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Call for SASNET International Conference on the Structural Transformation of South Asia

South Asia in Transformation: World of Slums,
Global Power Houses or Utopias?
Migration, labour, and family changes in a dynamic region

20-22 May 2015, in Lund, Sweden

The Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University invited researchers with a focus on South Asia to a three-day conference in Lund, May 2015. The conference aimed to explore the impact of the on-going structural transformation in South Asia.
The conference was inaugurated by 
Jonas Hafström, Chair of the Board of Lund University. See the poster.

South Asia is currently undergoing a structural transformation in which large sections of the population are gradually moving from the agricultural sector into other sectors of the economy and/or geographical areas, mainly urban areas. These processes include urbanization, the growth of a new middle class, and increasing national and transnational migration.

The purpose of the conference was to explore the social consequences of the transformation of South Asian societies (and by implication, the world). Structural transformations produce new opportunities and risks as job possibilities and wealth are created and redistributed unevenly. This may lead to the marginalization of some groups as well as social conflicts. The aim of this conference was also to map the social impact of South Asia’s structural transformation so far, with specific reference to changes in labour migration patterns and in the composition of the care economy of families and households. Each of these aspects is often studied in isolation despite the fact that they are deeply interrelated.

Further, the conference explored interrelated social and economic aspects of sustainability simultaneously and targeted a process whose outcomes will be felt across the world, given the sheer population size of South Asia. For global sustainability purposes, it is crucial to map the current state of affairs and explore different development possibilities and scenarios for this region. Papers that compare South Asia with other regions were encouraged.

The conference was generously funded by the Crafoord Foundation, Forte and the Swedish Research Council


1.     Urbanization and Social Sustainability. Full information about Panel no. 1
        Panel Chair: Vandana Desai, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

2.     Changes in Family and Households.  Full information about Panel no. 2
        Panel Chair: Linda Lane, University of Gothenburg

3.     Migration, Environment and Social Sustainability.  Full information about Panel no. 3
        Panel Chair: Chona R. Echavez, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Kabul
        and Debojyoti Das, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

4.     Gender and Governance in South Asia.  Full information about Panel no. 4
        Panel Chair: Malin Jordal, Uppsala University
        and J. Devika, Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram, India

5.     Ethnicity, Religion and Changing Caste Relations.  Full information about Panel no. 5
        Panel Chair: Ravinder Kaur, University of Copenhagen
        and Winnie Bothe, Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden

6.     Changing Labour Markets.  Full information about Panel no. 6
        Panel Chair: Mashiur Rahman, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

7.     Structural Transformation and Social Conflicts.  Full information about Panel no. 7
        Panel Chairs: Kenneth Bo Nielsen, University of Oslo;
        and Patrik Oscarsson, University of Gothenburg

Conference schedule:

DAY 1: Wednesday 20th May 

9.00 – 10:00   Registration and Fika (tea and coffee)
   at Nya Festsalen in the Academic Society Building (AF), Sandgatan 2
10.15 – 10:45   Welcome note, in Lilla Salen, AF

  Lars Eklund, Acting Director, SASNET

  Jonas Hafström, Chair of the Board of Lund University

10.45 – 11:30   Keynote Lecture by Prof. Gita Sen.
  ”Social inequality as a barrier to growth and poverty reduction:
    South Asian dilemmas”
     Lilla Salen, AF. Open to the public
12:00 – 13:15   Lunch at Nya Festsalen, AF
13.30 – 15.30   Panel slot 1
  Seven parallell sessons, see above
  Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G
15.30 – 16.00   Tea and coffee break at Nya Festsalen, AF
16.00 – 17.00   Keynote Lecture by Prof. Rajni Palriwala:
  ”Trajectories of desire: Reflections on marriage,
      social change and the state in India”
       Lilla Salen, AF. Open to the public
17.15 – 18.15   Guided tour of Lund city (optional)
       Those wishing to participate should gather at the main 
           entrance to the Lund Cathedral (western side).
19.00 –   Dinner at Nya Festsalen, AF

