Research Committees

Award for Junior Theorist

Established in 2007*. Last edition: 2020.

* The award was originally established in 2007 as Best Student Paper in Sociological Theory Award granted at ISA World Congress of Sociology. It was modified in 2011 as Best Junior Theorist Paper in Sociological Theory Award granted at the RC16 mid-term conference, and renamed in 2019 as Award for Junior Theorist.

For the Next edition: 2025, go to the RC’s call for nominations.
Deadline for submission: January 15, 2025.


The award is granted to the best paper in sociological theory authored by one or more junior theorist(s) and submitted to the competition. It is intended to provide motivation and recognition to a promising junior scholar in the field of sociological theory, as well as to encourage graduate student interest and participation in the ISA and RC16.


The award consists of a certificate with a citation and the travel costs of the winner(s) to attend the RC16 Mid-term Conference, up to a maximum of USD $750. The winner(s) will be allowed to present their work during one of the scheduled RC16 sessions at the conference.


Applicants must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program or have received their Ph.D. within five years of the deadline. Papers must have been published or accepted for publication no more than five years prior to the deadline, and must be authored by one or more junior theorist(s); those co-authored with tenured faculty members at a degree granting institution are not eligible. The publication can be in any of the ISA’s three official languages (English, French, and Spanish), to a maximum length of 15,000 words. The winner(s) must be a member (or members) of ISA and RC16 at the time of receiving the award, and must be available to attend the conference.


A call for nominations and submissions will be made in the RC16 Newsletter (Theory) at least six months prior to the conference to ensure that the winner(s) will be given sufficient notice and thus be able to make arrangements to attend the conference. Papers can be nominated by the author(s), or by a nominator (for example, a book or volume editor, supervisor, or other third party). Papers must be sent by the author or nominator electronically to the Selection Committee Chair, whose institutional and e-mail address will be published in the call for nominations and submissions.

Selection Process

The papers will be evaluated by an Award Subcommittee of three RC16 Board members working in three different countries, who are expected to have the necessary linguistic expertise between them to evaluate the entries. The Subcommittee will be selected at the RC16 business meeting scheduled at a World Congress of Sociology.

Members of the Subcommittee will also be expected to consult with other RC16 Board members as expertise demands arise.

To avoid potential conflicts of interest, members of the Award Subcommittee are not permitted to nominate papers, and must disclose any substantial personal or professional ties with submitters or nominees (e.g., as supervisor or committee member of the author's or authors' paper, editor of the journal or volume where the paper has been accepted for publication, etc.) to the other members of the Subcommittee and the RC16 Chair(s).

The Award Subcommittee will report its decision to the RC16 Chair(s), who will report it in turn to the ISA Executive Committee. The selection process will be completed in time for the winner(s) to undertake early registration for the conference.


No monetary prize is linked to this award; however, award winners will receive RC16 financial assistance for travel to the conference, up to a maximum of USD $750.


The award will be granted every four years at the RC16 Mid-term Conference, in accordance with the procedures specified above.

Past Winners

2020 Paul Joosse (University of Hong Kong), for his paper “Countering Trump: Toward a Theory of Charismatic Counter-roles” published in Social Forces 97(2): 921-944
2016 Larissa Buccholz (Harvard University), for her paper “What Is a Global Field? Theorizing Fields beyond the Nation-State” published in The Sociological Review 64(2): 31–60
2012 Dominik Bartmanski, for his paper "How to Become an Iconic Social Thinker: The Intellectual Pursuits of Malinowski and Foucault" published in European Journal of Social Theory 15(3): 1–27