General Assembly Minutes

Minutes from IRSA General Assembly Meeting
XII World Congress of Rural Sociology
July 10, 2008


The General Assembly was attended by 70 delegates. A full listing of names and affiliations is found in the appendix.

Alessandro Bonanno opened the General Assembly at 16:05. He asked that we move along in a timely fashion.

He then announced his successor, Prof. Reidar Almas, Trondheim, Norway, who was acknowledged by those in attendance. He then proceeded to introduce the Out-Going and In-Coming Regional Association Council Representatives and the Presidents of the Regional Associations. He asked that Frank Vanclay, former President of IRSA and Convener for AON, to stand to be recognized.

Alessandro Bonanno then discussed an important issue related to the changing scenario for international meetings, namely, the appropriate location for meetings. He indicated that the concept of geography has taken on a new meaning, due in large measure to the information technology age in which we live. In addition to physical space and spatial distribution, he noted that we also need to consider population, income, education and other factors. In this context, he argued that institutional capacity building and rural development objectives of IRSA might be better met if we hold Congresses in regions that will attract high income delegates because by attracting many full registration paying delegates, we can generate funds that will enable representatives from these locations to attend the meetings through the provision of scholarships. He then opened the floor for comments on this topic.

Frank Vanclay mentioned that he felt that it was symbolically important for IRSA Congresses to be in all locations across the world; that the cultural experiences and other learning acquired from being on site in different settings is important as well as the intellectual stimulation from congresses. Further, he doubted whether IRSA could offer as many scholarships as the access made possible by holding Congresses in diverse locations. Reidar Almas indicated that he supports working in Africa, but he argued that there is a need to build capacity prior to holding meeting on that continent. He suggested that we consider holding the 2020 meeting in Africa and we be sure to seek scholarship support from international entities such as FAO. Mark Shucksmith indicated that the fundamental question should be whether or not to go where most rural sociologists are found or to where we can build capacity. David Hansen expressed the need to consider finances and the need to keep IRSA solvent. He also expressed the need to consider a 12 year planning horizon. Ray Jussaume questioned the relative importance of generating funds. David Brown argued for the need to strengthen contributions to scholarship and the potential to use the IRSA website as a portal for individuals to report on their research. Larry Busch opinioned that publication of abstracts was a waste of funds. He supported publication of the best papers from the Congress in a proceedings publication, but argued that we should consider doing it electronically which would be much less expensive.

MOTION: Moved by Alessandro Bonanno and seconded by Frank Vanclay that the minutes of the 2004 General Assembly which was held in Trondheim, Norway at the XI World Congress of Rural Sociology, be approved. (Unanimously Approved).

David Hansen then presented the Quadrennial Report (see appendix for Report).

MOTION: Moved by David Hansen and seconded by Frank Vanclay that the Report be accepted by the General Assembly (Passed without comment).

David Hansen then presented the Financial Report which indicates that IRSA currently has about $30,000 in its checking and savings accounts. Membership dues are up to 2007, with the exception of AON which has paid up to 2011. Major outlays during the past four years have been for travel by the IRSA Executive Committee and for website maintenance. The books were audited by Prof. Bill Flinn, Past President of the RSS, who certified that the accounts are in order (see appendix for Report).

Frank Vanclay suggested that it was not appropriate to put the detailed financial transactions on the website. Appropriate transparency was provide by this information being provided in the context of a General Assembly, but that it was undesirable to make them open to all on the website where they could be taken out of context. David Brown asked about whether or not this Congress would generate a surplus and asked how IRSA might react if no surplus was generated. Alessandro Bonanno indicated that IRSA has sufficient funds to continue to function normally in the event that no funds were generated for IRSA from this Congress. David Hansen indicated that the hosts had signed an MOA committing to pay a minimum of $10,000 to IRSA. He indicated that the IRSA Executive Committee and Council would need to consider appropriate action in the event that this payment was not to be forthcoming. David Brown suggested that in order ot ensure that IRSA retain its “non-profit” status, the Secretary-Treasurer needs to confirm whether IRS requirements demand that the finances be audited by a CPA rather than simply by a responsible person. Hansen indicated that he would check this out with his personal CPA.

