Subject loyalty needed

March 27, 2008

We are dismayed by the attitude of the British Sociological Association ("V-c upbraided for plans to cut social sciences at Keele", 6 March). You report that the BSA will not accommodate a seminar at its annual conference to discuss the damage to sociologically informed teaching and research resulting from the proposed redundancies in the economic and management studies and industrial relations departments at Keele University. Why not? Because "no sociology programmes were directly affected".

The BSA's narrow conception of "sociology programmes" ignores the substantial sociological content of many industrial relations and business school curricula, while alienating large numbers of the BSA's membership. It also disregards the significant contributions of those employed outside sociology departments to BSA activities and income streams.

The responsibility of a professional organisation is to represent all sociologists in academia, not just those employed in "sociology programmes". We expect the BSA to promote, not stifle, debate about the relevance of sociology in multidisciplinary teaching and research. We urge all BSA members to show solidarity with their colleagues by calling on the society to reverse its decision.

Debbie Foster, Hugh Willmott and eight others, Cardiff Business School.

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