ESA Statutes as approved by the General Assembly in Helsinki, August 30, 2001, revised by the General Assembly in Torun, September 11, 2005, by the General Assembly in Glasgow, September 5, 2007, by the General Assembly in Lisbon, September 4, 2009, by the General Assembly in Geneva, September 9, 2011 and by the General Assembly in Prague, August 27, 2015.
We, European Sociologists, aware of the diversity and complexities of European societies, have decided to create an Association. Its name is the European Sociological Association (ESA). Its focus is the development of sociological knowledge. The Association will help facilitate sociological research, teaching and communication between sociologists and between sociologists and other scientists. We have established the Association in the hope that its work will contribute to understanding and solving social problems, to improving the quality of life in Europe and beyond, and to encouraging peaceful and productive relations among peoples. In all these respects, the Association will endeavor to cooperate with other sociological and non- sociological scientific association.
The ESA is a scientific, independent organisation, with no religious, political or any other kind of affiliation. The Association shall be conducted on a non-profit basis.
The above objectives will be implemented through the holding of conferences, the promotion of research networks and research streams, the publication of newsletters, scientific journals and book series, the running of PhD students and early career summer schools and other scientific activities.
Article 3: Membership
The ESA has individual, institutional and affiliated members.
3.1 Individual members
Individual membership is open to scholars who contribute to the development of sociological knowledge and understanding by, for example, carrying out sociological research, teaching sociology, working in sociological posts, belonging to European national sociological associations, or having academic degrees and training in sociology. Individual membership is also open to academics in other disciplines, who take an interest in the activities of the Association or its Research Networks.
Individual student membership is open to all university level students in sociology and related subjects (including PhD students).
3.2 Institutional members
Institutional membership is open to all institutions that contribute to the development of sociological knowledge in or on Europe. All European National Sociological Associations may become institutional members of the ESA and will then be represented on the ESA Council of National Associations.
3.3 Affiliated collective members
Affiliated collective members shall be research institutions and universities or their departments, as well as other associations of sociologists active as scholars or practitioners in the field of sociology. They shall be admitted by a decision of the EC, subject to ratification by the Council of National Associations.
The Executive Committee determines the fees for every category of individual, institutional and affiliated membership. Payment of fees is a condition of membership.
Article 4: Governing Bodies
The organs of the ESA are:
- General Assembly
- Executive Committee
- Research Networks
- Council of Research Networks
- Council of National Associations
Article 5: The General Assembly
The General Assembly consists of individual members in good standing. It meets during the European Sociological Association Conference and has to be organised at least every four years. The functions of the General Assembly are to:
- discuss and formulate the general policy of the Association;
- discuss and approve reports by the President of the Association and the outgoing Executive Committee;
- discuss and approve changes to the Statutes and By-laws;
- confirm the results of the elections of the President and the Executive Committee;
- discuss and approve the Treasurer`s report;
- take decision regarding the merger, absorption or dissolution of the Association.
The General Assembly is called by the President, who announces the agenda six weeks in advance. The General Assembly may add new items to the agenda. If the President and Executive Committee want to propose changes to the Statutes and Bylaws, these should be announced twelve weeks in advance.
Article 6: The President and the Executive Committee
6.1 The President shall be elected by individual members in good standing. The Executive Committee consists of sixteen (16) members, of whom fourteen (14) are elected by individual members, one is the Chair of the Council of National Associations and one is the Chair of the Council of Research Networks. The President and the Executive Committee are officially nominated at the ESA conference.
6.2 The term of the President and the Executive Committee is two years beginning at the General Assembly held at the ESA Conference every two years. The period of service as President and as a member of the Executive Committee is a maximum of two consecutive terms.
6.3 Any vacancy arising in the Executive Committee will be filled by the next person with the highest number of votes. In the event of a tie a draw will take place.
6.4 The President appoints a General Secretary and an Executive Secretary. The Executive Committee, with the advice of the President, appoints three Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer from within the Committee. The President, the General Secretary, the Treasurer and the Executive Secretary constitute the ESA Office. The ESA Office reports to the Executive Committee and is responsible for implementing its decisions.
6.5 The President legally represents the ESA as far as it is necessary, including appearance before Courts and Tribunals. In the event of the President’s absence, he/she is replaced by one of the Vice-Presidents.
