The Challenges of Being an ISA Editor

Sage Studies in International Sociology is an old publication of the International Sociological Association (ISA). In 1978 at the Uppsala World Congress, it was decided that ISA should publish papers presented at the Congress plenaries. Sage which has been handling ISA publications (it started publishing ISA’s first and one of the oldest peer reviewed journal, Current Sociology, in 1952) was contracted to bring out the books in a new series titled: Sage Studies in International Sociology. Since then, ISA and Sage have been publishing at least one to two books a year in the SSIS Series.

Three of SSIS' most current publicationsThe first book was published in 1985 and till today we have 27 publications. Over time various editors have transformed the format and style of the series taking into account changes occurring in intellectual interests, readers’ needs and publishing technologies. In the 90s, SSIS introduced handbooks and later monographs. However, like other books on the market, SSIS books were first published as hardback copies (only when hardbacks were sold out, were they published as paperbacks) and these over time became very costly-each book cost pounds 80 to 90. These became unaffordable even to ISA members in the global North and could be bought only by the libraries of North America, UK and the antipodes; its reading public had shrunk.

When I joined in January 2010, I was told by SSIS’s retiring editor Julia Evetts that SSIS books needs to be reinvented for the series to sustain itself as ISA’s flagship in the book market and I had to plan a policy and program for its revival. Continue reading