The World-Systemic Dynamics of Knowledge Production: The Distribution of Transnational Academic Capital in the Social Sciences

Márton Demeter


This paper expands the framework of the Bourdieusian field theory using a world-system theoretical perspective to analyze the global system of social sciences, or what might be called the world-system of knowledge production. The analysis deals with the main agents of the world-system of social sciences, and it also investigates the core-like and periphery-like processes of the system. Our findings affirm that a very characteristic center-periphery structure exists in global social sciences, with a few hegemonic countries and distinctly peripheral world regions. Our analysis not just presents empirical data on power structures in global social sciences but it also offers meaningful typologies for analysis of the roles different world regions play in maintaining the world-system of global knowledge production. The paper also proposes a three-dimensional model by which both geographical and social/institutional center-periphery relations may be analyzed.


world-system analysis; Field theory; social sciences; soft power relations; Global North hegemony

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