Ethical Guidelines

Statement of the Ethical Guidelines of the European Sociological Association

Ethical Guideline 1 The aim of the Association to support the development of a democratic, egalitarian, peaceful and hospitable Europe should be reflected in the inclusive means we in the ESA adopt and use to achieve this end.

Ethical Guideline 2 The aim of the Association to develop sociological understanding of both the diversity and the complexity of existing European societies should be reflected in norms of social investigation that take into account the experiences and perspectives of others according to our own non-discriminatory ethic.

Ethical Guideline 3 To this end the ESA holds that its members, conference participants and partners are not to be discriminated against in any way, direct or indirect, including boycott of themselves or their institutions, based on their ethnic, national, gender, age, religious, disability, political or sexual orientation backgrounds.

Ethical Guideline 4 The ESA encourages critical reflection on the institutional and disciplinary ethical processes and guidelines for the conduct of research, publication, peer review, teaching and consultancy that are to be found in our international and national professional organisations, universities and journals. The ESA affirms the moral responsibility of individual sociologists to take the ethical principles of professional associations, including the ESA, into account in their own professional activities. This includes a responsibility to work towards the development of institutional settings that are themselves conducive to behaviour consonant with the spirit of these Guidelines.

Ethical Guideline 5 The aim of the Association to facilitate sociological research, teaching and communication among sociologists should be based on the exclusion of political, sectional or personal criteria, on a strong defence of academic freedom and of the all-inclusiveness of the global community of scholars, on open and respectful forms of communication and dialogue among scholars, and on the protection of genuine and considered scholarly criticism.

Ethical Guideline 6 The aim of the Association to foster collaborative relations between sociologists and other scholars and scientists should be based on our valuation of other disciplines for their contribution to sociological knowledge and understanding and on maintaining open, inclusive and accessible networks in which scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds can thrive and develop interdisciplinary research and cooperation.

Ethical Guideline 7 The aim of the Association to raise the profile of sociology in the cultural, political and scientific life of Europe requires that there is high respect for evidence, scholarship, informed debate and deliberative democracy within Sociology and strong support for the intellectual value and social usefulness of Sociology as an academic discipline and as a body of professional expertise. We support the reflection of these values in European policy and funding decisions.

Ethical Guideline 8 The aim of the Association to defend the interests of sociology in European research and academic institutions should be based both on protecting its scholars and practitioners from the unfair, prejudicial or discriminatory exercise of power and on enhancing the good name and reputation of the discipline. Sociologists should normally take active steps to avoid harm to research participants and others affected by their work.

Ethical Guideline 9 The aim of the Association to contribute to more just, reflective and open social relations between people within Europe and on Europe’s borders should be based firstly on respect for the full and equal participation of all European sociologists in the activities of the Association, from richer and poorer countries and from East and West; secondly on making ourselves open and hospitable to sociologists beyond Europe or not considered ‘European’; thirdly on fostering a critical outlook that resists Eurocentric prejudices about the superiority or primary importance of Europe; and fourthly on recognising European contributions to the conception and development of a democratic, human rights culture and of ideas of global justice.

Ethical Guideline 10 The Association is committed to helping and enabling PhD students and early career scholars, researchers and professionally associated sociologists to develop their work, make their voices heard and gain the recognition they are due. The unfair procurement of advancement or employment is to be avoided. Equally the ESA is committed to recognising scholars later in life, including those outside institutional employment.

Ethical Guideline 11 Where individuals or parties within ESA feel themselves to have been wronged or unjustly marginalised, the ESA is committed to addressing their concerns and if possible resolving conflict in a timely, just and open fashion.

Ethical Guideline 12 The ethical principles of the ESA are open to scrutiny and criticism by members and non-members of the Association and to revision and addition through the normal democratic procedures of the Association.