World Social Science Forum 2018

Sep, 25-28, 2018 FUKUOKA, JAPAN

Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures

Read more

Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures

In the Anthropocene, human activities are recognized to have a significant global impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems. This in turn requires inclusive and coordinated actions to ensure equality and security for human beings. Equality is a basic human right and is built on recognition of diverse values. Security includes not just military and political security but environmental, resource and livelihood security. Security and Equality are prerequisites for stability and sustainability. Social sciences and humanities have a vital role to play in clarifying and developing principles, norms, rules and institutions to undertake actions, and in participating in the dialogue among citizens and policy makers to achieve such a sense of security. This Forum seeks to create a platform for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research to contribute to transformations to the sustainable world.

The following subthemes highlight the main areas of interest:


Sustainability and security : Sustainability has now become a key focus for many disciplines, while the balance (and in many cases the trade-offs) between environmental sustainability and economic and social development have been extensively discussed from various interdisciplinary perspectives. In this Forum we invite session proposals that address the underlying values that are fundamental to these ongoing endeavors, in a world where values vary greatly across different periods, from region to region, and from stakeholders to stakeholders. Mobilizing social, economic, environmental and cultural values are key to transforming our regions, cities and lifestyles towards sustainability. Transdisciplinary approaches are critical to co-create values with stakeholders. Advances in theoretical and quantitative social science approaches are also necessary to unravel the issues hindering sustainability. We welcome proposals explicitly addressing these general and methodological themes.


Cybersecurity has become a major security concern, covering not only safety from cyberattacks and cyberwarfare in the cyber realm, but also security in the physical world. Methods of hybrid warfare, such as using malware to control communication, electricity or transportation networks and other infrastructure, are growing in sophistication. Hybrid warfare is part of the national security framework in major nations. Effective and sustainable policing, preventive and defensive policies must be balanced with concerns for privacy and civil rights. Careful study and discussion including all stakeholders are essential for system innovation for cybersecurity.


Human Security is a new paradigm, in which the issue of security is addressed at the level of each human being. It concerns the basic human requirements of securing food, water and an environment free from pollution and scarcity, as well as the more social or “developmental” agenda of the freedom of education, ideas and religion without anxiety or fear. The development of a new regime of security for the sustainable world requires it to be comprehensively linked to social and environmental systems. We welcome continued investigations into specific aspects of poverty, conflict and violence, including war, as well as issues such as care and ageing, which have increased in importance in recent years.


Security and the 2030 Agenda : The issues relating to development in WSSF 2018 relate to, and are motivated by the commitment that ‘No-one will be left behind’ and the seventeen goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We anticipate the submission of session proposals with a transdisciplinary focus on social systems under this subtheme. We welcome, in particular, proposals which do not take the current social systems for granted, including various democratic and market systems. We are keen to hear investigations into diverse social systems observed in history as well as in newly designed systems founded on alternative values.


Globalization, diversity, and cultures of belonging : Globalization over the last four decades has influenced human life, society and culture in a way that is qualitatively different from that of the preceding period. We are particularly keen to receive session proposals focused on the impact of and responses to the rapid increase in mobility of human beings, money, commodities and information on society, economy and politics, as well as how we could or should react to the issues of preserving and promoting various aspects of diversity. Issues relating to refugees and economic migration, as well as those on preservation of environmental and cultural diversity, are among the anticipated themes.


Development and inclusion in urban and rural areas : Conflicts and exclusion persist in contemporary society. Studies in resilience-building in response to people’s increasing vulnerability in both developed and developing countries have deepened our research agenda, beyond the study of disparity, unemployment, economic stagnation etc. At the same time, new emphasis on inclusion to address various specific issues relating to minority and vulnerable groups has broadened our research horizons in scope and depth, as well as our approaches to research. We welcome presentations of frontier research in this area.


Gender equality and security : We wish to single out the question of gender equality, as women’s empowerment and political participation are central to all aspects of rethinking security and its underlying, often implicit values and norms. The challenge now includes issues relating to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), same-sex marriage and masculinity. We also have much to learn through inter- and intra-disciplinary examination of country-specific issues, such as separate surnames for married couples, correcting gender-biased divisions in child-rearing and elderly-care, and stronger support for women’s participation in work and other public spheres, which remain controversial issues in Japan.


Health, safety and biosecurity : Advances in life sciences research and resulting developments in medicine, industry and agricultural processes have benefitted societies worldwide. However, they have also brought about new risks, especially when coupled with increased movement of people, products and information through travel, trade and new communications technologies. Recent localized outbreaks of zoonotic diseases have highlighted the level of public concern about limiting the spread of epidemics. We anticipate proposals that take an integrated approach to health, safety and biosecurity, understood as the analysis and management of biological risks to human, animal and plant life and health, as well as associated risks for the environment. The role and regulation of life sciences research, including dual-use research, are also among the expected themes.


Freedom, Democracy and Security : The pursuit of freedom, democracy, and security, has inspired human activities in different cultural contexts. Throughout the world, social and natural sciences are important instruments humankind uses in this pursuit, be it providing diagnostics, searching for solutions, evaluating results, or devising possible scenarios for the future. Under the present world circumstances, growing environmental risks on the one hand, and the confluence of old and new economic and political challenges on the other pose unprecedented social threats. Furthermore, the convergence of highly cherished social values appears to be in danger as, for example, security concerns are invoked to justify attacks to freedom and democracy. How to confront current threats to human security in its multiple dimensions without jeopardizing democracy? We welcome research and dialogue about the prospects for a renewed convergence between freedom, democracy and security.