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




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


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.

Author Biography

Márton Demeter, Karoli Gaspar University of the Reformed Church

Associate professor

communication and media department


Aksnes, Dag W., Rorstad, Kristoffer, Piro, Fredrik N. and Siversten, Gunnar. 2013. “Are mobile researchers more productive and cited than non-mobile researchers? A large-scale study of Norwegian scientists”. Research Evaluation, 22(4):215-223.

Asheulova, Nadia and Dushina, Svetlana. 2014. “Research career development in Russia: the role of international mobility” In Prpić, I. van der Weijden and N. Asheulova: (Re)searching scientific careers. Pp 171-196. St Petersburg: Nestor-Historia,

Ashtaneh, Behrooz and Masoumi, Sarah. 2017. “From paper to practice: Indexing systems and ethical standards.” Science and Engineering Ethics. Advance online publication.

Azoulay, Pierre, Stuart, Toby, Wang, Yanbo. 2013. “Matthew: effect of fable?” Management Science 60(1):92–109.

Baldi, Stéphane. 1994. “Changes in the Stratification Structure of Sociology: 1964-1992.” American Sociologist 25:28–43.

Batori, Zsolt, Hamp, Gábor and Horanyi, Özséb. 2003. “The participation theory of communication: philosophical and methodological analysis of interlingua perspectives”. In: A summary article of the language learning roundtable conference on the participation theory of communication, May 19–20, 2003. Budapest, Hungary. 2003. Retrieved from

Bauder, Harald. 2015. “The international migration of academics: a labour market perspective”. International Migration 53: 83 –96.

Bazermann, Charles. 1988. Shaping written knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Bennett, Karen. 2015. “Towards an epistemological monoculture: Mechanisms of epistemicide in European research publication”, pp. 9–36, in English as a Scientific and Research Language, edited by R. Plo Alastrué, R. and C. Pérez-Llantada. Berlin, Germany, De Gruyter.

Bornmann, Lutz. 2017. "Is collaboration among scientists related to the citation impact of papers because their quality increases with collaboration? An analysis based on data from F1000Prime and normalized citation scores.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68(4):1036–1047.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1988. Homo Academicus. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

_____. 1998. Practical Reason. On the Theory of Action. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

_______. 2004.Science of Science and Reflexivity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Burris, Val. 2004. “The Academic Caste System: Prestige Hierarchies in PhD Exchange Networks.” American Sociological Review 69 (2), 239–264.

Bühlmann, Felix., Benz, Pierre, Mach, André and Rossier, Thierry. 2017. “Mapping the power of law professors: The role of scientific and social capital”. Minerva 55:509-531.

Chase-Dunn, Christopher and Hall, Thomas D. 1997. Rise and Demise. Comparing World-Systems. Boulder: Westview Press.

_______. 1998. Global Formation. Structures of the World-Economy. Boston: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

_______. Christopher. 1999. “Globalization: A World-Systems Perspective”. Journal of World-Systems Research 5(2): 198-215.

Clauset, Aaron, Arbesman, Samuel and Larremore, Daniel B. 2015. “Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks”. Science Advances 1(1): 1– 6.

Cline, Eric H. 2000. “Contested Peripheries in World Systems Theory: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley as a Test Case”. Journal of World-Systems Research 6(1): 7-16.

Coccia, Mario and Bozeman, Barry. 2016. “Allometric models to measure and analyze the evolution of international research collaboration”. Scientometrics, 108(3): 1065–1084.

Cowan, Robin and Rossello, Guilia. 2018. “Emergent structures in faculty hiring networks, and the effects of mobility on academic performance”. Scientometrics 117: 527–562.

Curry, Mary Jane and Lillis, Theresa. 2018. Global Academic Publishing. Policies, Perspectives and Pedagogies. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Cret, Benoit and Musselin, Christine. 2010. “Academic hiring and Inequality”. In Goastellec, G. Understanding Inequalities in, through and by Higher Education. pp.75 –90. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Demeter, Marton. 2017a. “Author productivity index: Without distortions”. Science and Engineering Ethics. Advance online publication.

_______. 2017b. “The core-periphery problem in communication research: A network analysis of leading publication”. Publishing Research Quarterly 33(4): 402–421.

_______. 2018a. “The Global South’s Participation in the International Community of Communication Scholars: From an Eastern European Point of View”. Publishing Research Quarterly 34:238–255.

_______. (2018b). “Changing Center and Stagnant Periphery in Communication and Media Studies: National Diversity of Major International Journals in the Field of Communication from 2013 to 2017”. International Journal of Communication 12: 2893–2921.

_______. 2018c. “The Winner Takes It All. International Inequality in Communication and Media Studies Today”. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Advance online publication.

