Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INTERCO-SSH Report Summary

Project ID: 319974
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: France

Final Report Summary - INTERCO-SSH (INTERnational COoperation in the SSH: Comparative Socio-Historical Perspectives and Future Possibilities)

Executive Summary:
The INTERCO-SSH project sets out to assess the state of the Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH) in Europe and to understand the factors that facilitate or hinder international exchanges. It aims to outline potential future pathways that could promote cooperation across disciplinary and national boundaries.

The project uses the tools of the SSH to study the SSH in their socio-historical context, including their relationship with the political and economic powers. It compares the process of institutionalization of seven academic disciplines in order to identify the sociological factors that have shaped the “academic unconscious” of scholars. Furthermore, it investigates the transfer of knowledge between countries and disciplines, the geographical mobility of scholars and the circulation of ideas.

INTERCO-SSH project is the first large-scale comparative project of the institutionalization of seven disciplines in the SSH – economics, sociology/demography, political science, anthropology, philosophy, literature, psychology/psychoanalysis – in eight countries from 1945 until now (Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Argentina, the United States). It also analyses exchanges between those countries and other areas: the US, Latin-America (Argentina and Brazil), and countries in the Global South.
The approach combines three perspectives:
- Constructing patterns of institutionalization of the SSH
- Mapping the exchanges between countries and disciplines
- Analyzing the circulation of paradigms, theories, methods and controversies

Project Context and Objectives:
The general objectives of the current EU strategy aim at strengthening the capacity for innovation in the ‘knowledge economy’. Innovation is widely recognized to be often rooted in processes of boundary crossing. Following Joseph Schumpeter’s idea that innovation results from ‘new combinations’ that become possible by crossing existing boundaries and disregarding established modes of thought, innovation in science depends closely on the way these very boundaries between research domains are drawn and on the opportunities researchers have to transcend them.
While spreading the SSH throughout the world, the nationalization of academic training and research, as well as the institutionalization of disciplinary divisions, entailed institutional and cognitive differences which have an impact on the possibilities of dialogue and cooperation among researchers. There is a certain amount of path-dependency of national and disciplinary traditions, which is the main — albeit underestimated — source of misunderstandings among scholars from different countries or disciplines. Explaining the obstacles to cooperation in SSH and understanding how to overcome them thus requires a sociological and historical perspective on the institutionalization of national and disciplinary boundaries. These boundaries have been internalized by scholars; indeed, the obstacles to scientific cooperation often stem from education which shapes their “academic unconscious”.
The INTERCO project aimed at using the tools of SSH to study SSH in a socio-historical perspective. It’s first objective was thus to develop a methodology and objective indicators for studying SSH in both a comparative and transnational perspective. Rather than simply juxtaposing or comparing individual cases of disciplines or nations, three different overarching perspectives on SSH in Europe were articulated:
1) Institutionalization patterns of SSHas disciplines in various countries were studied because their differences have a direct impact on future opportunities for Europeanization and internationalization. (WP2)
2) National and disciplinary boundaries were studied since they act both as triggers for scientific innovation and as obstacles for cooperation; the permeability or rigidity of these boundaries can be measured through the exchanges between disciplines and countries observed in concrete terms. (WP 3)
3) Paradigms, theories and controversies often tend to circulate beyond these institutional boundaries and provide focuses for researchers across countries and disciplines open to cooperation. (WP 4)
These three dimensions were studied in conjunction in order to understand the institutional, social and cognitive conditions of international cooperation in European SSH. Each of them shed light on different kinds of obstacles to cooperation (such as national structures and traditions, institutional boundaries, theoretical framing and diverging methods), but also revealed the potential for cooperation and the way to strengthen it by overcoming the existing obstacles (WP 5).

1) Constructing patterns of institutionalization of the SSH (WP2)

This work package aimed at developing a concise set of indicators for the comparative analysis of the development of the social sciences and the humanities (SSH) in Europe since 1945. Mapping the recent history of the SSH in various European countries with reference to their main intellectual partners outside the continent is indispensable to envisage its future prospects. The objectives were:
(1) to identify national patterns of institutionalization which might explain the relative isolation of national traditions in the SSH but also the operating patterns of crossed influences and international cooperation (competition, national self-assertion, efforts to 'catch-up', etc.).
(2) to assess the importance of the disciplinary division of labor within the SSH in order to reflect upon the historically changing power relations between branches of study, processes of professionalization of new disciplines, the reshaping of traditional forms of scholarship and the potentialities of new mechanisms of intellectual and institutional collaboration and exchange with or without consequences in terms de-disciplinarization of disciplines concerned.
(3) to find out to which extent the varying institutional (or academic) division of labor within the SSH is an obstacle to cooperation among actual research branches and in which way its transformations can be a source of scientific innovation.

The objective was to establish tools and methods for a global sociology and history of the SSH, by identifying major social factors – including political ones - of their level of development as measured by objective empirical indicators.
Beyond the collection of national data, indicators for the comparative study of the development of SSH disciplines were produced in order to bring about systematically designed and well-structured overviews per country.

2) Crossing national and disciplinary boundaries (WP3)

The second overarching perspective adopted in this research project focuses on the ways in which geographic and disciplinary boundaries have manifested themselves in the SSH and how scholars and knowledge have circulated across research domains and national contexts. The crossing of disciplinary and national boundaries has been rightly considered as a major source of renewal and scientific innovation in the SSH.
The multiplication of scientific exchanges has accompanied the institutionalization of national systems of higher education and of research for a variety of reasons: efforts to ‘catch up’ (in terms of ‘modernity’), a sense of symbolic competition and preeminence, national self-assertion, etc. Despite a growing movement of circulation of ideas and cultural transfers (through scholars — migration — and through texts — translations or diffusion in and from dominant cultural languages such as English, French and German, which performed variously the functions as “lingua franca” in the SSH in different periods and regions), the organization of research and training continued by and large within national borders, according to either local or national patterns. Even the professionalization process endorsed national frontiers, the promotion of scholarship and the development intellectual infrastructures became crucial in the competition among cultural powers. Professional associations were thus organized both around disciplinary and national divisions. Even the international professional associations were often based on national representations, in contrast to research or discipline-based conferences, where scholars are invited as specialists in a specific field of inquiry and not (in principle) as representatives of their countries. Though the European Union has provided new frameworks and funding schemes for the supranational organization of research, these schemes have also, in part, been based on national representations. Is this nationally-based organizational principle still relevant and adapted to the tasks and challenges of research in SSH today and in the future, or should new forms be invented? This is one of the questions that this project addresses. The same concerns were addressed in the context of disciplinary boundaries.
Indicators of internationalization were built and used, such as international associations, international co-authorships, translations, exchange programs, etc. Special attention was given to the emergence of the European research area (European journals, associations, research institutes) and the impact of the EU research policy (especially the framework programs) on the cooperation practices. The project also considered manifestations of forms of cultural hegemony in the exchanges with the US, which have become dominant in the global field of SSH during the period under study, with Latin-American countries, which developed intense exchanges with some European countries like France, and with Asian countries. Furthermore, it considered the legacy of colonialism and political imperialism in the exchanges with the South (especially with Algeria and South Africa).

