About Social Research


In 1933, the New School’s first president, Alvin Johnson, with support from philanthropist Hiram Halle and the Rockefeller Foundation, initiated an historic effort to rescue endangered scholars from the shadow of Nazism in Europe at the brink of WWII. These refugees became the founding scholars of “The University in Exile,” and constituted what became known as the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, now known as The New School for Social Research. Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Political and Social Sciences was launched in 1934 by these scholars, who held the deep conviction that every true university must have its own distinct public voice. Read Alvin Johnson’s introduction to our first issue.

In the years since, Social Research has matured into one of the oldest and most influential journals in the United States. Papers by authors from around the globe have reached our readers in nearly 100 countries, and our audience continues to grow. Articles and complete back issues are regularly used as classroom texts across the United States. Over 250 articles from our pages have been translated or reprinted in books and journals all over the world, and our special conference issues are award winners.


Most issues of Social Research address a single theme, which is addressed by scholars, writers, and experts from a wide range of disciplines. Some of these issues are the proceedings of our conference series; others are guest coedited by scholars who bring their unique expertise to bear on multifaceted explorations of the subjects of their interest. Some of our themes are explicitly drawn from the social sciences; others consider particular parts of the world. Still other issues address concepts, ideas, or phenomena that seem ripe for exploration. A complete list of our back issues is available online; many are still in print and available for purchase.

Transitions Series

In 1988, Social Research instituted a periodic series of issues devoted to countries in transition, which now includes issues on topics ranging from nationalism to democratization to prospects for the welfare state, and has addressed East and Central Europe, Russia, China, South Africa, and India.

Conference Series

In 1988 Social Research also launched its series of conferences at the New School, the proceedings of which are published as special issues of Social Research. Each of the Social Research conferences examines an aspect of our lives which is simultaneously central yet has become problematic for significant numbers of people. Rather than simply confronting these difficult issues directly, which is the normal mode of exploration, the conferences in this series aim to enhance public understanding of these critical and contested issues by examining them in a broad intellectual and historical context. To this end, the speakers at these conferences come from a wide range of disciplines with many different perspectives and kinds of expertise: Historians, political scientists, and art historians routinely participate alongside legal theorists, policy makers and journalists, each bringing relevant scholarship to bear on the contemporary discussions. We believe that this approach is a far more effective way to illuminate the issues and influence the current public debate.

Journal Editor and Conference Series Director

Arien Mack is the Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, where she has edited Social Research journal since 1970. In 1988 she established the Social Research conference series, which she continues to direct through the Center for Public Scholarship, which she also founded and directs. Professor Mack is also the founder and director of the Journal Donation Project, which assists in rebuilding major research and teaching libraries in countries that have fallen victim to political or economic deprivation, and often both, through the provision of current subscriptions and back volume sets of English-language scholarly, professional and current events journals. In 2007, she launched the Endangered Scholars Worldwide initiative. As a research psychologist, Professor Mack's current interests focus on perception, cognition, and attention. She teaches graduate-level psychology courses and oversees a research lab at The New School for Social Research. Her publications include more than 60 articles, and the coauthored volume Inattentional Blindness (MIT Press 1998).

Connect with the New School