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Editorial policy

The Revue des Sciences Sociales (Social Sciences Review) was founded in 1972 in Strasbourg, a crossroads of culture, knowledge and memory, and also a border region marked by conflict and re-composition. The historical implications of these foundations echo the challenges of contemporary society. The review welcomes internationalization and innovation and takes an interest in scientific and social questions, which has defined its originality over more than 40 years of exchanges and publications.

This history is permeated by Rhineland humanism and the Reformation, by the troubled coexistence of faiths, and by the advent of printing and the confrontation of ideas. This has always raised the awareness among the review’s contributing researchers of ideological and religious radicalism, of the status of minorities and individuals, and of the development of social and political theories and practices.

The border, by bringing people closer and separating them at the same time, reveals how individuals and groups continually reformulate their belonging through their construction of the other, of difference, of the foreigner and of the enemy. From the sidelines it is possible to uncover the fictions on which identities are built, or to explore the resistance against homogenization and entropy, whether these are administrative, economic or social.

The relationship with Europe forces contributors to reflect more broadly on the coexistence of societies, cultures, religions, and languages in a “common” space that is both a physical territory with uncertain borders and the problematic result of a shared historical project. It draws attention to the multiple manifestations of the feeling of being European, which, between myths, crises, illusions and disillusions, precedes the political and economic construction of Europe.

Strasbourg, a university city which forms a bridge between the French and German scientific traditions, has been the crossroads where authors and ideas come together, and continues to be a place where the hybridization of theories on the human and the social can continue to occur. The “borders” that are questioned are also those that stand between scientific disciplines, and between science and society.

This intellectual history has often been politically engaged and is now formulated both in the present and in the future. The globalization of the economy, the new media, the intense movement of peoples, the manipulation of living things and of the environment, the new status of bodies and of persons, the reconfiguration of conflicts, the rise of violence, the play on memory and forgetting, the continually renewed forms and categorizations of individuals and groups, all these are areas where the exacerbated logic of modernity is expressed, dividing societies between the temptation to nostalgically fall back on themselves or to surpass themselves in search of new models to be invented.

In order to contribute to this search the review welcomes articles that demand deep and rigorous thought:

  • to question representations, whether these are images, monuments, discourses, ideologies or even overly conformist scientific theories about humans and society. The idea is to confer doubt and uncertainty onto obvious and easy conclusions that tend to arrest thought and close off the mind.

  • to analyze practices by promoting research based on solid empirical methods, allowing researchers to come up as close as possible to the actors’ experience in all its complexity, variety, and contradiction, between constraints and creativity.

  • to reflect on the place of the subject in our understanding of social phenomena: the subject as the actor of the observed social event, whose participation allows systems to reproduce themselves but also to change; the subject as an observer who is also a scientist, ineluctably implied in what (s)he is studying, and interacting with the object while at the same time describing them.

  • to break down the barriers between disciplines, to cross different approaches in the human and social sciences, to confront the constructions of scholars and of the actors of the socio-professional world. The review is scientific and interdisciplinary, and its style and presentation also make it accessible to non-specialists readers.

  • to promote the various languages of the social sciences. This iconographic sensitivity is an important part of our editorial line, because we are convinced that the artist’s gaze allows us to look at social phenomena differently, bringing a different perspective on the text through their unusual representations.

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