How Global Academic Stratification Affects Local Academies: The Inflated Role of Knowledge Reception in the Philosophy Discipline in Modern Japan

  •  Matthew M. Chew    


Sociologists of knowledge find that academic stratification is present among individual scholars, genders, networks, fields, and all kinds of scientific organizations, while communications scholars have been studying global cultural asymmetry for a long time. Yet few researchers have explored the global dimension of academic stratification. In this essay, I approach global academic stratification through examining one of its major negative impacts on academies in culturally peripheral countries. I investigate how the inflated function of foreign knowledge reception in peripheral academies leads to distorted academic organizational developments. I draw on historical data on the philosophy discipline in modern Japan to illustrate this negative impact. I find that academic publishers in modern Japan exploited the inflated function of knowledge reception, enriching and empowering themselves to the point that they became a major network base, sponsor, and decision-maker of the discipline.

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