Sociology has always attempted to defatalize and denaturalize the present, demonstrating that the world could be otherwise. Thus, in this fifth issue of Global Dialogue we begin with a discussion of ‘real utopias,’ an idea advanced by Erik Wright which refers to existing institutions that pose some challenge to the logic of capitalism. The articles that follow illustrate the idea of real utopias: Kalpana Kannabiran writes about a real utopia from India — development as justice; Teresa Sordé and Tatiana Santos describe recent experiments in participatory democracy in Spain, while José Esteban Castro writes about water justice in Latin America. Distinguished sociologists of labor take the idea of ‘real utopia’ in a different direction, also contributing to our on-going debate about global sociology by exploring the notion of ‘counter-hegemonic globalization.’ Thus, Edward Webster discusses global labor movements as seen from South Africa, Pun Ngai as seen from China and Enrique de la Garza as seen from Mexico. Farid Alatas covers a much anticipated Middle East conference in Tehran, and Ana Vidu reports on an energetic conference of young sociologists in Barcelona, while Nadia Asheulova and Jaime Jiménez report on RC23’s celebration of Robert Merton, the great sociologist of science. Special columns deal with: the threat to academic freedom when universities collaborate in counter-terrorism; the history of the bicameral structure of the ISA; and with cowdung sampling in tropical Africa. Finally, we start a new column that introduces our different editorial teams across the globe. In this regard I’m delighted to welcome a team of young sociologists from Tehran who will be translating Global Dialogue into Persian – our tenth language.
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