Welcome to the official website of the ESA RN 21 mid-term conference “Quantitative Approaches to Analyzing Social Change”, which will take place at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), 8 - 10 October 2020.

Over the last decade, Europe has witnessed deep impacts of the economic crisis as well as ongoing challenges concerning refugees and migrant integration. In addition, new challenges are connected with climate change, labour market developments, processes of digitalization, the rise of populism, demographic changes and unknown consequences of the Brexit. Are such social problems and conflicts connected with long-lasting societal changes? How and why do societies change in cultural, economic or political respect? What are the driving forces of social change? Is it possible to identify causal mechanisms to explain these changes? In short, the analysis and explanation of social change is still one of the main goals of Sociology. The main aim of our mid-term conference is to learn and to exchange ideas how quantitative methods can contribute to improve the empirical analysis of social changes.


Organizers & Sponsors

Organizer: ESA RN 21 Quantitative Methods

Web: www.unilu.ch/esarn21midterm


  • Coordinator: Jochen Mayerl, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, Jochen.Mayerl [at] soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de
  • Co-coordinator: Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, University of Helsinki, Finland, kathrin.komp [at] helsinki.fi

Local Organizer:

  • Alrik Thiem, University of Lucerne, Switzerland (esarn21midterm@unilu.ch)

Board members with specific functions:

  • Treasurer: Henning Best,  best [at] sowi.uni-kl.de,  University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • Webmaster: Iasonas Lamprianou,  lamprianou.iasonas [at] ucy.ac.cy,  University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  • Scientific Program Advisor: Wolfgang Aschauer,  Wolfgang.Aschauer [at] sbg.ac.at,  University of Salzburg, Austria
  • Social Media Coordination: Tobias Gummer,  Tobias.Gummer [at] gesis.org,  GESIS, Germany
  • Conference Advisor: ​Jolanta Perek-Bialas,  jolanta.perek-bialas [at] uj.edu.pl, ​ Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Members of the Advisory Board:

  • Modesto Escobar, ​ modesto [at] usal.es,  University of Salamanca, Spain
  • Fabrizio Martire,  fabrizio.martire [at] uniroma1.it,  ​Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • Knut Petzold,  knut.petzold [at] rub.de,  University of Bochum, Germany
  • Ildikó Barna, barna.ildiko [at] tatk.elte.hu,  ​Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
  • Alrik Thiem,  alrik.thiem [at] unilu.ch,  University of Luzern, Switzerland
  • Georg Müller,  Georg.Mueller_Unifr [at] bluewin.ch,  University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Inna Deviatko,  ​deviatko [at] gmail.com,  HSE Moscow, Russia


European Sociological Association (ESA)

Important Dates (**dates extended**)

Abstract/session proposal submission: February 6th, 2020 – May 31st, 2020

Information about accepted papers/sessions: Mid of June 2020

Full paper submission for Young Researcher Award: August 31st, 2020

Conference: October 9th – 10th, 2020      

Welcome Reception: October 8th, 2020

Venue: University of Lucerne, Switzerland

Keynote Speakers

Best Paper Young Researcher Award

We invite young researchers (PhD students and post-docs no longer than 4 years after the dissertation) to participate in our new Young Researcher Award Challenge. The winning paper will be announced during the conference and awarded a prize of 200 €. If you want to take part in the challenge:

  1. Please submit an abstract between February 6th, 2020 – March 31st, 2020 and explicitly indicate that you want to take part in the Award Challenge;
  2. Please submit a full paper (manuscript, under review or published) till 31st August (via email to esarn21midterm@unilu.ch);
  3. The candidates will present their work in a special „award session“;
  4. Submissions will be judged by a committee of RN21 board members;
  5. Selection criteria are innovation and methodological contribution;
  6. In case of co-authorship with a supervisor: the Young Researcher must be the first author, and only the Young Researcher can receive the award.


Call for Contribution

The mid-term conference aims to raise the methodological potentials and challenges of quantitative research of social change. We welcome papers and sessions about the following topics, which are of course by no means exhaustive: 

  1. Data collection: Problems and solutions of longitudinal data collection to analyze social change;
  2. Statistical approaches: Comparison of methodological boundaries, pros and cons of different statistical methods for longitudinal data to identify and explain social change (e.g. fixed effects panel regression, latent growth curve models, multilevel models, cross-lagged models, continuous time models etc.);
  3. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs to analyze social change;
  4. Big Data methods: Possibilities and problems of the application of new emerging digital methods to analyze social change;
  5. Computer simulation and modeling of social change; 
  6. Cross-national studies: How can we make use of cross-national surveys to analyze social change in Europe and how do we define adequate units of analysis? This session will be organized in cooperation with ESS and EVS (see information below)
  7. Substantive contributions to the analysis of social change in different fields of Sociology (e.g. environmental sociology, ethnocentrism and populism research, quality of life, 
    social indicators, political and social trust, etc.);
  8. „Award session“: Best Paper Young Researcher Award (see information below)
  9. General session on various methodological topics

Confirmed Joint Session: „European Surveys Panel“
Organized together with European Values Study (EVS) and European Social Survey (ESS).
Please consider to submit your papers using ESS and/or EVS data!

Please submit no later than 31st of May:

  • For individual presentation: abstract of up to 300 words plus 3-5 keywords
  • For session proposals: description of the session (ca. 300 words) plus an abstract with up to 300 words from at least three panelists

Please submit your paper/session proposals to: esarn21midterm@unilu.ch

Participants will be notified regarding the acceptance of their submissions at the latest by mid of June, 2020.


Conference Fees

  • 40 € for junior ESA members (including PhD students)
  • 60 € for non-junior ESA members
  • 60 € for junior non-members (including PhD students)
  • 80 € for non-members
  • Fees include: welcome reception, coffee breaks, lunches and guided city-tour.

Conference Schedule

Conference Venue

University of Lucerne, Switzerland

Useful Information

Traveling and Public Transport



SNF-Prof. Dr. Alrik Thiem

Department of Political Science

University of Lucerne

PO Box 4466

Frohburgstrasse 3

6002 Lucerne, Switzerland