3) The circulation of paradigms, theories and controversies (WP4)

Paradigms and major theoretical statements, as well as scholarly controversies around them, have also been powerful vehicles for the circulation of ideas and intellectual exchange. Beyond cultural and disciplinary boundaries, they provide a common language and a set of shared references. The objective of this workpackage was to elaborate patterns of international circulation of ideas in the SSH based on case-studies of these competing theories and paradigms, and the controversies they provoked. The change and evolution of such paradigms occurred differently in different disciplines and countries. The impact of social and political conditions need also to be taken into account.
Since some of these theoretical frameworks were more or less associated with major thinkers, the project also aimed at analyzing the building of the international reputation of such thinkers. How did they achieve international recognition? How did their theories spread over the world? What was the role of intermediaries such as translators and publishers? Did they contribute to the internationalization of the public sphere and to the transformation of the figure of the public intellectual? What is their legacy in the present?

4) Overcoming obstacles to international and interdisciplinary cooperation (WP5)

These three perspectives (institutionalization, crossing boundaries and circulation of ideas) was intended to help identify factors acting either as obstacles or as triggers for scientific cooperation. The nationalization of SSH contributed to their institutionalization in different countries and the implementation of international exchange programs, but it also led to the development of local or national traditions, in response to local demands (emanating from political and economic forces).
The cultural and disciplinary boundaries can be an obstacle to scientific communication, whilst migration and specific transnational subdisciplines like comparative literature or international relations can help crossing geographic borders; the circulation of paradigms and theories can also contribute to transcend disciplinary frontiers.
A better knowledge of these processes and mechanisms should help to improve collaboration practices in SSH and to implement policies to foster them. A specific WP (n°5) was be dedicated to reflect on the obstacles to cooperation in the present and to identify potential for developing new collaborative practices; it should also point to domains where international collaboration should be encouraged.

Project Results:
The main results of the project are presented according to the three perspectives adopted: 1° compared institutionalization of the SSH; 2° crossing boundaries between disciplines and countries; 3°international circulation of paradigms, theories and methods.

1° The (Des)Institutionalization of the SSH. Comparative Perspectives and New Research Tracks (WP2)

Though it has proved impossible to produce strictly comparable data sets for various countries and periods due to the differences in our source materials as to the main research targets in the Interco-SSH project, a number of parallelisms and significant divergences are worth being observed in some major fields explored in the project. Herewith, a short reminder of this – often intriguing – problem area, together with suggested interpretations and occasional indications of possible tracks for further research.
A forthcoming volume will present synthetic analyses of the national case-studies for nine countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Argentina (Fleck, Christian, Victor Karady, and Matthias Duller eds. The Institutionalization of the Social Sciences and Humanities since 1945, Palgrave Macmillan).

The time scale of institutionalization processes appears to have been largely comparable in each country under scrutiny.
Philosophy has always been taught in ‘philosophical faculties’ since pre-modern times. Thus, it early became an institutionalized professional track in most places, and especially in countries – like France or Germany – where the demand for specialists included secondary school teachers from early onwards.
Several other SSH, such as the study of national literature or local folklore, were also admitted within universities’ lecture halls at an advanced stage of nation state building, which included the nationalization of higher education (some time during the 19th century).
Others (together with some study branches not explicitly involved in the Interco-SSH project) emerged as more or less applied disciplines, following movements and transformations involved in societal processes of modernization, individualization, as well as other forms of self-assertion of Western type modernity. Since the second half of the 19th century, economics, geography, social statistics, demography, oriental studies, psychology, educational science started to be organized in learned societies and/or represented both in specialized journals and in university chairs, in the Philosophical Faculties (humanities and sciences) or in Law Faculties, or sometimes in vocational academies (for example in commercial academies or in the rabbinical seminars of Breslau or Budapest).
By the turn of the century (1900), institutional initiatives to organize the production of cognitive goods, in what later became the domain of sociology and political science, can also be identified in most countries, though not always with the same designation. Full institutionalization made serious headway in the inter-war decades via universities and academies everywhere, but could not be fully achieved in most disciplines for lack of organized schemes of self-reproduction, certified by professional degrees of educational authorities.
There were extra-mural exceptions. For example, psychoanalysis rapidly achieved – in most countries, within the first decades of the 20th century – its full professionalization, thanks to authoritative national and international learned societies and privately arranged professional training. In spite of differences in theoretical approaches, fundamental working hypotheses and methodologies, the consensus within established national or international associations, secured the professionalization and the self-certified reproduction and development of this scholarly bracket, which benefited over time from an ever-increasing public demand for the therapy it offered.
Between the wars, conservative political regimes and the rampant nazification of most Central European societies (from Germany to Romania) sometimes drastically limited the expansion of the SSH, not independently from their anti-Semitic drive, given the notorious presence and intellectual impact of Jewish specialists in most early SSH initiatives. On the contrary, Italian fascism often acted promotionally, using the SSH as techniques of social and economic engineering.
Full institutionalization started after the Second War only. The decisive change was consecutive to the general explosion of the size of student populations in the 1960s and the 1970s. From then, European universities progressively established full-scale specialized study tracks in each of the main SSH specialties, from ground level training to PhD.
Paradoxically, this happened in sovietized East Central Europe as well, although with a lapse of several years or more, and with ups and downs according to the local ideological turns of different party states, which in this respect were far from being perfectly harmonized. But the ban laid in the 1950s on some SSH disciplines (especially sociology, empirical political science, psychoanalysis) in several socialist countries and their mandatory substitution by the Stalinist revision of Marxism-Leninism in public education at all levels, came to be relaxed, if not completely lifted, from the mid 1960s onwards. Most hitherto prohibited SSH were readmitted to operate with a more or less growing degree of freedom over time. Still, funding remained by and large earmarked following changing party priorities, and political taboos were kept up (especially for themes connected to the communist power system and inter-state relationships in the socialist camp).
After the 1980s a dual development can be observed. In the democratic West, budgetary constraint heavily weighed upon the further growth of the SSH, while in Eastern Europe, emancipated from Soviet type party states in 1989-1990, there was a quasi explosion of SSH institutions, including university chairs and research centers, as testified by the sharp growth in publications, the set of new professional journals as well as the number of students and graduates.

The changing hierarchy of disciplines

This problem area, which is always pertinent in investigations related to intellectual professions, is liable to be approached in two ways.
One can compare the importance of professional markets and the size of professional staffs in various disciplines. This is mostly influenced by the degree to which concerned disciplines are of an academic nature, depending on the existence and the extension of demand for related services rendered outside of academe proper and applying professional competences certified by the given discipline.
But it is interesting to explore the rank or prestige of disciplines comparatively as well, that is, their relative intellectual prominence, which can be gauged by different measures. Their level of institutionalization, their visibility in the public discourse (as in references made by public intellectuals and other authorities), their targeting as preferred educational choices (especially when looking at the most ambitious and the best qualified students), their promotional power in academe or their potential of scholarly innovation are relevant indicators. Thus in France or in Italy, philosophy (practiced often exclusively in French) functioned as the academic flagship of the SSH up to the achievement of each disciplines’ professional autonomy, while studies of foreign languages and civilizations were neglected. Conversely, in Central Europe the latter disciplines, inclusive with advanced competences in major living languages, were regarded as much more promotional.
Our investigations gave priority to the first approach and the second one was just occasionally touched upon.
Although diversified results often arise from the various quantified measures, the general conclusion here makes economics the main winner in the virtual competition between SSH disciplines. Besides this, psychology regularly appears to be the discipline employing the most numerous academic staffs, having more graduates (especially on the MA and PhD levels) and students than others. Another rather constant observation is related to the modest if not insignificant weight of ethnology and anthropology, together with demography (the latter being rarely distinguished as a separate study branch) among the SSH. The numerical importance of other disciplines was systematically located between these two poles, with various exceptions. In some countries, both in Eastern and Western Europe, history – an outsider among potential social sciences proper – retained a paramount importance, sometimes together with the more traditional study of national literatures.

