Brief History of the Section on the Sociology of Population
By Charles B. Nam, October 1, 2009
In the early 1970's, some members of the American Sociological Association (ASA) formed a Section on Population. The persons who were selected as Officers were primarily demographer/sociologists with strong ties to the Population Association of America (PAA). The program sessions they developed emphasized interests central to demography. After a couple of years, a motion was made at the Section’s business meeting to terminate the Section on the grounds that it duplicated programs at PAA. The motion passed and the Section was disbanded. In 1977, some members of ASA who felt that the earlier Section failed because it did not emphasize sociology’s link to population moved to start a Section with that orientation. Having sufficient support among members, a new Section was approved in 1978. Leaders within the group insisted that it be named the Section on the Sociology of Population, and the purpose and by-laws indicated this Section focus. On at least two occasions since that time the ASA staff dropped “the Sociology of” part of the title and were reminded by Section members why it had to be there. For some thirty-one years now the Section on the Sociology of Population has functioned well and expanded its member base. From time to time program planners lost sight of the main purpose of the Section, but in the main it has been true to its purpose.