I’m chuffed (to use a Britishism) to find myself amidst esteemed colleagues in the latest open-access virtual special issue of Society & Space, on Geo-Political Economy. The theme, as elaborated in the introduction by Deb Cowen and Stuart Elden, brings together a (very) wide variety of articles that, while elaborating on political-economy foundations, engage the geographical in a way that is more nuanced than the universalism implied by ‘global’ or the state-centrism implied by ‘international’. That allows for a broad swathe of perspectives, and as Cowen and Elden note, some very different (and, one might on reflection say somewhat dated) registers. However, as they also note, that makes for particularly interesting reading. If a reader, on revisiting old debates, rejects most of the old material but rescues a nugget for reworking from a new perspective, then I would say that a reissue has served its purpose.
For a couple of years now, Society & Space has been publishing these virtual special issues, theme-based collections drawn from the archives and placed in an open-access repository for three months. They’re an innovative way of sparking new debate about old topics, and while they certainly don’t solve (or even really address) any of the underlying questions about open access and publishing, they do serve that crucial function that roots all journals: Getting people talking about new (and old) ideas.