Markets and professional pursuits in the SSH

The market situation of SSH graduates has not been specifically explored in the Interco-SSH project, but it has been frequently touched upon. This should be an important topical area of future research.
Philosophers have usually had hardly any other professional activity outside academia, unless they perform teaching functions in secondary education. On the contrary, psychologists have developed large professional markets as private individual entrepreneurs. Other social scientists may serve as experts for public administrations, political parties and decision makers and the private sector, besides having academic occupations. The growth of the student body, as well as – most probably – the very process of institutionalization that various disciplines have historically experienced, cannot be correctly interpreted without taking into account the evolution of professional options open to graduates. In Europe, the long and slow march of sociology and political science to achieve full-scale institutional autonomy was connected to the quasi absence of extra-academic professional openings for graduates for a long time (mostly till after WWII). For an exploration of market and professional pursuits in the SSS, it may be suggested to take into consideration the following:
1. The nature of the academic demand for the disciplines. If philosophy was important – often occupying a symbolically dominant, prestige laden position in several academic systems (Italy, France, Germany) -, to a large extent this was due to its multi-functionally promotional character. For example, the first sociologists or psychologists with university positions often had a philosophical training in France (from Durkheim up to Bourdieu). History could play the same promotional role or occasionally even human or regional geography. It is always rewarding to observe the primary training of specialists of disciplines with belated institutionalization (like cultural anthropology in non colonial states).
2. The existence of a private economic market for specialized services has always been an essential condition of the growth and the institutionalization of educational and psychological disciplines (like therapeutic psychology, psychoanalysis, language teaching, etc.). But it has always been a major factor of the paramount importance granted to legal studies as well, since the foundation of universities: lawyers with physicians represent the first two ‘free professions’ offering personalized remunerated intellectual (knowledge based) services in European history.
3. Corporate and administrative demand for expertise (by states, public institutions, museums, regional administrations, political parties, trade unions, etc.). The development of modern political science, demography as well as (partly) sociology and geography has been connected to such public demand. But similar demand was instrumental in maintaining and strengthening the academic position of philosophy in countries where the discipline was introduced in the curricula of secondary schools (like in France since the early 19th century). Such demand favored the expansion of sociology, political science and economy after the institution of the ‘agrégation des sciences économiques et sociales’ (1977). SSH specializations – like history (particularly art history), ethnology, all kinds of ‘cultural studies’, catering for public intellectual services (museums, archives, libraries, theatres, exhibition halls, music halls, etc.) – could capitalize upon similar demand for services grounded in professional competences.
4. In the history of all SSH, the ideological attitudes and the related policies implemented by public authorities as to the various disciplines have always been decisive. The development of each of the SSH was occasionally affected by state policies, positively or negatively. It is trivial to remind that dictatorial or authoritarian regimes regularly exerted some kind of censorship on intellectual professions and the production of cognitive goods. In state funded and controlled educational systems, critical SSH usually had a hard time subsisting or asserting themselves. Within some of these regimes, in extreme cases – like Nazi Germany or in sovietized East Central Europe – SSH specialties (including the most ‘objective’ and less ideology-connected ones like demography or Freudian psychoanalysis) could be prohibited as a ‘bourgeois’ or a ‘Jewish’ discipline. But the contrary could also be true when authoritarian regimes turned to use SSH branches to attain goals in terms of modernization and social reform (as in Italian fascism, Vichy France or Stalinist communism), economic productivization (as for economics under communism in general or under the generals in Brazil) or ideological legitimization (as in post-Stalinist sovietized societies since the 1960s). Nonetheless, generally speaking the free development of SSH has been historically linked to Western type liberal democracies.
5. Still, in the contemporary period (since the Enlightenment) the emerging and developing SSH always thrived upon private, non applied intellectual demand coming from the educated public in form of the quest for knowledge about the given society, its past, its collective mental set-up, its future prospects, etc. To an ever growing extent, this is a prolongation of sorts of what actually began with the Enlightenment proper, due to the expansion of literacy and the general level of education in modern industrial societies, including the increasing need for collective self-reflection and communication. From early on, and starting with history, all SSH have benefited and continue to prosper in part on such public demand as expressed in the book market and the sale of specialized journals of popularization.

The process of feminization

In each country under scrutiny, a parallel and fast movement of feminization within the SSH – like in other fields of intellectual pursuits – can be observed. Drawing on a superficial overview, this trend seems to have developed similarly, following a progressive and quasi coordinated time scale everywhere. In reality, a closer look at our data reveals that such impression must (and can) be related to a number of specific factors and conditions, producing the following inequalities:

The dynamics of the feminization process depended largely on historically shifting institutional arrangements for the training of women on all levels of the educational system and on legal or/and social barriers against women’s reception in the intellectual professions. Universities did not open up to women until the 1870s (first in Switzerland and France), but in Hungary they remained excluded from several major tracks of higher education (Polytechnics, Law) till the end of the old regime in 1945. The absence or the weakness of the infrastructure of secondary training offered to girls could be a major obstacle to the entry of women into higher education and in academically established SSH.

Institutional resistance to women’s admission among SSH scholars could be based on individual institutions invested with the autonomy to keep them ‘all male’ (like some Oxbridge colleges), on Church authorities (with big differences of attitudes observed in this respect between Catholic and usually more liberal Protestant churches), on state policies (the restriction of women’s admission policy in Hungary was part of the anti-Jewish numerus clausus law in 1920) – which could also be promotional to women in Communist countries -, or on corporate or otherwise referenced institutional rules and ‘traditions’ (like the historically maintained exclusion of women first from French ‘grandes écoles’, later their separation in study tracks of their own (like for the ‘agrégation’ degree).

But once the obstacles against the training of women were done away with, women’s careers in SSH like in other fields could be blocked or limited to secondary or explicitly lower service positions within the given disciplines’ professional hierarchy. There was practically no admission of women – however well trained they may have been – to tenured professorship in Central European universities (Germany included) before the 1950s. Up to the present, there is a clearly perceptible ‘glass ceiling’ limiting women’s access to high level academic positions, even in the most liberal institutional settings. The proportion of girls may be large (they actually attained a majority in some SSH study tracks in several Central European countries, like in Hungary, as early as the inter-war years), but the share of women diminishes everywhere with the ascending scale of career hierarchies.

Disciplines have a strong impact in this matter. Inherited collective representations about the public role of women still weigh heavily on women’s educational choices and their chances of integration in SSH careers. Several oppositions can be traced in this context, but all must be broken down to local institutional arrangements, corporate attitudes and public policies. Admission of women seems to have been easier in SSH professions offering personal – especially therapeutic, educational or recreational – services, such as (typically) psychology, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, educational science, literary, artistic and linguistic studies. At the opposite pole one finds (there again rather typically) economics and political science: professions linked to corporate, regional or state power.

Path-dependency of national developments of the SSH

The study of the trajectories of seven SSH disciplines (economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, literature studies) in ten different countries (the UK, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil) brought to the forefront the high degree of path dependencies which results in strongly different structures of the systems of higher education and the assemblage of disciplines in each country. This was known to us in before for those cases we were familiar with, but that it is a common feature Europe-wide asks for a renewal of the topical study focused on of international cooperation and collaboration. Simply put, if each individual nation is so deeply different from their neighbors and far away peers, it is anything than easy to imagine the emergence of a single European Research Area.
As a consequence, intra-nation pictures and analyses of the development of the seven disciplines over the last 70+ years were offered in a volume and in short histories of disciplines per countries on our website, assuming that a better knowledge of the history of disciplines in other countries will help better understand each other and overcome obstacles in international cooperation.

