April 2,1998

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The sociologists are coming

by Evelyne Abitbol

About 5,000 sociologists from 50 countries will converge on Montreal next summer for the 14th World Congress of Sociology.

Concordia Professors Bill Reimer and Susan Hoecker-Drysdale are on the organizing committee for the conference, whose theme is Social Knowledge: Heritage, Challenges, Perspectives. Reimer said that Concordia will help in a number of ways, including organizing cultural events.

The conference, scheduled to take place July 26 to August 1, will mark the 50th anniversary of the International Sociological Association (ISA). The ISA will host the event with the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA) and the Association canadienne des sociologues et anthropologues de langue française (ACSALF).

Among the notables expected are the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela, the director of UNESCO, and intellectuals Alain Touraine and Immanel Wallerstein.

The topics to be discussed include genetics and populations, the future of work, mass human migrations, artists and their audience, the crisis of modernity, solidarity between generations, and the social factors of health. The general public will be invited to attend a seminar on "Social Knowledge and Multiplicity of Languages and Cultures," scheduled for July 27.

Sociology has undergone considerable evolution since the 19th century, when it first emerged from anthropology, ethnography, psychology and history.

It was philosopher Auguste Comte who coined the term sociology to describe "the science of societies," but purists at first refused to recognize the word because it was formed from a Latin root and a Greek ending.

Quebec has had its own leaders in the field, including Father Georges-Henri Lévesque, Marcel Rioux, Fernand Dumont, Guy Rocher and Gérard Fortin, among others.

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