-Call for Papers-

Marxism & Sciences: A Journal of Nature, Culture, Human and Society

Volume 2- Issue 2

Summer 2023

Radical Science Movements
Past, Present and Future

Guest Editors:

Sascha Freyberg & Gerardo Ienna

Announcement: 10 November 2022
Deadline for extended abstracts: 15 January 2023
Deadline for manuscripts: 01 March 2023 
Publication date: July 2023

 The UNESCO states:

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

On this occasion Marxism & Sciences calls for contributions investigating into the actual and potential agency of scientists and scholars from all fields and disciplines. In particular we are interested in the past, present and future of what came to be called Radical Science Movements. Some of these were Science for the People in the Anglophone realm, the activities of the British Society for the Social Responsibility in Science, the critique of science movements in France and Italy, among many others.

Recent awareness of the problematic relationship between politics and science, the discussions about truth and trust, social orientation and public participation in the sciences has also led to renewed interest in the history of these Radical Science Movements. From the late 1960s onwards, particularly in the wake of the ’68 social movements, Marxist and New Left activists could be found also among science students and scientists, who wanted to reform science accordingly. Movements, journals and organizations emerged which discussed and disseminated scientific knowledge and methods in new ways and to a broader public. In this respect Radical Science Movements played a crucial role in asking about the social orientation of the sciences. Although these remain pertinent questions, most of the projects were discontinued after 1989.

Science and Technology Studies (STS) often shared common social and intellectual origins with the Radical Science Movements; however it had a reverse trajectory. After completing the process of theoretical consolidation during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, STS became academically institutionalized. This dual process has generated an almost total de-politicising of the analysis on the relationship between science, technology and society.

Thus, an important juncture between public and scientific discourse was lost. The increasing political and economic pressure on the sciences in all fields today just recently resulted in the idea to revive scientific activism, as can be seen in the declaration of the “World Science Day for Peace and Development”, “March for Science”, “Science day”, and, to some extent, even the social movement of “Fridays for Future”. However, the political, cultural and social context has radically changed and poses new challenges both theoretical and practical.

Whereas the main concern of the Radical Science Movements in the 1970s and 1980s was to denounce the non-neutrality of scientific knowledge and its ideological uses, today’s social movements refer to the objectivity of scientific facts in an attempt to curb forms of denialism by both political and economic actors.

However, this kind of approach runs the risk of falling into naive forms of scientism as a reaction to the rampant distrust of science and experts. In contrast, the Radical Science Movements, thanks to their Marxist theoretical basis, were able to elaborate a critical view of science capable of eschewing both scientism and relativism. This kind of approach therefore deserves to be reframed in light of the contemporary scientific-political situation.

In this respect Radical Science Movements represent not only a historical phase of disciplinary or institutional formation, but a structural task, which we try to understand and further develop.

In this context, we call for contributions to analyse the actual potential of the sciences to transform themselves and society from below and from within. We try to understand as well the re-emergence of the need to use Marxist categories to analyze the major issues that afflict contemporary science.

In this way our issue wants to contribute to the perennial discussion of this journal and to investigate into the relation of Marxism and the sciences.

Proposals of different formats are possible (see guidelines below) and can include but are not limited to the following fundamental questions:

  • What does Radical Science mean today? What are groups active in the world right now? What are their goals?
  • How do they coordinate with each other transnationally? Is there any international collaboration?
  • How to reactualize the claims of the Radical Science Movements in the contemporary political-scientific conjuncture?
  • What are the areas of contact between activism and scientific research?
  • What are systemic constraints of scientific agency?
  • How to redefine the exchanges between STS and Marxist understanding of science?
  • What forms of counter-cultures of knowledge operate today?
  • What basis do concepts such as “open science”, “citizen science”, “crowd science” play in this context with respect to the issue of a “right to research”? Are they forms of “emancipated science,” or do they contain political-ideological issues?
  • How do the different forms of activism look like in the natural and in the social sciences? What is activism in the humanities?
  • What is the role of science in reconstitution and/or transcending the capitalist mode of production?
  • How sciences can contribute to conceiving the totality of social reality and changing it?
  • How a Radical Science Movement aiming for overcoming the segmentation of the working class into the intellectual labourers, manual labourers, and the outcast can be formed?

