SECTION ON MARXIST SOCIOLOGY BY-LAWS
1. Purpose of the Section on Marxist Sociology
The Section on Marxist Sociology will be concerned with developing Marxist analysis as a method of scientific and scholarly research within sociology. Marxist analysis is not seen as focused on a specific aspect of social life, but rather as a method for analysis of the dynamics of social change, with an emphasis on the interplay of economic, social, and political factors. This method involves a dialectical interaction between theory, method, and practice.
The Section on Marxist Sociology facilitates the work of its members in several ways. First, at its meetings, sociologists exchange ideas, research findings, and experiences in teaching and applying Marxist sociological perspectives. Second, the section assists in the development of resources for teaching and research which enhance the contribution of Marxist perspectives to the sociological enterprise. Third, the section encourages the development of local and regional activities by serving as a medium of communication among persons interested in Marxian analysis throughout the country. Finally, the section encourages the publication and distribution of sociological theory and research bearing on the Marxist perspective.
2. Section Officers and Council
The eleven elected officers of the section shall constitute the voting members of the section Council and include the Chair, Chair-elect, past-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of Membership Committee, Chair of Graduate Student Committee (aka Graduate Student Representative), Chair of Teaching and Praxis Committee, Chair of Research and Publications Committee, Chair of Communications Committee, and Chair of Blog Committee. Members of the American Sociological Association and Section on Marxist Sociology alone are eligible to hold office. The Chair of the Graduate Student Committee should be enrolled in a graduate program when elected and while serving the first year of their term. The Chair-elect will automatically become Chair in the year following their office as Chair-elect. The Secretary and Treasurer each shall be elected for a period of three years and their terms shall be staggered to facilitate continuity in section leadership and activity. All other offices are held for two years, except the Chair of the Blog Committee and the Chair of the Communications Committee, each of whom will serve for three years to ensure continuity in section communications and the blog’s editorial processes. Officers shall not succeed themselves. If any Council member cannot continue, or fails, to fulfill their duties, the section Chair, with the approval of Council, shall appoint a new councilor to fulfill the required duties for the remaining term of the position. No one may serve in more than one voting Council position at the same time. Council will make decisions by vote in the absence of consensus and with a quorum of at least seven Council members participating in the decision-making process. New officers shall begin terms on September 1 each year and end terms on August 31 the year their term expires.
3. Common Duties of Section Officers.
All section officers shall have the following common duties:
a. Attend section Council and Business meetings.
b. Vote on items submitted to Council by the deadline set (usually by Chair) for voting period.
c. Meet all ASA deadlines for their work (e.g. choosing award recipients in time for ASA publicization).
d. Strive to improve services to section members.
e. Promote the interests of the section at regional and annual meetings.
f. Suggest candidates for section positions.
g. Solicit volunteers and talent for section activities (e.g. section roundtables and committees).
h. Seek and encourage new section memberships.
i. Generate ideas and initiate section projects.
j. Contribute to section communications, publications, and media.
k. Strive to improve inclusivity in all section activities with attention to communities and voices currently under-represented in section.
l. Serve on section committees as needed.
m. Keep a brief notebook of activities that includes a timeline of required work to pass on to new officers taking over position with next election. Organize a meeting with successor during or prior to ASA annual meetings to discuss roles. This helps ensure continuity and smooth transitions in section work.
n. Read the current ASA section annual report template and provide a concise officer’s report on individual and committee activities over the year, as well as any activities planned for the following year, to the Chair and Secretary of the section annually, prior to the start date of the yearly ASA meetings. The report should include separate, brief sections that speak to the specific issues the section must address in the annual report (as outlined in the template).The report may include additional reflections on activities and recommendations for future work to keep on file as part of the section’s institutional memory and to facilitate continuing section work. Typically, each report should not exceed 1 page in length. The section Chair will draw on these individual reports from section officers in drafting the section annual report to the ASA. Each officer will share a truncated version of their report (1-3 minutes) with section membership during the section Business Meeting at the annual ASA conference.
4. Individual Duties of Section Officers
The Chair of the section provides overall leadership for the section. This means the Chair:
-Helps ensure Council fulfills its routine duties to the section as outlined in the bylaws and that all ASA section deadlines are met.
-Organizes and facilitates Council and Business meetings and, in consultation with the Council and membership, determines the academic program of the section.
