Minutes of the Executive Council Meeting, April  4, 1998 

Present: David Apter, Larry Diamond, Ronald Rogowski, David Stark and Ivan Szelenyi.  Absent: Mattei Dogan 

1. Present and future of the Society of Comparative Research (Society) 

The Executive Council (Council) discussed the state of the Society for Comparative Social Research. 

The Council noted that the Society was moribund for quite some time. The members of the Council expressed their strong belief that the Society could and should perform an important function what no other scholarly society perform at present. This Society is the only international organization of a select group of distinguished  scholars which explores social issues from a truly global and interdisciplinary perspective. 

The Council decided to reinvigorate the Society in novel ways. The Society will not act in conjuncture with meetings of other scientific associations as was the practice in the past but will engage in its own research activities. We will establish an interactive community of comparativists by using the internet, and we will turn ourselves into a "virtual research  institute" of a new kind.  It was decided that we will take three major new initiatives: 
1/ Conferences. 

During 1998 we organize two scholarly conferences. 

A/ Globalization, convergence and divergence 
Convener: Ron Rogowski 

B/ Social construction of difference 
Conveners: David Apter and Larry Diamond 

We will organize these conferences in new ways. By June 1 we will post a position paper by Ron Rogowski and David Apter/Larry Diamond on the Web site of the Society. We will invite members of the Society to write papers in response to the position papers.  We will ask discussant to comments both on the papers and there will be an opportunity for rebuttals. All papers, comments, rebuttals will be posted on the Web site of the Society and will be accessible by all members of the Society. Posting of papers and comments will be done by the Executive Director who normally will only post papers and comments of the  members of the society. 

These  virtual conferences will be conducted over the time-span of two or three months.  As the virtual conferences end, the conveners will decide whether the papers presented at the virtual conferences are of sufficient interest so funding can be obtained from foundations, in order to bring the conference participants together for further discussion, and possible for the preparation collaborative grant proposals together in the same time in the same geographic location, for an actual conference. 

It was decided that the Society will organize at least three such virtual conferences every year. Those members of the Society who would like to organize a virtual conference should send a proposal to the Executive Director by September 1 of the year prior they intend to held their conference. 

We believe this is an exciting new way of scholarly interaction and we also believe that Foundation will ve greatly interested to support these activities. 

2/ Training retreats 

We decided that we will held a faculty-graduate student Training Retreat of comparativists every year.  The first such Training Retreat will be held on May 6-8, 1999 at the Lake Arrowhead conference Center of  UCLA. The convener of the first Training Retreat is Ron Rogowski and Ivan Szelenyi. The second Training Retreat will be organized on the East Coast by Columbia University and Yale University. This retreat will be convened by David Apter and David Stark. 

Members of the Society will be invited to attend these retreats and bring their graduate students along. Those members of the Society who are interested to participate in these retreats should contact to conveners.  North American and West European Universities will be expected to cover the expenses of their faculty and graduate students, but the Council will seek funding from Foundations to bring faculty and graduate students to the Training Retreats from Eastern Europe, countries of the former Soviet Union and from the Third World. 

The purpose of the Training Retreats is to offer an opportunity the graduate students working on comparative social research  to present their dissertation proposals or chapters of their dissertations to each other and to faculty. We also will organize session at which faculty will present work-in-progress papers. 

3/ Awards. 
The Council decided to give one Book Award for the best comparativist book every year and one Dissertation Award to the best comparativist dissertation every year. 

The Council also asked the Executive Director and to explore ways to create an endowment for both awards. The Council will decide at its annual meetings who the awardees will be. 

II/ The Council decided to invite a group of scholars to become members of the Society: 

III/ The Council discussed what changes are necessary in the Bylaws of the Society for Comparative Social Research. 

The Council decided to make only those changes at this time, which are absolutely necessary to allow the proper functioning of the Society and wait for further changes until the Society is functioning again. The Council recommends to the membership to adopt the following changes in the bylaws: 

1/ Delete point 2. In paragraph 1. 

2/ Delete point 2/c in paragraph 2. 

3/ In point 1, paragraph 5 delete the word ôannualö 

4/ In point 8,  paragraph 5 delete the word ôannualö 

5/ Replace point 2 of paragraph 6 with the following text: 
"The Executive Council shall consist of at least 7 or at most of 9 members.  The Executive Council with simple majority elects the  Executive Director. The Executive Council may decide to make decisions by electronic means if necessary." 

6/ Replace in the bylaws the words "the Chair", "the vice-Chair," and "the Secretary" with the "Executive Director." The Executive Director will assume the responsibilities assigned in the previous bylaws to the Chair, Vice--Chair and Secretary. 

6/ Delete point 4 in paragraph 6. 

7/ Delete note after paragraph 7. 
IV/ The Council instructed the Executive Director to take the following actions: 

1/ Contact all old and new members and in a mail ballot ask them to approve the recommended changes in the bylaws; 

2/ Contact all old members and inform them that the Society in accordance with its new policies  will held no meeting in conjuncture with the ISA meeting this year in Montreal; 

3/ Inform all old and new members about the new initiatives the Council decided to take on behalf of the Society. 

V/ The Council decided to hold its next regular meeting on May 8, 1999 at Lake Arrowhead, California. 

The Council adjourned at 4:00 PM on April 5, 1998. 

Minutes were taken by Ivan Szelenyi 

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