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World Social Science Report 2010

World Social Science Report 2010

Social science from Western countries continues to have the greatest global influence, but the field is expanding rapidly in Asia and Latin America, particularly in China and Brazil. In sub-Saharan Africa, social scientists from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya produce 75% of academic publications. In South Asia, barring some centres of excellence in India, social sciences as a whole have low priority. These are a few of the findings from World Social Science Report, 2010: “Knowledge divides”.

Produced by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and co-published with UNESCO, the Report is the first comprehensive overview of the field in over a decade. Hundreds of social scientists from around the world contributed their expertise to the publication. Gudmund Hernes, President of the ISSC, Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), Hebe Vessuri, Director, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), and François Héran, Director of Research, National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), France, are among the experts who presented the Report during its official launch at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 25 June 2010.



Foreword – Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO)

Foreword – Pierre Sané (Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences)

Preface – Gudmund Hernes (President, International Social Science Council)


Editorial team

General introduction (Françoise Caillods and Laurent Jeanpierre)


1. Social sciences facing the world
1.1 Social sciences and global challenges
1.2 The view from the regions

2. The institutional geography of social science

3. Unequal capacities
3.1 Dimensions of capacities in social sciences
3.2 Marketization of research
3.3 Brain drain or brain circulation?
3.4 Overcoming the capacity divide

4. Uneven internationalization

5. Homogenizing or pluralizing social sciences?
5.1 Hegemonies and counter-hegemonies
5.2 Tensions between global and local knowledge in practice

6. Disciplinary territories
6.1 Disciplines and their divides
6.2 Crossing disciplinary borders
6.3. Regional variations

7. Competing in the knowledge society
7.1 Global rankings
7.2 Assessment and evaluation of research
7.3 Project funding and agenda-setting

8. Disseminating social sciences
8.1 Social sciences, education and society
8.2 Diffusing and accessing social science knowledge

9. Social sciences and policy-makers
9.1 The political use and abuse of social sciences
9.2 Evidence-based decision-making 9.3 Knowledge brokers and think-tanks

10. Conclusions and future lines of action

  • Persistent disparities in research capacities
  • Knowledge fragmentation: one social science? Disciplines apart? Worlds apart?
  • Knowledge gaps on the state of the social sciences worldwide
  • Directions for future action

Annex 1. Basic statistics on the production of social sciences
Annex 2. Bibliographical databases and repositories
Annex 3. Supplementary figures and tables

List of abbreviations


ISSC Contact
Françoise Caillods, Senior Managing Editor of the Report, Tel.: +33 (0)1 4568 4443, Francoise.caillods(at)gmail.com

UNESCO Contact
Cecilie Golden, Tel.: +33 (0)1 4568 4523, c.golden(at)unesco.org

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