Profile and History of the Social Scientists’ Association
The Social Scientists’ Association (SSA) is an organization working to investigate the way in which social change is contouring the multiple realities faced by communities in Sri Lanka and South Asia. The SSA is deeply committed to promoting a culture of knowledge production that informs and undergirds interventions aimed at achieving social emancipation for marginalized communities.
The SSA was founded in 1977 during a period in which Sri Lankan society, its economy as well as politics were changing rapidly due to, among other reasons, the introduction of the open economy and growing tension between ethnic communities. The SSA was formed by a group of academics as a forum for facilitating the critical understanding of these changes and responding to them in a manner that would also promote social and political transformation as well.
The main objectives behind the formation of the SSA were the pursuit of research, the publication and wide dissemination of original research, the development and organization of a library and documentation centre and the creation of a forum for debate and discussion. Its founders also hoped that the SSA would be able to participate in and contribute to programmes that further development and social change.
Since then the SSA has received global recognition for its commitment to research on issues such as ethnicity, the political-economy of development, gender equity, democracy, conflict resolution, social transformation, labour and human rights. It has also been home to many of Sri Lanka’s most widely recognized academics and public intellectuals.
The SSA also contributes towards realizing a culture of academic rigour and theory building in Sri Lanka through the publication of original research which it makes available through the Suriya Bookshop and by encouraging access to knowledge through its Library and Documentation Centre. Many SSA publications have been translated and disseminated widely in English, Sinhala and Tamil.
To further its commitment to knowledge production and research, the SSA has organized and continues to organize workshops, discussion groups, book fairs and book launches which have attracted local and foreign scholars as well as sections of the concerned public.