Unfortunately, we have bad news to report as well. We attended a meeting held with American Sociology Association (ASA) administrative staff during the 2017 annual meeting in Montreal. ASA staff summarized their developing problems with many small sections. Supporting sections that have dropped below the minimal membership level are becoming costly for ASA at a time when they need to downsize their administrative staff (they assist with the annual elections, allocation of section sessions, issuing requested checks, solving problems with navigating the ASA online labyrinth, etc.). They reported that this burden has overflowed their capacity. Their solution is simple: increase the membership levels back to the required minimum, and then sufficient staff can be hired. ASA Council has initiated an objective process for placing smaller sections on probationary status, based strictly upon criteria that involve membership levels and indices of section vitality. While we are in compliance with all of the many indices of vitality, we have failed to maintain a membership level that satisfies their two membership algorithms. While at 119 members at the end of 2017, we avoided the ignominy of falling below 100 (at annual meeting time we were at 105), we are required to (a) maintain membership at 150 and (b) avoid falling below 200 members three years out of five. Since meeting the 150-member requirement in 2013, our numbers have more or less been diminishing steadily.
We composed a Response to ASA, which Council will consider at their February meeting. We believe that in the short run we can avoid being placed on probation or decommissioned as a section, but a durable solution is required for the long run. Accordingly, we have organized a Membership Committee, under the leadership of Anne Rawls, but networking when our numbers are so low and our reach so international presents us with serious challenges that we have yet to solve.
Ken Liberman & Aug Nishizaka
The due: 50 USD for ASA plus 10 USD for the EMCA section.
« We have been suffering from the decrease of the number of officially registered members. I would very much appreciate your considering being a member of the SECTION (not only of ASA) » (Aug Nishizaka).
«The field of Conversation Analysis (CA) began with just three people, Emanuel Schegloff, Harvey Sacks and Gail Jefferson. It grew, as many new enterprises do, out of a dissatisfaction with the methodologies and theories of the time, as they pertained to everyday social behavior. Forty years later, CA is the dominant approach to the study of human social interaction across the disciplines of Sociology, Linguistics and Communication. The most recent international conference on Conversation Analysis (ICCA – 2010) boasted more than 600 attendees. CA publications are estimated to be over 5,000 in number and growing rapidly. In short, CA in the 21st century represents a rich and vibrant community of international scholars working across a wide range of languages, institutional and ordinary contexts, and disciplinary boundaries» (Sidnell & Stivers, 2013: 1).
Sidnell, J. & Stivers, T. eds., 2013. Introduction. In The Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Malden / Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1–8.