ECLARATION OF THE CONVENTiON OF INDEPENDENT SOCIOLOGICAL CENTERS OF RUSSIA
Representatives of independent sociological centers operating in various Russian cities met in May 2004 (in Saint Petersburg), November 2005 (in Moscow), and March 2007 (in Irkutsk). At their first meeting, they decided to create a Convention of Independent Sociological Centers, and at the third meeting, they resolved to write and publish a Declaration expressing the principles and tasks of the association. In August-September 2008, the Convention organized the first Baikal International School of Social Research. In 2009, it launched a series of books on qualitative methods in the social sciences.
The Convention is designed to provide organizations engaged in social science research with a network for co-operation. The Convention's member organizations are non-profit, independent from state institutions, and not affiliated with any political parties. The member organizations created the Convention in order to coordinate their efforts to advance Russian sociology as part of the global sociological project, as well as to stimulate the demand for professional and independent social research in Russian society. The member Centers view their activities as a contribution to the development of civil society.
The tasks of the convention are:
— to develop and promote models for the advancement of sociology as an autonomous discipline whose practitioners formulate and investigate research questions free from outside interference;
— to advance the scholarly and independent public debate;
— to analyze social change critically and help to advance it;
— to engage in a dialogue between researchers and local communities in different forms, and to provide sociological support to local initiatives;
— to carry out joint research, organize joint seminars and conferences, and exchange research results and publications;
— to create a platform to discuss issues pertaining to research quality and professional ethics;
— to design joint educational resources meeting current professional standards in social research, as well as to organize schools for young researchers, specialized courses, and to publish textbooks and handbooks;
— to work together with practitioners of other disciplines who believe in the principles of scholarly autonomy and critical analysis;
— to keep up an exchange of information and maintain a Convention web site;
— to defend the right to perform independent work in sociology.
The members of the Convention are interested in renewing sociological education in Russia and seek to contribute to training independent, professional, and critically-minded social researchers.
The work of the Convention is founded on the democratic principles of equal access to information, joint resources, inclusive discussion and access to decision-making, and respect for the diversity of its members as well as for their achievements. The Convention is open to all non-commercial research organizations that share the principles and objectives set forth in the present Declaration.
Laboratorium. 2009. No. 1: 303-304
Current members of the convention:
Center for Independent Social Research (Saint Petersburg)
Center for Independent Social Research and Education (Irkutsk)
Center for Social Policy and Gender Studies (Saratov)
Center for Education in Sociology and Political Science (Moscow)
Institute for Social Research and Civic Initiatives (Kazan)
Magistra Independent Research Group (Nizhny Novgorod)
Region Center (Ulyanovsk)
Society - Saratov Regional NGO (Engels)
Society and Youth - Saratov Regional NGO (Saratov)
Translated from the Russian by Mischa Gabowitsch