Extended abstracts (400 to 500 words) should be directed to the guest editors of the issue:
Sascha Freyberg: sfreyberg@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de
Gerardo Ienna: gerardo.ienna@univr.it

Guidelines: https://marxismandsciences.org/guideline-for-authors/


-Call for Papers-

Marxism & Sciences: A Journal of Nature, Culture, Human and Society

Volume 2- Issue 1

Winter 2023

Foundations of Marxism-II: Ilyenkovian Contributions

Announcement: 16 August 2021
Deadline: 1 November  2022
Publication date: January 2023

Due to both the extensiveness of the topic and the interest in the issue of Foundations of Marxism-I: Philosophy, Method, And Revolutionary Vision (M&S Volume 1, issue 2, 2022) we decided to further pursue the main theme for future issues. Therefore, the next issue will be discussing the contributions of Soviet Marxist Evald V. Ilyenkov to the foundations of Marxism and present approaches which bear the mark or continue his line of thought.
In this vein, in Volume 2, Issue 1 (Winter 2023), we intend to include scholarly articles or essays and cultural works that discuss Ilyenkovian contributions to Marxism as a scientific method, as an epistemology, as a philosophy and as a revolutionary vision and strategy, and assess the extent of actuality and viability of Marxism in general and Ilyenkov in particular in the wake of a crisis of humanity. We especially welcome contributions which take his approach further and engage with contemporary issues.


-Call for Papers-

Marxism & Sciences: A Journal of Nature, Culture, Human and Society

Volume 1- Issue 2

Summer 2022

The Foundations of Marxism: Philosophy, Method, And Revolutionary Vision

Announcement: 15 September 2021
Deadline: 01 February 2021 extended to 15 March 2022
Publication date: July 2022

As stated by many critical scholars and commentators, the Covid 19 pandemic, which still continues to haunt the world, has made capitalism’s political and economic crisis more apparent than ever. An abrupt suspension of the “normal” functioning of the global market mechanisms and the inability of the states and capitalists to develop coherent responses to the situation have unraveled once more the fragility of financial capitalism. The now-conspicuous and immediate repercussions of ecological crisis, which manifest themselves with soaring temperatures, unprecedently enormous wildfires, floods and droughts are observed worldwide. This situation has also demonstrated how capitalism lacks any effective instruments to at least mitigate the imminent catastrophes stemming from its inherent propensity to commodify all of life to the detriment of life itself.  Under these circumstances, contemporary capitalism is characterized no longer by economic growth, further globalization, or an ideological triumph over socialism but by rampant ontological insecurity, a gloomy sense of apocalypse, and bleak future scenarios.  In search for the foundational reasons for this “total crisis”, even the mainstream intellectuals tend to problematize the intrinsically destructive forces of capitalist production and the devastating consequences it has had on human to human, and, in general, human to nature relations.

As the “totality” of life itself, not only the human life but also the life of the earth in general, is at stake today, there emerged, even among the mainstream thinkers, a tendency to discuss the viability of some total solutions for a potential total catastrophe.  The urge of the World Economic Forum, the leading capitalist platform of the world, for a total revision, epitomized by the phrase “Great Reset” is a quintessential and telling example of this tendency. Any Marxist would concede that any quest for developing “total” solutions to the total crisis of capitalism from within capitalism itself is not ony unavailing but also manipulative, as it is impossible to design any solution for such a massive and all-encompassing crisis by remaining within both the material and ideational confines of capitalism.

The totality of the contemporary crisis of capitalism rather invites us to rethink the fundamental premises of Marxism in its totality, as the method of understanding and transcending capitalism and reflecting on the historical, present, and possible future forms of human-human and human-nature relations. In an age characterized by the urgent need for a “new beginning”, the quest for revisiting, rethinking, and clarifying Marxism’s foundational premises in different fields of science is crucial.  In this vein, in the second issue of Marxism and Sciences, we intend to include scholarly articles or essays and cultural works that discuss and consider the fundamental premises of Marxism as a scientific method, as an epistemology, as a philosophy and as a revolutionary vision and strategy, and assess the extent of actuality and viability of these premises in the wake of “total” crisis of humanity.

