… the International Sociology Association (ISA) was founded in conjunction with the UNESCO in order to create a meta-structure that brought together national sociological organizations. The ISA aims to disseminate and strengthen sociology and sociological knowledge internationally. The ISA offers the possibility of networking with scientists of different nationalities and supports research and its exchange.
With the institutionalization of sociology as academic discipline over the course of the 20th century, membership grew steadily through the proliferation of national umbrella organizations. This development was promoted by the expansion of the statutes about individual membership, which took place in 1970. In addition to the national umbrella organizations, individual scholars from all countries could now become members and participate directly in the organization (Platt 1998: 31).
With almost 60 research groups and more then 5.500 members from all continents, the ISA today encompasses the breadth of sociological research worldwide. The question of representation of different nations and thus diverse sociologies was always a major topic within the ISA. Over the course of the past decades a greater heterogeneity within the membership could be observed. Nonetheless, as of 2021, members from the European Union and North America continue to make up the bulk of the membership, with over 50% in total.
An internationally informed sociology is in high demand today, when societies realize their interdependencies in terms of supply-chains, geo-politics, colonization histories, or climate change. Sociology as a discipline needs to address such interdependencies at local, regional, national, and international levels.
In June 2023, ISA will hold its next major congress in Melbourne, Australia, which will focus on “The Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies”. A new president will be elected too.