July 2022

President’s Perspective

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that has rocked the world is not an isolated war, but it is an exceptional one. It is exceptional based on its capacity to turn into a third World War and more specifically, in its risk of becoming a nuclear one. The eastward expansion of NATO is a provocation as a determination to not avoid the road to war, yet it does not at all justify this furious invasion and the unilateral stepping over the sovereignty of a country. The International Sociological Association (ISA) released a statement at the beginning of this war expressing its deep concern about the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. For the ISA, war is never an acceptable solution and is against all the values we uphold. The ISA stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian social scientists and with our colleagues elsewhere, including in the Russian Federation and Belarus, who have raised their voices against this war, and have defended democracy and human rights. (See my piece in Global Dialogue.)

In the last few months, the International Sociological Association’s Executive Committee (EC) has been active on different fronts related to ISA activities. We are so glad we finally had a hybrid EC meeting at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) where so many important decisions were taken, particularly regarding the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology in Melbourne, Australia that has been postponed to June 25-July 1, 2023 as in-person conference with a minimal hybrid format. Five years after our last in-person meeting at the ISA World Congress of Sociology in Toronto (2018), we will be eager to meet each other again and enjoy the meaningful exchanges that take place in a world congress and that we missed so much in the online meetings of the past two years. This letter will focus on this important event.

XX ISA World Congress of Sociology

The Program Committee developed a wide range of plenary sessions devoted to the main theme of the Congress Resurgent Authoritarianism: The Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies. Moreover, the Committee selected the best proposals for Integrative Sessions, sessions by National and Regional Associations, as well as Authors Meet Critics and Ad Hoc Sessions, and many Professional Development sessions. We will also have a unique opportunity to learn about the issues of concern to the host country, Australia, in Thematic Sessions prepared by the Australian Local Organizing Committee chaired by Dan Woodman. You will find descriptions of all these sessions on the Congress website.

Nevertheless, the most important announcement at this point is that the period of abstract submission has already begun, July 1 – September 30, 2022. I would like to thank the Program Coordinators of 57 Research Committees (RC), 4 Working Groups (WG) and 6 Thematic Groups (TG) who completed lists of sessions for each and are waiting now for your submissions. To avoid a final rush, don’t wait until the last moment, submit your abstract without delay and join us in Melbourne!

ISA Solidarity Fund

At the initiative of Vice-President for Finance Sawako Shirahase, I am pleased to let you know that ISA Executive Committee approved the creation of ISA Solidarity Fund designed by the Finance and Membership Committee to boost student membership and breach inequalities between countries in category A and those in categories B and C. In this first stage, a new student membership grant and an increase in the registration grants were approved.

ISA membership grants for students

Each RC/WG/TG can allocate ISA membership grants for students as follows:
- up to 3 students from category A countries
- up to 5 students from category B and C countries
RC/WG/TG are responsible for the selection of grantees at their earliest convenience but no later than December 15, 2022. This deadline is set before the January 31, 2023 deadline for applying for registration grants, which are only available to ISA members. Please contact the President and Secretary of your RC/WG/TG asap.

Registration grants to ISA World Congress of Sociology

Funds allocated to each RC/WG/TG for registration grants have been increased by 30%. ISA members in good standing, and active participants in the program, are eligible to apply for a registration grant. Applications should be sent to the RC/WG/TG Program Coordinators by January 31, 2023.

Forthcoming activities

The XVII ISA International Laboratory for PhD Students on the theme Precarization and Resistance: Environment, Everyday Life and Citizenship, will be held on September 5-11, 2022, in Tunis, Tunisia. It is organized jointly by the International Sociological Association, Arab Centre for Research and Political Studies, Centre for Economic and Social Researches and Studies, and Research in Enlightenment, Modernity and Cultural Diversity Lab, Tunis El Manar University. I would like to congratulate the selected 12 students and express gratitude to Mounir Saidani, ISA EC member, for his efforts in organizing and coordinating the Laboratory.

The 5th ISA Council of National Associations Conference on the theme Social Transformations and Sociology: Dispossessions and Empowerment, will take place in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, on November 21-24, 2022 (link). Filomin Gutierrez, ISA Vice-President for National Associations, and Borut Roncevic, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, are now very busy preparing a program of the conference that will be attended by over 40 delegates from national associations, and collective members of the ISA.

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, Sawako Shirahase and Geoffrey Pleyers, 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. Special thanks to the Program Committee which is very busy preparing the program of the Congress.

Sari Hanafi
President, International Sociological Association
Prof. of Sociology, American University of Beirut