The development of the social sciences and the humanities (SSH) in France can be differentiated along three distinct processes: academic institutionalization, professionalization, and autonomization of scientific fields. The development of the SSH is also marked by the organization of a specialized book market. The SSH emerged by the end of the 19th Century, but were not fully established as academic disciplines until the 1950s-1960s. While the more recent neoliberal urge for vocational education and the rise of “studies” are challenging the traditional disciplines, two major evolutions can be observed: feminization and internationalization.

In post-war Germany, the SSH had to cope with the Nazi past intellectually and institutionally: severe structural challenges in the early period up to the establishment of two separate German states were followed by completely different trajectories in the East and the West. German literature, economics and philosophy were fully institutionalized in the 1940s, whereas anthropology, psychology, political sciences and sociology only began to become fully independent disciplines later. Therefore, the growth rate over the next seven decades varied between the factor five (philosophy) and a factor of 20 (psychology, sociology). The number of women has been growing since the 1960s and is now over one third in most cases (except economics) while the social status of the professors declined both with regard to their income and their public standing.

The development of the SSH in the Netherlands can be described by two broad processes. The first is the influence of foreign ideas, which has significantly shaped intellectual developments in Dutch SSH disciplines. The decades after 1945 witnessed an increasing orientation towards the US. This has led to a cognitive convergence in a number of disciplines, especially economics and psychology, and a loss of national distinctiveness. The second process is the increasing centralization of policy making as regards higher education. The state’s stance gradually shifted from a reactive to a proactive one. This shift, which was legitimized by a narrative of the rising costs of higher education and budget cuts in the wake of economic recessions, had a substantial impact upon institutional diversity in the field of higher education.

The Swedish SSH have since 1945 expanded dramatically. The augmentation has been especially strong in the 1950’s, the 1960’s and the 1990’s. This is part of a general enlargement of the higher education sector, which has been transformed from an elite system, only recruiting a few percent of the youth cohort, to admitting almost one out of two in the age groups concerned. However, the expansion has been very uneven. The social sciences have surpassed the humanities in a number of aspects such as student enrolment, research financing and demand for their expert knowledge. A long-established order has been reversed. Moreover, the expansion has given room for an increased differentiation both in terms of the creation of new disciplinary chairs and a division within disciplines. The path each discipline takes could be explained by their altered position in the field of higher education and the changing demands on the labour market, as well as by the strengthened link between the expansion of the welfare state and the social sciences.

Since 1945, various policy initiatives within the United Kingdom altered the academic scene, affecting both teaching and research in the SSH. The most obvious observation is probably that, during this period, several disciplines have been able to expand - both student and faculty numbers tended to go up – though this growth did not manifest itself in a linear fashion. Further, a closer look at the statistics involved shows the extent to which each discipline has its own unique trajectory. The historical sketch also highlights how, from the 1980s onwards, British universities have been subjected to what became an all-pervasive auditing culture, initially focusing only on the quality of research, but more recently also preoccupied with the impact of research beyond the academy and with teaching. Amongst the most important current challenges is the government’s attitude towards international students and migration, a consequence of Brexit.

Since Italy’s unification in 1860 the trajectory of the SSH has been subjected to a twofold constraint: on the one hand, the strong state regulation of the academic system (which comprises the definition of disciplines and their boundaries), and on the other hand the strong interpenetration between the academic and the political field. The continuous changes in government over time have led however to an overproduction of university reform laws that made the normative frame constantly unclear. As a result of the interplay between normative rigidity, political instability and patronage, single actors (individuals or groups) took advantage of the overall fragility of the academic system in order to reinforce their own disciplines.

The SSH in Hungary followed the path of progressive institutionalization till 1919. The liberal phase of nation building promoted the relevant initiatives. This development was in part halted by the collapse of the historic state, the crises of 1918-19 and the ensuing authoritarian “Christian Regime” (1919-1945), The post-1945 drive of Sovietization introduced a tabula rasa with political purges, institutional reforms and ideological Gleichschaltung. At first most SSH of Western type were outlawed as “bourgeois sciences”. The post-Stalinist ‘thaw’ became effective only since the late 1960s allowing the relaxation of the iron collar put on the SSH. It was only the “negotiated revolution” of 1989 that eliminated the last hindrances of the Western type development of the SSH.

Argentina is an interesting case to explore the institutionalization and professionalization of the SSH outside the center(s). It is currently a dynamic and dominantly public scientific field, which in the last ten years has experienced an impressive expansion of its research capacities, leading to rapid scientific developments and increasing internationalization. As in other historical periods (e.g. 1958-1966), Argentina arrived to a state of growth that could evolve to become a significant international academic node. Nevertheless, as it happened in the past, expansion phases are interrupted by the alteration of political and economic conditions for scientific activity. The recent assumption of government by a right wing coalition has questioned the expansion of full-time research staffs at the main public agency for scientific investigation (CONICET for its Spanish acronym) and implemented a major cut back in the budget for science and technology. In order to understand the singularity of this type of “peripheral-center”, thus, it is relevant to describe, on one hand, cycles of expansion and contraction, institutionalization and de-institutionalization. On the other hand, it is crucial to observe the impact of these cycles in the development of circuits of production and circulation of SSH knowledge: one is some are clearly internationally and the others rather nationally-oriented.

Two social facts have completely transformed in Brazil the institutionalization of the social sciences since the sixties: the creation of the graduate programs associated with research projects to be conducted by professors and students; the departure in on a large scale of PhD candidates to pursue graduate studies in the main international universities, especially in the US and Europe. Both movements would have been impossible without the material and intellectual support of international foundations and public agencies at national level. Comparing the social and the intellectual paths of economists and anthropologists/sociologists, one could show how they contributed to the differentiation of the field of power.

Scattered across edited volumes and contributions to the history of a particular disciplines, journals or organizations, the bulk of existing literature on the history of US-American SSH is split between two streams: analyses of professionalization on the one hand, and gender studies on the other. Since the US higher education sector was worldwide the first which expanded, allowed women to join in and developed (intentionally or not) a huge number of institutions of different size (sabbatical, department, third party funding, etc.) it is crucial to observe closely this case to find out what indicators should be used for the study of disciplines in both a historical and comparative perspective. The answers to such questions are not gender-neutral and the integration of these two streams of literature iserves therefore as a key to understanding the growth and the organization of SSH in the US academic space.

2° Crossing boundaries between disciplines and countries (WP3)

The boundaries between disciplines and countries were analyzed through processes of exchange and transfer in order to examine their permeability or rigidity. The research done has produced new insights into issues of interdisciplinarity and internationalization, both at a general analytical level and at the more specific levels of countries and disciplines. The results of the research on interdisciplinarity were published in a special issue of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales (n°210, 2015) edited by Johan Heilbron and Yves Gingras: “Espaces des disciplines et pratiques interdisciplinaires”. A special issue of Serenditipies (2017), edited by Johan Heilbron, Thibaud Boncourt and Rob Timans, is dedicated to the European research area. A forthcoming volume entitled The Social and Human Sciences in a Global Perspective (edited by Johan Heilbron, Thibaud Boncourt and Gustavo Sorá, Palgrave Macmillan) focuses on internationalization patterns.

