NA Reports – Danish Sociological Association (DSF)
Anna Ilsøe, DSF President
Nanna Bugge, DSF Student assistant
President in 2018: Anna Ilsøe
Who are we?
The Danish Sociological Association is a voluntary association for anyone with an interest in sociology. The association was formed in 1965 with the purpose of creating a broad organisation for sociologists and everyone with an interest in sociology, where sociology could be debated and developed in different ways. This goal is still a focal point of the association. Previously, the association required that all members had completed, or were going to complete an education in sociology, but this requirement was removed with a statutory amendment in 2015.
Anna Ilsøe, DSF President at the Danish Sociological Congress 2018
A professional association with a broad appeal
Today, sociology has spread to many different areas of work, which increases the need for a community where the awareness of sociological professionalism can be debated and strengthened. In the Danish Sociological Association, we support networks and knowledge sharing across both public and private sectors, employed and students and various subject areas.
Through our numerous activities, we create the opportunity to bring together different parts of Danish sociology, so as many possible actors and voices can be involved in the development of sociology in Denmark.
The association currently has more than 600 members, which includes students, employees and retirees. It is a focus of the association to represent sociology widely and not only specific topics or age groups. We therefore seek to have at least one member of the board of the Danish Sociological Association elected among those working outside academia. The students will influence the future of sociology and, therefore, the association also wants to strengthen trans-generational communities. The association always has several student representatives on the board and arranges various activities that are specifically targeted at the student community.
Geographically, the sociological landscape is spread widely across Denmark. Sociological programmes can be found at universities in Copenhagen, Aalborg, Esbjerg, Aarhus and Roskilde. It is of great importance to the association to support these programmes as well as the further training of sociologists after they have completed their candidate degree.
The various research areas in the Departments of Sociology in Denmark demonstrate the diversity that is characteristic of Danish sociology. Currently, central research topics at the University of Copenhagen (KU) are the big project “Green Communities in the City”, which focuses on civil engagement and citizenship in urban nature and urban ecology, and the Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS), which for more than 25 years has worked with sociological analyses of the Danish labour market and labour market regulation. Aalborg University (AAU) has a tradition of combining sociological and criminological research, which examines social differentiation and social control. The research community in Esbjerg (SDU) is characterised by combining sociology and anthropology with a focus on cultural sociology. At Roskilde University (RUC) sociology is integrated in an interdisciplinary approach to social sciences. Recently, RUC has started a new research centre on the quality of life for children and young people with disabilities and they have just launched a research project about the relationship between sociological research and European research policy. The Danish School of Education focuses on mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in school environments, and at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) studies of elites in the Danish society are gaining a lot of attention. At the Center for Sociological Studies in Aarhus, they combine both different professions and different institutions in their perspective of sociological issues.
Most of the events organised by the association take place in Copenhagen, but it is a clear aim of the association not to limit itself to the metropolitan area. Therefore, the association has board members and activities in both Aalborg and Esbjerg, and we support the establishment of local associations within the framework of the association's activities.
Sociology across borders
Sociology also plays a central role in the rest of the world. Therefore, the Danish Sociological Association is a member of – and works closely with – several international associations such as the Nordic Sociological Association (NSA), the European Sociological Association (ESA) and the International Sociological Association (ISA). It is important for the association not only to strengthen the professional community in Denmark but also across national borders. It is furthermore essential for the association to promote cooperation in sociological research both in Denmark and internationally.
Core activities of the association
Free events for everyone
Each year, the association offers around eight to ten events, which are free and open to all with an interest in sociology. The events range between lectures and debate panels and topics are often inspired by the latest research results, thematic issues in sociological journals or current challenges and opportunities in Danish society. Several of the events are organised in collaboration with local networks and organisations as for example the Department of Sociology at the universities, debate networks or student organisations.
In 2017, the Danish Sociological Association held nine free events. During the year, the association collaborated with several co-organisers, including the Regensen’s Knowledge Symposion, where the association was co-organising a lecture with one of the great contemporary sociologists, Professor Loïc Wacquant. The event had an impressive attendance in Regensen’s great hall, where several had to stand outside the door of the hall to listen.
Anna Ilsøe, DSF President, at “Digitization of the Labour Market”
The autumn event “Digitization of the Labour Market”, in collaboration with the research centre FAOS, launched a debate on digitalization. Here, the President of the association, Anna Ilsøe, and her scientific assistant, Louise Weber Madsen, presented the results of a new survey about automation of work and use of digital platforms on the Danish labour market, followed by a panel debate with representatives from the Danish Chamber of Commerce and HK/Private.
