We are grateful to Matteo Bortolini for initiating a symposium around Social Knowledge in the Making (SKM). As a collective project, this book was with us for several years and was a welcomed opportunity for stimulating dialogue between the three co-editors. It is with pleasure that we now respond to Matteo’s invitation to reflect on the fate of the adventure two years after the book’s publication. We address how it has been received, whether the reception has met our expectations, and respond to the specific reactions of Kelly Moore, Johannes Angermuller, and Kristoffer Kropp published in this symposium. We appreciate that these talented sociologists of the social sciences and the humanities took on the challenge of engaging our work.
Over the past quarter century, researchers have successfully explored the inner workings of the physical and biological sciences using a variety of social and historical lenses. Inspired by these advances, the contributors to Social Knowledge in the Making turn their attention to the social sciences, broadly construed. The result is the first comprehensive effort to study and understand the day-to-day activities involved in the creation of social-scientific and related forms of knowledge about the social world.
The essays collected here tackle a range of previously unexplored questions about the practices involved in the production, assessment, and use of diverse forms of social knowledge. A stellar cast of multidisciplinary scholars addresses topics such as the changing practices of historical research, anthropological data collection, library usage, peer review, and institutional review boards. Turning to the world beyond the academy, other essays focus on global banks, survey research organizations, and national security and economic policy makers. Social Knowledge in the Making is a landmark volume for a new field of inquiry, and the bold new research agenda it proposes will be welcomed in the social science, the humanities, and a broad range of nonacademic settings.