6.6 The functions of the Executive Committee are to:
- discuss and implement the policies of the Association and manage the Association’s affairs;
- organise conferences, take overall responsibility for the publications of the Association, and arrange other ESA activities;
- approve the creation of the Association’s Research Networks and Research Streams and promote their activities;
- look to ways of promoting European sociology within the larger community;
- set and publicise the agenda for the General Assembly;
- formulate financial police of the ESA, approve the ESA budget, manage fund raising, fix membership fees and oversee the Association`s financial affairs in liaison with the Office;
- decide whether the ESA joins other associations and organizations;
- appoint non-standing committees and ad hoc groups where appropriate;
- deal with all remaining issues unless otherwise stated in the Statutes, and except the ones related to amendments to statutes and by-laws.
6.7 A quorum for any decision of the Executive Committee will be one half of the current members of the Committee including the President. All decisions of the Executive Committee will be by majority vote of those voting, unless otherwise ruled by the Statutes.
6.8 The General Secretary keeps the records of the Association and supervises the work of the Office. The General Secretary has the power to engage the Association, sign bills and invoices, and use the Association credit card within limits of a given authorization.
Article 7: Research Networks
Research Networks (RNs) are well-established networks of ESA members, each focused on a specific field of sociological research, and through which ESA pursues its main scientific activities. They promote international cooperation in the fields of sociology they represent within and outside the ESA. Research Networks play a key role in preparing the programme for ESA conferences, organising their own mid-term conferences, and engaging in other activities in accordance with the ESA objectives.
7.1 Constitution and structure
Research Networks are proposed by a minimum of 10 members from at least three different countries and are approved by the Executive Committee. The proposed research field of sociology must not significantly overlap with that of already existing ESA Research Networks.
All RN members (at least 25) should be ESA members in good standing. The number of members in good standing in each Research Network may determine the space allocated to it at the ESA conference. ESA members may be members of several Research Networks.
Each Research Network elects its own co-ordinator, vice-coordinator and board at a Business Meeting held at the biannual ESA conference. On an ideal level, the co-ordinator, vice-coordinator and board serve for a maximum period of two consecutive terms of two years. A Research Network may elect an advisory board to assist the coordinator and the board. A second Business Meeting can be organised also during the mid-term RN conference.
The RN Co-ordinator shall submit a report of activities over the preceding two years to be presented to the Business Meeting at the ESA conference and delivered to the Chair of Research Networks Council.
7.2 Financial support
The RN Coordinator may apply for ESA financial support for Research Network Activities. The application shall be sent to the Chair of the RN Council. After receiving the financial support, the RN Coordinator writes a financial report on its use. This report shall be presented to the Business Meeting and delivered to the Chair of Research Networks Council together with the activity report.
After consultation with the RNs, the Executive Committee decides the amount of financial support allocated to Research Networks budget.
Article 8: Research Streams
If a Research Network is not established, ESA members may apply to organise a Research Stream (RS). Research Streams are networks of ESA members constituted to give attention to specific research fields or thematic issues not sufficiently addressed by existing Research Networks.
The application shall be sent to the Chair of the Research Networks Council at least two months before the start of the following ESA conference. Approval requires that a RS has a field of sociology not significantly overlapping that of the other RSs or RNs and a minimum of 10 persons in good standing in ESA, with one designated Coordinator and one Vice-Coordinator. Approval is made by the Executive Committee on the recommendation by the Chair of the Council of Research Networks.
Research Streams can organise paper sessions in the ESA conferences in the same way as Research Networks.
Article 9: Council of Research Networks
The Council of Research Networks (CRN) represents the Research Networks of the ESA. It consists of coordinator and vice-coordinator of each Research Network.
The main aims of the Council are to discuss organisational and policy issues concerning the Research Networks, make proposals to the Executive Committee, advise the Executive Committee on research and innovation policy in Europe, make proposals to the Executive Committee about themes for the ESA conference, and propose candidates for election of the ESA President and members of the Executive Committee.
9.1 The Council meets at least once every two years during the ESA Conference. The Council elects a chairperson who represents the research networks as a regular member of the Executive Committee, takes care of all relevant issues in regard to the Research Networks, and reports on them to the Council.
