Emeritus Professor, Margaret Archer, has been appointed by Pope Francis as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences – marking the highest-ranking appointment of a woman in his papacy. The Academy comprises a group of scholars dedicated to studying issues in the social sciences in order to offer reflection and advice to the leadership of the Church.
Margaret Archer was for many years Professor of Sociology at Warwick. She is currently a professor at l'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. She studied at the University of London, graduating with a B.Sc. in 1964 and a Ph.D. in 1967 with a thesis on The Educational Aspirations of English Working Class Parents. She is a leading theorist in the critical realist tradition and was a founding member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences when it was established by Pope John Paul II in 1994.
At the 12th World Congress of Sociology, she was elected as the first woman President of the International Sociological Association and is also a founding member of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences ‘organizes conferences and workshops on specific themes, promotes scientific surveys and research, helps institutions and private individuals to execute them, publishes the results of its own consultations and issues publications of a scientific nature.’ Academy members meet at least twice a year to study and reflect on various issues within the social, economic, political and juridical sciences and their relevance to Catholic social teaching. Topics include human rights, religious freedom and globalisation.