Western References in Asian Social Sciences (Japan and South Korea)

  • Thomas Brisson
  • Laurent Jeanpierre
  • Kil-Ho Lee
Chapter
Part of the Socio-Historical Studies of the Social and Human Sciences book series (SHSSHS)

Abstract

This paper analyses how the social sciences, especially sociology, an outcome of Western modernity, have been implemented in East Asia. To do so, it tackles two case studies, Japan and South Korea. Theoretically, the paper is premised on two main influences. It offers, first, a discussion of the notions of centre and (semi-)periphery in the scientific world-system, drawing and adapting the concepts of Immanuel Wallerstein in order to gain a better understanding of the asymmetries that shape the production and circulation of social sciences. Secondly, it shows that Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of field can be useful to grasp the positions of the Japanese and Korean disciplines and scholars who have been instrumental in the reception of Western social sciences. In terms of empirical results, the paper shows the paradoxical discrepancy between the influence of the American academic field in East Asia (with many Korean and, to a lesser extent, Japanese scholars having been trained in North America) and the continuing supremacy of European theoretical references. This leads us to reassess how social sciences can be variously embedded into global power relations and to sharply distinguish the circulation of orthodox and critical social sciences.

Keywords

Asia Japan South Korea (Semi-) periphery Circulation and De-westernization of social sciences Scientific world system 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Brisson
    • 1
  • Laurent Jeanpierre
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kil-Ho Lee
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Département de science politiqueUniversité Paris 8Saint-DenisFrance
  2. 2.Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris 8 Saint-DenisUniversité Paris NanterreParisFrance
  3. 3.Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique (ISP)Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense Maison Max weber – ISPNanterre CedexFrance
  4. 4.Université Paris NanterreNanterre CedexFrance

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