History of education is a rich field of study whose outlines vary and retrospective analysis may contribute to strengthening critical thinking. The articles in this special issue work towards this by studying research in this field and its evolution in France, Spain, Britain, Portugal and the Baltic States. They build on the identification of institutional anchoring and communication networks that condition and foster a renewal of knowledge. Specific focus is given to doctoral dissertations. Working on comparable material, the articles show that dissertations help to identify the logics of positioning for a discipline. This first step in a career can sometimes be taken as a means to "framing" the future of a field (to consolidate a school of thought), or it can sometimes constitute a space for renewal. The historiographical assessments show the dynamism of the history of education as well as its tensions. Thus, the sustained pace of institutional changes in the Iberian Peninsula demonstrates the fragmentation of historical research. Institutional and editorial restructuration are also at the heart of the study of the French situation, shedding new light on the vitality of the field. Lastly, the panoramic vision of the evolution of History of Education in Britain since 1960, offers a way to link the historicization of its communication networks with its contents.