DAY 2: Thursday 21st May

8:30 – 9:00   Fika (Tea and coffee)
   at Nya Festsalen in the Academic Society Building (AF), Sandgatan 2
9.00 – 10.00   Keynote Lecture by Prof. Abram de Swaan:
     ”Are poor people enough of a nuisance?
      Changing elite perceptions of the poor on the national and the global scale”
         Lilla Salen, AF. Open to the public
10.15 – 12.15   Panel slot 2
  Seven parallell sessons, see above
   Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G
12.30 – 13.30   Lunch at Nya Festsalen, AF
13.45 – 15.30   Panel slot 3
  Seven parallell sessons, see above
  Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G
15.30 – 16.00   Tea and Coffee Break
  Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G
16:00 – 17.15   Panel slot 4
   Seven parallell sessons, see above
  Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G
17.15 – 19.00   Break
19.00–   Dinner with entertainment at Nya Festsalen, AF

DAY 3: Friday 22nd May

09:00 – 10:00 Panel slot 5 (Optional)

  Seven parallell sessons, see above
  Department of Sociology, Paradisgatan 5 G

10.15 – 11.15   Keynote Lecture by Prof. Ruth Kattumuri: 
        ”Two dollars-a-day Population and Love’s Labour’s Gained”
        Lilla Salen in the Academic Society Building (AF), Sandgatan 2
             Open to the public
11.15 – 12.00   Round table discussion in Lilla Salen, AF
  with professors Gita Sen; Abram de Swaan; Rajni Pajriwala; and Ruth Kattumuri.    
       Discussant: Prof. Staffan Lindberg, Lund University
12.00 – 12.15   Summary and closing remarks from organizers
       Lilla Salen, AF
12.30 – 13.30   Lunch in Nya Festsalen, AF

Venue information: 

– All the panel sessions were held at the Lund University Sociology Building (Paradisgatan 5G, Lund)

– Welcome note, keynote speeches lunch, dinner, concluding ceremony and most of the fika breaks were held at AF Borgen, (Sandgatan 2, Lund). 

Keynote speakers:

Gita Sen, Ruth Kattumuri, Abram de Swaan. and Rajni Palriwala

– Gita Sen (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India and Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University)
– Ruth Kattumuri  (London School of Economics, London, England)
– Abram de Swaan (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
– Rajni Palriwala (University of Delhi, India)

Conference venues:

The registration, keynote speeches, coffe/tea breaks, and all meals (lunch and dinner) will be held at the Academic Union Building – Akademiska Föreningen (AF), Sandgatan 2 in central Lund close to the Cathedral and the main University building.

The panels will be held in seminar rooms in Lund University’s Department of Sociology building at Paradisgatan 5 G, five minutes walk from the AF building. 

SASNET student volunteers assisted the conference participants to find the way between the two venues and to the correct seminar rooms.

Conference fee
(including lunch and dinner):

      100 Euros for participants travelling within Europe (SEK 935 for Swedish participants)
        50 Euros for students, and for participants travelling from South Asia 

       The conference fee should be paid before May 5th, 2015.
        Payments could be made either by

       • Credit card payment via Lund University online banking, go for the web page form,
                                              and there choose to pay for the SASNET conference.
       • Bank transfer paymentSee the Lund University banking information.
          NOTE you need to write that the payment is for ”SASNET, cost account 859581”.

       Please note that participants will be responsible for covering their own travel and accommodation expense,
        unless provided a SASNET travel grant ( the selection is over). Information on accommodation in Lund.

Transport to and from Lund:

Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup) serves Lund. From Copenhagen Airport you can take a direct regional train (Öresundstrafiken) to Lund Central Station. Please note you have to buy the ticket by credit card in the ticket automats at the airport. It is not possible to buy tickets on board the train.
Trains depart every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, and takes about 45 minutes. A single ticket from Kastrup Airport costs 135 SEK.

– There is also a overnight train service (Berlin Night Express) connecting Malmö to Berlin three days a week during May 2015. More information.

Inspirational reading:

The UNRISD Flagship Report: Combating Poverty and Inequality. Here you can find the full report: http://www.unrisd.org/publications/cpi

Conference conveners:

    Lars Eklund, +46 731 508844, lars.eklund@sasnet.lu.se

    Olle FrödinLubna Hawwa Jacco Visserconference@sasnet.lu.se