NA Reports – Swiss Sociological Association (SSA)
Rainer Diaz-Bone, SSA President
President in 2018: Rainer Diaz-Bone
The Swiss Sociological Association (SSA) was founded in 1955 and has developed since then (Eberle 2005; Eberle/Reichle 2018). The association is led by a board of eleven sociologists, who represent almost every Swiss university plus a representative of the Swiss universities of applied science. Today the society has round about 500 members. It organises a sociology congress every two years and promotes its research committees as well as its publications. The Swiss Journal of Sociology is released three times per year, publishing research articles in English, French and German. Also SSA publishes a bulletin (printed and pdf), twice a year, informing its members about ongoing issues in the society and also presenting short articles of concern for Swiss sociologists. Additionally there is an electronic newsletter announcing events and positions. In the 1980s, the SSA board founded the Swiss publisher for the social sciences, Seismo. Seismo publishes the Swiss Social Report every two years.
SSA represents sociologists working in companies, administrations and sociologists affiliated to the Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences. There are ten cantonal and two federal universities and the majority of them offer BA and MA study programs in sociology (Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Zurich). The society has dealt with some organisational issues in the last years, such as the implementation of an electronic archive of the Swiss Journal of Sociology (realised by the publisher De Gruyter), the launch of a new website and a survey of its members’ opinions about evaluation criteria (Bozkurt Umur et al. 2017). SSA holds workshops and conferences and is supported by the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS), which is the association of Swiss scientific organisations in the social sciences and in the humanities. Now SSA is approaching some practical issues such as the establishment of a permanent office, and has as one of its major issues the question of digitalization and sociology’s response to it in teaching, research and in public presentations. Also, the relation of SSA to the only social science research infrastructure institution, FORS (Lausanne) is of much importance for sociology, which is in need of high quality survey programs and data archives (Kleiner et al. 2013). Swiss sociology covers classical sociological research fields but also has “its” specific research topics, which are coined by the specificities of this nation (although these are not exclusively “Swiss issues”) such as the political and cultural integration of a multilingual country, labour migration (and its regulation), upcoming right wing populism, the positioning of Swiss politics towards the European Union. The SSA is facing challenges as the public recognition of sociology needs to be improved by comparison with the growing influence of disciplines such as economics on sociological issues in mass media. After a period with some publicly renowned sociologists, it has become a little bit quieter around sociology and sociologists public statements. Also, the SSA has to track more closely the development of the number of professorships, research positions (as post doc positions), and the number of students in sociology.
See for more information https://www.sgs-sss.ch/en/
Bozkurt Umur, Itir/Diaz-Bone, Rainer/Surdez, Muriel (2017): How to evaluate research and teaching in sociology? Results of the survey conducted with members of Swiss Sociological Association (SSA). Swiss Sociological Association.
Eberle, Thomas S. (ed.) (2005): 50 Jahre Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Soziologie. Zürich: Seismo.
Eberle, Thomas S./Reichle, Niklaus (2018): Soziologie in der Schweiz seit 1945, in: Moebius, Stephan/Ploder, Andrea (eds.) (2018): Handbuch Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Soziologien. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 347-384.
Kleiner, Brian/Renschler, Isabelle/Wernli, Boris/Farago, Peter/Joye, Dominique (eds.) (2013): Understanding research infrastructures in the social sciences. Zürich: Seismo.