MOTION: Moved by Alessandro Bonanno and seconded by Hans Bakker that the Financial Report be accepted by the General Assembly (Passed).

Manuel Moreira then presented the proposal to hold the XIII World Congress in 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal.

MOTION: Moved by Alessandro Bonanno and seconded by Larry Bush that the General Assembly note the proposal to host the XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology submitted by the Technical University of Lisbon (Passed).

Alessandro Bonanno then opened the floor for further discussion about future priority activities of IRSA, initiating the discussion by bringing the topic of how to increase participation in IRSA activities to the floor. Hans Bakker indicated that we should consider changing the content of World Congresses from rural sociology to rural studies more generally. He indicated that most sessions are focused on problem resolution which calls for inputs from related disciplines that should also be invited to participate in the World Congress programs. David Brown spoke to the low participation by delegates from RSS at the World Congress. He indicated that the problem was not with the Congress or with IRSA, but rather with some sweeping changes occurring in rural sociology in the U.S. Frank Vanclay highlighted the value of the detailed minutes from the previous General Assembly and that attention should be given to building on previous discussions and to provide continuity to dialogue regarding outstanding issues. He specifically indicated the need to consider developing Vision, Mission and Value statements for IRSA as suggested in the 2004 Minutes to provide appropriate direction for future program development, such as a broad focus to address rural development concerns. He asked that the General Assembly thank David Hansen for his excellent work on behalf of IRSA as Secretary-Treasurer, including preparation of minutes (passed with applause). Surichai Wun’Gaeo mentioned the need to increase participation in IRSA activities, which would reflect a world wide tendency. He said that we should consider key themes, such as climate change and food security at future meetings. He also argued for the need to promote greater engagement of regional associations. Bill Friedland provocatively suggested that we should eliminate the word “rural” from our title because many problems being addressed by us are not exclusive to rural areas. He also wondered whether we should delete the work “sociology” if we strayed too far from our core discipline. He also argued for the need to give greater emphasis to the publication of papers presented at IRSA events and to the building of ties with academic journals. Adepo Madupe mentioned the need to consider gender issues more thoroughly in the programs as well as the need to increase fellowships and other types of support for representatives from those coming greater distance. Mark Shucksmith argued for the need to do a better job of marketing IRSA and it potential contributions to development agencies. He stressed the relevance of IRSA topics and meetings papers to policy makers and to practitioners. He argued that IRSA should invite representatives of appropriate agencies, such as FAO and the World Bank, to come to meetings to enter into dialogue with us. Finally, he argued for greater use of the IRSA website to facilitate more direct links with these agencies. Manuel Moreira indicated that there will be three levels of fees for the next World Congress (in a manner similar to the ISA congresses). The focus of Congress will be on rural studies and those who present papers in this session should be encouraged to publish them.

Incoming President, Reidar Almas thanked Alessandro Bonanno for his enormous contributions to IRSA and presented him with a plaque of appreciation for his efforts.

Reidar Almas then provided a brief overview of priorities for IRSA during his tenure as President of IRSA. (1) He committed IRSA to work closely with the Portuguese to make the next Congress a success. Themes such as community studies, food prices and climate change will be emphasized. (2) He mentioned that attention will be given to capacity building in Africa and the possibility of holding the 2020 World Congress on that continent. (3) He indicated that both on line and on paper publication of research produced through participation in IRSA activities will be a priority. (4) He stressed that he will give great attention to maintaining the financial health of IRSA. (5) He mentioned that he will emphasize gender concerns as well as diversity which would be pursued through more active participation of members of the regional associations and individuals from other regions as well.

Yoshio Kawamura, Program Chair, then discussed the current World Congress. He indicated that over 470 abstracts had been received and 38 working groups organized to facilitate the presentation of papers. He indicated that more than 350 individuals had registered for the Congress. He also mentioned that over 100 applications for scholarships that were available had been received and screened by program committee representatives. He indicated that many potential presenters failed to attend the Congress because they lacked the financial means to attend. Finally, he indicated that there would be a poster session the following day and encouraged participants to stop by to review them.

MOTION: Moved by Alessandro Bonnano and seconded by Hans Bakker that the General Assembly thank the Local Arrangements Chair and Committee and the Program Chair and Committee for having facilitated an excellent Congress (enthusiastically passed by acclamation).

