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The 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference PLACES

PLACES - Politics, Law, Anthropology, Communication, Economics and Business, Sociology


Our future is a race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we use it (Stephen William Hawking)

The 3rd Rīga Stradiņš University international and interdisciplinary conference PLACES invites to consider and discuss the uneasy and fraught intersection between technological advancement and the societal context within which it takes place.

Over the course of three days (29–31 March 2023) and from diverse social science perspectives, such as communication science, economics, legal science, political science, psychology, social anthropology, and sociology, the conference will tackle questions regarding the production, use and governance of various technologies, broadly defined, as well as our engagement with and imaginaries of specific infrastructures, tools and devices including, importantly, digital ones.

The larger guiding question of the event is one of priorities when it comes to our engagement with technologies and the societal transformations associated with and mediated through this intersection. What socioeconomic, political, legal, psychological, ideological and discursive processes shape and are shaped by these interactions? Whose voices do we tend to hear, take into account, and amplify? What tensions between various worldviews emerge through various technological engagements and/ or disengagements? To return to Hawking’s quote as the guiding theme of the conference, who are the winners and losers of the “growing power of technology”? And, what can and should we do to enhance “the wisdom with which we use it”?

We invite you to peruse the topics of each of the conference days as outlined below and submit your proposal to one of them.

Session Description

The end of story and return of history (30 March, Hall Senates & online)

Organized by the Faculty of Communication

A conference on theory development and studies in Sociology, Communication, Anthropology, and Psychology

The story about the modernised world and the “end of history” seemed plausible still a few decades ago. From a contemporary perspective, Frances Fukuyama’s theory about the apotheosis of liberal democracy appears to be no more convincing than the stories of the end times in Christianity or Marxism. Indeterminacy of the humankind’s condition has once again dawned at the horizon as technology and media empires, politico-ideological alliances, and social movements attempt to inscribe their diverse visions of the world on the bodies and minds of individuals as well as communities.

These background processes have inspired the agenda set for the bi-annual PLACES conference. Its convenors represent various disciplines and the call for papers is grounded in a variety of disciplinary approaches, such as those developed in Communication Studies, Sociology, Social Anthropology, and Psychology. We invite papers that focus on the future of human relationships and more specifically, on the ways in which those are shaped by environmental challenges, technological leaps, mediatised realities, available feedback channels, and the actors’ moral horizons. In particular, contributions discussing the following topics are encouraged:

  • Fear of the future in the conditions of technological advancement;
  • Political communication and engagement in addressing climate change;
  • Psychosocial challenges and psychological solutions in times of indeterminacy and change;
  • The present and the future of kin ties in the face of fast-paced work environments and movements across borders;
  • Technological mediation of relationships across time and space;
  • Approaching the end of life, dying with dignity and imagined afterlife;
  • Technological bodily enhancements and the watershed between the living and the dead;
  • Mediatised lives, dichotomised socio-political movements, and clashing worldviews;
  • Social design, service design and feasibility of feedback between diverse populations;
  • Visual narratives and mediatised outlooks for the future, including the role of journalism and journalism cultures in creating them;
  • Anti-media sentiment and digital aggression in shaping the present and the future;
  • Multiplication of technological solutions and influencer marketing as the face of the future?
Technologies and governance: power & money (31 March, Hall Senates & online)

Organized by the Faculty of European Studies

The session will explore the global transformative environment and its practical experiences, manifests, and case studies.

The Department of International Business and Economics will facilitate research presentations and discussions related to a broad spectrum of economics, international business, entrepreneurship, management and governance aspects. In such context we shall keep focus on searching for both-sided impacts of technological, including that of digital nature, on global and local socio-economic governance, cooperation, co-production and vice-versa - the economic and governance impact on technologies.

The Department of Political Science will facilitate research presentations and discussions related to the broad spectrum of international politics and global governance. In such context we shall keep focus on transformative landscapes within geopolitics, democracies and governments deeply impacted by technological agility and societal development. How technologies change user experiences and deliveries in decision making and implementations? Are any warning bells we ignore in the name of progress? And how we can build sustainability with the help of technologies? These and other questions will be under discussion.

Contributions discussing the following topics are encouraged: 

  • Technological and digital transformation in business, economics and politics;
  • International business and politics: interdependence and governance.
Side-event: Fostering action with narratives: Communicating about climate change and energy transition in politics, business, media and society (31 March, Hall Senates & online)

Organized by the Faculty of European Studies

This one-day conference is a side-event of the 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference PLACES, organised by Rīga Stradiņš University.

Numerous studies have found that narratives, which accompany scientific consensus, technological innovations and climate and energy policies, are important triggers for mobilising (or not) the public support for climate-friendly action and green energy transition. At the same time, climate and energy narratives are constantly challenged and contested. Which narratives are the most persuasive regarding climate change and energy transition? What makes them persuasive? Who are the most powerful narrators? What are the horizontal and vertical dynamics between different narratives? What similarities and differences can be observed in climate and energy narratives across the world?

You are cordially invited to submit an abstract discussing the narratives on climate change and energy transition. Both theoretical and empirical studies are welcomed focusing on a wide geography and a spectrum of topics including but not limited to:

  • Formation, projection and reception phases of narratives;
  • Factors determining the persuasive power of narratives;
  • The role of narrators in the spread of narratives;
  • Contestation and emergence of alternative narratives;
  • Specific geopolitical, historical, economic, social and cultural contexts and their impact on narratives.

