E&S: SI on Histories of Business and Inequality


Enterprise and Society: The International Journal of Business History is seeking expressions of interest from teams wishing to act as Guest Editors of a Special Issue of the journal on ‘Histories of Business and Inequality.’ This issue will be the first in a new initiative recently announced by Enterprise and Society and Cambridge University Press. This initiative adds a fifth issue to the four published annually by the journal since it was founded in 2000. The new fifth issue, which will be published online, is designed to significantly enhance the reach and impact of business history by creating a space in which to explore inter-disciplinary dialogue and address very large scale problems in ways that are beyond the scope of conventional original research articles and typical thematically focused special issues.
In a significant departure from conventional practice the agenda for this new initiative will be set by the editorial team at Enterprise and Society. We will then seek bids from editorial teams able to show that they can take that agenda and shape it in creative ways that will enhance interdisciplinary dialogue within and beyond the fields of business history and history, leading to important and impactful new insights. The initiative aims to generate not only highly original new research but also, more importantly, bold and ambitious synthetic articles exploring the issue at hand in provocative ways. Successful editorial teams will be given an opportunity to organize a supporting workshop to be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Business History Conference, on whose behalf Enterprise and Society is published. It is anticipated that the first issue of this initiative will be published in 2020. Please see below for further details of the proposed timeline.

Histories of Business and Inequality

Inequality – economic, social, and cultural – has been a feature of human societies for
millennia. Today, inequality, both within and between societies, is viewed as problematic. Governments and supranational institutions seek to develop policies aimed at the elimination or amelioration of inequality. Has inequality always been viewed as problematic and why is it viewed as problematic today? Critically, how has the relationship between inequality and business enterprises and activities been viewed over time and across societies? Has business been viewed as being responsible for causing inequality? Has it been viewed as having a responsibility to reduce inequality? Can we write histories of business and inequality? What conceptual and methodological challenges would such histories of business and inequality involve? By business we include private organizations of many types—corporations, families, partnerships, business groups, financial, industrial, trading and merchant enterprises, as well as
state owned enterprise and business in non-capitalist societies.


We seek expressions of interest from outstanding editorial teams. Bids will be assessed on their ability to fulfill the remit of the Special Issue. That ability will be assessed according to both the composition of the editorial team and how they propose to shape and address the chosen theme. Both should be aimed at ensuring interdisciplinary dialogue and scholarship and bold thinking.
Editorial teams must be comprised of a minimum of two individuals and must be
interdisciplinary. Interdisciplinarity is defined as least one member from beyond the field of business history, broadly defined. Team members may be drawn from the wider field of history or other cognate fields of study. International teams will be viewed favorably, as will teams combining established and emerging scholars. Alongside a description of the proposed editorial team, proposals should include a short
document (maximum of two pages, single spaced) outlining how the team proposes to shape and address the theme. The section above in this document outlining the theme of ‘Histories of Business and Inequality’ contains questions that are intended to be indicative only. Proposals should show creativity and initiative in the shaping and addressing the theme of Histories of Business and Inequality. In this respect, the main criteria will be the potential for generating interdisciplinary dialogue and fresh perspectives. This document will form the basis of the successful team’s subsequent Call for Papers. Proposals suggesting a variety of article formats will be welcomed.
It is important to stress that though published online all articles accepted for publication in the Special Issue will be subject to the same peer review and editorial processes as articles appearing in the regular print issues. They will also be produced and formatted to identical standards as those in regular print issues. Articles appearing in the Special Issue will be Enterprise and Society articles in every sense. Proposals, consisting of a description of the proposed editorial team, a document outlining how the theme will be shaped and addressed, and Curriculum Vitae for all team members, should be sent to Editor-in-Chief Andrew Popp by January 31st 2018 at andrew.popp@liverpool.ac.uk.
Enquiries from prospective teams are welcome and can be sent to the same email address.


  • Call for Guess Editors issued November 2017
  • Deadline for submission of proposals, January 31st 2018
  • Successful proposal, and its Call for Papers, announced at the Annual Meeting of the Business History Meeting, held in Baltimore, April 5th-7th 2018
  • Supporting developmental workshop held at the Annual Meeting of the Business
    History Conference, Cartegna (Columbia), March 14th-16th 2019, the preceding 11
    months allowing for initial submission, selection and review*
  • Issue published in Spring 2020, the preceding 12 months, approximately, allowing for subsequent review, selection, and production processes. The issue will be numbered and paginated as Vol. 20 No. 5 (2019)

* Attendance at the workshop by authors under consideration is strongly encouraged but not obligatory. Guest Editors will be given significant logistical support in organizing the workshop.