From ESA – Strategies & Activities
ESA Journals News – European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Ricca Edmondson, Eeva Luhtakallio, Editors of the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
At the Crossroads of the Contemporary
The ESA journal EJCPS provides a space for thought and debate for addressing societal phenomena at the multiple intersections of culture and politics. It covers the endless intertwinements and coincidences of the cultural and the political that embrace the whole scope of sociology. These are treated in both competing and complementary ways in classical and contemporary sources. Marx’s and Weber’s accounts of the origins of capitalism are by no means identical, but each makes clear that all social occurrences contain elements of the political and the cultural that must be analysed and understood. The same is true of Durkheim, with his compelling account of ‘social facts’ built into daily structures of convention and power. Or Arendt’s work interrogates the historical transformations of connections between work, leisure, contemplation and action in terms of the conditions necessary for human flourishing and the role of freedom in it. The history of the sociology of knowledge can be rewritten in terms of interactions between culture and politics, and this continues to be reflected in the work of sociologists from Swidler to Alexander.
Nor do we want to give the impression that this conjunction applies mainly in the theoretical realm. There seems to be no topic known to contemporary sociology that our authors are unprepared to consider. Their work ranges from peace-building in Cambodia to social movements in the Netherlands or Russia or to the impingement of discipline-oriented experts on the structures of the EU. In every case, both authors and readers profit from exploring the ways in which cultural and political elements blend and coalesce. Clearly, this applies not least to ‘culture wars’ concerning class, caste, identity and other forms of sociopolitical contestation.
The cultural and political in the name of this journal are not the mere ornaments of a generalist sociology journal, therefore, but mark the standpoint and the mission steering the journal’s publishing politics. The EJCPS volumes represent this mission in a plethora of ways, one of which is the series of special issues the journal has hosted thus far. Special issues and special sections have covered, for instance, a rich compilation of texts developing from Hannah Arendt’s thought of revolution (vol. 1, issue 3, 2014); an issue displaying the empirical and theoretical developments of neo-institutionalism and the world society theory (vol. 3, issue 2-3, 2016); a many-sided treatment of the politics of memory, remembering and forgetting (vol. 4, issue 3, 2017); and an issue on the politics of engagement, reaching for promising sociological avenues of empirical and conceptual advances in the realm of French pragmatism (vol. 5, issue 1-2, 2018).
At present in its seventh volume, the EJCPS has been carving its initials into the consciousness of readers and authors during a time of increasing turbulence in academic publishing. We at the editorial team have followed a classical recipe in our efforts to steer the journal into a steady existence: taking good care of authors, editing texts with sensitivity and attention, taking (sometimes quite considerable) time to find suitable reviewers, monitoring the process of each manuscript – and, last but not least, actively seeking for and encouraging new authors to engage.
We have also, in a (just slightly) less old-fashioned manner, built a social media presence independent of the commercial publishing world, and thus invited people to engage with the journal directly, to discuss and comment on pieces, or to share information on relevant publications. Much remains to be done on this front, as well as in connection with publishing policy in the face of the new open-access policies that are currently under development. Yet we hope that the EJCPS has, by now, become a bedrock for forming the kind of community of thought, inquiry and exchange that an academic journal at its best can be, and we sincerely invite ESA members, as well as all our readers and authors elsewhere, to join this community and imagine a future for it: a future determined not by voracious commercial interests but by the thirst for knowledge, the search for truth, and the pleasure and fun to be gained from developing and sharing new ideas.