Call for Papers: Further reflections on (mis)understanding people

For the next issue of Compaso, scheduled to appear in June 2013, we invite articles, essays, and research notes that continue reflection on Ways of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people. We also invite commentaries on articles published in Issue 2/2012.

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: 6th of May 2013

Send articles, research notes and book reviews to:

Please check the Journal’s website for guidelines on manuscript submission.

New issue: Ways of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people

We are happy to announce the online publication of the sixth issue of Compaso – Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. The issue addresses a variety of sociological and anthropological approaches to the ways in which people knowledge is distributed across  various social contexts and institutions .  

You are kindly invited to read and comment on the articles, which are available at the following addresses:


Issue 2 / 2012: Ways of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people

Volume 2, Number 2, December 2012


Research articles

Aleksandra Biernacka / A case of auteur cinema in a changed cultural context:  “Funny Games” (1997) and “Funny Games, US” (2007) by Michael Haneke

Brian Campbell / Enacting trust: contract, law and informal economic relationships in a Spanish border enclave in Morocco

Miriam Cihodariu / Narratives as instrumental research and as attempts of fixing  meaning. The uses and misuses of the concept of “narratives”

Lucie Cviklová / Advancement of human rights standards for LGBT people through the perspective of international human rights law

Sean O’ Dubhghaill Reduction and representation: the function(s) of understanding and comparison in, and between, Anthropology and Literature

Andra Letiția Jacob Larionescu  / Migrants’ housing in the homeland. A case study of the impact of migration on a rural community: the village of Marginea, Romania

Benjamin Žohar  / Misrepresentation of the Bosnian War by Western media

Plainer Zsuzsa / „They took personal data and some pictures, yet they found nothing for us” – misunderstanding and suspicion in a marginal Roma neighborhood from Romania


Review essay

Alina Petra Marinescu / Saleem Sinai – Number one of the 1001 Midnight’s Children. The display of inner and outer dimensions of understanding and not understanding within one of Salman Rushdie’s most read books


Book reviews

Alin Croitoru / Book review: Schumpeter, J.A., 1934 (2008), The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle, translated from the German by Redvers Opie, New Brunswick (U.S.A) and London (U.K.): Transaction Publishers

Aura Matei / Book review: Paul Dragoș Aligica and Peter J. Boettke (2009). Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development. The Bloomington School. London and New-York: Routledge

Lucia Popa / Book review: Piotrowski, Piotr. (2012) Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe. London: Reaktion Books


List of Compaso reviewers in 2012 

Call for papers: Ways of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: 30 September 2012


This issue has been supported through POSDRU 2007-2013 project DOCSOC – Excellence, innovation and interdisciplinarity in doctoral and postdoctoral studies in sociology, contract PSDRU/21/1.5/G/27059.


Send articles, research notes and book reviews to:

Social research relies on our claims of understanding people – which often rely, further, on the claims advanced by our research participants (as respondents, informants, subjects, or in other roles) of understanding themselves and other people.


At times, we are also confronted, as researchers and in other walks of life, with difficulties, failures, and outright impossibilities of understanding people.

We invite papers that reflect on forms of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people. Articles that have a comparative focus, by looking at different forms, instances, settings etc., are especially welcome.

Some of the questions that may guide discussion include (without being limited to) the following:

  • Different forms: What forms and claims of understanding, not understanding, misunderstanding, uncertain understanding, better understanding etc. have we encountered in our research?
  • Rhetorical use: How do people report their understanding of other people as arguments in conversations? How do claims of understanding, misunderstanding, not understanding, uncertain understanding, partial understanding etc. function as arguments that support one’s stance and undermine alternative versions? What is the rhetorical force of these various claims of understanding and lack thereof?
  • Social organization: How are these forms of understanding and not understanding socially organized? What social positions (such as professionals, parents, friends, spouses etc) are privileged in claiming understanding of particular other people? When and how do alternative understandings clash, and how are these conflicts adjudicated?
  • Professional versus common reason: How is our professional understanding of people related to the common-reason forms of understanding and lack thereof of the people that we rely on – as subjects, informants, respondents etc? How do we position our understanding to be better? How do we elicit their understanding?
  • Techniques and technologies: How do we operate with theories, schemes and models, methods, techniques, instruments of understanding people? How do other people operate with such tools? What do we (and others) take to be more or less reliable indicators of other people’s thoughts, personalities, motives, ways of being? How do we elicit and / or read CVs, photos, Facebook profiles, test results, biographies, obituaries, interviews, and other would-be ways of understanding people?
  • Different perspectives: How do different theoretical or disciplinary perspectives shape our understanding of people? What are the benefits and the threats of drawing on, and combining, different disciplinary perspectives in our research papers/studies?
Articles that engage in a comparative approach, connecting different concepts, materials, methods, situations, pieces of research or other social realities, are particularly welcome.
Please check the Journal’s website for guidelines on manuscript submission:

New issue: Empirical evidence – varieties of sociological argumentation

We are happy to announce the online publication of the fourth issue of Compaso – Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. The issue publishes a variety of sociological and anthropological examples of the ways in which argumentation work develops during and after research.  