Crossing disciplinary boundaries and the problem of interdisciplinarity

The first set of issues addressed concerned disciplinary boundaries and practices of interdisciplinarity. On the basis of a critical assessment of the existing literature, a small international group was formed, which produced a special issue of the leading French social science journal Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales in 2015.
The existing literature on interdisciplinarity not only displays a considerable degree of vagueness and verbalism, it often has a normative bias as well. Portrayed as closed ‘silos,’ disciplines are often depicted as obstacles to the progress of knowledge, whereas interdisciplinarity is presented as the most promising and useful mode of research. The widely used dichotomy of disciplinarity versus transdisciplinarity, however, is inadequate and an obstacle for understanding actual research practices. Disciplinary structures still matter, not only in teaching, but also in research, including in interdisciplinary research. It was important, therefore, to first gain a better understanding of academic disciplines and processes of disciplinary differentiation and disciplinary closure.
On the basis of a comprehensive statistical analysis of the entire field of academic disciplines (from the sciences to the humanities) in France, it was shown that for student choices, disciplinary differentiation correlates strongly to their social background. Social class and gender explain more of the disciplinary variation than epistemological principles. Although shown to be highly significant statistically, these dimensions play only a peripheral role in the existing literature.
The initial choice of and training in a discipline, furthermore, is shown to have far-reaching consequences not only for the disciplines in question, but also for interdisciplinary practices, for example for the ways in which postdocs seek to transcend the boundaries of their original discipline by co-qualification in a one or more other disciplines. The probability of co-qualification in another discipline is explained less by epistemological considerations or the specific nature of research problems than by the initial training of the researchers.
The persistent weight of disciplines is also striking in citation practices. For the human sciences in France, it is shown that the higher one gets in the hierarchy of cited journals, the more often these periodicals are intra-disciplinary journals.
As is argued on the basis of an analysis of current research practices, some of the recent developments that are presented as examples of ‘interdisciplinarity,’ are probably better seen as forms of ‘new disciplinarity.’ It is also shown that the proliferation of vocational curricula and departments is not radically opposed to the disciplinary model either. The variety of ‘studies’ that have expanded after the university crisis of 1968 opposed classical disciplines, but rarely challenged the principles of disciplinarity; most of these ‘studies’ have indeed turned into academic disciplines themselves.
One of the general conclusions, therefore, is that in spite of the virtues of interdisciplinarity, disciplines and forms of disciplinary closure persist. There is little evidence that the ‘end’ of the disciplines is near, and that a new ‘transdisciplinary regime’ of knowledge production is in the making.
But instead of returning to a more traditional conception of disciplines, it must, at the same time, be acknowledged that the forms, weight and consequences of ‘disciplinarity’ vary greatly. As is indicated by citation practices, some disciplines or research fields have a relatively high level of disciplinary closure (economics, management, law), whereas others are far more open to research in other disciplines (sociology, and to a lesser extent anthropology). Combining measures of disciplinary closure with indicators of national closure, it is shown for the French social and human sciences that there are three types of SSH disciplines: strongly monodisciplinary but very internationally oriented disciplines (economics/management), monodisciplinary but strongly nationally oriented disciplines (law), and disciplines that are open to other disciplines, but predominantly nationally oriented (sociology). At least in France no SSH discipline seems to be simultaneously open to other disciplines and very internationally oriented. This two-dimensional model of the space of disciplines can be used for a better understanding of disciplinary configurations in other countries as well.
The studies that were undertaken all demonstrate that understanding contemporary SSH research requires a combination of structural analysis (whether more ‘institutional’ or more ‘field’ oriented) with detailed case studies of actual research practices across different disciplines and countries.


The larger part of Work package 3 has been concerned with various aspects of internationalization of the SSH. To guide the various research projects in this area, early on a Handbook of Indicators of Internationalization was produced.
For mapping processes of internationalization, research was carried out into the development of transnational co-authorship, book translations and international associations.
The growth or decline of transnational co-authorship is an interesting indicator of increasing or decreasing internationalization. Transnational co-authorship, furthermore, allows a more refined understanding of collaborative structures. A bibliometric study undertaken demonstrated a strong growth of transnational co-authorship between 1980 and 2014, increasing from 4 % of the registered articles in the Web of Science (WoS) in 1980 to more than 21 % in 2014. This remarkable growth, however, varies in important ways across disciplines, regions and countries. In the humanities the proportion of transnationally co-authored articles is much lower than in the social sciences, and has increased at a much slower pace.
The historical pattern of international co-authorships indicates a slight decrease of the share of US researchers, but the dominant position of US social science remains unthreatened. Due to its hegemonic position, researchers in the US are more involved in internal than in international collaboration. European researchers, on the other hand, are more often involved in transnational collaboration, which has become slightly more global in scope, although by far most of it is still with the USA and, secondarily, with other English speaking countries (Canada, Australia). China is the only other country that has become significantly more important. The position of researchers from Latin America, Africa and the Arab countries in these collaborative networks has not changed significantly.
A further characteristic of the relations in the global SSH field is that the dominant position of the USA is all the more prevalent the higher one gets in the hierarchy. At the basic level of production capacity and article output, the global field of the SSH is best described as a Euro-American duopoly. But at the highest level of co-authorship, citations and prizes, the field structure tends to be monopolistic: no language can compete with English, no country can rival with the USA.
A neglected feature of American hegemony is that there are virtually no “transnational” journals that can compete with the major American SSH journals. There are, for example, hardly any “European” or other regional SSH journals with a prominent position in the citation hierarchies. The only journals that are able to compete with the leading American journals are other national journals from large, well-endowed countries, but their role is restricted to their respective national fields. French and German journals of the highest international standing and acknowledged innovativeness are practically invisible in the USA, and, largely as a consequence of this, have virtually no recognition and audience beyond their own linguistic area. International recognition can be obtained only by writing in, or being translated into, English.
Book translations are another interesting indicator of international exchange is. Translation plays a major role in the circulation of ideas. As an indicator of international recognition for scholars, it also reflects the power relations between countries. Several case studies have allowed to identify a set of factors impacting on the circulation of SSH books: power relations between languages and cultures, symbolic capital and other properties of the author (gender, academic position, social capital), properties of the book (content, form, length, packaging), symbolic capital of the publisher(s), networks (editorial and academic), funding (private and public). The empirical study of the circulation of academic books across languages (English, German, Italian to French, French to English and Spanish) since the 1990s has confirmed the prominent position of Anglo-American authors and publishers, while translations from the German mostly concern classical philosophers and social scientists, but it has also shown the relative prominence of French contemporary thinkers. In the case of translations in Argentina, which are crucial for other Spanish speaking countries as well, SSH translations from French were more important than those from English, German, Italian and Portuguese. The empirical study also revealed the low share of translations of books by female-authors (between 15 and 18 percent).
An in-depth longitudinal study of two international SSH organizations (the International Sociological Association and the International Political Science Association) confirmed the globalization of membership while challenging the idea of a convergence process, either through the incremental creolization of national scientific cultures, or through the hegemonic Americanization of disciplines. Depending on the time periods, disciplines, and even organizations under study, internationalization is shown to take different forms. What constitutes a legitimate form of internationalization is itself an object of struggle between scientists, scientific organizations, and actors external to the scientific field such as UNESCO, philanthropic foundations, and, funding agencies. From this perspective, internationalization should not be thought of as a context that shapes sciences but, rather, as a process that is itself produced by struggles involving scientists and other social actors, the outcome of which displays significant variation.

