Research Committee on 
Sociology of Mental Health and Illness RC49


July 1994


The proposed Statutes were distributed to and revised by the Executive Board of the Mental Health and Illness Research Committee prior to the ISA's XIIIth World Congress of Sociology. The final proposed Statutes were then presented for discussion and proposed revisions were unanimously approved by participating members at the Research Committee business meeting at the World Congress in Bielefeld, Germany, in July 1994. The revised final Statutes will become effective
upon mail approval by the Research Committee Executive Board. The language of this Introduction will be amended as needed to remain current.


1.1 The Mental Health and Illness Research Committee (hereafter called the Research Committee) is a non-profit constituent body of the International Association of Sociology (ISA) as defined by Article Four of the Statutes of the ISA. The Research Committee provides a structure for scholarly disquisition and research collaboration at the international level. The Research Committee does not endorse a particular definition of mental health and illness. Rather, the term is meant to be inclusive, ranging from serious psychiatric disorders to subjective feelings of well-being.

1.2 Research and teaching relevant to the Research Committee include all research and theories pertaining to the distribution of psychiatric and substance use disorders and problems among various population groups social and cultural factors associated with psychiatric and substance use disorders behaviors or actions taken by groups to maintain, enhance, or restore mental health or cope with mental illness, substance use disorders or resulting disability mental health professionals and the organization, finance, and delivery of mental health care services psychiatric and mental health practice as a social and cultural institution related to other institutions people's attitudes and beliefs, and social representations concerning mental health and illness, substance use and abuse, disability, and mental health care providers and organizations and cultural values and responses with respect to mental health and illness, substance use and abuse, and disability.


2.1 As the only international organization of mental health and illness research officially recognized for sociologists, the Research Committee strives to include scholars from as many countries of the world as possible, and with backgrounds and philosophies that reflect the diversity of the field of mental health and illness.

2.2 To achieve the ends described here, the Research Committee purports:
(a) to develop and maintain collaborative contacts between scholars involved in the research and teaching in the field of mental health and illness, and substance use and abuse
(b) to facilitate the international dissemination and exchange of information on significant development in the sociocultural research in mental health and illness and related areas
(c) to facilitate and promote international meetings and research in the field of mental health and illness, and substance use and abuse
(d) to increase the level of activities in under-represented countries and regions of the world through the Research Committee and its facilities.


3.1 The Research Committee consists of an Executive Board, an Advisory Board, and individual members. The membership of the Research Committee is open to any scholar who is involved in research or teaching in mental health and illness and related areas as defined in Article 1.2, and who is accepted by the Executive Board. All Research Committee regular members in good standing share the same voting rights.

3.2 Regular members are those who have paid full Research Committee membership fees, unless granted an exempt status by the Executive Board.

3.3 Student members are those members enrolled as full-time students or trainees in an academic institution. Student membership fees are discounted at an amount determined by the Executive Board.

3.4 Associate members comprise a transitional category of membership for those who do not fall into the category of members in good standing described in Article 3.5. Associate members will be expected to be current with fee obligations within a specified grace period. This membership status will lapse at the end of the grace period.

3.5 Members in good-standing are those members who have paid their Research Committee fees for a minimum duration of four consecutive years. A member in good standing who fails to pay his/her Research Committee fees shall become an associate member as described in Article 3.4, unless granted an exempt status by the Executive Board.

3.6 Honorary membership is automatically given to Advisory Board members at the time of their election. Other individuals also may be granted honorary membership status by the Executive Board. The duration of honorary membership for Advisory Board members extends through their terms for others the duration will be set by the Executive Boards on an individual basis. Honorary members are not voting members of the Research Committee.

3.7 All fees are set by the Executive Board and are maintained for four years between quadrennial congresses of the ISA. Scholars unable to pay fees may be exempted by an approval by the Executive Board, represented by the Treasurer/Secretary.

3.8 The Research Committee members except honorary members are expected to become members of the ISA.


4.1 The Executive Board, consisting of Officers and other Executive Board members, shall have the task of directing and carrying out the organizational responsibilities and day-to-day work of the Research Committee. All regular members are eligible to be candidates for the Executive Board. All regular members are eligible to vote in the election of the Executive Board.

(a) The Executive Board will have a minimum of eight members: President, Past President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary/Treasurer, and other Board members. Members of the Executive Board must be from at least 5 different countries.
(b) President. The President presides at Executive Board meetings and Research Committee business meetings, oversees all operations of the Boards and the Committees, and regularly communicates with Board members and other Research Committee members about the Research Committee's agenda and operations. The President serves on the Nominations Committee and serves as the Program Chair of the Research Committee at the ISA quadrennial congress. The President also serves as an ISA Research Council member representing the Research Committee and performs duties accordingly. The President may delegate selected tasks and responsibilities to other Executive Board members at his/her discretion.
(c) Past President. The Past President regularly communicates with the President to ensure continuity in the Research Committee's agenda and operations, chairs the Nominations Committee, and serves on the Advisory Board ex officio. [N.B. This office will be vacant until 1998.]
(d) Vice Presidents. One Vice President serves as Program Co-Chair for the Research Committee at the ISA quadrennial congress, appoints session organizers and organizes paper submissions into sessions. The other Vice President initiates and coordinates interim conferences with conference organizers and research sections with research section chairs.The Vice Presidents monitor the agenda and operations of the Research Committee in accordance with the Statutes.
(e) Secretary/Treasurer. The Secretary/Treasurer keeps minutes of business meetings of the Research Committee, collects membership fees and disburses funds with the approval of the Executive Board, receives applications for membership, maintains and updates the mailing list, and communicates a report of the Research Committee's budget to Executive Committee members every two years.
(f) Other Board Members. Those Executive Board members not serving as officers function as brokers between the President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer and members of the Research Committee in the region s/he represents. Each member takes an active role in the organization of the ISA quadrennial congress and other Research Committee activities. Duties designated to the President or Vice Presidents may be performed by other Executive Board members with approval from the Board.

