European Sociobiological Society (ESS)

The Future of ESS:


ESS is now officially in liquidation. During the last business meeting of the ESS in Washington DC, on August 31, 2000, the members present voted almost unanimously in favor of a merger with our sister organization the International Society for Human Ethology (ISHE) - a bare necessity for the continuation of our society, as explained by ESS treasurer Vincent Falger in the ESS Newsletter Nr. 52 (June 2000) and on the ESS website. Not everything has to be viewed, in retrospect, through the spectacles of dolorous melancholy during this memorable business meeting, however, because some 20 new ESS members were welcomed, and Edward O. Wilson, the founding father of sociobiology, received honorable membership from the ESS Board (see photo by Jim Brody below). The last more or less independent meeting of the ESS celebrated the 25th birthday of sociobiology (Wilson's opus magnum was first published in 1975), and was dedicated to the comparative reception of sociobiology across a number of disciplines and countries. We like to thank the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS), and in particular its retreating secretary and organizer Gary Johnson, for its hospitality during our joint meeting.

Anticipating the ESS/ISHE merger, our treasurer did not charge membership fee this year. Membership fee of ISHE is about the same as the ESS fee ($25), and ISHE offers substantial reductions for multiple-year memberships ($60 for three years or $25/3 yrs for students and emeriti). The next year the ISHE treasurer, Dori LeCroy, will automatically remind the members to pay their 2001 fees. All ESS members have to decide for themselves whether they accept ISHE membership or not. Those who are members of both societies already will not be charged a double fee. I would recommend ESS members who are not yet ISHE members to apply in person at the ISHE website.

The ESS Newsletter and the Human Ethology Bulletin (HEB), the ISHE Newsletter, will also merge, and the September and December issues of the HEB will be mailed to the ESS members to get acquainted. The December issue of the HEB will officially announce the ESS/ISHE merger and cordially welcome the new members. The ESS and ISHE websites will also merge eventually.

Finally, I like to thank all officers of the ESS, Peter Meyer, Vincent Falger, Marina Butovskaya, and Marcel Roele, for their efforts on behalf of our dear society, and I would like to express my special gratitude to Jan Wind, who was the founder and long-term secretary and mentor of the society, and who tragically died on October 30, 1995.

Johan M.G. van der Dennen
Secretary of the ESS

Edward O. Wilson, founding father of sociobiology, receives honorable membership from the ESS board: Johan van der Dennen (secretary), Peter Meyer (chairman), and Vincent Falger (treasurer), during the ESS business meeting in Washington DC, August 31, 2000 (photo by Jim Brody).

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