In 1988 Social Research launched its series of conferences at the New School, the proceedings of which are published as special issues of the journal. Each of our conferences examines a central aspect of our lives that 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 Social Research conferences come from a wide range of disciplines with many different perspectives and kinds of expertise: scientists, political scientists, and art historians routinely participate alongside legal theorists, policymakers 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.