The SSSP's stated purpose is to promote and protect sociological research and teaching on significant problems of social life and, particularly, to encourage the work of young sociologists; to stimulate the application of scientific method and theory to the study of vital social problems; to encourage problem-centered social research; to foster cooperative relations among persons and organizations engaged in the application of scientific sociological findings to the formulation of social policies; to foster higher quality of life, social welfare, and positive social relations in society and the global community and to undertake any activity related thereto or necessary or desirable for the accomplishment of the foregoing purposes. Fulfilling this purpose requires both a strict adherence to the highest principles of academic freedom, freedom of speech, and due process, as stated in the AAUP’s 1940 statement on academic freedom and tenure and 2014 statement on academic freedom and electronic communications; and the protection of the right to engage in intellectual debates of all types without fear of censorship or retaliation.


The SSSP promotes dialogue through presentations at the annual meeting, and through listservs and newsletters throughout the year; publishes research in the journal Social Problems; presents awards to community groups; supports graduate students, young scholars and activists with professional support, leadership opportunities, and scholarships; passes and acts upon public resolutions; and fosters the generation of new ideas.


Most members are from the United States, but the Society enjoys the significant participation of international scholars, practitioners, students, and advocates as well. Membership is open to individuals and university and college departments who support the SSSP's goals. Since many of the Society's members are sociologists, the SSSP holds annual meetings in the same location and time as the American Sociological Association.


The SSSP has twenty-three divisions, each with its own newsletter, that provide members with common interests the opportunity to interact more intimately with one another. Division activity shapes the annual meeting of the Society by organizing paper sessions and panels. Divisions provide an opportunity for young scholars to present their work to a critical audience of scholar advocates interested in good research and social action to move toward solutions for social problems. Members interested in emerging areas of social problems can form new divisions. For a list of and information on divisions, visit the Division webpage.


The SSSP grants awards, fellowships, and scholarships in recognition of meritorious work by outstanding scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students who demonstrate active pursuit in the application of critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems. One of these awards is the prestigious C. Wright Mills Award, awarded to the previous year's most outstanding book in the tradition of the individual for whom the award is named. For a list and description of each award, fellowship, and scholarship, visit the Awards, Fellowships, and Scholarships webpage.

Social Problems and Other Publications

The Society publishes Social Problems, one of the leading refereed and widely read social science journals in the United States and a number of other publications. For more information on the Society's publications, visit the SSSP publications webpage.

SSSP Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Editors of Social Problems

The roster of SSSP Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Editors of the SSSP's journal Social Problems spans over 70 years of leadership in the field of sociology. To view the list of past and present SSSP Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Editors, click here.

Additional Information

Additional information about the SSSP can be found in Marginality and Dissent in Twentieth-Century American Sociology: The Case of Elizabeth Briant Lee and Alfred McClung Lee by John F. Galliher and James M. Galliher, 1995, SUNY Press. 

Additional information about Elizabeth Briant Lee and Alfred McClung Lee, founders of SSSP, can be found courtesy of Harvard Square Library.