May 2020

President’s Perspective


The dark times of the coronavirus pandemic have changed, at an unprecedented rate, how we eat, work, shop, exercise, manage our health, socialize, and spend our free time, and will continue to do so. The current global crisis may have prompted fresh strategies to reinforce exploitation, dispossession, and neoliberal capitalism, and increased the reach of our greed and selfishness, but it has also given us an opportunity to explore and provide a new way of understanding and reclaiming our social justice and humanity. We hear every day both sad and inspiring stories about solidarity – particularly in terms of caring and food systems.

Taking sociology to task has always been an integral part of the reflection of the International Sociological Association. Our Vice-President for Research Geoffrey Pleyers has initiated a webpage on Global Sociology and the Coronavirus. The aim of this webpage is to promote initiatives and perspectives of ISA Research Committees (RCs) and national associations (NAs) on the coronavirus, its impact on our societies, and the world that may come out of it. The page already includes several international webinars, various initiatives from RCs and NAs and a blog, and we are looking forward to receiving more contributions from the RCs and NAs. The blog presently features two papers, one by myself (Post-COVID Sociology) and one by Geoffrey Pleyers (A Plea for Global Sociology in Times of the Coronavirus), and more will be added soon from other ISA Executive Committee (EC) members. In addition, with the collaboration of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) and the Latin American Sociological Association (ALAS) an e-book will be published by the end of this month both in English and Spanish. ISA’s magazine Global Dialogue is also preparing for its next issue (August 2020) a special feature on the current crisis. I would like to invite all members to submit articles to ISA journals, International Sociology and Current Sociology. While more efforts will come from different EC members, I would like to thank particularly Geoffrey Pleyers, Vice-President for Research and Filomin Gutierrez, Vice-President for National Associations, for their mobilization of RCs and NAs, as well as Global Dialogue’s editors Brigitte Aulenbacher and Klaus Dörre.

The ISA EC annual meetings were held successfully online, and we were able to take many decisions relevant to the ISA.

ISA forthcoming events

The IV ISA Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has been postponed to February 23-27, 2021 and a new schedule is available at the Forum webpage.

The upcoming Fifth ISA Conference of the Council of National Associations on Social Transformations and Sociology: Dispossessions and Empowerment will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 10-13, 2021. A Call for Submissions has already been circulated to national associations that can send one delegate to the conference.

The XX ISA World Congress of Sociology scheduled for July 2022 in Melbourne, Australia, will focus on the theme Resurgent Authoritarianism: The Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies. The global rise of authoritarianism, as well as populism, xenophobia, and racism, makes our task as sociologists more crucial than ever. For more information on the theme, go to the Congress webpage.

ISA new decisions

The EC has approved the establishment of a new Thematic Group (TG) on Digital Sociology and another on Violence and Society, and the upgrading of TG08 (Society and Emotions) and TG06 (Institutional Ethnography) to Working Groups. The EC is quite conservative in accepting more new TGs as it seeks more integration between different schools of thought and themes and urges RCs’ boards to be more accommodating for new initiatives, in order to renew our sociology.


We are glad to announce the launch of ISA Online Portal. This is your one-stop spot to ISA digital publications, a platform from which you will be able to read and share its contents for free. We invite you to sign up to the platform in order to be alerted to new content which fits with your research interests.

ISA Online contains Sociopedia.isa (a repository of review articles); e-Symposium (articles of sociological interest for an international community of social scientists, providing scholarly research and applied dimensions), Social Justice and Democratization (a space to access and share resources through an open approach to research, policy, pedagogy and practices on social justice and democratization) and Global Dialogue (ISA’s digital magazine published in multiple languages, a lively forum for conducting debates and interviews within our discipline, including clashing views, visions and accounts). I would like to thank our Vice-President for Publications Eloísa Martin, her predecessor Vineeta Sinha, and Robert Rojek from SAGE for their great effort for the realization of such a portal.

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, ISA EC members, ISA editors, ISA Executive Secretary Izabela Barlinska, and the ISA Secretariat for their work and dedication to the Association.

Let me conclude on a positive note. Here in Lebanon, my colleagues at the American University of Beirut have measured a reduction of air pollution by 36%, and the reduction of the noise pollution sounds as an invitation for birds to sing along at my window, in the intimacy of self-reflection.

Stay safe!


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