Research Committee 51 (ISA-RC51)

The Research Committee 51 (ISA-RC51) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) is one of the more than fifty Research Committees which, along with a large number of national sociological associations, constitute the ISA.

The RC51 is oriented to promote the systemic perspective in the social sciences through sociocybernetics. This perspective integrates the general theory of systems, the cybernetics of first and second-order, and complexity sciences, with the aim to address complex social problems.


IV Forum: Challenges of the 21st Century: Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Intersectionality

Twenty years after the start of our century, the optimism of the Millennium has faded and the challenges we face for living together on a limited planet are even more urgent.

While the expansion and the deepening of democratization was taken for granted at the turn of the Millennium, democracy has been at stake in an increasing number of countries, while its key component such as diversity and equal respect for all citizens are threatened. The hope for a global democracy able to tackle global issues such as climate change, migrations and rising inequalities have faded. It has now become clear that to face global challenges, democracy needs to be re-invented within and beyond the representative system.

The environmental crisis and climate change are now a worrying reality. How can we live together on a limited planet? Land and food have become again major objects of struggles. Environmental and socio-territorial conflicts have multiplied against extractivist industries. Who are the actors who bring innovative solutions to keep our societies thriving within the planetary boundaries?  How does the global environmental crisis lead us to re-think our world and our discipline?



Tackling the question of complexity and truth is not limited to scholars of the social sciences. Ever since the Enlightenment, the quest for truth has been said to be the ultimate duty of historians. Source criticism and hermeneutics are intended to reveal historical facts in light of the infinite dimension of (societal) reality. Nonetheless, historical research is dominated by conflicting narratives. Hence, there is no one truth either at present or in distant memory. For quite some time, scholars from many historical subdisciplines have been striving to combine social-scientific principles and methods with historical research. That is why we aim to initiate an interdisciplinary discussion of how truth is produced in and accepted by different parts of society, different regions of the world, and different historical time periods, which includes functional systems, organizations, and interactions. Thus, we bring together an international group of scholars from the fields of Sociology, Intellectual History, Economic History, and Philosophy, who present their individual views of the concept of complexity and truth.

This special issue address the social construction of truth building on the relevant intersections between the different disciplines.