Call for papers - Special issues of Society

We invite submissions for four specially-themed issues of Society which we plan to publish in the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022.

We encourage two types of submissions: (1) full-length research articles (6000-8500 words); or (2) shorter pieces of sound academic judgement and deliberation (3000-4000 words) that address the same question but that are at liberty to be formulated in a more thought-provoking manner and without being inhibited by academic style and ‘dress’ codes (please note that for both types of papers peer review applies).

Society is a journal for the social sciences that publishes research articles that transcend the narrow understanding of disciplines; it includes also reports about research outcomes and attempts to support a lively debating culture, all of which indicate our will to reach out beyond the sometimes all-too-narrowly defined academic margins. We welcome contributions from different social science disciplines but also those who prefer a mix of them.

The Old and the New Politics of Paranoia

First the economic crash – now Covid 19. Ours seem to be troubled times in which taken-for-granted conditions and tried-and-tested solutions have either drifted into the background or no longer prevail. Times of political and social crisis, and proposed solutions for them, are often at the root of new injustices but can also bring old and unresolved ones once again to the surface. New politicians and character types, even entire movements, have emerged to make use of, and often also abuse, such situations. Richard Hofstadter once looked at the paranoid style in politics; similarly, Franz Neumann was concerned about the politics of anxiety; Judith Shklar even called for a liberalism of fear. Do their analysis and their warnings still hold, or are our times just different and therefore need a new approach?

Unchecked structures of opinion: Expertocracy and democracy in the 21st century

In a world that is marked by a division of labor, by risk, technology, science, and ‘split’ moralities and responsibilities, analyses, solutions, and sometimes entire government policies have ended up in the hands of unelected experts, advisory groups or special councils or committees. Emergencies (real or fictive) and critical response times have complicated matters even further. At the best of times experts limit themselves to their expertise and give advice, to which the public then can decide to adhere to (or not); at the worst of times we see a kind of unchecked self-empowerment, occasionally even a rise to ‘pop’ stardom by the experts. In non-democratic ‘closed’ societies experts, expert opinion, and ‘adequate’ solutions are handled and dealt with by the leader, a party or a bureaucracy. But what about democracies? Has the idea of manageability hijacked democratic procedures and democratic legitimacy?

Rule by Algorithm: Politics, Society and Prediction – An Unholy Alliance?

Big data, overload of information, scientific formulas and scientific advice – it seems algorithm(s) have come to impact on our daily lives. But what happened when pupils in schools are no longer assessed by their teacher, examiner or school but by some government algorithm? How will history pan out? Can we trawl just through massive data and identify patterns that then translate into Clio-algorithms? If the coming crises can be predicted by and through such means, does it still make sense of talking about making history at all? Do we still need democratic procedures if all information can be stored on a social insurance card and acted upon, a kind of Chinese predicament? Who will control the predictors and controllers and what is and could be the purpose of it all?

From republic to democracy – and back? Future’s past revisited

Be it John Adams, James Madison, or Alexander Hamilton – they all favoured a political architecture along the old English mixed constitutional principle of ‘the one, the few and the many’. Certain passages in The Federalists concurred with that vision and even took the argument a step further by maintaining that the US should be regarded as a republic – and that a democracy is likely to be unfree. However, it is equally true that in the course of almost two and a half centuries the United States is no longer the political society it first set out to be, and neither is its vision of the political system. We welcome papers that analyse this change, from republic to democracy, and what it tells us about the dynamics of the American political system – for better or for worse.

For inquiries please contact one of the editors-in-chief: Andreas Hess (a.hess@ucd.ie) or Daniel Gordon (dgordon@history.umass.edu). Check also the Society website for the journal’s aims and purposes and the submission guidelines

Please submit your article via Editorial Manager, and indicate the selected topic during the submission process.