In this volume, the social question is related to forms of visualisation and imagination and to the political action that arose from them. In the debate of the social question, individual distress (such as poverty, illness and unemployment) was reformulated into societal and political issues, bringing to the fore the question of inclusion: Who belongs to the nation? Who can become a citizen? In this process, the visual, statistical and textual representation of the social question enabled a determination of public opinion, political agenda setting and eventually the implementation of social politics. These representations provide us with new perspectives on the social question itself, help us to broaden the definition of politics, and shed light upon the social and political implications of art and literature. This volume is based on contributions to the international conference 'Imagination and Commitment. Representations of the Social Question', University of Groningen, the Netherlands, which took place on 10-11 May 2007, and was sponsored by the NWO programme 'Democracy, policy, knowledge' and the Groningen Research School for the Study of the Humanities.