Sociological Congresses

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sociological Congresses


international, congresses organized by the International Sociological Association. Between 1950 and 1962 they were convoked once every three years, and subsequently once every four years. The First International Sociological Congress, convoked jointly with the International Political Science Association, was held in September 1950 in Zurich, with 124 sociologists from 30 countries attending. The congress was dedicated to the topic of the influence of sociological research on international relations. The second international congress, held in August 1953 in Liege, Belgium, was attended by 281 sociologists from 34 countries. The congress discussed various topics, including social stratification and social mobility, conflicts among groups and their resolution, the contemporary development of sociological research, and the training, professional activities, and responsibility of sociologists.

The third international congress was held in August 1956 in Amsterdam, with 524 sociologists from 54 countries attending. It was devoted to the topic of social changes in the 20th century. Soviet sociologists began taking part in the congresses with the third congress. The discussions dealt with theoretical problems of social changes and with changes in economic and class structures, in the family, and in education. The major papers read by bourgeois sociologists ignored the concepts of progress and social development. Rejecting a broad historical perspective in their approach to contemporary problems of social change, the bourgeois sociologists placed major stress on specific changes. Marxist sociologists demonstrated the law-governed, progressive nature of social development, which is based on the successive alternation of socioeconomic systems.

The Fourth World Congress of Sociology, held in September 1959 in Milan and Stresa, was attended by 980 scholars from 52 countries. The mutual relations of sociology and society constituted the chief topic of discussion. Many of the papers were devoted to the methods and instruments of sociological research. The papers read by bourgeois sociologists revealed an empiricist and descriptive approach and an absence of broad theoretical generalizations. The Western sociologists R. Merton and P. Lazarsfeld (USA) and R. Konig (Federal Republic of Germany) rejected the narrow empirical orientation of Western sociology and demanded the establishment of sociological theory. The Marxist sociologists supported this view and demonstrated that the genuinely scientific sociological theory founded by K. Marx, F. Engels, and V. I. Lenin is developing successfully.

The fifth world congress was held in September 1962 in Washington, D.C., and was attended by 1,030 sociologists from 51 countries. The congress discussed various topics, including sociologists, politicians, and the community, the sociology of development, the substance and problems of sociological theory, and problems of particular sociological disciplines, including industrial sociology and the sociology of knowledge, religion, and the family. In the area of sociological theory, some Western scholars, such as T. Parsons and R. Merton (USA), supported the theory of structural functionalism. Other bourgeois sociologists, including P. Sorokin (USA), attacked functionalism. The Marxist sociologists criticized the postulates of functionalism and constructively analyzed various problems in the theory, methods, and techniques of sociological research and various aspects of contemporary social development.

The Sixth World Congress of Sociology, held in September 1966 in France, was attended by more than 2,000 sociologists from 50 countries. The congress discussed unity and diversity in sociology, the sociology of international relations, and the interrelations between sociology and ideology and among different schools within sociology, mainly between Marxist and bourgeois sociology. Marxist sociologists criticized the separation of ideology and sociology and the convergence of bourgeois and Marxist sociology. They stressed the fundamental differences in the epistemological, ideological, and class foundations of bourgeois and Marxist sociology, although they accepted the feasibility of common research methods. Many of the papers read at the congress dealt with war and peace.

The seventh congress, held in September 1970 in Varna, Bulgaria, with 3,400 sociologists from 76 countries attending, was devoted to the theme contemporary and future societies: forecasting and social planning. The congress reflected the growing influence of Marxist ideas in sociology and the numerical and professional growth of sociologists in the socialist countries.

The Eighth World Congress of Sociology, held in August 1974 in Toronto, was attended by 2,900 sociologists from 79 countries. The congress discussed science and revolution in contemporary societies, examining the relations of the scientific and technological revolution to problems of social development. Marxist sociologists emphasized the close tie between the scientific and technological revolution and certain social relations as well as the fundamental differences in this revolution’s repercussions in countries with disparate social structures. The intensified crisis in the theoretical and methodological foundations of bourgeois sociology was apparent at the congress. Many Western sociologists manifested an increased interest in Marxism.

Sociological congresses are also convened by the International Institute of Sociology, founded in 1893 on the initiative of the French sociologist R. Worms. Since 1971, the institute has been a member of the International Sociological Association. Between October 1894 and the beginning of World War II (1939-45), the institute held 13 congresses; 11 additional congresses were held between 1950 and 1974. Recent congresses of the International Institute of Sociology have focused on the development of the third world countries.


Marksistskaia i burzhuaznaia sotsiologiia segodnia. Moscow, 1964.
Semenov, V. S. Sotsiologiia i problemy sovremennosti: K itogam VI Vsemirnogo sotsiologicheskogo kongressa. Moscow, 1967.
Grushin, B. A., and lu. A. Zamoshkin. “Vchera—segodnia—zavtra: Zametki o VII Mezhdunarodnom sotsiologicheskom kongresse.” Voprosyfilosofii, 1971, no. 1.
Mchedlov, M., and M. Rutkevich. “Bor’ba idei v sovremennoi sotsiologii: K itogam VIII Vsemirnogo sotsiologicheskogo kongressa.” Kommunist, 1974, no. 18.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(37) The bibliography and recommended reading section of the February 1914 Royal Service listed Graham Taylor's book, Religion in Social Action, in addition to recommending the reports of the 1913 and 1914 Southern Sociological Congresses. The mission program for August 1917 in Royal Service contained a two-page section taken directly from Josiah Strong's book, The Challenge of the City.