Note from the editor

Redescriptions. Yearbook of Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory

is a journal for politically inspired theoretical and historical work and theoretically challenging political thought. Redescription refers to a rhetorical move that alters a concept or a description in one respect or another.

In terms of both classical rhetoric and modern linguistics of signs, 'redescription' is the common name for a group of moves changing a concept or a description in various respects. At least four different variants of redescription can be discerned: reconceptualisation (revision of meaning), renaming (change of the name), re-weighting (shifting significance) and re-evaluation (alteration of the normative colour). One of the classical sources of such rhetorical redescription is the scheme of paradiastole in the ancient and renaissance rhetoric, which refers to de- or revaluing the normative tone, or to increasing or decreasing significance of the concept in question. In a broader sense, the point of both renaming and reconceptualising can be in the corresponding changes that either increase or decrease the acceptability of a concept.

More generally, redescriptions of concepts and changes in vocabularies always perform politically and are omnipresent in political thought. Political use of concepts is regularly controversial and contested. Accepting the omnipresence of conceptual contestation as a condition for understanding politics and conceptual change, this journal draws attention to the moves of redescription, particularly in the study of political theory, conceptual history and feminist theory as political thinking. Every description is already a challenge to redescribe, in one sense or another. Redescriptions should be, in principle, appreciated as signs of political creativity and innovation, even if we cannot predict the uses a particular redescription eventually leads to.

For the first seven years Redescriptions was published under the title Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought. In 2003 the journal was renamed Redescriptions. By renaming our Yearbook, we aimed at developing further the academic project, which had become more successful in intellectual terms than the founders of the publication initially imagined. Contributions by a number of international scholars prompted us to leave behind the title ”Finnish“. Although the journal has kept its headquarters in Finland, the team of editors is now international. Since 2006 Redescriptions has operated within the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Chance, and we are grateful to the Academy of Finland for funding the editorial work this way.

Redescriptions welcomes articles from a wide multidisciplinary range, the emphasis being in the fields of political theory, history of concepts and feminist theory. Feminist thought has since the first renaming of the journal increased its presence in Redescriptions. In 2008 Feminist Theory was incorporated into the full name of the publication in order to emphasize the long term politics of publishing in a field which we consider one that par excellance requires a skill of thinking politically. In the field of conceptual history, Redescriptions has already consolidated its status as one of the primary forums of publication. We have published analyses which study the rhetorical dimension of conceptual changes in microscopic detail. Political thought in various forms, whether challenging in philosophical, historical or contemporary terms has found its place in the journal. Also in the future, Redescriptions welcomes original scholarly contributions on any aspect of political thought no matter what the academic discipline of the author is. In particular, we welcome papers which take the changing and contested character of concepts seriously.