Ties between Center and Periphery in the Scientific World-System: Accumulation of Rewards, Dominance and Self-Reliance in the Center

Thomas Schott


This study accounts for the organization of scientific research in networks of socio-intellectual tices that bind scientists into a community cultivating the scientific tradition. During the twentieth century the scientific community has become incrcasingly global both in the sense that its membership has spread world-widely and in the sense that its long-distance ties have intensified. The globalization of the community and its ties has been promoted by widely institutionalized arrangements, especially through the world's adoption of and belief in several scientific tenets: the universal validity of scientific knowledge, the ownership principle that knowledge should be the common property of humankind, and the political principle of granting autonomy to scientists for forming ties. The community and its network of ties form a hierarchy with centers attracting ties from peripheries. During the twentieth century the main center has shifted from Western Europe to North America while Eastern Europe has become less central, East Asia has become a bit central, and other regions have remained peripheral. A center attracts students from around the world for education, attracts scientists for conferences and visits, attracts deference from scientists throughout the world, exerts pervasive influence, is widely emulated, and is a desired source of recognition . In the global networks of ties, specifically of deference, influence, emulation and desire for recognition, there is an accumulation in the center of ties, both from within the center as an enhanced self-reliance and from the periphery as an enhanced centrality, exceeding the research performance at the center.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.1998.148


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