10th UC Workshop – 11-12 May 2020

Expected Inequalities and Unintended Symmetries 

11-12 May 2020, Warsaw, Poland


In connection with preventing the spread of COVID-19, University of Warsaw decided to introduce some changes in the organization of academic events. Until 31 August 2020, the organization of face-to-face conferences, workshops on the terrain of the University is not possible — for official notification click here.  The Unintended Consequences Workshop  GOES ON AS PLANNED just that in an ONLINE FORMULA, via video-conferencing. We are kindly inviting you to give your presentations online and participate in the debates we are preparing! 


List of presentations (updated 4 April 2020) — click here

The “COVID-19 Asymmetries” and “COVID-19: Impact on existent crises and failures” are scheduled to take place on 11 May 2020 via video-conferencing (ZOOM). The panela are under construction. Persons interrested to participate, please contact a.mica@uw.edu.pl [deadline: April 20 the latest]


Guest speech



Sam Friedman (London School of Economics)





Daniel Laurison (Swarthmore College)




COVID-19 Debates: COVID-19 Assymetries and COVID-19: Impact on existent crises and failures



Heath Cabot (University of Pittsburgh)



Adrian Dohotaru (see also social media) (Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania since 2016, activist & historian)




Call for Papers

The relation between inequality and unintended goes back a long way in social sciences. Inequality as well as the effects of the reaction to inequality of policy making, are enmeshed in processes of structuration. These in turn both produce and reproduce inequalities and asymmetries, although attempts for countering it are being made. The unintended consequences of education policies, the inequality effects of usage of algorithms, the polarization effects of innovations in banking, the discrimination effects of policies aimed to support gender equality or offer assistance are all manifestations of the unintended-inequality nexus. Engaged social sciences, contemporary social movements and even the apparent conservative turn politics signal the need to rethink existent inequalities, and the perceptible “us-them” divisions. Moreover, the consequences of new AI techniques applied to data gathered from digital networks that permeate modern societies are looming. It is crucial to estimate their social impact, as it seems that humans are being rated using algorithms by their peers, states, companies, and other organizations.

The 8th edition of the workshops on unintended consequences aims to reveal the dynamics of this process and to explore its manifestations. We are particularly interested in processes that render certain forms of inequality as normal, while treating their other manifestations as crossing the border of what is considered to be acceptable. For instance, in certain contexts and social groups children are acceptably unequal, and the same pertains for women and elderly alike. In a similar vein, forms of exclusion of the disadvantaged or discriminated groups are institutionalized, while the same discriminatory treatment when applied to higher, or other, social classes is considered scandalous. Inequality is asymmetrically distributed in the society depending on the context and distribution of power.

We also aim to tackle the so called unintended symmetries. Arguably, their most common manifestation is the levelling of social distinctions in situations of hazard and risk or other contexts when certain elements of status do not matter. E.g., without a doubt the environmental risks have certain equality- and inclusion-effects. Moreover, the financial status and expert claims of social actors are rendered powerless in worlds that function according to a different logic of social distinction (such as sport gyms, emergency hospitals, illness, even death). While hidden mechanisms of production and reproduction of inequality are present herein as well, the symmetry tendency cannot be easily dismissed.

The Workshop welcomes contributions dealing with such topics as:

  • Inequality: definition, types, reaction against; coping with
  • Measurement of inequality
  • Epistemology of inequality: categories, ignorance and knowledge
  • Gender, age and race
  • Production and reproduction of inequality and symmetry
  • Technologies of inequality, algorithms and classification
  • Experiences of inequality
  • Media production and distribution of inequalities
  • Hidden inequalities and its manifestation
  • Unexpected & unintended social symmetries
  • Religion, ideologies and politics of inequalities.
  • “Us vs Them” dynamic and its role in building group identity
  • Unequal access to education and medical services

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 December 2019. See also Important Dates and Registration.

The deadline for submission of mini-workshop proposals is 15 November 2019.  More information is available HERE.