-Facilitates the program of the section reception at the annual ASA meetings.
-Works with committee chairs and Council to fill committee positions and may create and appoint other committees on an ad hoc basis subject to approval by the Council.
The past-Chair of the section administers the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee and may serve as its chair or designate a chair amongst committee members. The past-Chair also serves as chair of the Nominations Committee and as a member of the Annual Reception Committee. The past-Chair draws on council members’ annual reports to write and submit the section’s ASA annual report covering their year as Chair. The past-Chair may take on other special tasks as deemed necessary by the Chair and/or Council.
The Chair-elect administers the Paul Sweezy Book Award Committee and may serve as its chair or designate a chair amongst committee members. The Chair-elect also serves as a member of the Annual
Reception Committee and coordinates with the section Award Committee Chairs to prepare the Call for Awards Nominations. This call must be presented by the Chair-elect to the section Chair and Council for approval and then submitted each year to the ASA in coordination with section Secretary and Chair by the deadline required to appear on the ASA website (usually October). The Chair-elect takes on other special tasks as deemed necessary by the Chair and/or Council.
The Secretary takes responsibility for all (non-financial) record-keeping affairs of the section, works with the Chair, Chair-elect, past-Chair, and Treasurer to provide overall section leadership, ensures that the bylaws are up-to-date, and takes notes and distributes minutes of Council and the annual Business Meetings. The Secretary facilitates smooth leadership transitions by ensuring records related to each position are shared with new officers, prepares bylaws proposals approved by council when necessary for submission to the ASA and membership, and supports section work by keeping abreast of section bylaws and ASA procedures for section business. The Secretary also prepares/orders certificates/plaques for the section award reception and helps the Treasurer coordinate the awards component of the ASA section reception. The Secretary provides records to the communications committee necessary to ensure information (historical records and new updates) kept on the website for the benefit of members is accurate and up to date.
The Treasurer handles all financial affairs of the section, works with the Chair, Chair-elect, past-Chair, and Secretary to provide overall section leadership, engages in initiatives to increase funding available to the section, and chairs the Annual Reception Committee. The Treasurer coordinates with the section Chair to collate remarks on each section awardee provided by individual award committee chairs prior to the annual meetings to share with members by email in honor of our colleagues (since not everyone may attend the section reception).
4.f. Committee Chairs
Chairs of committees are responsible for coordinating the work of the committee and ensuring timely results (meeting all deadlines), reporting on committee work to the rest of council and in their annual report, and consulting with Council on a regular basis to align committee work with Council priorities for the section. Committee chairs are responsible for ensuring a welcoming, inclusive, and professional work environment, keeping good records, communicating clearly with committee members, and reporting any issues impeding the work of the committee immediately to the section Chair and Council.
5. Powers of the Officers
The Council is vested in principle with the power to carry out all necessary operations for the section, acting as the representative of the membership of the section. The functions of the Council include cooperating with the Program Committee of the American Sociological Association in planning the presentation of its field of interest in the Annual Meeting of the Association.
6. Elections and Voting
The elections of the section shall be carried out in cooperation with the American Sociological Association and coordinated to their schedule.
Volunteers for all committees will be recruited as needed each year during the Business Meeting of the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, via survey (e.g. by email over the section
listserv) after the meetings, and by other means as deemed necessary by the section Chair and/or committee chairs. Elected section officers serve on the Annual Reception Committee. All other committee members are appointed by each committee chair, in consultation with the Council and with the approval of the section Chair. Each committee shall have at least two members in addition to the committee chair, except the Membership, Blog, and Communications Committees, which shall have three additional members. At least one committee member who served the previous year on each committee should be selected to serve again and help ensure continuity of committee work. No member shall serve more than three consecutive years on the same committee.
It is the responsibility of the chair of each committee administering section awards to coordinate the review of award nomination materials with the other members of the committee in a manner consistent with the goals of the committee (e.g., ranking of the submissions). The chair of each award committee will prepare remarks regarding the awardee from the nomination materials to share at the section reception as part of the awards program and will ensure that they or another delegated representative are present to share these remarks. The committee chair shall send these remarks in advance to the section Treasurer and Chair, and let them know who will present them at the reception.
