Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the ISA?

The International Sociological Association (ISA) is an umbrella organization made up of 56 research committees (RC), 3 working groups, 4 thematic groups, 62 national associations, 6 regional associations, and a wide range of institutes and departments.

Learn more about the structure of the ISA executive

2. What is a World Congress?

World Congresses are large (~6000 attendees in Yokohama, Japan in 2014) international gatherings of the RCs and National Associations. The ISA World Congress is typically held every four years, in difference cities and countries around the world, selected following a competitive bid process.

3. What is a World Forum?

World Forums are held every four years, between World Congresses. They tend to be slightly smaller than World Congresses (~4000 delegates) because typically, the World Forum is a meeting of the Research Committee and their members.

4. Do Research Committees hold Conferences?

Individual research committees also hold standalone conferences, in cities around the world, at various points in time. Once you become a member of an RC, you will receive regular email notifications of upcoming conferences and publication opportunities in your substantive field.

5. Is ISA membership required in order to present a paper at the Congress?

Yes.  Everyone participating in the Congress as a presenter must be a member of the ISA.  

6. How do you become a member of the ISA?

Typically, when individuals join the ISA they become ISA members, but also join one or more research committees related to their substantive areas of interest within the discipline. Memberships are for four years and vary by countries’ economic grouping (Canada is a category A) and regular or student membership . Membership for individual RCs are added by you when you become an ISA member, at an additional cost. Each RC has its own (reasonable, in most cases) pricing system (see “2. Affiliation to Research Committees, Working and Thematic Groups” in the previous link).

7. Does ISA membership include World Congress Registration?

As with the CSA, conference registration (to World Congress, World Forum, or smaller RC conferences) is at an additional cost to members. The cost of registration for the 2018 World Congress has not been posted.

8. Do many Canadian Scholars attend the World Congress?

In 2014, in Yokohama, Japan there were 187 Canadian delegates in attendance, up from 176 in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2010.

9. Are there other benefits to being a member of the ISA?


ISA courses, grants and prizes

Junior Scholars activities

Job Openings

10. What is happening in 2018?

The next World Congress will be held in Toronto, Canada.  There are different types of events held over the course of the week, with their own calls for papers:

1. ISA EVENTS: there are a few large opportunities (with larger venues) adjudicated by the ISA. See their website for information on ad hoc sessions, integrative sessions, author meets critic sessions, etc. with similar January 2017 deadlines.

 2. LOCAL HOST SESSIONS: there are a few Canadian themed sessions (World Congress host country), adjudicated by the host association also with a January 2017 deadline.  

 3. REGULAR SESSIONS: a large number of regular sessions are hosted and adjudicated by individuals RCs. Once you are a member of the ISA, you can choose to join one or multiple RCs and each will send you their call for sessions and call for papers. Better to do this sooner rather than later. Memberships typically last 4 years.


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