From ESA – Strategies & Activities

Dirk Hofäcker
Edward Tolhurst
Christiane Schnell
Helena Hirvonen

NA Reports – French Sociological Association (AFS)

Issue 42: 1968 - 50 Years On Wed 28 Nov 2018 0

Muriel Darmon, AFS President

Members: 1300+
President in 2018: Muriel Darmon

The French Sociological Association (Association Française de Sociologie, or AFS) was not founded by Durkheim in, let’s say, 1897, but is in fact much younger than the discipline it represents in France. It was created in March 2002, in the wake of the Société Française de Sociologie (1962-2002) and in a context of vivid debates on the scientific identity of sociology and sociologists following the “Tessier Affair” – also known as the participation of Sociology professors in the dissertation defence, at the Sorbonne, of a professional astrologist.

Open to all sociological orientations admitting the scientific dimension of the discipline, gathering sociologists of all status, within and outside of academia, the association aims at organising and representing sociologists in France.

The association currently counts more than 1300 members, organised in 50 thematic fields (“réseaux thématiques” or RTs). Its Executive Committee (CE), in charge of running the Association, is composed of 21 elected members on 4-years terms from among whom our President is elected. Half of the seats are renewed during the Congress of the Association every 2 years. The CE of the AFS is organised in several task forces specialised in specific areas and issues (such as communication of the Association, ethics and sociology, preparation of congresses, relationships with the RTs, defence of individual rights in the sociological world, recruitment, international, etc…).

Our Congress
Our biennial congresses are an important part of the Association’s life. Co-organised by the CE of the AFS, a local organisation committee and the 50 RTs, they last 4 hectic days, gather more than a thousand participants and communications, together with plenary and semi-plenary sessions, a general assembly, debates and workshops. They take place at least one year in two outside Paris and its huge concentration of sociologists. Since 2004, congresses were held in Villetaneuse and Versailles-Saint-Quentin, near Paris, but also in Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nantes, Amiens, and Aix-en-Provence.

We try to maintain the Congress fees – and more generally the association fees – at a level as low as possible, to enable struggling research teams and unfunded sociologists to participate in our collective life. Association membership fees go from 40 Euros to 100 Euros for two years, and congress registration fees from 60 Euros to 150 Euros.

RT life between Congresses
The Association is encouraging RTs’ activity and cooperation in between congresses. We are for instance funding “cross over” workshops between RTs during the inter-congress period – around two calls for “cross RT events” are organised by the AFS every year. We are also encouraging and funding RTs’ special events or “routine” inter-congresses life. All events are free and open to all. Organisers are now to send us a detailed recap of the event, available for all to read on our blog – if you read French that is! 

Our blog, website & journal
More generally, our blog (Carnet hypotheses) and our website are where hot topics get publicised and debated, by sociologists and for sociologists, but also in a way to present the issues raised within the scientific community to a more general audience.

Last, but certainly not least, our list of media and tools of communication include a journal. Founded in 2006, Socio-Logos is a biannual journal, published online on OpenEdition. At first, the journal had no specific thematic orientation, but we recently decided to make it a journal “on” sociology: on its professionals and its students, on its history, on its debates, on its modes of teaching, learning, and researching, etc. A special issue on academics recruitments in sociology has just been published with our fellow association “ASES” (association of sociologists teaching at the university). The next one is scheduled on “Teaching in Sociology”, and the one after that on sociology in France (and more specifically the debates on its scientific dimension).

Permanent call to all sociologists in the world
We are now welcoming, in our blog, what we call “Postcards”, short texts written by sociologists from abroad to inform us on something that is happening in their country regarding sociology. We are looking forward to receiving one from you!