_______. 2019. So Far Yet So Close. “International Career Paths of Communication Scholars from the Global South”. International Journal of Communication 13, Advance online publication.

Efranmanesh, Mohammadamin, Tahira, Muzammil, & Abrizah, A. 2017. “The publication success of 102 nations in Scopus and the performance of their Scopus-indexed journals”. Publishing Research Quarterly. Advance online publication.

Enders, Jürgen. 2001. “A Chair System in Transition: Appointments, Promotions, and Gate-Keeping in German Higher Education”. Higher Education 41(1/2): 3 – 25.

Erren, T.C., Shaw, D.M. and Morfeld, P. (2016). “Analyzing the publish-or-perish paradigm with game theory: The prisoner’s dilemma and a possible escape”. Science and Engineering Ethics 22:1431–1446.

Fumasoli, Tatiana, Goastellec, Gaele and Kehm, Barbara M. 2015. Academic Work and Careers in Europe: Trends, Challenges, Perspectives. New York: Springer.

Gerhards, Jürgen, Hans, Silke and Carlson, Sören. 2017. Social Class and Transnational Human Capital. How Middle and Upper Class Parents Prepare Their Children for Globalization. London: Routledge.

Gouanvic, Jean-Marc. 2005. “A Bourdieusian Theory of Translation, or the Coincidence of Practical Instances”. The Translator 11(2): 147-166.

Goyanes, Manuel. 2018. “Against dullness: on what it means to be interesting in communication research”. Information, Communication & Society, advance online publication.

Grenfell, Michael. 2008. Pierre Bourdieu. Key concepts. Stocksfield: Acumen Publishing.

Gumpenberger, Christian, Sorz, Hannes, Wieland, Martin and Gorraiz, Juan. 2016. “Humanities and social sciences in the bibliometric spotlight–Research output analysis at the University of Vienna and considerations for increasing visibility”. Research Evaluation 25(3): 271-278.

Gunaratne, Shelton A. 2002. “An Evolving Triadic World: A Theoretical Framework for Global Communication Research”. Journal of World-Systems Research 8(2): 330–365.

Heilbron, Johan, Sorá, Gustavo and Boncourt, Thibaud. 2018. The Social and Human Sciences in Global Power Relations. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Henriksen, Dorte. 2018. “What factors are associated with increasing co-authorship in the social sciences? A case study of Danish Economics and Political Science”. Scientometrics 114: 1395-1421.

Herschberg, Channah, Benschop, Yvonne and Brink, Marieke van den. 2018. “Selecting early-career researchers: the influence of discourses of internationalisation and excellence on formal and applied selection criteria in academia”. Higher Education, online first article.

Kahveci, Ajda, Southerland, Sherry A., and Gilmer, Penny J. 2008. “From marginality to legitimate periphality: Under the essential functions of a women’s program”. Science Education 92:33–64.

Komlosy, Andrea. 2016. “Prospects of Decline and Hegemonic Shifts for the West”. Journal of World-Systems Research 22(2): 463–483.

Komlosy, Andrea., Boatca, Manuela and Nolte, Hans-Heinrich. 2016. “Introduction: Coloniality of Power and Hegemonic Shifts in the World-System”. Journal of World -Systems Research 22(2): 309-314.

Kuhn, Thomas. 1962. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Lauf, Edmund. 2005. “National diversity of major international journals in the field of communication”. Journal of Communication, 55(1): 129-151.

Lee, Jack T. and Kuzhabekova, Aliya. 2017. “Reverse flow in academic mobility from core to periphery: motivations of international faculty working in Kazakhstan”. Higher Education, online first article.

Lee, Chul-joo and Sohn, Dongyung. 2016. “Mapping the social capital research in communication: a bibliometric analysis”. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 94(4):728–49.

Leung, Maggie. 2013. “Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles’: geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars”. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38(2): 311-324.

Long, J. Scott. 1979. “Productivity and academic position in the scientific career”. American Sociological Review 43: 889 –908.

Long, J. Scott, Allison, P. D. and McGinnis, R. 1979. “Entrance into the Academic Career”. American Sociological Review 44 (5): 816–830.

Maliniak, Daniel, Peterson, Suisan, Powers, Ryan and Tierney, Michael J. 2018. “Is International Relations a Global Discipline? Hegemony, Insularity, and Diversity in the Field”. Security Studies 27(3): 448 – 484.

