As well as publishing articles on this broad area of sociological work, Sociological Research Online will initiate a new discussion section of the Pinboard concerned with 'Class Matters'.
I look forward to hearing from readers of the journal, and from colleagues of its readers, with contributions on 'Class In International Perspective'.