CfP Special issue 2024 "Transformations of Popular Science"


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In this special issue we invite researchers within areas such as history of science and ideas, history of knowledge, media history, science communication and STS, to contribute to the thematic section of next year’s volume of Lychnos: Annual of the Swedish History of Science Society. The theme – Transformations of Popular Science – tries to capture the many ways in which the role of science in society has been intrinsically tied to questions about popularisation – or more broadly – the public mediation of scientific knowledge, practices, and values.

Popular science is still often conceived of, practiced, and valued in terms of (appropriate) simplification and dissemination. There is, however, a lot more to it, as recent scholarship has reframed the discussion on popularisation to encompass perspectives from other academic fields such as history of science, media and communication studies, cultural studies, and STS. The circulation, mediation and overall public discourse on science, technology and research has consequently begun to be understood in relation to other cultural meaning-making processes, intersecting with questions of democracy, citizenship, consumption, identity, and so forth. Departing from these baseline assumptions, this special issue aims to explore science popularisation, communication, deliberation, and mediation in historical context over the past century (give or take).


We encourage specifically (but not exclusively) contributions that:

  • Investigate how the genre and practice of popular science have changed and varied over time in relation to broader transformations of the media and research landscapes in the 20th century and onwards.
  • Explore the underlying ideological, conceptual and value-based assumptions that have been guiding popularisation activities in the past, as well as research about popular science. Empirical as well as theoretical and historiographical contributions are welcome.
  • Specifically highlight the role of popularisation for all disciplines and research areas, including the humanities and social sciences.
  • Take seriously the digital transformation of society and how it has altered conditions for popularisation overall.
  • Problematise terms like “popularisation” and “popular science” and their relation to other concepts and practices, like mediated science, expository science, science journalism, knowledge circulation, science fiction, etc.

This special issue focuses on Sweden and the Nordic region in particular, but contributions investigating the history of popular science in other parts of the world are also welcome. Lychnos publishes articles in in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and English.


The following types of contributions will be considered:

  • Research paper (max 9500 words)
  • Historiographical reflections (max 5000 words)


Time frame:

17 November 2023: Deadline for submitting abstracts.

1 December 2023: Confirmation of acceptance of abstracts.

31 March 2024: Deadline for submission of full manuscript. All manuscripts will go through a process of double-blind peer review. Manuscripts should be submitted using the journal website:

AprilAugust 2024: Peer review and time for revision of manuscripts.

September–November 2024: Copy editing.

December 2024–January 2025: Publication, print and online.


Abstracts (about 300 words) as well as questions about this special issue can be sent to the special issue editors, Jenny Eklöf and Jonatan Samuelsson.

Jenny Eklöf, & Jonatan Samuelsson,