7.a. Membership Committee
This committee will work actively to increase membership in the section and coordinate with other committees and Council to ensure all section activities contribute to sustaining and growing the section. The committee will provide advice to the Council regarding how section activities may contribute to this goal. This committee will examine the current membership list provided by the ASA, as well as past membership lists, and contact past members to encourage their return to the section. Committee members also will actively recruit new members. Examples of active recruitment may include reviewing relevant journals for authors of sociological analyses from a Marxist perspective by non-members and reaching out to them with an invitation to join the section. The Membership Committee Chair shall be elected.
7.b. Nominations Committee
This committee shall solicit and organize nominations for positions in a variety of ways to ensure at least two candidates are available to run for each office voted on by section membership in the annual elections hosted by the ASA. The Past-chair will chair the Nominations Committee.
7.c. Graduate Student Committee
This committee will work to improve section support for graduate students and early career scholars who are members of the Marxist Section. This may, for example, include organizing events focused on the job market and/or graduate student labor issues, providing resources to graduate student members on publishing opportunities, and offering advice to section Council regarding the needs of current graduate students and recent graduates. Work might also include organizing more specific mentorship opportunities. The Graduate Student Committee Chair (aka the Graduate Student Representative) shall be elected.
7.d. Teaching and Praxis Committee
This committee works to enrich and actively promote teaching, activism, and other modes of public engagement by Marxist sociologists. This committee will also administer the section Teaching and Praxis Award. The committee will seek and coordinate the sharing of teaching materials and strategies among members, as well as opportunities for activism and public engagement on the part of section members. The committee shall research methods for supporting and publicizing section members’ teaching and
public engagement work available through the ASA and effective methods employed by other sections in order to offer advice to council regarding ideas for improving our section’s promotion of Marxist sociology via our members’ work. The committee may also organize events related to teaching and praxis for our members and take up workplace and labor-related issues impacting the ability of our members to teach and engage the public effectively. The Teaching and Praxis Committee Chair shall be elected.
7.e. Research and Publications Committee
This committee will seek information to share with members (e.g. via the website and listserv) regarding opportunities for research, research funding, publication, and publicization of work. This committee will also administer the Outstanding Marxist Sociology Article Award and the Szymanski-Young Graduate Student Paper Award, and may form two separate sub-committees of three persons each—who are either part of the Research and Publications Committee and/or drawn from section membership—to determine awardees. The committee will regularly update the publishing venues relevant to Marxist sociology on the section’s website, both peer-reviewed and not. These might include venues that accept work by Marxist sociologists, or that publish writing relevant to scholarship in Marxist sociology. They might also include venues interested in Marxist sociologist’s work such as newspapers, podcasts, websites, etc. The committee shall research methods for publicizing section members’ work available through the ASA and effective methods employed by other sections in order to offer advice to council regarding ideas for improving our section’s promotion of Marxist sociology via dissemination of our members’ work. The committee may also organize events related to research and publishing for our members and take up workplace and labor-related issues impacting the ability of our members to conduct, publish, and publicize their research effectively. The Research and Publications Committee Chair shall be elected.
7.f. Communications Committee
This committee is responsible for 1) maintaining the section website and making sure all information presented on it is up-to-date, 2) managing the section’s listservs and social media accounts, and 3) maintaining regular communications between members and to members from section Council via a section newsletter or alternative as determined by the section Chair and Council. This committee should strive constantly to improve thoughtful section communications as the outward facing manifestation of the section and the face of our section to current or potential members. The committee should examine the communications efforts of other ASA sections to evaluate practices and periodically survey members to improve our communications in their interest. The Communications Committee Chair will be elected and serve as the primary webmaster, discussion listserv moderator (if a discussion list is instituted by Council), and social media and newsletter (or alternative) editor, though these tasks may be delegated to committee members with the approval of Council.
7.g. Blog Committee
This committee will ensure the continued solicitation and publication of high-quality blog posts with an emphasis on promoting the work of section members and the work and priorities of the section as defined in our bylaws and by Council. The committee will coordinate with the Council to determine overall priorities for the blog and consider how the blog may serve section efforts overall. The Blog Committee Chair will be elected and serve as the primary editor for the blog. The Blog Committee will together act as an editorial committee for the blog.
7.h. Lifetime Achievement Award Committee
This committee administers the Lifetime Achievement Award and is chaired by the past-Chair of the section or someone they designate amongst the committee members.
7.i. Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award Committee
This committee administers the Paul Sweezy Book Award and is chaired by the Chair-elect of the section or someone they designate amongst the committee members.
