The History of Political and Social Concepts Group (HPSCG) was established at a meeting at the Finnish Institute in London in 1998. The purpose of the group was to bring together scholars interested in the study of political and social concepts. The HPSCG relies on a variety of approaches to the history of ideas and concepts that emerged in the 1960’s and as part of a paradigm shift later named the linguistic turn. HPSCG has particular been inspired by a German approach to the study of conceptual changes (Begriffsgeschichte) developed by Reinhart Koselleck and by the new development in the history of ideas now known as the Cambridge School whose leading figures are Quentin Skinner and John Pocock. Under the tutelage of Melvin Richter and Kari Palonen the HPSCG has focused on deriving theoretical and methodological synergies from a dialogue between these two approaches. The HPSCG has also found sources of inspiration in French approaches to the history of ideas (Pierre Rosanvallon) and to the genealogy of ideas and discourses (Michel Foucault) and in Italian approaches to the study of concepts (Guiseppe Duso). The HPSCG brought together scholars working on national projects of studying the history of concepts in their own national context (Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France), but now also includes regional projects covering more nation states such as the Ibero-American project, the Central European project and the East Asian project.
Since its first meeting in London in 1998 the HPSCG has held annual conferences in Paris (1999), Copenhagen (2000), Tampere (2001), Amsterdam (2002), Bilbao (2003), Rio de Janeiro (2004), New York (2005), Uppsala (2006), Istanbul (2007), Seoul (2008), London (2009), Moscow (1010), Buenos Aires (2011)