NA Reports – Croatian Sociological Association (CSA)
Jasminka Lažnjak, CSA President
President in 2018: Jasminka Lažnjak
100 years of Croatian sociology – Continuities and discontinuities
Sociology as an academic discipline has a long tradition in Croatia that we are proud of. The first Chair for criminal studies and sociology was established in 1906 in the Faculty of Law at University of Zagreb as the first sociology chair in the Austro Hungarian Monarchy.
This year the Croatian Sociological Association marks the centenary of the founding of the first professional sociological association – founded in Zagreb in 1918. The Society defined its mission “to nourish social sciences, study social and economic circumstances of our people and, on the basis of such research, act with the aim of educating the public, providing moral cultivation, and working in the area of social and political issues.” (The Statute 1918) The first president of the society was Adolf Mihalić, the vice-president Albert Basala and the secretary Juraj Andrassy who in 1923 published the first report on the work of the Sociological Society in Zagreb in the international journal Revue internationale de sociologie (Geneva). In the report, Andrassy writes about the many conferences and lectures organised by the Society and reports that the Society counts 160 members. The society was active until 1932. After the Second World War, the current sociological association, as well as sociology more generally, were not in the tradition of the previous period. Under socialism sociology was based on Marxism and historical materialism, but still kept the function of critical analysis.
The marking of the centenary will once again be the opportunity for the reflection on discontinuities and contiguities in the history of Croatian sociology, bourgeois sociology in the first decades of the twentieth century and sociology in the period of socialism, between the critical thinking of Praxis philosophy and self-management to the sociology in the transition and post-transition period.
Opening Speech of the CSA President at the VI Congress of the Croatian Sociological Association, Old City Hall of Zagreb, 15-16 April 2017
The Croatian Sociological Association (CSA) is a professional non-profit association of sociologists with around 300 members, founded in 1959 as the Sociological Association of Croatia which, until 1991 acted as a member of the Yugoslav association for sociology. The association’s current name dates from 1992 when the association became a member of the International Sociological Association and also joined, the then new, European Sociological Association.
Today the Croatian Sociological Association has eleven specialised sections covering broad areas and social domains. It also has two regional branches in Zadar and Split.
Our main goal is to promote and protect sociology as a science and a profession based on the scientific and humanistic tradition accepted by the global and European sociological community. The Society takes care of the advancement of sociological education in the high school and at the university level.
The activities of CSA are:
- Scientific research in the field of sociology;
- Scientific and professional communication within the sociological community, in particular counselling and public lectures;
- Organisation of domestic and international conferences, schools, congresses and seminars;
- Networking and international scientific and professional cooperation;
- Publishing in the field of sociology;
- Professional development of social and postgraduate subjects in secondary and higher education;
- Establishing cooperation with sociological associations in the world;
- Popularization of sociological science;
- Proposing the prominent sociologists, institutions and scientific works in the field of sociology for public recognition and awards;
- Promotion of professional responsibilities and advocating the ethics of sociological profession;
- Lifelong learning and adult education;
- International cooperation and mobility in education.
Our core activities are realised through conferences, workshops, public lectures, book promotions, and roundtables.
Every second year, the Society organises a national congress – an event that engages the most of Croatian sociological community. The 2017 congress under the title “Structure and Dynamics of Social Inequalities” aimed to respond to the current issues of Croatian society and the region, addressing different interpretations that international sociology and other social science have brought to the phenomenon of the dramatic rise in social inequality. Alongside the inevitable discussions around the impact of the global economic crises on inequalities, other processes that have affected our region in its transitional and post-transitional developments were addressed including market liberalisation, privatisation and democratisation. Differences in the structure and dynamics of inequalities in the region and globally were also considered.
VI Congress of the Croatian Sociological Association, Old City Hall of Zagreb, 15-16 April 2017
CSA regularly participates in co-organising international sociological meetings. In 2016 it was co-organiser of the conference “Religion and Non-Religion in Contemporary Societies: Theoretical, Empirical and Methodological Challenges for Research in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond” organised by ISORACEA, the ESA RN34 and the Department of Sociology of the University of Zadar.
This year CSA is the co-organiser of the ESA RN18 Mid-Term Conference “Communication, Capitalism and Social Change. Policy, Practice, Praxis” that will take place in Zagreb in September 6-8, 2018.
Publishing is another traditional core activity of our society. We publish the oldest sociological journal Revija za sociologiju (since 1971) and we are co-publisher of the two other more specialised sociological journals, Social Ecology and Polemos. Also, within the Publishing House Jesenski i Turk, CSA is co-publisher of a book series, Sociological Library, which includes Croatian authors as well as translations of worldwide sociology – contemporary and classical.
CSA is constantly working on informing and encouraging the active participation of its membership in all our events and activities through our web-site and via social media.
Two main processes indicate contemporary sociology in Croatia: The institutional and programme diversification in sociological education alongside financial starvation in terms of research and young sociologists’ employment. Institutional empowerment is manifested by the establishment of new sociology studies at several Croatian universities, latterly in Osijek. Currently in Croatia there are 6 departments for sociology at five public universities. There are postgraduate and doctoral programmes at Zagreb and Zadar universities. The diversification of sociology has traditionally been conducted through the chairs in sociology at other faculties, such as Law, Economics, Medicine or Mechanical Engineering. Some applied sociologies are also found in other programmes of study. The main research institutes are public research institutes, the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, the Institute for social research Zagreb and the Institute for Migration and Institute for Development and International Relations.
Current debates and developments
Some hot topics of Croatian sociology that we share with the rest of Europe are related to the crisis of traditional democracy and the growth of populism as well as the problem of migration. A particularly important topic is a rather serious demographic problem for Croatia, which is one of the oldest nations of Europe with massive emigration of the young and educated population to the Western and Northern EU countries.
The interior hot topic is related to the ideological controversy about the Istanbul Convention’s ratification. The “battleground” is in the ideological sphere – a sort of cultural war about “gender ideology”. Since groups of prominent intellectuals from the Academy of Sciences and Arts publicly called for a rejection of the Convention, CSA reacted by a public statement on the misunderstanding of the gender concept.
The second hot topic is related to the educational reform that mobilised the public when its implementation was stopped under the influence of more conservative political parties and non-governmental organisations.
Another issue of ethics in science emerged when the academic community was hit by affairs related to plagiarism by the Minister of Science, who resigned from the government.