The Society for the
Study of Social Issues


News and editorial

SPSSI is an International Organization

By Michael Zarate, Internationalization Committee Chair

SPSSI is an international organization. Our members come from all over the world and speak a common language, science. SPSSI members are joined by a desire to develop social scientific findings that can be used to improve our world. While specific regions of the world face different challenges, the underlying dynamics that perpetuate inequality, conflict and other social pathologies have similar roots and the research SPSSI members conduct examine underlying causes and applied solutions that are broadly relevant everywhere in the world. The goal of the Internationalization Committee is to further broaden SPSSI’s international visibility, participation, and membership.

Despite SPSSI’s international flavor, SPSSI is sometimes seen as a US centric organization. Yes, the SPSSI office is in Washington, DC and the office was moved there with an explicit goal of influencing US policy. Influencing US policy, however, is just one of SPSSI’s goals. SPSSI also has a long standing and active UN program. SPSSI also does a great deal more than attempt to influence policy. Pick up any JSI and you will see a broad array of published articles from scholars from all over the world. Many issues deal with topics specifically outside the US [e.g., Ethnic prejudice and discrimination in Europe, Volume 64(2), 2008], including issues more pertinent to third world countries [e.g. International perspectives on homelessness in developed nations, Volume 63(3), 2007], and most issues include contributions from authors from around the world. It is difficult to identify an issue without a strong world view. ASAP and SIPR are similarly diverse in views and contributions. A review of our grants and awards programs further reflects SPSSI’s international flavor. Good science knows no boundaries, and we believe that in fact the international contributions help SPSSI identify what is important and where we should be headed as an organization.

What is SPSSI doing to change perceptions that it is US centric? We are working now to highlight the fact that all our activities include international scholars and are often led by our international members. We are working with the web development team to change SPSSI’s web pages to further highlight our international contributions. We believe strongly that SPSSI should be a professional organization for scholars from around the world and encourage our international members to nominate their colleagues for SPSSI’s awards. This will help to highlight SPSSI as a home for scholars from across the globe, united by a common concern to promote social equality and justice.


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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin