NA Reports – Italian Sociological Association (AIS)
Enrica Amaturo, AIS President
Paola Borgna, AIS Vice-President
President in 2018: Enrica Amaturo
The Italian Sociological Association was founded in 1983. It is the oldest – and until recently, the only – sociological scientific society in Italy. Unlike other similar professional associations, AIS was created by scholars who permanently worked in Italian Universities: PhD students and PhD doctors, researchers, assistant professors, associate professors and lecturers in university courses. High school professors, researchers in non-sociological disciplines or professionals who have gained research interest in sociological matters, as well as public and private sectors’ researchers can also be associates in the AIS, upon the Board’s approval. The AIS has approximately 600 members, 60% of which are Italian sociologists (as of end-2016).
The “Executive Board” is AIS’s governing body, and it is currently composed as follows:
- President: Enrica Amaturo, University of Naples Federico II;
Enrica Amaturo, AIS President
- Vice President: Paola Borgna, University of Turin;
- Secretary: Giuseppe Moro, University of Bari;
- Members: Consuelo Corradi, LUMSA University; Rolando Marini, University for Foreigners of Perugia, Teresa Grande, University of Calabria, Mara Tognetti, University of Milan Bicocca, Carmelo Bruni, University of Rome La Sapienza, Lorenzo Migliorati, University of Verona (Alternate Francesca Colella, University of Rome La Sapienza).
- Additionally the “wise’s council” (President: Alessandro Cavalli, Components: Giandomenico Amendola, Alessandro Bruschi, Vincenzo Cesareo, Paola Di Nicola), and “Probi Viri’s Board” (Roberto De Vita, Alberto Marradi, Massimo Paci).
The AIS is composed of thematic sections. Each section has a coordinator, a secretary, and a scientific committee; all of which are a landmark for theoretical reflection and research. There currently are 13 committees:
2. Social Policy
3. Cultural Processes and Institutions
4. Sociology of Law
5. Sociology of Education
6. Sociology of Politics
7. Sociology of Religion
8. Sociology of Health and Illness
9. Urban Sociology and environment
10. Gender Studies
11. Sociological Theories and social transformations
12. Sociology of everyday life
13. Sociology of imaginary
The research board, led by Rita Bichi, is composed by all sections’ coordinators. Because of her role in the research board, Rita Bichi is also a part of the directive board. Sections are also an important source of information for all AIS’s communication instruments, such as http://www.ais-sociologia.it and the online monthly newsletter “Postit”. AIS’s objectives are:
- To contribute to the development of Italian sociological study;
- To promote its members’ cultural and professional interests;
- To create and coordinate institutional structures needed for research;
- To assist sociology students with their undergraduate and graduate education;
- To allow and facilitate meetings and cooperation among researchers, specifically by periodically organising national and international congresses and conferences.
The AIS is also responsible for maintaining the existing relationships between national and international associations and is an active member of the International Sociological Association (ISA); as well, a member of the European Sociological Association (ESA). Additionally, the AIS publishes Sociologia Italiana - Ais Journal of Sociology, included in the “ANVUR” (National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research) list of sectoral scientific journals. The Editor in-chief is Enrica Amaturo and the co-director in-chief is Marita Rampazi. It was established in 2012 with the aim of stimulating, communicating and advancing Italian sociological research in the context of national and international socio-cultural and political debate. It is a biannual – April and October – peer-reviewed journal, presenting contributions in Italian, English or French. The journal publishes innovative work from all areas of sociology and is open to multi-disciplinary contributions offering new ways of reading contemporary social reality. Sociologia Italiana - Ais Journal of Sociology has a wide-ranging scope, including core theoretical and empirical research papers, notes and comments on the institutional and cultural challenges that sociology is facing today, interviews to the most authoritative and renowned figures in the field of sociological studies, and essays on the history of sociology.
The AIS is committed to encouraging young students and researchers. Since 2007, the Association has promoted research excellence through an annual awards programme named the “Youth Forum”, for the publication of the best articles presented by researchers under 38. This initiative aims to promote the visibility of young Italian sociologists, while favouring a discussion among all scientific communities, in which all sociologists are able to discuss their work and most significant research.
Actually in our country, it is necessary to interact with some of the most relevant Agencies governing the Italian educational system. The AIS has been officially acknowledged by ANVUR as the only sociological scientific association. Furthermore, AIS has an important role of interlocution with the MIUR, the Italian Ministry of Scientific University and Research. This role is also becoming essential because of the many reforms and new dispositions concerning Universities and academic work, as well as the whole Italian educational system. AIS promoted the Permanent Consult of Scientific Associations in the CUN 14 Area, a sector of the National University Council that groups together scholars of Political and Social Sciences, to strengthen its interlocution role with other decision-making entities.
In 2017, the AIS strongly supported the “Week of Sociology” project. In October, for the first time, the vast majority of university departments of sociology worked together to spread sociological knowledge and foster relationships with institutions and social actors in their own territorial contexts. The national conference of directors and didactic structures’ managers in sociological areas, together with sociologists’ scientific associations, promoted also the 2nd edition of the Sociology Festival in Narni.
These events had two main objectives:
- To highlight our discipline’s capability to read current social changes, as both macro-tendencies on the whole and within their own social and territorial contexts.
- To discuss the role of “the public” in universities as important institutions for the scientific and cultural development; here the AIS is able to interact with all other institutions and social actors.
The Week of Sociology received the patronage of ISTAT (National Italian Institute of Statistics) and SVIMEZ as well as of other associations of professional sociologists (SOIS, AIST and SISS). Our hope is that in the future, the Week of Sociology can become a permanent shop window for sociologists’ scientific work, and for the contribution their studies offer to Italian society.
Enrica Amaturo, AIS President (on the right) and Susan Halford, BSA President, during the seminar on Web Sciences and Digital Social Science at the University of Naples Federico II in January 2018