NA Reports – Israeli Sociological Society (ISS)
Gili S. Drori, ISS President
Yagil Levy, ISS Vice-President
Noa Zarka, ISS Secretary
President in 2019: Gili S. Drori
2018 Board Members, elected:
Prof. Eitan Alimi
Dr. Nir Gazit
Dr. Meitral Iran Yona
Prof. Alexandra Kalev
Oleg Komlik, Treasurer
Prof. Alisa Lewin
Dr. Sigal Nagar Ron
Dr. Uri Shwed
Dr. Ori Schwartz
Dr. Roni Tiargan Orr
Dr. Mary Totry (deceased)
About the ISS
Since its founding in 1967, the Israeli Sociological Society (ISS) has operated as the professional association of sociologists in Israel. Formally registered as a not-for-profit civic association (no. 580016954), the ISS set its goals to operate (a) in the public sphere, to convene sociologists from a variety of institutions and viewpoints with a commitment to equality, democracy, and an environment that is free of prejudice or harassment; (b) in the scientific sphere, to protect the academic freedom of all sociologists with a commitment to scientific standards and professional ethics; and (c) in the professional sphere, to protect and advance the professional interests and work conditions of sociologists. Among the ISS’s aims are the promotion of sociology as an academic discipline and a profession, the advancement of sociological investigation in Israel and of Israel, the furthering of sociology’s impact on Israeli society, the positioning of sociology as the source discipline for a variety of professional spheres (such as management, regional and urban planning, education, and health care), and the provision of services to Israeli sociologists. These principles are written into the ISS constitution, which was most recently amended by the General Assembly in January 2018 to expand on ISS’ commitment to justice, equality, and protections.
The ISS gathers over 300 registered members and extends its reach to some 2500 colleagues throughout Israel. Members of the ISS assemble annually for a 2-day conference, hosted every January by one of Israel’s research universities or colleges. The 49th annual conference, hosted in January 2018 by Ben Gurion University, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the ISS’s founding.
The ISS is organised around 19 theme-driven communities, which also hold mid-year workshops or conferences. Among these communities are organisations and work; health and medicine; body, culture, and society; immigration and demography; education; gender; family; knowledge, science, and technology; military and security; public sociology; human–animal relations; disability studies; ethnicity; environment and society; consumerism and culture; research methods; economic sociology; queer research; and doctoral students and junior scholars. In addition, the ISS’s certification committee holds the authority over the certification of sociologists in Israel in specific fields and pertaining to specific guidelines.
With many sociologists actively practicing sociology in their daily research, teaching, advocacy, management, leadership, and consultancy, sociology in Israel is most vibrant. The ISS acts as a partner in many such activities and as a forum for professional exchange. The ISS-initiated activities of the past years include the following:
Annual ISS conference:
The 2017 48th annual conference of the ISS, titled title “50 to ’67: Society, Control, Resistance”, was hosted by The Open University. The 2018 49th annual conference of the ISS, titled “Sociology and the State: 70th Anniversary of the State of Israel, 50th Anniversary of the Israeli Sociological Society”, was hosted by Ben Gurion University of the Negev. And, the forthcoming 2019 50th annual conference of the ISS will be hosted by Haifa University, under the title “Between Neo-liberalism and Populism.”
Workshops and conferences:
Most of the ISS’s 19 theme-driven communities organise mid-year workshops and conferences, which are open to ISS members and others. Among the many such workshops and conferences of the past couple of years are a workshop organised by the ISS community on organisations and work on the practices of human resources and consultancy (May 2018), a workshop organised by the ISS community on consumerism and culture on contemporary approaches to the study of everyday life (June 2018), a workshop organised by the ISS community on military and security focusing on the relations between military and policing (October 2018). Several such workshops are the product of collaboration between ISS communities. For example, ISS’s communities on gender and family collaborated on a workshop celebrating the special issue of the Journal of Comparative Family Studies which was devoted to the subject of families, citizenship and human rights in the global era (May 2018) and ISS community on environment and society and the ISS community on health and medicine collaborated on a workshop devoted to the social aspects to health–environment relations (April 2018). Last, thinking outside “the box” of academic workshops, ISS community on knowledge, science and technology held an award-winning competition for sociological photography (September 2018).
In addition to operating the ISS’s periodical (now on its 51st issue), several blogs, a monthly newsletter, and a Facebook stream for ongoing information and commentary, the ISS is also committed to more traditional, peer-reviewed academic publications. The ISS partners with Routledge on the English-language Schnitzer Studies in Israel Society series. In addition, the ISS partners with the Hebrew-language academic journals Israeli Sociology and Megamot. Recently, the July 2018 issue (19,2) of Israeli Sociology highlighted the keynote address of Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, as well as the honorary symposium titled “Boundaries of Sociological Knowledge in Israel: Borders, Barriers and Openings,” from the 2018 49th annual conference of the ISS.
In addition, several of the ISS’s theme-driven communities have been active in developing their workshops and conferences into collaborative publications. For example, the activities of the ISS community on military and security have matured into three Hebrew-language publications on mandatory military service, the role of the military in education, and the relations between the military and market society.
Annually, the ISS awards the Louis Guttman Prize for Excellent Sociological Article and the ISS Prize for Excellent Student Thesis. It is also our custom that following the award ceremony, which is held as a part of ISS annual conference, the Guttman Prize laureate gives a keynote address.
In addition to hosting sociologists from around the world at ISS activities, the ISS is a member of the European Sociological Association and the International Sociological Association.
- Prof. Hanna Herzog (Tel Aviv University) and Prof. Eva Illouz (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) were awarded the 2018 Emet Prize for Science, Art and Culture.
- The ISS Presidential team and the ISS Board issued three public proclamations to voice the ISS’s protestations regarding academic and scientific affairs in Israel. In February 2018, the ISS issued a Presidential proclamation to protest the decision taken by the Government of the State of Israel to place three academic institutions located in the occupied West Bank under the jurisdiction of the Council of Higher Education, thus using academic affairs to give credence to the enforcement of Israeli law in these territories. In March 2018, the ISS issued a Presidential proclamation to protest the initiative of the Council of Higher Education to enforce a uniform and state-mandated code of ethics for Israeli academic institutions. Finally, in April 2018, the ISS Board issued a proclamation protesting the decision to close the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, seeing it as a step to restrain, if not suppress, sociology and other social science disciplines in Israel.
As noted in these proclamations, “we regard such public declaration(s) to be a part of our ethical responsibility as sociologists, to voice our opinion on events and processes in our society in Israel.” Moreover, we regard these three occasions as infringements on the liberties of research, science, and professional practice in Israel; as threats to the academic sphere; and as restrictions on the discipline and practice of sociology.
Fulfilling the ISS’s commitment to carry the promise of sociology to public affairs, the ISS Board is currently debating issues pertaining to academic employment and labour practices in Israel and securing anti-harassment protections.
- With sadness, we mourn the passing of our distinguished colleagues and teachers Prof. Moshe Lissak (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Prof. (Tel Aviv University), Dr. Yael Enoch (Open University), and Dr. Mary Totry (Yizrael College). With shock and grief, we remember the murder of our dear colleague Dr. Michael Feige (Ben Gurion University).
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Scopus Campus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905