 You are kindly invited to read and comment on the articles, which are available at the following addresses:


Issue 2 / 2011: Empirical evidence- varieties of sociological argumentation

Volume 2, Number 2, November 2011


Invited commentary

Ionela Băluță / Fermeture sociale, différence et diversité: des enjeux identitaires


Research articles

Ana Maria Borlescu / Being a homeopath. Learning and practice in a homeopathic community

Iulia Gheorghiu / Truth or story or true story? The self in the interview situation

Andrada-Mihaela Istrate / From pathological to professional: gambling stories

Andreea Lazăr / Transnational migration studies. Reframing sociological imagination and research

Ștefania Matei / Media and migration. Layers of knowledge in Romanian written press

Bogdan Mihai Radu / Parental involvement in schools. A study of resources, mobilization, and inherent inequality

Cătălin Pavel / Rational choice in field archaelology


Book reviews

Simona Ciotlăuș / Matthew Engelke (ed.), 2009, The Objects of Evidence. Anthropological approaches to the production of knowledge

Andra Letiția Jacob Larionescu / Bauman, Zygmunt, 2011, Culture in a Liquid Modern World, Cambridge and Malden, Polity


Lecture reviews

Alin Croitoru / Carl Christian von Weizsäcker, 2011, Homo Oeconomicus Adaptivus

List of Compaso reviewers in 2010-2011 

Call for papers: Object lessons

Guest editor for the special issue: Oana Mateescu, University of Michigan,

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: 20 February 2012

Send articles, research notes and book reviews to:

In the early 19th century, Johann Pestalozzi introduced object lessons to encourage children to learn from direct experience, in a progression of touch, story and abstraction. His telling objects have been gradually replaced or insistently accompanied by photos, stories and theories: objects are recalcitrant and do not stick to authorized interpretations, they do not always give pupils the proper stories. Truth be told, objects are often dangerous – but also seductive, affording effective action, play and intimate knowledge.

Philipp Igumnov, Thoughtless

The Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology – Compaso invites articles attending to special objects and their distinctive work in social interaction, with a focus on learning and knowledge creation.

After a period of low profiling, objects in social research have gradually recovered their everyday life significance (Preda, 1999; Turkle, 2007).  Objects are found in many places and spaces (Law & Singleton, 2005) when inquiring into world-and-knowledge-in-the-making.  They may bear plain names in unorthodox theoretical stories, for instance (from A to D) anaemia, anthrax, alcoholic liver disease, canoe head, computer, denim, diabetes, door hinge, or Doppler apparatus. Some are special objects marked as such by dedicated names. Novel concepts point to their unfamiliar ontology or work. The much discussed immutable mobiles (Latour, 1986) and boundary objects (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Bowker & Star, 1999; Star, 2010; Star & Griesemer, 1989; Trompette & Vinck, 2009), fluid objects (Mol & Law, 1994), fire objects (Law & Singleton, 2005), affiliative objects (Suchman, 2005), or epistemic objects (Knorr Cetina, 2001; Rheinberger, 1997) are some of the notions that challenge previous theoretical threads as well as one another. Theorized objects thus become increasingly interlinked in research accounts – while also multiplying independently. All in all, a small army of objects scaffold knowledgeability (Orlikowski, 2006) and perform competing and heterogeneous realities (Law, 2010).

We invite contributions that guide reflection on objects-good-to-think-with (Turkle, 2010; 2008), including – but not limited to – the following topics:

  • Materiality of knowledge: the mutual constitution of objects and knowledge;
  • Temporal structures of objects and knowledge, and the materiality of time;
  • Boundary objects in learning and knowledge creation;
  • Objects in distributed cognition: aggregating knowledge in groups, environments and across time;
  • Affordances: how objects invite actions and knowledge by virtue of their sensory structures, inscriptions, aesthetics, and other features that orient action;
  • Objects that fade into invisibility and objects that rise to prominence: experiencing objects from the ordinary to the remarkable;
  • Observability of objects and their workings, in social research.

Articles that engage in a comparative approach, connecting different concepts, materials, methods, situations, pieces of research or other social realities, are particularly welcome. Please check the Journal’s website for guidelines on manuscript submission:


Akkerman, S. F., & Bakker, A. (2011). Boundary Crossing and Boundary Objects. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 132-169.

Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. New Baskerville: MIT Press.

Knorr Cetina, K. (2001). Objectual practice. In T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina, & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (pp. 184-197). London: Routledge.

Latour, B. (1986). Visualization and Cognition: Thinking with Eyes and Hands. Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present, 6, 1-40.

Law, J. (2010). Reality Failures. Retrieved August 28, 2011, from

Law, J., & Singleton, V. (2005). Object Lessons. Organization, 12(3), 331-355.

Mol, A., & Law, J. (1994). Regions, Networks and Fluids: Anaemia and Social Topology. Social Studies of Science, 24(4), 641-671.

Orlikowski, W. J. (2006). Material knowing: the scaffolding of human knowledgeability. European Journal of Information Systems, 15(5), 460-466. Nature Publishing Group.

Preda, A. (1999). The Turn to Things: Arguments for a Sociological Theory of Things. The Sociological Quarterly, 40(2), 347-366. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1999.tb00552.x.

Rheinberger, H.-J. (1997). Toward a history of epistemic things: synthesizing proteins in the test tube. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Star, S. L. (2010). This is Not a Boundary Object: Reflections on the Origin of a Concept. Science, Technology & Human Values, 35(5), 601-617.

Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional Ecology, `Translationsʼ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, 19(3), 387-420.

Suchman, L. (2005). Affiliative Objects. Organization, 12(3), 379-399.

Trompette, P., & Vinck, D. (2009). Revisiting the notion of Boundary Object. Revue dʼanthropologie des connaissances, Vol. 3(1), 3-25. S.A.C.

Turkle, S. (2010). Object Lessons. In M. M. Suárez-Orozco & C. Sattin-Bajaj (Eds.), Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World (pp. 109-123). New York: New York University Press.

Turkle, S. (Ed.). (2007). Evocative Objects: Things to Think With. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Turkle, S. (Ed.). (2008). Falling for Science. Objects in Mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.