The catch 22 syndrome of social scientists in the semiperiphery: Exploratory sociological observations

Marina Blagojevic*, Gad Yair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper describes the parochial predicament of the social sciences by looking at world sociology in its Janus-like face: on the one hand we focus on the intellectual, political, and sometimes even ethical compromises that social scientists in European semiperipheral countries forgo in order to gain acceptance and recognition in world sociology. On the other hand we show how these compromises paradoxically impoverish intellectual potentialities in the major centers of academic excellence too. In the analyses we focus on different interrelated facets of scholarly work where these paradoxes take shape: problem setting and conceptualization, the hierarchy of scholarly publications, the definition of excellence through citation patterns, scientific conferences, and lastly, funding schemes for research. We argue that the social and the political organization of the World System of Science jeopardizes free access to multiple and plural perspectives of the social. A potential source of ideas, theories, and paradigms is hampered by the hierarchical division of labor between scientists in the centers of science and their peers in semiperipheral countries, whose knowledge remains unutilized and sidelined.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)337-358
Number of pages22
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Global hierarchies
  • Knowledge production
  • Marginalization
  • Semiperiphery
  • Social scientists


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