The Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective was founded in August 2010 by James Collier, the current executive editor of the Taylor & Francis journal Social Epistemology. At the moment we have 18 members that are based in different countries and continents. Our disciplinary backgrounds are quite diverse, ranging from business administration, philosophy, sociology, history, literature to science and technology studies, biology and psychology, to name a few. Despite this diversity in discipline and outlook, our shared roof is the research program of social epistemology as outlined by Steve Fuller based on his first book Social Epistemology (Indiana University Press, 1988) and the Taylor & Francis journal Social Epistemology which 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 questioning the value of traditional journals and articles, we see our collective work as complementary to the journal Social Epistemology and in close relation to it, merely adding new dimensions and formats of discussing it (also see Social Epistemology, 2010, 24 (3), Special Issue: ‘Scientific Publications 2.0. The End of the Scientific Paper?). Not only are we open to written input such as articles, short essays, book reviews, comments, meta-critiques, and aphorisms, but we also 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 with us via email: