The Legacy of European Social Psychology

An online compendium of ideas, schools and people in the field of Social Psychology

Early Activities: Publications

In his 1969 presidential report, Moscovici wrote: “The Executive Committee estimates that the diffusion of European social psychology ‘intra and extra muros’ requires a publications program.” In effect, when communication of one’s own work is limited to a small and nearby circle of colleagues and students one cannot hope to reach a larger group nor can one hope to have effect on research elsewhere. Following internal discussions and external negotiations with publishers, the decision was made to go for two types of publications: A European Journal of Social Psychology and a series of European monographs in social psychology, both of which still exist today.

A reading of the editorial of the first issue of the European Journal, written by Mauk Mulder, is instructive, partly because it gives an indication of the kinds of contents the Association had in mind, but party also because it shows the positive and supportive attitude of the founders of the journal towards potential contributors. In terms of content, the Journal would welcome a wide variety of contributions: Theoretical and research articles as major items, but also briefer notes on ongoing research in Europe, brief reports of conferences, reviews of European books and the like. The journal would therefore serve two purposes. As a ‘standard’ journal it would contribute to getting European research in social psychology known to social psychologists in Europe and beyond. On the other hand, and mainly through its briefer items, it would serve as a communication instrument among European researchers.

Two important and unique characteristics of the Journal deserve additional mention. Lack of proficiency in the English language by non-native English speakers was considered a potential obstacle to submitting manuscripts in English and it might perhaps even limit readership of the Journal. To mitigate these problems, manuscripts for major articles could also be submitted in French or German. Once accepted, they were translated into English. In addition, each major published article would have summaries in French, German, and Russian. The other distinctive feature of the Journal would be its flexibility. Authors were not expected to stick to a rigid style or mode of presentation. The editors wanted to respect each author’s preferred manner of presenting their work. It was hoped that this flexibility would take away some of the uncertainty or lack of self-confidence of potential authors.

A series of European Monographs in Social Psychology, to be published by Academic Press in cooperation with the Association, would constitute an additional way to bring European theoretical and research projects to the fore. The monographs were intended to be a principal outlet for new theoretical and empirical contributions in European social psychology. More generally they were intended as a means ‘to promote a distinctively European intellectual perspective to the rest of the world’. Specifically, as the early published volumes clearly show, with their emphasis on the social and cultural contexts as an essential ingredient to understand behavior, the monographs would offer a fresh addition to other (mostly North American) books and series. Yet, as Tajfel wrote: “The monographs do not set out to be ‘European’ in explicit opposition, competition or contradiction to anything else, but a discipline concerned with the analysis of human social life must be tested and measured against the intellectual and social requirements of many cultures.” The first two volumes of the series, entitled ‘The Social dimension: European Developments in Social Psychology’, edited by Tajfel and with contributions from many authors, constituted a perfect illustration of the above assertion. The same holds for all the later volumes in the series.