Executive Committee 2014-2018

June 2016

Greetings! Once again I write to update you since my last letter in February 2016.

In April 2016, the ISA Executive Committee (EC 2014-2018) met for its second annual meeting in Taipei, Taiwan.  This EC meeting was superbly organized and warmly hosted by Professor Chin Chun Yi, ISA Executive Committee member and the Local Organizing Committee at Academia Sinica. We thank our institutional hosts, Academia Sinica for their generosity in making our stay memorable. The EC meetings included also the separate meetings of the Publications Committee chaired by VP Vineeta Sinha, Membership and Finance Committee, chaired by VP Benjamín Tejerina, Research Coordinating Committee, chaired by VP Markus Schulz and National Association Liaison Committee chaired by VP Sari Hanafi. In addition the Program Committee met to plan for the XIX World Congress in Toronto, Canada in 2018.

On the last two days, I chaired the ISA Executive Committee meetings in which reports of the subcommittees and action items were addressed. We also discussed the ISA conferences including the a) 2016 Forum of Sociology, Vienna, Austria: b) 2017 conference of the Council of National Associations, Almaty, Kazakhstan. c) 2018 World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada as well as the bid for the 2022 World Congress of Sociology submitted by the Australian Sociological Association. Rudolf Richter, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the Third ISA Forum of Sociology provided a report and a comprehensive update of the ongoing preparations including the opening ceremony, reception, semi-plenaries, LOC blog, sponsorship, translation, sightseeing and sociological tours. I thank him and the LOC for their meticulous work in preparing for the large number of Forum participants coming to Vienna. Patrizia Albanese, Chair of the LOC for the ISA XIX World Congress of Sociology provided a detailed report on the planning and preparations for the 2018 World Congress and main organizational issues including LOC composition, venue, contracts as well as my site visit and preparatory meetings in September 2015. I also want to thank Patrizia and her team for their hospitality and for a very productive meeting during my visit to Toronto. Katie Hugh and Dan Woodman presented in the name of the Australian Sociological Association, a bid to hold the 2022 WC in Melbourne.  The EC welcomed this very well prepared presentation and a final decision is pending a site visit.

During the EC meeting I reported on my activities as ISA President. These included my involvement in: (1) the operational activities of the ISA; ongoing interactions with ISA Vice-Presidents and the LOC chairs for 3rd ISA Forum in Vienna and the XIX World Congress of Sociology in Toronto. (2) Presidential Travel and Speaking Engagements and (3) Update on Presidential Projects.

Given the growing needs of the Association and based on the changes in the scope of work within the ISA Secretariat office structure, roles and responsibilities have been redefined. ISA membership is now moved to the cloud for enhanced access. Confex has been involved in abstracts and registration processing of the forthcoming ISA Forum in Vienna.

I have been fortunate to receive several invitations to speak at conferences and meetings of national and regional associations. Between April 2015 and February 2016, I visited the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile (reports in previous letter), and India. This gave me the opportunity to speak at conferences in various countries and interact with sociologists in diverse contexts in working towards a contextual global sociology.

At the EC meetings I reported on the Global Mapping of Sociologists for Social Inclusion (GMSSI) and coordinating a global project on gendered and intersectional violence. We are working with Confex in developing the platform for the GMSSI. GMSSI is intended to identify, connect, and enable global collaborations in sociology, and particularly to support sociologists who encounter multiple barriers, economic and political, which impede their participation in global exchanges. Our goal is to build the first comprehensive database of sociologists from across the world. We will share more with you in the months to come. I have also been meeting with individuals and groups who work on the issue of violence against women and speaking at various conferences on the importance of addressing gendered and intersectional violence as a global project. A volume on “Gender, Violence, and State in National and Transnational Contexts” (Current Sociology Monograph Series, July, 2016) co-edited with Evangelia Tastsoglou that includes a collection of ten original articles by international scholars also provides some important insights.

During the EC meeting, the respective chairs of the Activities and Sub-committees provided their reports. Marina Kurkchiyan, Chair of the RC/WG/TG Statutes Revision Committee, reported that Robert van Krieken (who has been involved in the statutes revision process since 2008), has agreed to assist in completing the review of the few pending cases before the July 2016 Research Council meeting at the Forum.

