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INTRODUCTION

The Critical Sociology Network (CSN) was founded in June 2002 as an alternative initiative which avoids both the deep scepticism about the effects and ethics of sociology common in Western postmodern circles and the positivistic and dogmatic nature of a good deal of sociological work in the former Eastern bloc. CSN’s guiding principle is that sociology is not only a means of describing society, but also an agency in guiding it. For it to be effective, however, sociology must become more critical, particularly of its own practice. It must also relate its subjects of study to society as a whole. Such sociology will have to start with an examination of its own apparent powerlessness in the current situation.

To do this, CSN has gathered together sociologists of diverse backgrounds and interests who have agreed to engage in joint research and publish in academic journals, share the resources of the CSN website, use copies of the Critical Sociology Reader in their courses, and attend a series of professional workshops, to be held in Budapest during the 2002-03 academic year, and the 2003 Critical Sociology Summer School. The first collection of writings by CSN members, based on the papers they gave at the first Critical Sociology Conference held at Tbilisi State University, Georgia, in June 2002, will be published in a book next year. Members will also have a chance to give guest lectures at any university within the network, which includes Britain, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States. We already have 30 active members and receive frequent inquiries from sociologists.

If you are interested in joining CSN, please contact our administrator Renata Matuszkiewicz at irlandiarua@yahoo.com or our coordinator Ayman Salem at salem_ayman@hotmail.com. Please send a short biography and a statement describing how you would participate in the development of the network, by either contributing to one of our current activities or setting up a new one. You will be contacted shortly and added to our mailing list.

The Critical Sociology Network is supported financially and in-kind by CEP’s Academic Network Initiative (indeed it was the first network to have been established under this new scheme) and the Social Sciences Support Program of the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

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