The European research space in the SSH

The emergence of a European SSH research space exemplifies a particular mode of internationalization, transnational regionalization, which can be observed in most regions of the world. North America is the main exception to this global pattern. Transnational regional fields have emerged between national systems of higher learning and more global international arrangements. Today Europe can be seen as the most advanced case of this process.
Initially supported by American philanthropic foundations and national governments, the growth and functioning of the European research space has become increasingly reliant on European funding. Depending on the way in which academic entrepreneurs have profited from the opportunities for support, the process of ‘Europeanization’ has taken quite different forms. In-depth case studies of European associations, journals, and databases have revealed considerable variation in the significance of this process of Europeanization. Some European journals, databases and associations represented a renewed and reinforced alignment with the US. In other cases, ‘Europeanization’ has stimulated a more pluralist professionalization on the European level. In other cases still, ‘Europeanization’ favored distinctly European approaches in the SSH.
Beyond such variations, the European SSH research infrastructure now includes a diversified system of funding and an institutional field encompassing professional associations, journals, and databases in virtually all research areas. If this European field still seems relatively weak this is essentially related to three factors:
1) the almost total absence of European research and teaching institutes; the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence is the only major exception.
2) the persistent strength of national systems of training, research, publishing and debate in the larger European countries (UK, France, Germany).
3) the enduring hegemony of the US, which makes the US an unrivaled pole of attraction with which none of the individual European countries can compete.
Because the UK has occupied a dominant position in the European research area in the SSH, especially in publishing, coordinating research, and transnational co-authorship, the Brexit raises important challenges, both for the remaining European countries and for the EU as a whole.

Relationship with the East and the South

Considerable efforts have been undertaken to extend the analysis of internationalization to other regions in the world, notably Eastern Europe, North Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Eastern Europe: Hungary

The study undertaken on the case of Hungary has resulted in new databases and indicators, and a wide-ranging analysis of the international involvement, orientation and recognition of Hungarian SSH scholars (1945- present).
Digitization of the bibliography of the Budapest Municipal library on SSH publications allowed a detailed account of the accessibility of publications since the 1950s. The data provide a proxy for the changing levels of openness of various Hungarian SSH disciplines to international literature, notably the degree of penetration of contemporary Western scholarship and, respectively, the limited efficiency of Soviet intellectual colonization. Another bibliographical study concerned all SSH scholars currently associated with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. This allowed a comparative analysis of publication strategies (local and foreign) and achievements.
The national and international recognition of Hungarian SSH scholars has been analyzed by studying national and international reference works (encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries) from the late 19th century up to the present. A set of relevant indicators could thus be elaborated of the changing geo-cultural orientation, foreign contacts and reputations of publicly recognized Hungarian SSH scholars. Conclusions of this research highlight the heavy dependence on the West of scholars emanating from marginal cultural powers in their search for transnational recognition, and the changing weight of disciplines in this matter, opposing disciplines with universalist references and methodologies (like economics, statistics, demography) to more or less nationally focused SSH.

Postcolonial Algeria

Based on a qualitative study of two disciplines (literature, sociology), this study shows that Algerian research continues to remain very marginalized in the international scientific arena. Globalization has not enabled a move from colonial dependency to global equal opportunity. Dependence on France and the French language has re-emerged as a way of gaining access to Europe and to the English-speaking world, and while the “international” has become a buzz-world in Algerian research, internationalization has in fact lost in quality what it has gained in quantity. Nevertheless, activists’ desires to reduce international scientific inequalities have borne some fruit, particularly in the Arabophone international space, but also in the Francophone one. Moreover, while the discourse of de-Westernizing science seems to have disappeared, some researchers believe that the political role of their research on the national level is more important than their international visibility.

Asia: Japan and South Korea

As Asia has become the third continent for the production of social science (accounting for one sixth of social science articles in North American journals and one fourth in European ones), the objective was to gain a better understanding of how Asian scholars had historically imported Western social sciences and how they have been using these references until today.
The survey analyzed, first, the main patterns of institutionalization in Japan at the end of the 19th century and in Korea in the first decades of the 20th. They show the replication of the European scientific apparatus (universities, scholarly associations, etc.) but also its acclimation to emerging national contexts, with social sciences being instrumental in the creation of modern Asian nations. The intertwinement between the global and the national scales still characterizes the post-1945 situation, although it has been significantly redefined: the US became central in international relations but this did not suppress local and European references, which have remained dominant to a large extent in Asia.
The Asian case can be characterized as occupying a semi-peripheral position in the scientific world system. Japan and South Korea are neither in a dominant position (where social sciences can claim to be universal in scope) nor in a dominated one (where sciences are only imported and empirical). Rather, their in-between position allows them to use central references in a counter-hegemonic fashion. This is how the main empirical results can be interpreted. Even though Japanese and Korean scholars have been largely trained in or influenced by the American field, they refer mainly to national and then European scholars, their American colleagues being only in the third position. Secondly, European references have remained important because they are used in a critical and counter-hegemonic way: they have made possible for Asian social scientists to reassess global power relations, especially the dominance of US knowledge. The evidence, then, points towards a multi-scalar scientific world system where intermediate positions disrupt binary explanations limited to dominant/dominated or exporter/importer models.

Latin America: Argentina and Brazil

Argentina: For the analysis of the Argentinian case, studies centered on international mobility, publication patterns and language use.
For disciplines such as literary studies, sociology, psychology and anthropology, statistical and qualitative approaches were combined to examine the period between the 1970s and the present. For the last military dictatorship (1976-1983), it was demonstrated that exile gave rise to two processes. Exiled academics contributed significantly to scientific development abroad. This was, among others, revealed by the study of Argentinian professionals’ role in the development of psychoanalysis in Mexico and Brazil. Internally, with the end of the dictatorship in 1983, the return of exiled academics contributed to various academic and scientific innovations. However, this renewal remained limited, as it was not accompanied by an expansion of the university system.
Only between 2003 and 2014 did the federal government implement policies that allowed a strong development of higher education. To understand the effects and meanings of these state policies, a morphological study was carried out on the population of researchers in all disciplines in both systems that host the SSH (CONICET and the National Universities). The effects of internationalization were studied on three levels: 1) Publication practices through a study of periodicals (716 SSH journals). This work was extended to Brazil and led to the creation of a database about all SSH journals in Latin America. 2) International mobility: analysis of international mobility programs and grants funded by the State agencies (especially CONICET), UNESCO, and foreign foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller and Fulbright. 3) Language skills: a competence and language use survey was administered to all CONICET researchers. This work is in the process of being extended to Brazil and Chile for comparative purposes.
The evolution of SSH in Argentina since the 1970s has been severely limited by heteronomous factors, especially radical changes in the political and economic context. At the very end of the study, this was confirmed yet again by the policies implemented by the current neo-liberal government, which has reduced CONICET’s budget by 50 %. Regarding SSH journals, the results show that the international circulation of Argentinian researchers’ work is very limited, due to the low rate of journals adapted to mainstream norms and the predominance of publications in Spanish. Although this may strengthen regional circuits and relative cultural autonomy, in the long term it creates difficulties for international cooperation and competition. In order to gain a better understanding of the scientific and cultural spaces in which Argentinian SSH have developed, the use of foreign languages and the functions of translation were thus studied. Analysis also revealed the need to understand the Argentinian case as part of the broader Latin American space of the SSH. It is therefore important to expand these lines of research to other countries of the continent.

