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about the ISSC

For a snapshot of the ISSC and its activities, see our brochure

The International Social Science Council ( ISSC ) is an international non-profit-making scientific organisation with headquarters at UNESCO House in Paris. It is the primary international body representing the social and behavioural sciences at a global level.

The Council’s role is to advance the practice and use of the social and behavioural sciences in all parts of the world, and to ensure their global representation. This involves:

  • An overview of the quality and development of the constituent sciences;
  • Action to stimulate their growth; and
  • Work to ensure their utilisation and relevance to the problems of humankind; such promotion includes, wherever possible, the assistance of policy development at international and national levels, and the use of high quality social science research to further economic well-being and quality of life in all parts of our globe.

In fulfilling this role the ISSC acts as a catalyst, mobiliser and co-ordinator of social sciences across disciplines, domains, and national cultures, bringing together social science researchers, scholars, funders and policy makers from all parts of the globe.

The ISSC was founded in 1952, following a resolution adopted at the VIth UNESCO General Conference in 1951. The Council continues to be supported by UNESCO.

In 1972 the Council was transformed into a formal federation of international disciplinary associations. In 1992 the constitution was amended to enable the membership of national and regional social science organisations. Today the ISSC is composed of a wide membership from which it draws its strength and its role. ISSC members and associate members include:

  • International associations or unions of subjects across the social and behavioural sciences ( including the following subjects or aspects of them: anthropology, economics, education and pedagogy, environmental studies, geography, history, international and area studies, law, linguistics, management and business studies, political science, psychology and cognitive sciences, sociology, social policy, and social statistics)
  • National academies of social science (or social science sections of national academies of science)
  • National social science research councils (or divisions of national science councils responsible for the social sciences)
  • Regional associations of social sciences representing the major continental regions of the globe
  • Other national and international agencies and foundations with major interests in the social sciences

Fifty Years of the International Social Science Council
Platt, Jennifer. Paris : ISSC , 2002.

To order a copy of this publication, please send an email to issc[at]