December 2021

President’s Perspective

In the course of humanity, pandemics (leprosy, plagues, cholera...) have induced deep societal changes in all social, economic, and political spheres. The COVID-19 pandemic as a social phenomenon is no exception. With repeated lockdowns and a death toll of more than five million worldwide, we tend to think of COVID-19 as something that is here to stay instead of thinking of it in terms of a crisis. Sociologists not only have a responsibility to analyze the consequences but also to actively propose commitments to the civic sphere and social movements.

Despite the current situation, I have witnessed the return in hybrid format of many conferences and congresses of national sociological associations and I have been so glad to participate in many of them. ISA Research Committees are also active in organizing many events. Let me highlight the conference Decolonial Perspectives: Reclaiming our Rights as People in the Global South, organized on November 25-30, 2021 by RC47 and RC48 together with the University of the Philippines Cebu, on the 500th anniversary of the landing of Magellan on Cebu island, which symbolizes the start of the colonization process. Leading international scholars and ISA EC members (Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Sujata Patel, Éric Toussaint, Manuela Boatca, Phoebe Zoe Maria Sanchez, Filomin Gutierrez, Geoffrey Pleyers and Bandana Purkayastha) as well as amazing Filipino researchers took part in the sessions.

At the ISA, efforts have not lessened, and the Executive Committee continues to hold regular online meetings to cope with different challenges. In the current context the ISA is not only resilient but also proactive to face these challenges. A recent terrific article by Nikolai Genov, Building Global Sociology in a Divided World (1949–1990) (Sociological Forum, 2021) tells us how the global professional community of sociologists passed the test of the Cold War concerning scientific objectivity and civic tolerance thanks to ISA (among other factors). In the time of a populist fear of “sociologizing” societal problems, sociologists are creative in connecting them to the public. As an example of such innovation, Canadian sociologists Isabelle Perreault, André Cellard and Patrice Corriveau communicated the outcome of their research on suicide through a comic book Vous avez détruit la beauté du monde : Le suicide au Québec depuis 1763.

Here are some of the activities carried about by the ISA in the last few months.

XX ISA World Congress of Sociology

The XX ISA World Congress of Sociology in Melbourne, Australia has been postponed to June 25-July 1, 2023 in hybrid format. The theme is Resurgent Authoritarianism: Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies. The deadline for submitting session proposals has been set for May 2022.

ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice

I am so honored to announce that Raewyn Connell, a leading sociologist from The University of Sydney, has been selected to receive the third ISA Award for Excellence in Research and Practice from among a number of excellent nominations from ISA members. Established in March 2013, this ISA Award is granted to a sociologist who advances and promotes sociological knowledge and practice through outstanding contributions to the discipline, the profession, and the ISA.

ISA Presidential project

As a reminder, my Presidential project is to articulate a better connection among National Associations, Research Committees, and publications within the ISA, targeting mainly the regions that are less represented in ISA activities. I am glad to inform you that in the Global Mapping of Sociologists (GMS) all ISA Congresses and Forums’ participants/authors, affiliations, and abstracts of sessions are now online. The research engine is an amazing tool to scrutinize the development of themes since the early 1950s.
Along this project and ISA Publication Committee’s efforts, we have continued organizing Academic Writing Workshops (AWW). Since April 2021, Vice-President for Publications Eloísa Martín conducted four AWW: at the Fulda International Autumn School (Germany), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (India), the Philippine Sociological Society (Philippines), and the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago). As for myself, I recently conducted two AWW at the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) for Syrian social scientists and at the University Paris 8, and have three forthcoming AWW, in Jordan and at the Syrian Association of the Social Sciences. Needless to say, the ISA editors and EC members are here to reply to any further requests for AWW.

National Associations

I am so glad to inform you that the ISA website hosts a portal for National Associations and collective affiliated members. I strongly encourage national sociological associations to let us know of activities they would like to be featured on the ISA website or in ISA electronic newsletter isagram by sending an email to isa@isa-sociology.org.

Online presence on social media

We would like to boost the online presence of the National Associations, Research Committees, Working and Thematic Groups, and deepen our interlinkages through social media. If you have an active social media account on Facebook and/or Twitter, please send their details to us so we can link them to ISA’s social media platforms and feature them on ISA website. The ISA is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InternationalSociologicalAssociation, on Twitter at @isa_sociology, and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/isasociotube. Please like, follow, or subscribe to ISA channels and encourage your members and colleagues to do so. Please share content from the ISA website and social media channels that may be of interest to your members and colleagues and the wider public, and link your association’s or RC/WG/TG’s website to that of the ISA. We encourage you to also send us at isa@isa-sociology.org information about your events and activities so that we can post them on ISA’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

ISA Laboratory for PhD Students in Sociology

We are so glad to announce that the XV ISA International Laboratory for PhD Students in Sociology will be held on 5-11 September 2022 in Tunisia. Very soon we will announce the details. I would like to thank EC member Mounir Saidani for organizing this important event.

And finally

Much of what is accomplished by the ISA is the result of all the hard work and diverse contributions of our members. I also take this opportunity to thank our four Vice-Presidents, Filomin Gutierrez, Eloísa Martín, Geoffrey Pleyers, and Sawako Shirahase, as well as ISA Executive Committee members, ISA editors, ISA Executive Secretary Izabela Barlinska, and the ISA Secretariat staff for their work and dedication to the Association. Dr. Barlinska, who has intensely served the ISA for more than 30 years, constitutes the living memory of the Association. Sadly, she plans to retire after July 2023. The EC will soon set up a recruiting committee.

As 2021 draws to a close I wish you all a joyful holiday season and warm wishes for a new year that hopefully will bring better news for the world, and not only for humans...

Salam,

Sari Hanafi
President, International Sociological Association
Prof. of Sociology, American University of Beirut
sh41@aub.edu.lb
https://sites.aub.edu.lb/sarihanafi/