Under other Business, Erland Eklund, Finland, then made a power point presentation on the upcoming ESRS Congress to be held in Vaasa, Finland in 2009.

Alessandro Bonanno asked if there were any other matters of business to be considered. Hearing none, he called the meeting to a close at 18:15.

Name Institutional Affiliation Regional Assoc.
Siwarak Siwarom Chiang Mai University, Thailand ARSA
Saowalah Chaytaweep Maejo University, Thailand ARSA
Marie-Christine Renard University of Chapingo, Mexico ALASRU
Masai Tsutsumi Yamanashi Prefectural University, Japan ARSA
Sadao Tohumno Kuramoto University, Japan ARSA
Nakamichi Hitomi Ehime University, Japan ARSA
Buapun Promphakping Khon Kaen University, Thailand ARSA
Koichi Ikegami Kinki University, Japan ARSA
David Hansen Ohio State University, USA RSS
Nina Glasgow Cornell University, USA RSS
David Brown Cornell University, USA RSS
Majda Cernic Istenic University of Isubijana, Turkey ESRS
Marit S. Haugen Centre for Rural Research, Norway ESRS
Lawrence Busch Michigan State University, USA RSS
Lynda Cheshire University of Queensland, Australia AON
Mark Shucksmith Newcastle University, UK ESRS
Okpyo Moon Academy of Korean Studies, Korea ARSA
Kyong-Cheol, Park Peking University, China ARSA
Motoki Akitsu Kyoto University, Japan ARSA
Keiko Tanaka University of Kentucky, USA RSS
Shun Mukasa Mie University, Japan ARSA
Shingo Teraoka Nara Women’s University, Japan ARSA
Masashi Tachikawa Ibaraki University, Japan ARSA
Kotaro Ohara Mie University, Japan ARSA
Zhan Jin Minami Kyushu Junior College, Japan ARSA
Maria Almanza S. University of Chapingo, Mexico ALASRU
Vachya L. University of Hyderabad, India ARSA
Yatindra Singh MPISSR, ujjain, India ARSA
Sanjay Singh Dr. RMN National Law University, India ARSA
Ganesh Ch. Mallick University of North Bengal, India ARSA
Raymond Jussaume Washington State University, USA RSS
Yoshio Kawamura Ryukoku University, Japan ARSA
Md. AlaaEldin AbdelKader Alexandria University, Egypt ESRS
Erland Eklund Abo Akademi University, Finland ESRS
Charalambos Kasimis Agricultural University of Athens, Greece ESRS
Roger Wilkinson Dept. of Primary Studies, Victoria, Australia AON
Loka Ashwood National University of Ireland ESRS
Ramaniah Gangapatnam University of Hyderabad, India ARSA
A. Karuppiah University of Madras, India ARSA
Chija Kim Seoul National University ARSA
Jiwoong Cheong Seoul National University ARSA
Josefa Salete Cavalcanti Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil ALASRU
Oakla Cho Sogang University, Korea ARSA
Lourdes Perkins National Autonomous University, Mexico ALASRU
Joaquin Careaga National Autonomous University, Mexico ALASRU
David Burch Griffith University, Australia AON
Jungok Lee Catholic University of Daegu, Korea ARSA
Elibariki E. Msuya Kyoto University, Japan ARSA
Haruo Kuroyanagi Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Japan ARSA
Bill Friedland University of California/Santa Cruz, USA RSS
Manuel Belo Moreira Technical University of Lisbon ESRS
Frank Vanclay University of Tasmania AON
Agnes Nomeneji University Babes-Bolzai, Romania ESRS
Ruth Rossier Research Station ART, Switzerland ESRS
Reidar Almas Center for Rural Research, Norway ESRS
Krysztof Gorlach Yagiellonion University, Poland ESRS
Pawel Starosta University of Lodz, Poland ESRS
Karl Bruckmeier Gothenburg University, Sweden ESRS
Branka Krivokapic Charles Sturt University, Australia AON
Laszlo Kovacs Ritsumeizan Asia Pacific University, Japan ARSA
Geoff Lawrence University of Queensland, Australia AON
Marta Rivera Ferre Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain ESRS
Joost Dessein Institute for Agr. & Fisheries Res., Belgium ESRS
Narong Sriswas Kasetsart University, Thailand ARSA
Songwit ChuamsaKul Office of Ethnic Affairs, Thailand ARSA
Eberhard Weber Technical University of South Pacific, Fiji AON
Adebo Grace Modupe University of Aelo Elati, Nigeria NRSA*
Valerie Aphie Solomon University of Uyo, Nigeria NRSA*
Yohanes Bosco Widodo Institute of Sciences, Indonesia ARSA
Ni Hui Kyoto University, Japan ARSA
Hans Bakker University of Guelph, Canada RSS
Passanan Assavarak King Monkut Un. of Technology, Thailand ARSA
Surichai Wun’Gaeo Chulalongkorn University, Thailand ARSA
Alessandro Bonanno Sam Houston State University, USA RSS
  * Nigerian Rural Sociological Association  

