發文作者:Albert Tzeng | 2007/01/08

World System of Academia

World-system, a notion first coined by Braudel, is now mostly associated with Wallerstein for his classic accounts for the historical expansion of capitalism from its genesis in Renaissance Europe to a modern ‘integrated world economy.’ His conceptualization of the world-system analysis can be characterized by (1) its interdisciplinary approach which brings history back to sociological inquiry of the present, (2) its challenge to the 19th century social scientific assumption of seeing nation states as the unit of societies, (3) its ideal typical notion of core, semi-peripheral, and peripheral states, and (4) its Marxist concern of exploitation.

The ‘world system of academia’ proposed here shares these characteristics. (1) It seeks to account for the current state of academia in a history-embedded way. (2) It sees the development of national higher education system/ academic institutions not as incidence isolated by national borders, but in many places a project imposed or influenced by foreign factors. (3) It provides an analytical angel to demonstrate the historical inequality of the geographical distributions of knowledge capital and knowledge flows, which also constitute core-peripheral patterns. And (4) it is concerned with reproduction and the exploitative nature of such unequal distribution.

Elaboration of concepts:

"Knowledge capital" can be understood as a narrower form of the concept of “cultural capital” (Bourdieu. 1986). In practice, it can be operationally measured by indicators like (1) the quantity of academic degree/ institutions/ programs, (2) the size of library collection, published contents, e-subscription boundaries, and (3) scholars, academic culture, value for intellectual pursuits and so on (sorted by Bourdieu’s typology of cultural capital-institutionalized,

materialized and embodied).

"Knowledge flow", a notion partially inspired by Castells’ “space of flow”(1996 Ch6) , can be operationally defined by the amount and direction of international student flows, international education provision, inter-lingual translation, publication submission to foreign journals, and citation from foreign sources.

On "core-peripheral" metaphor: US can be easily seen as the prime example of ‘core’ country while Taiwan, Hong Kong may occupy a position between semi-peripheral and peripheral. However, nation state is not necessarily the only unit of analysis in this core-peripheral perspective. For instance, a city (like Boston, London), or a transnational collaboration of elite institutions can be seen as alternative conceptualization of ‘cores’.

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Responses

  1. 这个类比蛮有趣

  2. 延續這個類比還有一個延伸,就是跨文化的知識資本之間的 "匯率機制"。
    Steve Fuller 的 Knowledge Management Foundation 中有一段談到 "The creation of knowledge market-the idea of an epistemic exchange rate",似有相關
     
    不過我還沒有把這部份想法發展完全,所以就沒打進note裡。 


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