Call for Papers: Individual Success, Collective Failure?


Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics (IEEJSP) invites original research papers for its thematic issue Individual success, collective failure? The process and consequences of social (im)mobility in neo-liberal times (edited by Judit Durst, Institute for Minority Studies, Centre for Social Sciences and UCL, Department of Anthropology and Ákos Huszár, Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences).

Public dialogue about social mobility in many countries has recently been dominated by the myth of meritocracy, using a neo-liberal vocabulary of aspiration, ambition, and choice, considering mobility as an individual project of self-advancement by moving up in social hierarchy. In this discourse, social mobility is the new panacea against wider historic and social ills, and the answer to the increased classed and racialised inequalities. This thematic issue aims to challenge this widespread public and political discourse by deploying the sociological perspectives of social mobility, and asking how (upward but also downward) mobility works, how fluid our contemporary societies are, what mobility means for those experiencing it, and what are the social implications of ‘individual success at the cost of collective failure.’

In recent years, many studies have demonstrated rising and cemented inequalities, and shown that the relationship between the social positon of parents and that of their children has become stronger, or even that later generations have less and less chance to achieve the social position of their parents. Current research has also shown a marked decline in social mobility also in the East-Central-European countries after the market transition. These results suggest that rising income and wealth inequalities go hand in hand with a decline in social mobility and the closure of the social structure. In our thematic issue we would like to find out, on the one hand, whether these processes have continued in different countries, and see, on the other hand, how mobility (or immobility) is related to different domains of social life.

Despite the growing number of studies, we know little about the exact processes and consequences of social mobility. It is especially true for the latest trends after the global economic crisis. Our knowledge further needs to be extended on how mobility processes affect different groups in society. How closed are the upper classes, and how has that changed in recent times? What are the chances of those born into poor families to move forward? Can different patterns be detected in the mobility characteristics of women and men? What are the mobility chances of ethnic, religious, or other minority groups? What kinds of factors and contexts conditioned those minority group members who come from socially disadvantaged family background to achieve higher social positions than their parents, against the odds? Can we observe a distinctive minority mobility pattern or trajectory among these groups as a way to cope with their distinctive challenges in societies where institutional racism is widespread?

It is also important to understand the (potential) consequences of mobility and immobility. How does moving in the social space influence the formation of socio-political attitudes, and how does the latter affect the political stability of society? Does social mobility promote or, on the contrary, hinder the integration of society? Upward social mobility implies the improvement of the social position of individuals, but what are the (hidden) costs of this movement between social classes?

To seek answers to these and other questions, the thematic issue will provide a comparative perspective on the complexity and details of the process and different ways of social mobility and its consequences. We invite theoretically informed and empirically grounded research papers that not only measure and analyze social mobility processes by using the conventional occupation and education indexes, but also expand the investigation into other routes, reflecting on the changing social environment in which mobility takes place in the 21st century. In addition to the mainstream mobility perspectives, we are interested in ‘marginal research,’ or small-scale investigations that provide us with insights on how people experience mobility when they have to travel through social spaces, leaving behind one class and adjust to life in another.

We invite scholars to submit an abstract of 300–400 words describing the main question(s) and finding(s) of the paper, together with the applied methodology (if relevant), and a short bio by 10 December, 2020 to the Guest Editors ( and Authors will receive feedback from the editorial team by 18 December, 2020. The deadline for submitting the final papers is 31 March, 2021. The issue is scheduled for publication in winter 2021.

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Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics (IEEJSP) is a peer-reviewed journal promoting multidisciplinary and comparative thinking on Eastern and Central European societies in a global context. IEEJSP publishes research with international relevance and encourages comparative analysis both within the region and with other parts of the world. Founded by the Centre for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, IEEJSP provides an international forum for scholars coming from and/or working on the region. The Journal is indexed by Web of Science, Scopus, CEEOL, ERIH, Google Scholar, and Index Copernicus. It has been ranked Q2 (for 2019) by ScimagoJR.