These debates will contribute to the findings of a research project on climate change narratives carried out by the Faculty of European Studies. They will produce a number of suggestions for further awareness and engagement of society in climate and energy-saving activities via the narratives, and will also set the future research agenda about the narratives and their role in addressing the challenges of climate change and energy transition.

A Call for Abstracts is available here.

Please submit your abstract through the PLACES 2023 abstract submission system, choosing the topic "Climate Narratives".


Transformation of law in the era of digitalisation: defining the priorities (29 March, Hall Senates & online)

Organized by the Faculty of Law

The Department of Law will facilitate research presentations and discussions related to the peculiarities around the legal regulation of digital technologies and products arising from digital technologies. The choice of this topic was predetermined by the active development of digital services and digital financial assets, and the necessity to adapt modern legislation to the needs of the digital economy. Despite the fact that several strategies for the development of digital law are being worked out at the level of international organizations, neither in theory nor in practice is there a single understanding of the legal nature of digital technologies and the foundations of their legal regulation. From this perspective, the purpose of this session is to understand the system and the main categories of the digitalisation  through the prism of fundamental legal perspective, based on the traditional principles of legal scientific analysis.

Side-event: Kinship and relatedness amidst mobility-facilitating work policies (30 March, Hall Senates & online)

Organized by the Faculty of Communication

This one-day conference is a side-event of the 3rd international and interdisciplinary conference PLACES, organized by Rīga Stradiņš University.

Despite recurrent theoretical predictions, humans still are very much inclined to form long-term intensive (“strong”) ties of kinship and relatedness. However, kinship is often treated as an institution that does not go well with best practices of contemporary life: Granovetter's “strong ties” were, for instance, thought to impede development. Regimes of governance and specific institutions often develop mobility or rotational schemes intentionally to prevent people from forming too strong ties with each other. In other situations, it is the basic structure of work regimes due to which kin and relatedness ties are constantly challenged (as, for instance, in diplomatic or military services). We invite contributions that analyse how kinship, relatedness, and human ties in general are challenged by constant and periodic movements. We also invite contributions that analyse institutional policies towards family and kin ties that inevitably get entangled into mobility processes.

Please submit your abstract through the PLACES 2023 abstract submission system.

Organising Committee

  • PhD Ieva Puzo, Dean, Faculty of Communication, RSU
  • PhD Asst. Prof. Karina Palkova, Faculty of Law, RSU
  • PhD Assoc. Prof. Marta Urbāne, Acting Dean, Faculty of the European Studies, RSU

International Scientific Committee

  • Prof. Anda Rožukalne, Faculty of Communication, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof. Auksė Balčytienė, Department of Public Communications, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas, Lithuania
  • Assoc. Prof. Andres Jõessar, Baltic Film, Media and Arts School, Tallinn University, Estonia
  • Assoc. Prof. Klāvs Sedlenieks, Leading Researcher, Faculty of Communication, RSU, Latvia
  • Ieva Puzo, Researcher, Dean, Faculty of Communication, RSU, Latvia
  • Agita Misāne, Leading Researcher, Faculty of Communication, RSU, Latvia
  • Assoc. Prof. Michael Strmiska, Global Studies, SUNY-Orange, State University of New York, US
  • Assoc. Prof. Sandra Mihailova, Faculty of Communication, RSU, Latvia
  • Ieva Reine, Associated Researcher, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
European Studies
  • Prof. Dr. oec. Inna Dovladbekova,  Department of International Business and Economics, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof. Dr. oec. Tatjana Muravska,  Department of International Business and Economics, RSU, Latvia
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. iur. Marta Urbāne, Dean, Faculty of European Studies, RSU, Latvia
  • Dr. oec. Anželika Berķe-Berga, Department of International Business and Economics RSU, Latvia
  • Prof. Dr. iur. Christiane Trüe, Hochschule Bremen – City University of Applied Sciences, School of International Business, International Graduate Center of Hochschule Bremen – City University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. sc. pol. Andris Sprūds, Faculty of European Studies, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof. Antje Leukens, Programme Head, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (International Management) at FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern,  Switzerland
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Māris Andžāns, Director of Study Programme, International Governance and Diplomacy, Director of Study Programme, Russia and Eurasia Studies, Department of Political Science, RSU,  Director of "Center for Geopolitical Studies Riga", Latvia
  • Asst. Prof. Dr. Kārlis Bukovskis, Researcher, Department of Political Science, Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvia
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Edijs Bošs, Department of Political Science, RSU, Latvia
  • Vineta Kleinberga, Researcher, Faculty of European Studies; PhD student, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof., Dr. iur. Jānis Grasis, Dean, Faculty of Law, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof., Dr. iur. Andrejs Vilks, Faculty of Law, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof., Dr. iur. Sandra Kaija, Faculty of Law, RSU, Latvia
  • Prof. Dr. iur., Tanel Kerikmäe, Tallinn University of Technology, School of Business and Governance, Estonia
  • Prof. Dr. iur. habil., Dr. rer. medic. Erik Hans, Zittau/Görlitz University AS, Dresden International University, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. iur. Jacek Zieliński, Siedlce University of Natural Science and Humanities, Poland
  • Prof. Dr. iur. Tomasso Vito Russo, University of Salento, Counsel at Tribonian Law, Italy.
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. iur. Dovile Gailiūte-Janušone, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Studies, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania
  • Asst. Prof. PhD Karina Palkova, Faculty of Law, Head of Doctoral Study Programme “Law”, RSU, Latvia

Keynote Speakers

Örebro University, Sweden
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
University of Applied Sciences Zittau / Görlitz & Dresden International University, Germany
Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania