Launched on 15 November 2011, the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (SERRC) serves as both the digital wing of the journal Social Epistemology, encouraging dialogue on published articles, and as an independent platform for scholarship, commentary and judgment on issues related to knowledge culture and policy.
At the moment, “the Collective” comprises 39 members based in 16 countries. Our disciplinary backgrounds are quite diverse, ranging from business administration, philosophy, sociology, history, literature to science and technology studies, biology and psychology. Our diverse outlook shares a common sensibility found in the research program of social epistemology as realized by Steve Fuller in both his first book Social Epistemology (Indiana University Press, 1988) and in the Taylor & Francis journal he founded in 1987.
This platform of intellectual exchange concerning themes that are paramount to Social Epistemology is a collective experiment in the making. Our main aims are showcasing our own work, being in a dialogue with the journal Social Epistemology and taking a stand on current themes of Social Epistemology — from biotechnology to current knowledge work in neoliberal university landscapes. The need for an online platform in addition to the journal Social Epistemology emerged from changes in knowledge production over the last years. Online platforms allow for a more immediate response to current issues that may be of interest to social epistemology. Yet, rather than fully opposing the value of traditional academic publications, we see our collective work as complementary to the journal Social Epistemology adding new dimensions and formats to re-imagine the value and reception of scholarship. Not only are we open to written contributions such as articles, short essays, book reviews, comments, meta-critiques, and aphorisms, but also we encourage visual formats such as films, images as well as any audio material (interviews etc.). As the title of our collective indicates, we predominantly see ourselves as a review and reply collective.
We either individually or collectively review contemporary books and classics that are of interest to social epistemology. Besides, we aim for high quality work irrespective of the format by reviewing each other’s contributions.
Our online platform serves as a space of engaging with current events and themes that are relevant to social epistemology. As our online platform allows for faster responses than traditional journals, we are particularly interested in promoting shorter contributions. Moreover, the platform seeks to foster a meta-critical discussion of the journal Social Epistemology with replies to articles, a look at a particular topic addressed in the journal over time, blog postings on subjects and issues, replies from past authors and critical responses, commentaries and syntheses. We would like to encourage dialogues among Social Epistemology’s print and digital authors in the hopes that new approaches to writing, and writing about, academic inquiry might evolve from it. In this sense, the platform can also serve as a space for discussion of upcoming journal ideas or themes.
A collective experiment in the making
Collective work and academic exchange are often presented as ideal scenarios in knowledge work. However, as our own experience has shown us so far, working as a collective is by no means a straightforward and easy process. Being based in different parts of the world with many of us never having met in person, developing a collective dialogue is an even more challenging endeavour. Besides, the requirements of an academic career geared towards constant publishing and output in an era of quality assurance, seem to leave little space for activities beyond that such as collective work (See Stephen Norrie’s paper Three Social Contracts for an Academic Collective). We would like to revisit our process of developing as a collective in a reflexive mode. Taking our own experience as a point of departure, one idea so far was to pay increased attention to the relationship between conditions of work at universities and knowledge work.
If you would like to be part of our collective or if you have an idea for a contribution, please get in touch via email: email@example.com