Call for Papers

Welcome to the relaunch of Serendipities – Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences. As of December 2020, the journal is hosted by the Royal Danish Library ( To mark our move to a new host and the reconfiguration of the editorial team, we welcome contributions to the journal, particularly those articles and book reviews that address the sociology and history of the social sciences in the broadest meaning of the description.

While its title pays homage to Robert K. Merton and his insistence that the development of any scholarly activity is influenced by unanticipated and anomalous instances, the journal does not expect contributors to follow a narrowly defined program. Rather it seeks to encourage the use of a variety of concepts, methodologies and theories to study the trajectories of the social sciences. The pertinent time span ranges from the pre-history of the several disciplines, through to the period of their formation and their consolidation (or their decline). Papers are welcome from any theoretical or methodological perspective that covers any of these periods. Case studies or investigations of longer lasting developments, papers focusing on a single scholar or on groups, schools, and research trends are equally appreciated by the journal so long as they conclude with more or less generalizing insights.

What we expect ideally would be a combination of the best of what can be called “sociology/history of” perspective, i.e. inquiries which belong to what Wolf Lepenies has called third culture – a field that occupies a unique space between science and literature, marked by both but also carving out a space of its own. Papers are free to look at social science disciplines from a historical point of view or challenge present day practices.

Beyond that we would like to see contributions that cover the development of methodologies and research techniques, the institutionalization processes of disciplines and research directions, “traveling ideas” from one scholarly culture or country to another, the question of drawing “boundaries” between the various social sciences, the role of funding agencies, and papers that discuss relations between the social sciences, the state, and social movements.

Interaction(s) of the social science with publics are a matter of great concern too. We particularly invite submissions that engage with the still underdeveloped field of sociological semantics, prosopography, and advanced quantitative and qualitative methods.


Serendipities publishes three kinds of texts:

Articles report and discuss research results, develop theoretical arguments, or offer a combination of both. An article has to be concerned with the sociology and history of the social sciences and should demonstrate how it adds to our understanding by relating to and positioning itself vis-à-vis the relevant literature.

Book reviews are intended to present and assess new publications in the field. There are no re­strictions with regard to the language of the reviewed publication. It is the explicit aim of the edi­tors that this section will function as a forum for critical evaluation of new publications and as a platform for those who are not able to read them in the original. In addition to standard-length book reviews, we therefore encourage longer reviews that present a book’s organization, argumen­tation and construction in greater detail and from a critical perspective. In addition, we welcome bulk reviews of two or more books. These could be organized around the methodologies used, disciplines, periods, countries, or scholars, etc. If you would like to review books, please address or Kristoffer Kropp ( or Stéphane Dufoix (

A third section is the Forum, where different kinds of texts and materials can be published. These can be archival materials, i.e. items from the past that are deemed valuable enough to be made more visible (e.g. letters, unpublished manuscripts, administrative documents, etc.), together with short commentaries on the significance of the documents. Second, the “Forum” section also functions as a platform for debate, inviting authors to reflect on distinct features related to the past and present of the social sciences, articulating criticism, or voicing one’s opinion. We also welcome interviews with social scientists from different countries.

For submissions please visit Alternatively, authors are encouraged to write to the managing editors Fran Collyer ( or Andreas Kranebitter (

  • CfP Special Issue: Governing (by) expertise. The politics of social scientific knowledge production


    Social sciences’ place is as much in academics as it is with government. Social sciences, such as political sciences, sociology and economics, always aim both at charting and disenchanting the world as well as at projecting desired future societal states and reflexively optimizing governance. In this double role – as academic disciplines and as professions of government – social sciences not only shape prac-tices of governing but are being shaped in this interaction themselves (Abbott 1988; Miller/Rose 2008). While this Janus-faced character isn’t exactly a novelty and has played out differently in specific national contexts (Weber 1988 [1916]; Steinmetz 2016; Chen 2017; Cossu & Bartollini 2017; Moebius 2021; Consolim 2023), recent developments have changed the social sciences’ position at the centre of an increasingly transnational “knowledge warfare” (Kauppi 2018): On the one hand, the output-oriented quantification and projectification of academic meritocracy introduced new ways in which societal and especially governmental requirements have to be taken into account by autonomous so-cial scientific distinctions (Bérard/Crespin 2010; Boulet/Harari-Kermadec 2014; Münch 2014; Anger-mueller/van Leeuwen 2018; Gengnagel et al. 2019; Hamann 2020). On the other hand, new modes of governance increasingly rely on scientific legitimacy and represent an increasing demand for social scientific expertise (Power 2003; Desrosières 2011; Dezalay/Garth 2011; Heilbron et al. 2017, 2018) in national contexts (Bühlmann & Rossier 2018; Connell et all. 2018; Heredia 2018) as well as in transna-tional contexts such as the European Union (Georgakakis/de Lasalle 2012; Cohen 2013; Boncourt/Cal-ligaro 2017; Gengnagel et al. 2022; for the social scientific marginalization of non-Western Area Stud-ies in the globally dominant US, see Stanton 2002; Lie 2012).

    Read more about CfP Special Issue: Governing (by) expertise. The politics of social scientific knowledge production