Vineeta Sinha, Chair, Taskforce on Early Career Sociologists reported on the planned activities for early career sociologists, including a round table session at the Vienna Forum in 2016. Sari Hanafi, Chair of the Human Rights sub-committee reported that three statements signed by the ISA Executive Committee were circulated in isagram and posted on the ISA website. Markus Schulz, Chair of the sub-committee on Accessibility for All reported on accessibility at the ISA Forum. He also noted that while ISA is fully behind the principle of accessibility, there are still challenges and financial limitations. Vineeta Sinha reported on the ISA Laboratory for PhD Students that she organized with the ISA, the Department of Sociology and the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore in 2015. The theme for the lab was Sociology in Troubled Times. Twelve PhD students from Turkey, Argentina, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Brazil, Nigeria, UK, USA, and Germany selected from the pool of candidates as well as four PhD students from NUS were invited to present their research. EC members Ayse Saktanber, John Holmwood, and Vineeta Sinha acted as ISA academic instructors. Elena Zdravomyslova, Chair of the organizing committee, reported on the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists.

I provided a brief update on the International Social Science Council and on the ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice Committee (see below for more details); Marta Soler reported on the Oñati International Institute of Sociology of Law. Rosemary Barberet presented a report on the 59th session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Emma Porio, ISA representative at the GDN since 2008, submitted a written report about her involvement in 2015 GDN activities. John Holmwood briefly touched upon the ISA PhD Lab held in Birmingham, UK, in April 2016, which he will report at the 2017 EC meeting.

The EC meeting concluded with a grand dinner hosted by Academia Sinica. On behalf of the EC, I would like to thank our hosts in Taipei for their hospitality, especially Chin Chun Yi and her excellent team.  A special thanks to Izabela Barlinska and the ISA Secretariat for their invaluable role in organizing and coordinating our successful EC Meeting.

Other important Information:

Third ISA Forum of Sociology, July 2016, Vienna, Austria

As I write this letter, over 4,000 scholars have already registered to attend more than 700 sessions organized by the RC/WG/TG as well as the Local Organizing Committee and the Research Coordinating Committee. I would like to thank all organizers and wish everyone a very successful conference this coming July 10-14, 2016 in Vienna.

I am pleased to report that the Haverford Institute of Public Sociology (HIPS) provided 12 travel grants of $500 to junior sociologists to participate in the 3rd ISA Forum to support the goals of ISA and ISA presidential commitment to encourage participation among junior sociologists.

Appointment of New Editor for Sage Studies in International Sociology and Current Sociology Monograph Series

The Publications Committee, headed by Vineeta Sinha, has completed its search for the Editor SSIS and CS Monographs and I am pleased to announce that Chaime Marcuello, University of Zaragoza, Spain, has been appointed as the new Editor. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Eloisa Martin, Editor for Current Sociology, for serving as the Interim Editor for SSIS and CS Monographs.

ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice Committee

The ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice was established in March 2013. The International Sociological Association awards it to a sociologist who advances and promotes sociological knowledge and practice through outstanding contributions to the discipline, the profession, and the ISA. The award is presented every four years at the World Congress of the International Sociological Association at a special ISA awards ceremony. The deadline for the application for the ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice is May 30, 2017.

Since my last letter to you I have visited Birmingham UK, Taipei Taiwan, Madrid, Portugal and Argentina. On May 25th I had the pleasure of speaking in Lisbon, Portugal at Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (CIEG), first International Congress at the invitation of Professor Anália Torres, CIEG`s Coordinator. The theme of this well organized and well-attended Congress was Gender Studies in Debate: Pathways, Challenges and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. I was also pleased to be invited by Professor Alica Itati Palermo, President of the Argentinean Association of Sociology to speak at the Second Congress of AAS and Pre ALAS 2017 at the National University of Villa María in Argentina.  ALAS President, Nora Garita also spoke at this Congress. The Congress focused on the important topic of Social Sciences Today: Perspectives, Debates and Research Agendas.

