IVSA Conference 2017

IVSA Annual Conference

Montreal, Canada JUNE 19-22, 2017
Register now

The International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) invites submissions for its 35th annual meeting that will take place at Concordia University, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture [CISSC]) in Montreal, Canada.

Conference logo designed by Matthew UngerThe 2017 IVSA conference is dedicated to the concepts of “Framing & Reframing”, and “The Everyday” inspired by one of Canada’s most influential sociologists, and also one of the most cited authors in the humanities and social science, Erving Goffman. By drawing on eclectic sources, modelling cross-disciplinary fertilization and collaborative knowledge building, and by developing metaconcepts derived from a life-long interest in “communication and conduct in everyday life,” Goffman’s work challenges visual sociology to find ways to dialogue with audiences across the academy and beyond in an endeavour to bring sociological understandings to the micro level of the everyday, but also to help connect it to broader public issues.

Goffman (1922-1982)

was born in Alberta, Canada to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants: he studied sociology at the University of Toronto, and completed his Masters and PhD at the University of Chicago. His work is of enduring interest in Visual Sociology and beyond. Goffman’s legacy extends from “impression management” to “face-work and selfhood”, “dramaturgy” to “total institutions” and merits re-visiting in the context of 21st century mediated culture.

“Today we are still faced with Goffman’s concern that categorization by ethnicity, race, and gender do not adequately index the complexity of social identities and how they are structured in real life. The fact of complex social identities and the need for public institutions to figure out ways to accommodate to a broader range of acceptable behavior has become a crisis in many of our schools and other public settings. More now than ever, we need better understanding of the complex elements of civility in our globalizing world.” -Marilyn Merritt


Abstracts may also address other topics relating to visual methods, theories, and the visual analysis of society, culture and social relationships, and are not limited to the general themes of the conference.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Reframing Goffman and the visual
  • Framing, reframing visual methodologies
  • Framing, reframing visual theory
  • “Facing” and framing social change
  • Activism, engagement and “situatedness”
  • Visibility, invisibility and stigma
  • Dramaturgy and performance
  • Surveillance and resurgence
  • Images and identity
  • Game playing, social interaction and virtual image worlds
  • Presentation rituals and social order
  • Impression management and social media
  • The senses in everyday life
  • Gatherings and encounters: sociological publics
  • Hyper-ritualization and gender ads in the 21st century
  • Visual ethics, collaboration & reflexivity in research
  • Framing the city

Registration Fee

Registration is open to all IVSA members at the following amounts:

Members in country groups A+B
Standard Registration $190, Student Registration $100

Members in country group C
Standard Registration $100, Student Registration $80

If you are unsure which group you are in please select your country:

According to official IVSA policy, conference registration fees are non-refundable.
Submission Deadlines:
Jan. 22 2017 Paper, Panel or Film abstracts
Feb. 22 2017 Poster or Exhibit abstracts
Submission Guidelines:
Paper & Poster abstracts: 200-400 words
Panel Proposals: 250 word overview + 3x 300 word abstracts.
Film Screening: 500 words abstract.

Book your place

You must be a paid member of IVSA to register for the conference.

IVSA members should login to their account to book their conference place on the membership area.

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson


    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog


    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu


    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris


    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins


    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine


    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie


    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker


    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp


Dionysia Lali

RT @Creative_Crim: Check out this interesting conference panel #visualsociology #visualcriminology #visualethics #researchingonline #distur…

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