4.3 Elections. The Executive Board is elected during or following the quadrennial ISA congress by participating regular members the Research Committee and the ISA via a mailed ballot prepared by the Nominations Committee. In order to be placed on the ballot, a candidate must agree to run and agree to perform the functions of the office.

4.4 Terms. Executive Board members serve for a term of four years. They may be elected to two successive terms, provided that at least a portion of the Executive Board is replaced every four years. No Board members are allowed to serve over eight consecutive years, unless unanimously approved by the Executive Board. Such an approval is reserved for acting Board membership so that prolonged vacancy is avoided.

4.5 Vacancies. Vacancies occurring on the Executive Board are filled by appointment of the President with Executive Board approval. In the event the office of the President becomes vacant, the Executive Board shall elect an Interim President to serve until the end of the term.

4.6 Resignation. Resignation of an Executive Board member occurs when s/he is not able to fulfill the obligations of the office.


5.1 Duties. Advisory Board members, comprising of a minimum of five senior scholars from at least four different countries and the Past President, ex officio. are consulted regularly between ISA congresses on nominations, the Congress program, interim conferences, publications, and other Research Committee activities.

5.2 Election. The Advisory Board of the Research Committee is composed of a minimum of five senior scholars from at least four different countries and the Past President of the Research Committee, ex officio. The Advisory Board is nominated by the Nominations Committee of the Executive Board. The Advisory Board is elected by the Executive Board. Except for the Past President, no current member of the Executive Board may serve on the Advisory Board.

5.3 The Advisory Board members are given an honorary membership status at the time of election and are exempt from due requirements.

5.4 Term: Advisory Board members serve for a period of four years, and may be elected successively.


6.1 Committees within the Mental Health and Illness Research Committee are developed to fulfill specific functions of the Research Committee that may not require continuous participation for four years. In addition to ad hoc committees that may be voted into being by the Executive Board, the Research Committee will maintain two standing committees, the Nominations and the Publications committees.

6.2 Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee consists of the President, who chairs the Committee, the Past President, and two Executive Board members appointed by the President. The Nominations Committee nominates candidates to serve as Executive Board officers prior to the ISA quadrennial congress, prepares and performs the election at or following the congress, and announces the election results. The Nominations Committee also nominates an ISA Research Council alternate from the members of the Executive Board. Finally, the Nominations Committee nominates members of the Advisory Board in coordination with other members of the Executive Board.

6.3 Publications Committee. The Publications Committee consists of either the President or a Vice-President and at least two other members of the Executive Board. The Committee will select one of its members to chair. The chair will function as Editor-in-Chief of the Newsletter. The Publications Committee oversees operations of the Research Committee's Newsletter, and coordinates publications originating from the Research Committee's quadrennial congress, interim conferences and workshops, and other scientific activities. The Publications Committee also is responsible for completing amendments to the Statutes as required.


7.1 Meetings are major vehicles by which to promote the Research Committee's objectives. Members' active participation is strongly encouraged.

7.2 ISA World Congress of Sociology. The Research Committee organizes sessions on mental health and illness at quadrennial congresses of the ISA. The sessions include both scientific presentation sessions and business meetings.

7.3 Interim Regional Conferences. Between ISA congresses, the Research Committee organizes interim research conferences on specific topics approved by the Executive Board. These interim conferences should represent the varied research interests of members from as many countries of the world as possible. Research sections may be organized around specific interests of the Research Committee members, or to establish working relationships between the Research Committee and other associations. The interim conference program chair reports a summary of the conference and submit conference proceedings, if available, to the chair of the Publications Committee after the conference.

7.4 Business meetings of the Research Committee will be conducted in a manner consistent with Articles 3 through 5 of the By-Laws of the ISA, except where these Statutes provide otherwise. In procedural matters not described therein. Research Committee meetings will follow Robert's Rules of Order at the discretion of the President.


8.1 All regular members both of the Research Committee and the ISA are eligible to vote. Votes taken by the Research Committee are decided by a simple majority of eligible participating members who attend a meeting in which voting takes place, or respond to a mailed ballot sent to all eligible members, except where otherwise provided for in the Statutes.

8.2 General membership voting at a meeting will be conducted by a show of hands, unless a motion among participating members is passed to conduct a secret ballot for the particular issue being decided.

8.3 Voting on Board issues, such as amendment ratification, Advisory Board membership, and filling vacancies, will be permitted by telephone or by mail for those Executive Board members unable to attend a meeting. However, the President may set a limit on the amount of time that may elapse before a vote is considered final.


9.1 A proposed amendment to the Statutes of the Research Committee is initiated by a majority approval of the Executive Board.

9.2 Proposed amendments are discussed at a Research Committee business meeting during the quadrennial ISA congress, and a draft is passed by a two-thirds majority vote by participating regular members. The passed amendment draft is then distributed among Executive Board members by the Publications Committee. The final amendment requires a three-fourths majority approval of the Executive Board.

Posted at June 2, 2003
International Sociological Association