Interview with Dr Sayaka Osanami Törngren, Associate Editor for Sociology Compass
Sociology Compass is delighted to welcome Sayaka Osanami Törngren as our new Associate Editor for the Race & Ethnicity section. Dr Osanami Törngren is Associate Professor in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, and Senior Researcher at Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare. The Associate Editor role at Sociology Compass is to lead on the commissioning of state-of-the-art review articles under dedicated subject areas. We took the opportunity to talk to Sayaka about her research background and aims for the race & ethnicity section as she joins the Sociology Compass editorial team.
Please tell us about your research background and how you came to focus in migration and ethnic relations?
I completed my undergraduate studies in Japan and the US, through which I received multidisciplinary training with more focus on Ethnic Studies (Asian American Studies) and Sociology of Race. When I moved to Europe (Sweden) to complete my Masters Degree, the equivalent focus was Sociology of Migration, within the boarder field of Migration and Ethnic Studies. Receiving education in three different countries within a multidisciplinary environment has meant sociological perspectives have always given me a stable core to my theoretical and methodological choices.
What would you consider the most compelling or critical questions for your area of research right now?
Researchers engage in how race and racialization manifests in different forms of discrimination and racism continuously, and we still need to engage in more research that explores why and how discrimination occurs. We also know that in different context race matters and there are resistances to acknowledge that race matters. The #blacklivesmatter movement and #stopasianhate campaign gained attention across the globe but the reception and reactions to these movement were very different depending on the maturity and willingness of societies to address racial issues.
In your view, what does sociological research contribute to society? Why does it matter?
Sociological perspectives systematically study different levels of society, collecting and engaging with different types of empirical material matters in understanding racism and other forms of hierarchical power structures. Sociological research contributes to society by offering understandings of the cause of social problems.
Furthermore, sociological perspective enables us to address how race and ethnicity are constructed in society through social interactions in a given space. It enables us to understand and imagine how ideas of race, ethnicity and hierarchies can be changed. Sociological research engagement with empirical material, in my opinion, opens opportunities for multidisciplinary conversation.
As Associate Editor for the Race & Ethnicity Section of Sociology Compass, what are you looking for when commissioning and assessing Review Articles?
I will be looking for articles which highlight new perspectives in understanding how race and ethnicity function and matter in different societies across the globe, as well as comparative perspectives. I would like to contribute to the work initiated by Staci B. Martin and Deepra Dandekar in co-creating ‘third spaces’ for Global South and BIPOC scholars. As an AE, I hope that I will be able to contribute to creating positive academic exchanges for BIPOC scholars, their allies, and accomplices to continue to exchange, foster, and empower each other’s knowledge and experiences.
What inspires you to be involved in Sociology Compass as an AE?
Sociology Compass’ commitment to representing marginalized and underrepresented groups with a focus on encouraging publication rather than rejection is something that I truly respect. I look forward to being part of creating positive experiences in publishing.
For readers and researchers new to your discipline, what would you put at the top of their recommended reading list?
There is so much to choose from that this is a challenge! I would strongly 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 & Mike Miller (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
- Unraveling Assumptions: A Primer for Understanding Oppression and Privilege, by Karen L. Suyemoto, Roxanne A. Donovan and Grace S. Kim (Routledge, 2022)
Dr Osanami Törngren takes over this Associate Editor position from Professor Matthew Hughey who finishes his term at the end of 2022. We’d like to thank Professor Hughey for his dedication and commitment to leading the Race & Ethnicity section over the past years. You can take a look at the articles published during this term here.