9.2 Candidates for the Council Chair should have served as co-ordinator of an ESA research network in the past. The Council Chair organizes the election together with the ESA secretariat. The Chair is elected for one term of two years and may be re-elected for a second term.
Article 10: The Council of National Associations
The ESA acknowledges the importance of National Associations of Sociology in accomplishing its objectives. Accordingly it has established the Council of National Sociological Associations of Sociology as a body of the ESA, formed of one representative from each European National Association of Sociology.
The main aims of the Council are to discuss and share information; to advise the Executive Committee about research policies in Europe and other relevant issues concerning the discipline of Sociology; and to make suggestions and formulate proposals to the Executive Committee including proposals concerning the themes of the conference.
10.1 The Council will decide on the admission of additional European National Sociological Associations. The Council is chaired by one of the national representatives. The chairperson of the Council will be elected by the Council for a two-year term and can be re-elected for a second two-year term. He/she calls the meeting of the Council and decides the agenda. The chairperson of the Council is a regular member of the Executive Committee.
Article 11: Elections
Regular members in good standing elect 14 members of the Executive Committee and the President. The elections take place during the Conference. In order to allow members not attending the conference to vote, they shall be given the possibility to vote electronically. The Nomination Committee will implement the election procedure.
11.1 Candidates for the President should demonstrate a good working knowledge of the Association. They should be nominated and seconded by members of the Executive Committee, and/or co-ordinators of Research Networks and/or National Associations which are members of the Council.
Candidates for the President cannot at the same time be a candidate for chairperson of the Council of Research Networks or the Council of National Associations.
Candidates for the Executive Committee should be nominated and seconded by members of the Executive Committee, Research Networks, National Associations which are members of the Council or by individual members of the ESA.
11.2 The Nomination Committee
The Nomination committee for the election of the Executive Committee and President consists of 4 to 9 persons proposed by the chairperson of the Council of National Associations and the chairperson of the Research Network Council in collaboration with the ESA Executive Committee. The chairpersons of the Council of National Associations and Council of Research Networks are ex officio members of the Nomination Committee. The ESA President is also a member of the Nominations Committee unless he/she presents him or herself for re-election. Further members can be other members of the Executive Committee, members of Research Networks, delegates of National Associations, and a PhD student. The Nomination Committee elects its chair. After the widest consultations, it collects proposals for candidates from National Associations, Research Networks, the existing Executive Committee, and individual members. It proposes a slate of up 24 – 28 candidates for the Executive Committee and 2-4 candidates for the Presidency. Both for the Executive Committee and Presidency the ESA has a policy of gender equality, with half of the candidates being male and half female, and it takes diversity into account in relation to countries of origin and fields of research.
11.3 Voting Procedure
Every member may vote for a maximum of 10 candidates for the Executive Committee and for one candidate for Presidency. Members may also express their candidate preference by writing in the name (or names) of other members in good standing. The total number of votes must not exceed ten (10). If the total number of votes exceeds ten (10), the ballot will be invalid. In the case of the highest number of votes for the Presidency being tied equally, there shall be a new vote within the General Assembly in order to decide between these two candidates. In the case of a tie for a position on the Executive Committee, all tied candidates would become Executive members.
Article 12: Headquarters
The headquarters of the ESA are located at Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Avenue de France 190, Paris.
Article 13: Statutes, By-Laws and Ethical Guidelines
The activities of the ESA are ruled by its Statutes and By-Laws. The ESA commits itself to complying with the Association’s Ethical Guideline, designed to inform its conduct in all its activities (the Statement of Ethical Guidelines is appended as a supplement to the Statutes).
13.1. Changes to the Statutes may be proposed by:
- the Executive Committee with a 2/3 majority;
- the Council of National Associations with a 2/3 majority;
- the Council of Research Networks with a 2/3 majority;
- 20% of the individual members of the Association.
13.2 Changes to the Bylaws and Ethical Guidelines may be proposed by the Executive Committee, by the Council of National Associations, by 20% of individual members, by three Research Networks or by three National Associations.
Changes of the Statutes, Bylaws and Ethical Guidelines must be approved by a majority of the General Assembly, namely 51% of the regular members of the Association in good standing taking part in the vote. The vote is valid if at least 51% of the members of the ESA who take part in the vote, agree with the changes.