Brazil: In the case of Brazil, previous research on international mobility has been expanded to demonstrate, among other things, the very different effects of the last military dictatorship (1964-1985) on the development of SSH. For political science and anthropology, the articulation between external (i.e. funding by the Ford Foundation) and internal factors (public policies) was studied to shed light on the extent to which professionalization programs since the late 1960s (in particular, the creation of postgraduate degrees) contributed to a stable growth of the field of SSH. This partially explains other processes, such as Brazil’s rise as a training center for Latin American researchers (especially in anthropology, history and sociology) since the late 1990s.

3° The international circulation of paradigms, theories and methods (WP4)

The patterns of circulation of authors, as well as that of broader theoretical and methodological orientations (paradigms, theories and methods) was approached through case-studies, mixing quantitative and qualitative methods. Research was also devoted to methodological disputes, which often accompany this circulation (see for instance the book by Marcus Morgan and Patrick Baert, Conflict in the Academy. A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals, Palgrave 2015). The outcome of these case studies will be published in a volume Ideas on the Move: The International Circulation of Paradims and Theories in the Social Sciences and Humanities (edited by Gisèle Sapiro, Patrick Baert and Marco Santoro, at Palgrave), as well as in two special issues, in the journals Sociologica (Sapiro and Santoro eds., in press) and the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society (forthcoming)

Circulation of paradigms, theories and methods

As a substantial part of the research on the circulation of ideas within the social sciences and humanities (SSH), the INTERCO research group has analyzed how broader paradigms, theories and methodological strategies have circulated across different countries and between different academic disciplines. The research has been conducted through a number of in-depth cases studies. The INTERCO research group studies how these paradigms/theories/methods circulate, how they impact on various national fields, in which disciplines they were adopted (and in which disciplines they were not), which aspects of the paradigms/theories were emphasized (and played down), what controversies arose, and finally who were the scholars who promoted (and rejected) the paradigms/theories/methods.

The INTERCO research group selected the paradigms/theories/methods analyzed depending on their intellectual centrality, as well as on their historical interest. The following case studies were conducted:

Cultural Studies: this case study explores the impact of Cultural Studies in Italy, France and Germany. Initially associated with the Birmingham school, Cultural Studies was appropriated in various countries across Europe. In each of the three countries, it was articulated differently, associated with different academic discipline.
French literary theory: this case study analyzes the circulation of ‘French theory’ in the US, based on qualitative materials (interviews, archives, text analysis). French literary theory had (and still has) a huge impact in the US, covering a variety of intellectual currents, including post-structuralism, intellectual figures like Barthes and literary analysis scholars like Genette. Their reception and appropriation contributed to the establishment of a transnational theoretical approach which was introduced in many departments of literary studies and of comparative literature around the world.
Structuralism: in addition to research on the circulation of structuralism through translation and on its reception in the English-speaking world through the publications on this subject, two case-studies further explore the reception of structuralism in very different intellectual settings: the UK and Argentina. The UK-case underscores the conflicts that accompanied that reception whereas the Argentina-case draws attention to the significant role of politics in the articulation and reception of ideas.
Frankfurt School: this case study traces the reception and appropriation of the Frankfurt School, and more broadly Critical Theory, in France. This case is intriguing, because the influence exerted by the Frankfurt School in France was very much delayed (especially in comparison with the US).
Public economics: nowadays, this relatively new research subfield is well established within economics and provides American and European economists with a shared body of problems, concepts and theoretical tools to deal with questions relating to taxation, distribution, and the production of “public goods”. Focusing on the interactions and exchanges which occurred between American, British and French economists, this case study analyzes how this research program was linked to broader transformations of the transnational field of economic science as well as the forms and scope of state intervention within western countries
Semiotics: this case study explores the circulation of semiotics in a variety of countries. Semiotics is an interesting case because in some respects it can be seen as an academic discipline rather than a school or theory, and indeed semiotics can (and does) incorporate very different theories.
Gramscism: this case study explores the extent to which a broad perspective on society and politics, inspired by Gramsci and linked to his work, has circulated at a worldly scale, with the help of various academic networks and professional societies exerting considerable influence on both academia and the public sphere.
Existentialism: this case study sheds light on the rapid reception of existentialism in France, immediately after the Second World War. This branch of philosophy had strong German roots.

Reception of key authors

Contributing to the burgeoning field of social research on the circulation of ideas in, and across, the social sciences and the humanities (SSH), the INTERCO research group has studied how selected key thinkers working in the SSH were received and circulated across various disciplines and countries in Europe and America.

Drawing on an initial discussion between members of the whole research team and on an exploration of available sources and data (e.g. bibliometric indicators assessing the impact of individual scholars on research), and according to a definite set of criteria (e.g. gender, national and discipline variety, etc.) ten authors were identified, who have a profound social or political influence in a variety of disciplines and knowledge formations, even beyond the academic field, and are worthy of specific investigation. The ten authors include the following:

Antonio Gramsci – one of the most influential political and cultural thinkers of the last half century, whose work has impacted on a variety of disciplines, from political theory to history, from philosophy to cultural studies and sociology.
Pierre Bourdieu – currently the most quoted and possibly influential sociologist in the world.
Thomas Piketty – an economist who in a very short time and mainly thanks to a single book gained the status of a global public intellectual.
Edward Said – an influential literary theorist, considered to be amongst the founders of Postcolonial Studies.
Roland Barthes – one of the key authors of French structuralism and a reference for the so-called French Theory.
Hannah Arendt – a Jewish female scholar representative of an uncommon blend of political theory, philosophy and journalism, who rose to an iconic position in the last decades.
Michel Foucault – possibly the most read and quoted philosopher of the second half of the 20th century, whose ideas have resonated well beyond the boundaries of philosophy.
Michael Polanyi – an influential economic historian of Hungarian origins, who contributed to the development of economic anthropology and sociology.
Gayatry Spivak – an Indian, but US-based scholar, among the main references in contemporary literary theory and especially postcolonial theory.
Carl Schmitt – a renowned German political and legal theorist, whose work was influential in both conservative and leftist intellectual circles.

The case studies focused on reception countries that are diversely located on the global map and differ in political and cultural weight: the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Canada, Spain. In two case studies, the geographical scope is worldwide.

For each selected author, her/his intellectual biography was investigated with a specific transnational perspective, asking a variety of questions: in which disciplines and countries were her/his ideas adopted and by whom? How did her/he achieve international recognition? How did her/his theories spread beyond disciplinary and geographic borders? Which aspects of her/his work were taken up, and for which intellectual purposes? What alterations or emphases were made and why?
Still: who were the first in local (i.e. national) fields to introduce these ideas and with what agenda? What was the professional relationship between the key thinkers and those who introduced and diffused their ideas? By what means were the ideas introduced (e.g. the organization of a special conference, or the editing of a book, or a program of translations)? Who were the main scholars who rejected or criticized these ideas and for what reasons? How did these key thinkers’ work gradually become part of the canon? Which impact had their work on the definition, and transformation, of canons? Was their work used as a random reference, for theoretical discussion, or to build up research programs? Was it used as part of social or cultural policies? Is the scope of their reception related to their crossing of disciplinary and geographic boundaries by hybridizing different theoretical and/or empirical traditions? Did they contribute to the internationalization of the public sphere and to the transformation of the figure of the public intellectual? What is their legacy in the present?