A number of fundamental questions that could be pursued in the submissions, including, but not limited to:

  • What are the common foundations of knowledge-production in different disciplines and how do sciences contribute to/challenge the prolongation of capitalism?
  • What is a Marxist approach to and a critique of the processes of knowing nature, culture, human and society?
  • What are the fundamental premises of the Marxist conception of nature, culture, human and society and to what extent are they actual and pertinent for understanding the crisis today in its totality?
  • What are the foundations for a Marxist conception of totality? What could be its promises to challange the recent anti- Marxist theoretical trends such as Material Turn, post-humanism and new materialism?
  • What are the fundamentals of Marxist class analysis? How could Marxist class analysis be helpful to understand the contemporary crisis in its totality?
  • What are the fundamental propositions and thesis of Marxism in regards to the origins of the state, the characteristics of capitalist state? How are they helpful to understand the contemporary crisis in its totality?
  • What are the foundations of a Marxist approach to and critique of contemporary social movements and how can it contribute to their emancipatory potentials?


-Call for Papers-

Marxism & Sciences: A Journal of Nature, Culture, Human and Society

Volume 1- Issue 1

Winter 2022

The Actuality of Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels, the “second violin” of Marxism as he calls himself, was born two hundred years ago on November 28, 1820 in the city of Barmen in Germany. Together with the “first violin”, Karl Marx, they built a comradeship after 1844 to the effect of meeting in person, if they happen to be in the same city, or exchanging letters, if in different ones, on a regular daily basis. Among the products of these comradeship there not only is The Holy Family, The German Ideology, and Manifesto of the Communist Party that they co-authored, or the books they authored individually on the basis of their mutual discussions but also is the very history of the international class struggle. This is also a comradeship that continued even after Marx’s death in 1883. Even death could not separate them because Engels devoted the rest of his life to arranging Marx’s manuscripts and notes and preparing them for publication as the second and third volumes of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value. As he had delved deeply into working on these manuscripts he wrote that he really felt as if living in the same commune with Marx.

The Actuality of Engels is the actuality of Marxism. Yet, this actuality is of special significance with regard to Engels: He has been chosen as the target by anti-Marxists in their campaign against Marxism, and has been treated as the “scapegoat” of Marxism by Western Marxism. For Western Marxism Engels represents aspects not present in Marx while for anti-Marxists he represents the concretization of the aspects already found in Marx, namely positivism, crude Marxism, mechanical materialism, economic determinism and reductionism, revisionism, and Stalinism.

We believe that Engels acquired this “special” position on the basis of his later elaboration and clear presentation of the most comprehensive thesis of Marxism that he and Marx had formerly expressed in their co-authored work The German Ideology: Although human and natural history can proceed separately, owing to their interaction they form a unified whole and thus become subnet of one single science, namely the science of history.

In other words, Engels got the opportunity to show the unity of dialectics in society, nature, and thinking in such a clear manner that neither he nor Marx had had the chance to do so before. However, he did this neither without Marx’s information nor without his contribution. For this reason we believe that it has become clearer than ever that Marxism’s and Engels’ actuality are identical. Yet, this should not be conceived of as considering Engels as one and the same person as Marx, as was done in the Soviet Union, which in a sense makes Engels invisible.

Although the interest in Engels was particularly developed in the 1970s among a small yet very influential number of Marxist natural scientists it has started to include social scientists as well since the 1980s and 1990s due to the ecological catastrophe. It is not a surprise that Engels’ studies on natural sciences form the basis for the later studies of these sciences and ecology. However, neither Engels’ contributions nor Marxism as a whole can be limited to an exclusive study of social sphere or that of nature as they aim for a totality illimitable by either. As the experience of the ongoing Corona pandemic has shown the catastrophe signifies a complexity that cannot be explained with reference to either purely social or purely natural processes: The “natural” disaster that is rooted in rule of capital and which is turning into a “social” disaster as it is administered in order to contribute to the strengthening on this rule calls for a totality capable of resolving this complexity.        

Marxism & Sciences aims to make an issue that embraces the role of Engels in constituting Marxism’s totality. In this context, we expect your contributions elaborating Engels’ actuality in the 21st century.

Announcement: 15 March 2021
Deadline for Submissions:
01 July 2021 extended to 15 August 2021
Publication date: January 2022