Article 14: Dissolution
The dissolution of the Association shall be decided, if proposed at least one year before, in the General Assembly by:
- a majority of 2/3 of members in good standing,
- a majority of 2/3 of National Associations in good standing.
The decision of dissolution must be approved by a majority of 4/5 of members voting in the General Assembly.
In the event of dissolution, the net assets of the Association shall be transferred to an international organisation or institution whose objectives are similar to those of the Association. The use of the assets shall be decided by the General Assembly, which shall mandate the President or the General Secretary to execute its decision.
Statement of the Ethical Guidelines of the European Sociological Association
Ethical Guideline 1 The aim of the Association to support the development of a democratic, egalitarian, peaceful and hospitable Europe should be reflected in the inclusive means we in the ESA adopt and use to achieve this end.
Ethical Guideline 2 The aim of the Association to develop sociological understanding of both the diversity and the complexity of existing European societies should be reflected in norms of social investigation that take into account the experiences and perspectives of others according to our own non-discriminatory ethic.
Ethical Guideline 3 To this end the ESA holds that its members, conference participants and partners are not to be discriminated against in any way, direct or indirect, including boycott of themselves or their institutions, based on their ethnic, national, gender, age, religious, disability, political or sexual orientation backgrounds.
Ethical Guideline 4 The ESA encourages critical reflection on the institutional and disciplinary ethical processes and guidelines for the conduct of research, publication, peer review, teaching and consultancy that are to be found in our international and national professional organisations, universities and journals. The ESA affirms the moral responsibility of individual sociologists to take the ethical principles of professional associations, including the ESA, into account in their own professional activities. This includes a responsibility to work towards the development of institutional settings that are themselves conducive to behaviour consonant with the spirit of these Guidelines.
Ethical Guideline 5 The aim of the Association to facilitate sociological research, teaching and communication among sociologists should be based on the exclusion of political, sectional or personal criteria, on a strong defence of academic freedom and of the all-inclusiveness of the global community of scholars, on open and respectful forms of communication and dialogue among scholars, and on the protection of genuine and considered scholarly criticism.
Ethical Guideline 6 The aim of the Association to foster collaborative relations between sociologists and other scholars and scientists should be based on our valuation of other disciplines for their contribution to sociological knowledge and understanding and on maintaining open, inclusive and accessible networks in which scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds can thrive and develop interdisciplinary research and cooperation.
Ethical Guideline 7 The aim of the Association to raise the profile of sociology in the cultural, political and scientific life of Europe requires that there is high respect for evidence, scholarship, informed debate and deliberative democracy within Sociology and strong support for the intellectual value and social usefulness of Sociology as an academic discipline and as a body of professional expertise. We support the reflection of these values in European policy and funding decisions.
Ethical Guideline 8 The aim of the Association to defend the interests of sociology in European research and academic institutions should be based both on protecting its scholars and practitioners from the unfair, prejudicial or discriminatory exercise of power and on enhancing the good name and reputation of the discipline. Sociologists should normally take active steps to avoid harm to research participants and others affected by their work.
Ethical Guideline 9 The aim of the Association to contribute to more just, reflective and open social relations between people within Europe and on Europe’s borders should be based firstly on respect for the full and equal participation of all European sociologists in the activities of the Association, from richer and poorer countries and from East and West; secondly on making ourselves open and hospitable to sociologists beyond Europe or not considered ‘European’; thirdly on fostering a critical outlook that resists Eurocentric prejudices about the superiority or primary importance of Europe; and fourthly on recognising European contributions to the conception and development of a democratic, human rights culture and of ideas of global justice.
Ethical Guideline 10 The Association is committed to helping and enabling PhD students and early career scholars, researchers and professionally associated sociologists to develop their work, make their voices heard and gain the recognition they are due. The unfair procurement of advancement or employment is to be avoided. Equally the ESA is committed to recognising scholars later in life, including those outside institutional employment.
Ethical Guideline 11 Where individuals or parties within ESA feel themselves to have been wronged or unjustly marginalised, the ESA is committed to addressing their concerns and if possible resolving conflict in a timely, just and open fashion.
Ethical Guideline 12 The ethical principles of the ESA are open to scrutiny and criticism by members and non-members of the Association and to revision and addition through the normal democratic procedures of the Association.