The results of this series of national and sometime comparative case studies are difficult to summarize here. Their strength lies in the wide amount of empirical evidence collected and in the detailed reconstruction of processes strongly affected by local contingencies, different timing, and geopolitical stances. However, these studies reveal that reception processes strongly contribute to the making of intellectual authorities and, in some cases, to the formation of intellectual works – not only because texts make possible a wide array of readings, whose logic is often affected by the local contexts of reading, but also because authors themselves may be personally involved in processes of transnational and trans-disciplinary diffusion of their own ideas. In a few cases (e.g. Gramsci, or Schmitt in contemporary Spain), the appropriation process under scrutiny happened post-mortem. In all case studies, a special focus was dedicated to politics of translation and their agents, in both their material and cultural aspects. This is just one issue in a much broader picture however, where mass media, educational institutions, political actors (both parties and movements), sometimes even governments, play their role in the circulation of ideas and of their authors’ name and status.

The study of controversies

The aim of this task was to examine specific cases of controversial reception and circulation, in order to shed light on actual and potential barriers and obstacles in processes of intellectual circulation. Special attention was dedicated to methodological controversies. Researchers thus investigated three cases:

A controversy about recruitment processes in a prestigious British university, in the early 1980s.
The controversies surrounding the use of ethno-racial statistics in France and more broadly in Europe.
The controversial reception of Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) as a method of data analysis across disciplines and countries.

The first case focused on the mechanisms by which ideas from one country were adopted – or not, as the case might be – in another country, as well as on the conflicts that arise around these attempts to import ideas from other countries and other disciplines. This was explored through an in-depth case study about conflict over the refusal to give somebody tenure in an English faculty in the early 1980s. The person involved was a young academic, Colin MacCabe, who had spent some time in France and who drew on French theorists in his work. As the debates unfolded, the MacCabe affair turned into a media event, with newspapers and magazines reporting about it, and the same university had to cope with it organizing ad hoc debates in the Senate House. The case in point shows how foreign theories – in this case French structuralism – can be used as resources in reorganizing and reassessing what were once strong local intellectual traditions, such as English Studies, nowadays in crisis.

The second case analyzed the controversies that arose between 1995 and 2012 about the evaluation of integration and discrimination in France, and more broadly in Europe, by using ethno-racial statistics. This research examines more specifically the collective and individual actors taking part in the controversy. It also assesses the nature of their polemical discourses on quantifying tools measuring integration and ethno-racial discrimination on the job market, in housing, health, schools and universities, in legal and banking systems, in the media and political institutions such as the Parliament. The content analysis of these polemical discourses highlighted the recent semantic and symbolic reconfigurations of (post)modern ideas such as race, nation, ethnicity, identity, and culture. Data was also collected on 1,243 people who participated in selected events dealing with ethno-racial statistics (seminars, committees, petitions, etc.) during the time period covered. Network analysis and MCA tools helped describe the different modes of polemical involvement adopted by these actors, be they part of public administrations, non-profit organizations and think tanks, trade unions and political parties, the business world and the academic field.

The third case investigated the (non)diffusion of MCA, considering it an example of scientific controversy in the fields of statistics and data analysis applied to the SSH. MCA is a statistical method for analyzing categorical data. Despite its versatility and relational philosophy that make it very suitable for social scientific research, the international circulation of MCA in the SSH has been problematic. In this contribution, we examined the diffusion pattern of MCA using Bourdieu’s theoretical framework pertaining to the sociology of knowledge. Some of the barriers impeding diffusion and issues of translation that arise when a method travels from the field of production into the field(s) of use (or consumption) were analyzed.

Potential Impact:
The impact of the project is threefold: scientific, professional and political.

1° Scientific impact: the creation of “SSH studies” as a research domain

The Interco-SSH project produced findings not only regarding the historical sociology of the institutionalization and internationalization of the SSH since 1945 in the seven disciplines and eight countries under scrutiny, but also contributed to a theoretical and methodological framework for future research in this domain. Based on indicators, this framework had an immediate impact as it was implemented by a Swedish team that joined the project with its own national resources and produced comparable data on Sweden. Moreover, this framework was transmitted to the young scholars (postdocs and doctoral students) who participated in the project and contributed to shape it and apply it. Beyond the project participants, which included many young researchers, the methodology and results were presented and discussed in many scientific conferences and talks around the world, as well as in graduate seminars in different countries, in a summer school and in workshops. As a consequence, many graduate students were formed to the methodology of SSH studies.
The results were published in all seven languages of the project, as one of the assumptions – that our findings confirmed – is that the international circulation of ideas in the SSH has to be multilingual in order to reach out to both academic (especially in other disciplines) and non-academic audiences. A book series was launched at Palgrave McMillan, "Socio-historical studies of the Social Sciences and the Humanities", where 3 collections are forthcoming with the major results of the project (one per perspective), 5 special issues of journals were prepared, two already published (Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, Papeles des Trabajo, three under press or forthcoming ( Serendipities, Sociologica, International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society). Many other publications (books, articles in peer reviewed journals, book chapters) were or are being published by each team. Two big conferences were organized in order to present the results, one mid-term at CEU (Budapest), and the final one at EHESS (Paris).

2°Professional impact: improving international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the SSH

The reflection on the obstacles to international and interdisciplinary cooperation served to define best practices. These best practices pertain not only to the academic community, but also to publishers and other members of the civil society who are interested in disseminating and using the SSH.
Knowledge should not be appropriated for profit by private groups. In Europe, there is a model of trade publishers who publish SSH in order to foster public debate, and they have played a crucial role in disseminating the SSH in the public sphere. They certainly need to cover their costs, but they also try to publish books at an accessible price to favor their acquisition by citizens outside the academic world. They help promote these books in the public sphere through the media who, in some countries like France, Germany, Italy or Argentina, are interested by the expertise of the SSH for understanding and commenting social and political events. The merging of publishers in large conglomerates challenges this model. Indeed, their main interest is to make profit and thus, they seek to reduce the costs incurred by the production and dissemination of academic books. The same holds for scientific journals and “gold open access.” This trend, which favors private appropriation of knowledge, is dangerous for the SSH.

3° Political impact: recommendations to policymakers

The Interco-SSH partners have had contact with policymakers during the project. It was in France that the response and impact was the most significant, but also in Argentina. The policy brief written by Gisèle Sapiro and Hélène Seiler-Juilleret on “Disseminating the Social Sciences and the Humanities,” which recommends to support translation of scholarly work and favor “green” open access, arose interest from the French Ministry of Culture and the Institut français (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’operator for cultural matters). Its impact was made clear by the fact that Gisèle Sapiro and Hélène Seiler-Juilleret were invited to discuss it with Xavier North, general inspector of cultural affairs at the French Ministry of Culture, in order to provide expertise on the open access policy and on the efficiency of supporting the translation of published articles from French into English. This last policy was already implemented through a partnership between the ministry of Education and Research, the ministry of Culture, the CNRS, and the online portal Cairn, but upon its evaluation rested the decision of renewing it (or not).
Gisèle Sapiro and Hélène Seiler-Juilleret also presented the results of the study conducted within Interco-SSH on translations and the circulation of ideas, as well as the conclusions of the policy brief on the dissemination of the SSH regarding the need for supporting book translation in order to improve the international circulation of ideas, in a round table on translation in the SSH organized by the Éditions de l’EHESS on January 23rd, 2017, which was attended by policymakers from the French ministry of Culture. Representatives of the French ministry of Culture and of the Institut français also attended the final conference of Interco-SSH.
A recommendation was made to the European Commission to implement a funding policy for the translation of scholarly books.
Other recommendations were made in the policy brief on “How to improve international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities” by Johan Heilbron and Gisèle Sapiro.

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