Executive Committee 2018-2022/23
I hope you and your loved ones are all safe! What a terrible time we are living, seeking to cope with the existential uncertainty brought about by COVID-19. In spite of that, sociologists all over the world are deploying extraordinary energy through their publications, webinars and activism. ISA has also maintained its activities but in new and innovative forms. Despite travel restrictions, I received several invitations from national and regional associations to speak in their conference webinars and learnt a lot about the different national traditions of practicing sociology. The last one was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Latin American Sociological Association (ALAS). The ISA has always had a special relationship with this very important regional association, which was established at the first ISA World Congress of Sociology in 1950. One of the themes I have raised is the crisis of the social sciences in terms of their weak connection with moral philosophy. Our hope is that a stronger connection could help correct the positivist trend of these disciplines and propose normative methods, presuppositions, and explicit commitments.
ISA IV Forum of Sociology
After a long process of consultations, the ISA Executive Committee (EC) decided to hold the ISA IV Forum online, on February 23-27, 2021. Yet, large Research Committees may extend the duration of the conference in order to spread sessions over more days. Despite the increased costs involved, the ISA decided to reduce the registration fees by 50%, while maintaining the possibility of paying the full amount as a contribution to a solidarity fund to enable sociologists experiencing hardship to participate. The coldness involved in holding this Forum online will be compensated by a preponderant number of attendees who can attend it without presenting a paper. I hope your active participation will defeat the coldness of social distancing in the context of the current pandemic. I would like to thank all those who work hard in making this Forum possible in this difficult time: First the President of the IV ISA Forum Geoffrey Pleyers, but also the Vice-President for Finance Sawako Shirahase, the head of the Forum Local Organizing Committee Hermilio Santos, and all EC members. For more details about the Forum go to its webpage.
I am glad to announce the publication of a series of videos on Academic Writing. This series of videos, produced by the Vice-President for Publications, Eloísa Martín, presents the main challenges of academic writing and publication in scientific journals. It reveals some of the most common mistakes in the process of manuscript submission and review, and offers some possible solutions.
Among numerous ISA publications, I would like to highlight two new volumes. The first one is Sociologies in Dialogue (SAGE), co-edited by myself and Chin-Chun Yi, and available at the excellent price of $13 in paperback and $10 in ebook format. This book is the outcome of the Fourth ISA Conference of the Councils of National Associations held in May 2017 at Academia Sinica, Taiwan. The second one is the result of the monumental editorial work carried out by Breno Bringel and Geoffrey Pleyers bringing together 43 authors from 28 countries to write on policies and social movements in the face of the pandemic. A digital edition in Spanish, published by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) and the Latin American Sociological Association (ALAS) is available in open access: Alerta global. Políticas, movimientos sociales y futuros en disputa en tiempos de pandemia. The English version will soon be published by Policy Press and Bristol University Press. You can find more contributions about COVID-19 in the webpage on Global Sociology and the Coronavirus and at ISA Online Portal.
New collective members
I am glad to welcome the following new collective members of the ISA: Saudi Social Studies Society, Vietnamese Sociological Association, Asociación Paraguaya de Sociología, Sociedad Paraguaya de Sociología, and Asociación Colombiana de Sociología. I would like to thank particularly Filomin Gutierrez, Vice-President for National Associations.
ISA forthcoming events
Our fifth Council of National Associations (CNA) Conference will be held on May 10-13, 2021 in Slovenia with the theme Social Transformations and Sociology: Dispossessions and Empowerment. Each national association is expected to send a representative who will present a paper and attend the CNA business meetings. The deadline for submission of conference abstracts has been extended to October 31, 2020 to ensure a wider participation. If your national association has not submitted any paper yet, please ask a representative to submit an abstract (maximum 250 words) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by October 31, 2020.
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 human rights statements and policy work
Over the last three months the ISA Human Rights Committee has been busy issuing three statements: ISA endorsement of the Advocacy Letter to ratify International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 (September 2020), ISA endorsement of Ghanian Associations (July 2020) and ISA statement against institutionalized racism (June 2020). I would like to thank ISA Human Rights Committee members Nazanin Shahrokni and Laura Oso, and the head of the Committee Eloísa Martín. Needless to say that the ISA is increasingly involved in many policy instances at the UN thanks to EC member Jan Fritz and former EC member Rosemary Barberet, but also with the International Science Council. Chih-Jou Jay Chen and myself are active in this Council. Last week I was interviewed: “How could we rethink our conceptual understanding of human development?”
I would like to congratulate Bandana Purkayastha, ISA EC member, considered “Aspired women inspire” by the SHE Foundation after being nominated by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Last but not least, 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.
President, International Sociological Association
Prof. of Sociology, American University of Beirut