7. j. Annual Reception Committee
This committee oversees the planning of the Section Reception at the ASA annual meetings and ensures that Reception Committee members are present during the reception to facilitate its success. Tasks include proposing a location, budget, co-host (if desired), and program to the Council for approval, and then making the necessary arrangements in a timely manner. The goal of the annual reception is to build community and provide a welcoming place and program for new people to learn about the section and engage its activities. The reception is also where the section honors awardees. The section Treasurer acts as chair of the committee. The section Chair-elect and past-Chair serve as committee members. Other committee members may be recruited by the Treasurer, in consultation with the Council and with approval by the section Chair, as deemed necessary by this committee, the section Chair, and/or Council.
All members of the section are encouraged to submit nominations for section awards. Self-nominations are welcome. In accordance with ASA policies and section preference, the recipient must be a current member of the ASA and the Section on Marxist Sociology at the time the award is given to receive the award. Awardees will be recognized at the ASA annual meetings during the Section Reception, in section communications, and in ASA communications. Timelines, updated and/or elaborated award language, and specific procedures for awards nominations are available each year in the Call for Awards Nominations (usually available in October).
8.a. Section on Marxist Sociology Lifetime Achievement Award
This award honors distinguished career achievement in Marxist sociology. Nominators should prepare a letter to the awards committee stating the case for the nominee for the award and attach a copy of the nominee’s vitae. The award is for a body of work of sociological importance. The section past-Chair administers this award by committee.
8.b. Section on Marxist Sociology Teaching and Praxis Award
This award recognizes outstanding integration of theory and practice in teaching and/or in the achievement of social change. Practice may involve (but is not limited to) employing liberation pedagogies in teaching, teaching outside academic contexts, activism, organizing, and/or outreach to encourage/facilitate social change. Nominations should include a letter stating the case for the nominee or group of nominees for the award and supporting materials. Supporting materials must include nominee vitae, can also include reference letters, student testimonies, news articles, and other evidence of effectiveness. The Teaching and Praxis Committee administers this award.
8.c. Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award
The Sweezy Book Award goes to the author(s) of the best book published in the past two years in the area of Marxist theory and research. The committee will select the book that best demonstrates the most thoughtful, competent, or innovative analysis of a theoretical, empirical, or activist issue(s) that is germane to Marxism, Marxist Sociology, and Marxist Praxis. Nominations should include a copy of the
book for each award committee member, standard bibliographic information about the work, and a brief comment on its merits. The section Chair-elect administers this award by committee.
8.d. Outstanding Marxist Sociology Article Award
The Outstanding Marxist Sociology Article Award goes to the author(s) of the best article (or series of articles) published in the past two years in the area of Marxist theory and research. The committee will select the article that best demonstrates the most thoughtful, competent, or innovative analysis of a theoretical, empirical, or activist issue(s) that is germane to Marxism, Marxist Sociology, and Marxist Praxis. Nominations should include a brief comment on the merits of the published article and a copy of the article. The Research and Publications Committee administers this award.
8. e. Albert Szymanski-T.R. Young Marxist Sociology Graduate Student Paper Award
The competition for this award is open to both published and unpublished article-length papers (roughly twenty-five pages in length without tables or references) written by a graduate student in the previous two years. The committee will accept sole-authored and multiple-authored papers as long as the applicant is lead or senior author. No student-faculty collaborations can be accepted. The committee will select the paper that demonstrates the most thoughtful, competent, or innovative analysis of a theoretical, empirical, or activist issue(s) that is germane to Marxism, Marxist Sociology, and Marxist Praxis. The section awards a cash prize to each winner of the award, with the amount determined annually by council in consultation with the section treasurer and chair after a review of the section’s annual budget. The amount of the cash award for each year will be announced in the annual section Award Nomination Calls. The Research and Publications Committee administers this award.
Any action of the Council, including changes of the By-Laws, may be referred to a ballot of section members by means of a petition containing the signatures of 10 percent of the section members or of 25 members of the section, whichever is less. Any resolution passed by the annual Business Meeting of the section shall be referred to Council. If such resolutions are not accepted by the Council, they shall be submitted to the membership by mail ballot.
Membership of the section is open to any member of the American Sociological Association who joins the section and pays annual section dues through the ASA.
Dues shall be set by the Council to cover the operation of the section in accord with the requirements of the American Sociological Association.