I am deeply grateful for the warm hospitality and the opportunity to engage with sociologists in all these various countries. I am inspired by the commitment to sociology that many of these sociologists bring through their research, teaching and practices.  These meetings are also a constant reminder of the value in engaging with everyday sociologists in diverse settings to better understand the complexities of our world from multiple perspectives. As ISA president I continue to be an ambassador for the ISA, emphasizing the important role of sociology in these challenging times, the value of building collaborations and encouraging sociologists to become members of the ISA in building a truly global community of sociologists.

Thank you once again for all your contributions to the ISA and to many of you who communicate with me. I appreciate your comments and support. I will continue to update you all and as always keep our channels of communication open.

Best,
Maggie 

Margaret Abraham
President, International Sociological Association

Professor of Sociology, Hofstra University
202F Davison Hall, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA
margaret.abraham@hofstra.edu

Summaries of the EC Reports by ISA Vice Presidents

Markus Schulz: Vice President for Research

The Research Coordinating Committee (RCC) had a productive meeting in Taipei. Markus S. Schulz presented a detailed report of activities undertaken since the previous meeting in Cracow. A major part dealt with the organization of the Third ISA Forum in Vienna 2016 on the theme “The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World”. Fifty-five of the ISA’s Research Committees (RC), Working Groups (WG) and Thematic Groups (TG) are participating. Launched in preparation of the debates at the physical Forum in Austria, the online WebForum (http://futureswewant.net) became a thriving space featuring a series of essays by prominent sociologists on many facets of the forward-oriented theme and concerns of the RC/WG/TGs. Special guest Rudolf Richter, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), provided the latest updates about the preparations for the Forum in Vienna. Final modifications have been made to the general program.

The RCC has also accomplished much work in several subcommittees, such as review of the statutes, award proposals, and activities of the RC/WG/TGs, as well as general accessibility, organizational efficiency and best practices. The RCC discussed grant applications from twelve RCs and approved these to the extent that eligibility criteria were met. Based on a review of proposed rules, it approved the application by Research Committee on Sociology of Science and Technology (RC23) to establish the Robert Merton Award for Distinguished Contribution to its field.

A significant part of the discussion was devoted to applications for new group formation and status upgrade. The Working Group on Historical and Comparative Sociology (WG02) has petitioned to upgrade its status to Research Committee on Historical Sociology. Concerns were raised about the rising number of research units, which lead to fragmentation of the discipline and logistical challenges in the organization of congresses as ever more meeting rooms are needed. However, the applicant group had shown that it met the statutory requirements for recognition as an RC, including membership size, diversity, and long-standing activities. The simultaneous name change was meant to better reflect the group’s focus on the established field of historical sociology and to avoid overlap with existing units. The application was approved. Another application to establish a new Thematic Group on Society and Emotions was also reviewed and approved.  

Sari Hanafi: Vice President for National Associations

The VP for National Associations discussed the work of the committee in three fronts: finalizing the hosting of the Fourth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations, contacting National Associations, and meeting some of the Associations.

We finalized with the Kazakhstani Sociological Association (KSA) to host the Fourth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations under the title Sociologies in Dialogue, which will be held on 15-18 May 2017 Almaty, Kazakhstan. We discussed the agenda for the CNA Business Meeting at Almaty. One of the items in the agenda is to encourage the National Associations to have on their website one of the ISA official languages in addition of their local language.

We encourage national sociological associations to become a member of the International Sociological Association. Sari Hanafi has been in contact with Algerian, Jordanian, Moroccan, Sudanese and Tunisian Associations while EC member Elena Zdravomyslova, represented the ISA at the Congress of the Ukrainian Sociological Association.  We approved the application of Moroccan, Jordanian and Ecuadorian Associations for collective membership. We discussed also the different situation that some associations are facing and their reluctance to renew their collective membership.

We approved grants for website/regional conference for Albanian Sociological Association, Argentinian Sociological Association, Association of Sociologists of the Republic of Macedonia and Sociological Association of Pakistan.