Martin, Alberto M., Orduna-Malea, Enrique, Ayllon, Juan M., and Lopez-Cozar, Emilio Delgado. 2015. “The counting house, measuring those who count. Presence of Bibliometrics, Scientometrics, Informetrics, Webometrics and Altmetrics in Google Scholar Citations, ResearcherID, ResearchGate, Mendeley, & Twitter”. EC3 Working Papers No. 21. Retrieved from

Makkonen Teemu and Mitze, Timo. 2016. “Scientific collaboration between ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states: did joining the European Union make a difference?” Scientometrics 106:1193–215.

Moody, James. 2004. “The structure of a social science collaboration network: Disciplinary cohesion from 1963 to 1999”. American Sociological Review 69(2): 213-238.

Mullins, Nicholas C. 1973. Theories and theory groups in contemporary American sociology. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Musselin, Christine. 2004. “Towards a European academic labour market? Some lessons drawn from empirical studies on academic mobility”. Higher Education 48: 55–78.

Nye, Joseph S. 2004. Soft Power. The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs.

Perc, Matjaz. 2014. “The Matthew effect in empirical data”. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 11:1-15.

Ronda-Pupo, Guillermo, Armando and Katz, J. Silvan. 2018. “The power law relationship between citation impact and multi-authorship patterns in articles in Information Science & Library Science journals”. Scientometrics 114: 919-932.

Rothenberger, Liane Tessa, Auer, Claudia and Pratt, Cornelius. B. 2017. “Theoretical approaches to Normativity in communication research”. Communication Theory 27,: 176-201.

Saurin, Tarcisio Abreu. 2016. “Ethics in publishing: Complexity science and human factors offer insights to develop a just culture”. Science and Engineering Ethics 22:1849–1854.

Schott, Thomas. 1998. “Ties between Center and Periphery in the Scientific World-System: Accumulation of Rewards, Dominance and Self-Reliance in the Center”. Journal of World -Systems Research 4:112 – 144.

Shenhav, Yehouda A. 1986. “Dependency and compliance in academic research infrastructures”. Sociological Perspectives 28(1): 29–51.

Schmoch ,Ulrich, Schubert, Torben. 2008. “Are International co-publications an indicator for quality of scientific research?” Scientometrics 74(3):361–77.

Schubert, Torben., and Sooryamoorthy, Radhamany. 2009. “Can the centre–periphery model explain patterns of international scientific collaboration among threshold and industrialised countries? The case of South Africa and Germany”. Scientometrics 83: 181–203.

Siversten, Gunnar. 2016. “Patterns of internationalization and criteria for research assessment in the social sciences and humanities”. Scientometrics 107: 357–368.

Smith, G. Daryl, Turner, Caroline S., Osei-Kofi, Nana and Richards, Sandra. 2004. “Interrupting the Usual: Successful Strategies for Hiring Diverse Faculty”. The Journal of Higher Education 75(2):133 – 160.

Sooroshian, Shahryar. 2017. “Author’s index”. KOME: An International Journal of Pure Communication Inquiry 5(2): 71–72.

Tomlinson, George and Freeman, Sydney. 2018. “Who really selected you? Insights into faculty selection processes in top-ranked higher education graduate programmes”. Journal of Further and Higher Education 42(6): 855 – 867.

Wacquant, Loic. 2018. “Bourdieu comes to town: Pertinence, Principles, Applications”. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42(1): 90-105.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974a. "The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative analysis" Comparative Analysis in Society and History 16(4): 387-415.

_______. 1974b. The Modern World System. Vol. 1, Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.

_______. 1979. The Capitalist World-Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

_______. 1983. Labor in the World Social Structure. London: Sage.

Wang, Lili and Wang, Xianwen. 2017. “Who sets up the bridge? Tracking scientific collaborations between China and the European Union”. Research Evaluation 26(2): 124–131.

Willett, Peter. 2013. “The characteristics of journal editorial boards in library and information science”. International Journal of Knowledge Content Development & Technology 3(1): 5-17.

Williamson, Ian O. and Cable, Daniel. M. 2003. “Predicting early career research productivity: the case of management faculty”. Journal of Organizational Behavior 24: 25–44.

Wu, Hantian. and Zha, Quiang. 2018. “A New Typology for Analyzing the Direction the direction of Movement in Higher Education Internationalization”. Journal of Studies in International Education: 1–19.

Zanotto Sonia, Haeffner, Christina and Guimaraes, Jorge. 2016. “Unbalanced international collaboration affects adversely the usefulness of countries’ scientific output as well as their technological and social impact”. Scientometrics 109:1789–814.

Zdenek, Radek. 2017. “Editorial board self-publishing rates in Czech economic journals”. Science and Engineering Ethics, Online first article.


Additional Files



How to Cite

Demeter, M. (2019). The World-Systemic Dynamics of Knowledge Production: The Distribution of Transnational Academic Capital in the Social Sciences. Journal of World-Systems Research, 25(1), 111–144.