Secretary-Treasurer: Quadrennial Report: 2004-2008

(1) IRSA Web Site

Mark Jarvis, Colombia, Missouri, continued as the manager of our website for the past four years. He has participated in Executive Committee business calls and has been responsive in posting relevant materials to the web site. We will continue to use the web site as the primary location for all pertinent past, present and future information and activities of IRSA. Regional Association members are invited to use the web site to promote their own activities as well (

(2) Constitution, By-laws and Procedural Manual

Substantial changes were made to the Constitution and By-laws from 2000-2004. These were ratified by the last IRSA Assembly. The only issue that was raised in regard to them at the 2006 IRSA Council Meeting related to payments. Council reaffirmed that Regional Association members may forego payment of annual dues if payment is deemed to be of undue hardship and a formal request for such is submitted to the Secretary-Treasurer. (See minutes of 2006 Council Meeting). Council also recommended consideration the creation of a new By-law in reference to requests for IRSA support for Member Association meetings.

(3) Annual Dues

Annual dues payments by regional association members are currently up to date. AON has actually paid their dues for the period 2008-2012 in advance. Other regional association members have preferred to be billed on an annual basis. They will continue to be billed in this way unless they request an alternative procedure. Based on a decision made by Council at its 2006 meeting in Durban, South Africa, ALSARU was exempted from paying dues for the 2004-2008 quadrennial period.

(4) Mid-Term Council Meeting

The Mid-Term Council Meeting was held in conjunction with the July, 2006 Congress of the International Sociology Association in Durban, South Africa. During that meeting, Council discussed the difficulty of engaging rural sociology on the African continent and formally lifted the priority that the 2008 World Congress be held on it. Council also recommended that attention be given to soliciting funding to support travel to the 2008 World Congress and that paper presenters be informed of their option to post their papers on the IRSA web site. The Program and Local Arrangements Committees reported on progress being made for the 2008 World Congress. Council also instructed the Secretary-Treasurer to provide $3,000 to ALASRU in support of its upcoming regional meeting. Discussion related to the issue of subsidies to Regional Association members led to consideration of the introduction of a new By-law to address it. This issue will be discussed further by Council and the Executive Committee prior to possible presentation of it to the General Assembly for ratification (See Constitution, By-laws and Procedural Manual).

(5) Regional Association Meetings

During the period 2004-2008, IRSA leadership actively interacted with regional member associations in their locations. President Bonanno and other Executive Committee members attended meetings of member associations. President Bonanno attended meetings of the ALASRU and ESRS as well as the annual meetings of the RSS. Yoshio Kawamura regularly interacted with ARSA and its leadership about the present World Congress.

(6) Bid for 2012 World Congress

President Bonanno collaborated with representatives in Lisbon, Portugal in regard to preparation of a formal bid for hosting the 2012 World Congress. This bid will be discussed and probably approved at the 2008 World Congress. Formal acceptance of the bid is expected to be ratified by the General Assembly at this meeting.

(7) International Sociological Association Membership

IRSA continued its formal association with the International Sociological Association (ISA). It is registered as an Affiliate member. This affiliation is deemed important because of perceived similarity of interests of IRSA with ISA. Mid-term IRSA Council meetings have been planned to coincide with ISA World Congresses, the next of which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden. ISA’s membership list can be reviewed at (

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