Sari Hanafi represented ISA in the 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (Prague, August 2015) and in the Tanzanian Association of Sociologists' annual conference and general assembly (May 2015). There were very interesting young junior researchers in Tanzania who want to know more about how international trends in sociology and how other scientific research communities function abroad. There was very good feedback from the Tanzanian Sociological Association about the visit of Eloisa Martin, the editor of Current Sociology, who did a workshop on international academic writing in different cities. Sari met with the Algerian Sociological Association and discussed many of the problems they are facing and strategies to engage with the international sociological community. Finally, he represented ISA in the 7th Slovenian Social Science Conference on After the Berlin Wall: 25 years of transformations (FUDŠ / SASS, Nova Gorica). 

Vineeta Sinha: Vice President for Publications

The Publications Committee meeting in Taipei on 16 April 2016 was a productive one. All but two of the seven ISA Editors were present at the meeting together with 4 EC members. SAGE reported that ISA publications have performed well according to the bibliometric and other measures for assessing journals, books and online sites. However, given ISA’s commitment to internationalisation and ensuring diversity and representation from a global community of sociologists, the ‘success’ of ISA publications cannot be viewed through the lens of bibliometric criteria alone. Substantive criteria would be more helpful in gauging the impact and effectiveness of the ISA publications. The collective meeting enabled the following important decisions:

  • First, the Publications Committee sessions at the Vienna Forum were confirmed and will involve ISA Editors and EC members on the Publications Committee.
  • Second, the sub-committee that reviewed applications for the Editor, SSIS and CS Monographs presented its report to the PC which unanimously supported the recommendation of the subcommittee which will now be presented to the EC foe their approval. The new Editor of SSIS and CS Monographs needs to be appointed urgently. With this appointment, several editorial issues pertaining to the two publications can be resolved.
  • Third, the committee agreed that streamlining of ISA publications was crucial in order to reduce duplication and facilitate effective use of ISA resources. Currently, efforts are being made to consolidate SJD, sociopedia.isa, and e-Symposium into one site that will afford greater usability, and add a near semantic dimension, which will increase usage of content across the different ISA digital offerings. The aim is to arrive at a simple and clear navigational layout that will signpost users to areas of interest, whilst encouraging browsing of other content such as news, events and new publications. With these efforts ISA online will be more integrated.
  • Fourth, the same logic can usefully be extended to the ISA print publications, CS, IS, SSIS, IRB and CS Monographs. The journals, CS and IS, need to be distinguished more clearly and SAGE needs to invest greater energy and effort in publicizing their current standing and quality.  The format and identity of SSIS and CS Monographs should also be reviewed.

We are pleased that Lola Busuttil joined the ISA Secretariat in 2015. She has been assisting the ISA Editors with various tasks. Her appointment is a valuable additional resource and the PC thanks ISA President, Margaret Abraham for this support. 

Benjamín Tejerina: Vice President for Finance and Membership

In December 2015 the ISA had 5,567 members, 302 more than in the previous year. This increase (5.7%) has been experienced in all categories, but especially among the A countries members. The geographical distribution of ISA membership points to the strong presence in Europe, especially of countries that are members of the EU, followed by East Asia and Pacific, and North America; an average presence in Latin America and Caribbean, and Non-EU members European Countries and Central Asia; and a smaller presence in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

The Finance and Membership Committee and the EC approved the audited 2015 budget a summary can be found on ISA website. The provisional budget for 2016 was also approved.

In collaboration with the Austrian Local Organizing Committee hard work has been done on the budget for the 2016 Forum in order to guarantee a quality scientific meeting with a balanced budget. On the other hand, the preparations for the ISA World Congress of Sociology in Toronto 2018 have begun.

In collaboration with ISA President, Margaret Abraham, and the four Vice-Presidents we are starting to develop a plan to increase the membership of certain categories and in particular geographical areas through the presence of the ISA in collective meetings. This project will also mobilize editors of ISA publications, members of the EC and other members of the ISA to disseminate better the activities undertaken by the ISA to the whole of the sociological community.

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