“Sociological Career Paths” was an event with a strong focus on students. The association had, in collaboration with the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen, invited four working sociologists to tell about their career paths in the Danish labour market. The idea of the event was to give the students a range of perspectives on how to use sociological tools and knowledge actively in their future work and give good advice about the transition between being a student and a sociologist on the labour market. The event highlighted the unique scope of sociological methods when working as a sociologist.
Methodology courses for members
Members of the association can participate in two or three methods courses a year, where both students and professionals can gain skills in new sociological methods. In spring 2017, the Danish Sociological Association offered the following courses: “Facebook likes as data” and “Webcrawling and -scraping”, which highlighted what kind of new possibilities digital data provides for sociological studies. In the autumn, the course “Causality in Quantitative Methods” introduced the participants to new solutions for some of the most fundamental questions in statistical analyses.
Every second year, the Danish Sociological Association invites all Danes with an interest in sociology for a two-day congress. During these days, knowledge, new research results and ideas for further studies are exchanged. People from different sociological environments meet and together we become more aware of what is happening in contemporary sociology.
In January 2018, the association organised the Danish Sociology Congress in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). It was the first time that the congress was held in Esbjerg and it was a success that sociologists from all over Denmark had the opportunity to experience the university and research community in Southwestern Jutland. The programme was filled with sessions on some of the most current issues in Danish sociology, such as: crime, digitization, and exclusion among children and young people. There was also an international dimension to the congress, as keynote speakers from the US, Norway and Russia made us wiser about sociological issues in a global perspective.
Each year, the Danish Sociological Association publishes four numbers of the scientific journal Danish Sociology. The editorial board is formally and practically independent of the association. However, like the association, it has the aim of conveying new sociological research. The journal contains scientific articles, essays and book reviews, and is often focused on a thematic issue as for example “Social and Emotional Communities” or “Climate Sociology”. All members of the association receive the four numbers of Danish Sociology for free. In addition, members also receive four annual releases of the journal ACTA Sociologica for free, published by the Nordic Sociological Association.
Sociological Magazine (“Sociologisk Magasin”)
In early 2018, the association published for the first time the free online magazine Sociological Magazine. The association needed a new format to distribute knowledge about sociology in Denmark in other ways than through scientific articles.
The Sociological Magazine focuses on the new and exciting topics of sociology in Denmark – both inside and outside the university walls. The pivotal point of the magazine is to portray contemporary Danish sociology as both a profession and a field of discussion in the private and public sectors.
The magazine will be published at least once a year and will contain minor analyses, interviews and reports from the sociological world. The first release of the Sociological Magazine contained career portraits of four working sociologists.
The association communicates its activities via its web page, Facebook page and Instagram profile. Furthermore, we send a newsletter with information each month to all our members and others with an interest. A communication group within the board of the association has been in charge of developing our logo and visual design.
Pelle Korsbæk Sørensen, DSF Vice President at the Danish Sociological Congress 2018
A glimpse of the future
The Danish Sociological Association has existed for almost 60 years. Over the years, the association has evolved and sought to meet the changes that sociology has undergone since 1965. But what does the future look like for sociology in Denmark and the Danish Sociological Association? This is a question we will deal with in the coming years.
In the short term, we have launched an exciting spring program for 2018, which opens up for debates on topics such as economic inequality, the concept of money in a sociological perspective and how sociologists can contribute to social change in society. But other factors also indicate an exciting future for sociology in Denmark. In recent years, the number of members has been increasing and we see it as an expression of renewed interest in sociological knowledge sharing and sociological communities. A local branch of the association is on its way in Esbjerg – and the desire to organise sociological events is also seen in Aalborg, where there already exists a local branch of the association. The Danish Sociological Association looks forward to supporting these new initiatives.
If we want to know where we are heading, we need to know where we already are. Therefore, the Danish Sociological Association will start a research project on sociology in Denmark in 2018. What trends are seen in contemporary sociology? How does the labour market look for sociologists and what challenges and opportunities do they meet? What topics are the most influential in sociological research in contemporary Denmark? These questions seem central to a closer understanding of where Danish sociology is heading. The results of the research project will be published in the Sociological Magazine.
For natural reasons, we do not know the exact future of Danish sociology, but we look forward to experiencing it!