Interview with dr. Sayaka Osanami Törngren, editor of Sociology Compass

Interview with dr.  Sayaka Osanami Törngren, editor of Sociology Compass
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Compass of Sociology happy to congratulate Sayaka Osanami Thorn branch as our new associate editor Race and ethnicity. Dr. Törngren is an associate professor of international migration and ethnic relations and a senior researcher at the Malmö Institute for Migration, Diversity and Welfare Studies. The Sociology Compass Associate Editor’s role is to lead the ordering of recent review articles by subject area. We took the opportunity to speak with Sayaka about her research and goals for the Race and Ethnicity section as she joins the Sociology Compass editorial team.

Tell us about your research and how you came to focus on migration and ethnic relations?

I completed my undergraduate studies in Japan and the United States, where I received multidisciplinary training with an emphasis on ethnic studies (Asian American studies) and the sociology of race. When I moved to Europe (Sweden) to complete my master’s studies, an equal emphasis was placed on the sociology of migration, at the border between migration and ethnic studies. Education in three different countries in a multidisciplinary environment meant that sociological perspectives always provided me with a stable basis for theoretical and methodological choices.

What questions would you consider most compelling or important to your research area at this time?

Researchers are constantly investigating how race and racialization manifest in various forms of discrimination and racism, and we still need more research that examines why and how discrimination occurs. We also know that in different contexts race matters and there is resistance to admitting that race matters. The #blacklivesmatter movement and the #stopasianhate campaign have gained worldwide attention, but reception and reactions to these movements have varied greatly depending on the public’s maturity and willingness to address racial issues.

What do you think sociological research contributes to society? Why is this important?

Sociological perspectives systematically examine different levels of society, collecting and examining different types of empirical material to understand racism and other forms of hierarchical power structures. Sociological research contributes to society by offering an understanding of the causes of social problems.

In addition, a sociological perspective allows us to explore how race and ethnicity are constructed in society through social interactions in a given space. It allows us to understand and imagine how ideas of race, ethnicity and hierarchies can be changed. Sociological research involving empirical material, in my opinion, opens up possibilities for a multidisciplinary conversation.

As Associate Editor of the Race and Ethnicity Section Compass of SociologyWhat do you look for when submitting and evaluating review articles?

I will be looking for articles that highlight new perspectives on the functioning and meaning of race and ethnicity in different societies around the world, as well as comparative approaches. I would like to contribute to the work initiated by Staci B. Martin and Deepra Dandekar to create “third spaces” for scholars in the Global South and BIPOC. As AE, I hope to contribute to a positive academic exchange for BIPOC scholars, their allies and collaborators, and continue to exchange, nurture and strengthen each other’s knowledge and experience.

What inspires you to participate Compass of Sociology like AE?

I truly respect the Sociology Compass’ commitment to representing marginalized and underrepresented groups by focusing on promoting publication rather than denying it. I look forward to being a part of creating a positive publishing experience.

What would you put at the top of a recommended reading list for readers and researchers new to your discipline?

There are so many to choose from it’s a challenge! I would highly recommend:

  • Theories of Race and Ethnicity: Contemporary Debates and Perspectives, edited by Karim Murji and John Solomos (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World by Hein de Haas, Stephen Castles and Mike Miller (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
  • Karen L. Suyemoto, Roxanne A. Donovan, and Grace S. Kim (Routledge, 2022)

Dr. Törngren takes over as Associate Editor from Professor Matthew Hughey, who ends his term in 2022. at the end We would like to thank Professor Hughey for his dedication and commitment to leading the Department of Race and Ethnicity over the past year. You can view the articles published during this term here.

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