Future PSA Conferences
2024: Ties That Bind – Social Space and Social Permissiveness
Date: Thursday, March 21 to Sunday, March 24, 2025
Location: at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
Reserve your hotel using our PSA Room Block for a discounted rate by clicking here.
Call for Submissions: Opens Monday, September 11th
President: Alicia D. Bonaparte, Pitzer College
Vice President: Celeste Atkins, University of Arizona
Program Chair: Marcia Hernandez, University of the Pacific
Greetings everyone! Planning for the forthcoming meetings in San Diego at the Marriott Mission Valley (March 21-March 24) are underway under the stewardship of Dr. Marcia Hernandez (University of the Pacific) as Program Chair and a robust Programming Committee. When I considered the theme for PSA 2024, I considered two things: social spaces and social permissiveness. Ties that bind are the shared beliefs or other factors that link people together. To quote author Pauli Murray, “True community is based on upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.” And yet, as sociologists, we understand, see, and in many instances experience that lack of equality, mutuality, and reciprocity resulting in persisting inequities that do not allow for acceptance of difference and respect for diversity. One clear way in which inequities are enacted are thanks to social mores about belonging in social spaces and the levels of social permissiveness that can guarantee or not guarantee acceptance. Two speakers who are the key Presidential Speakers, Dr. Elijah Anderson (Yale University) and Dr. Brandon Robinson (University of California-Riverside), will speak to this conference theme and the interweaving aspects of social complexity.
The current sociopolitical climate in the U.S. as well as in many other Western nations outlines a thorny picture about citizenship, civil rights, social justice, and social hierarchy. As of today, pre-existing legal protections for Black folx, people with uteruses, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and Indigenous people are nonexistent or so minimal that even those protections are brought into question within the court of law. Beginning with the lack of full-fledged support for the Voting Rights Act, we begin to know more keenly why W. E. B. DuBois stated that Black people are forever reminded in the U.S. of double consciousness. Although Black people through various laws in the U.S. were granted American citizenship and should be provided all rights associated with this social status, there persists a lack of associating citizenship with the humanity of Blackness. Consequently, Black people walk into and exist within various social spaces (the professional and interpersonal) across the U.S. landscape with the unfulfilled promise of full and complete civil rights due to a lack of social permissiveness. To quote historian Koritha Mitchell, “know your place aggression” demonstrates how and why social permissiveness is not guaranteed to all; but rather as a means of sustaining racial capitalism and white supremacy. This is one of the principal reasons that I’m excited that Dr. Elijah Anderson will be our Sorokin lecturer and Presidential panelist. His work highlights how Black people navigate social spaces, redefine community within spaces that remind us of who does and doesn’t belong, and challenges preconceived notions of how racial discrimination persists.
Turning over Roe v. Wade was unfortunately not a surprise but rather an eventuality predicted by gender studies scholars and reproductive justice activists who watched the pulse of reproductive politics become once more not only control over the womb but also an enforcing of patriarchy. States were well-poised to begin using “standard” language in creating legal codicils designed to further limit agency and autonomy in sexual and reproductive health. As Zakiya Luna states, “reproductive justice is an analysis, movement, praxis, and vision.” It constantly calls for us to re-evaluate how social rights and liberties are interconnected so it’s not just about access to rights but rather makes us identify what other systems buoy the lack of access and what and who are advantaged because of structured inequality.
Another disconcerting showcasing of restricting agency and autonomy is reflected in the pernicious attacks on trans people which range from denying gender-affirming care to attempting a complete erasure via various forms of violence and legalities. These forms of persecution and prosecution are yet more heralding of how xenophobia functions as a tool of oppression, suppression, and domination. Again, we can see that conservative social mores continue to push against anyone perceived as “other” to remind who is deemed acceptable in both the public and private sphere. And yet, as Dr. Brandon Robinson’s work reminds us, queer and trans communities consistently figure out how to navigate these spaces using liberatory praxis, especially among LGBTQ+ youth.
The question now becomes, what does the decimation of legal precedent tell us about who is and isn’t allowed and at what costs? I invite you all to submit abstracts, create collaborative events, and examine within your research, teaching, activism, and public sociology how your work aligns with this theme across the various sections of the organization. I look forward to welcoming you in San Diego and learning more of your work. Dr. Hernandez, the Programming Committee, and myself are working to produce a conference that invites deeper intellectual exploration, offers a celebration of existing non-profits engaging in public sociology, music, mentoring, and spaces for all PSA members and guests to experience the beauty of our organization.