The History of RC51.
1. The Research Committee on Sociocybernetics of the International Sociological Association:
This is the website of the Research Committee on Sociocybernetics (RC51 for short) of the ISA (International Sociological Association). This group was founded already in 1980 as an ISA Ad Hoc Group by professor Francisco Parra-Luna, who singlehandedly managed to organize its sessions at subsequent World Congresses of Sociology: 1982 in Mexico City, 1986 in New Delhi, 1990 in Madrid, and 1994 in Bielefeld. The group became first a Thematic Group, then a Working Group at the New Delhi World Congress, but was demoted back to Thematic Group in 1992 for lack of required activities like publishing a Newsletter, having an elected board, etc.
In early 1995 the group was reactivated, and the first ever board was elected, with Kenneth Bailey as president, Francisco Parra-Luna as past president, Richard Henshel as Vice-president and Felix Geyer as secretary. Richard Henshel unfortunately died early 1997 and was succeeded by Vessela Misheva as Vice-president. Thanks to the activities of the board, the group was re-recognized in November 1996 as a Working Group by the ISA Executive Committee, while it became a recognized Research Committee in less than the stipulated four-year period, at the 1998 World Congress of Sociology in Montreal.
The group grew from some 30 members in early 1995 to 240 members at the time of the 1998 World Congress of Sociology, about half of whom are also individual members of the parent association ISA. Statutes were already produced in 1995, while a biannual Newsletter was started in January 1996, which will continue in 2000 as the electronic Journal of Sociocybernetics.
Since June 1998 RC51 has its own website at the University of Zaragoza, thanks to its very active webmaster Chaime Marcuello (<http://www.unizar.es/sociocybernetics>, which gives a detailed impression of its activities. This website contains: abstracts of some 100 papers presented at the World Congress of Sociology in Montreal, and of some 20 papers presented at our 1999 annual meeting in Kolimbari, Greece; a 400-item bibliography on sociocybernetics; personal website addresses of some 65 members; links to other interesting websites in our field, including subjects like autopoiesis, chaos theory, complexity studies, first- and second-order cybernetics, General Systems Theory, etc.; and news about our forthcoming conferences, the next one June 25-July 1, 2000 in Panticosa, Spanish Pyrenees. Those interested to join our group can find a membership form and questionnaire on the website, which should be sent to RC51 secretary Richard Lee as indicated. Members will get an automatic subscription to our discussion list "Sociocybernet", which started in December 1999.
Membership of RC51 is free of charge, though members are expected to join the parent association ISA, at membership fees ranging from $25 to $255 per FOUR years, depending on country. ISA Members get a free subscription to the ISA Bulletin, and to the quarterly journal "International Sociology". You can sign up electronically at the ISA website, which is located at: <http://www.ucm.es/info/isa/newmembers.html>.
by Felix Geyer, Honorary President