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Singaporean Social Science Journals: Creating a Regional Voice or Scrambling to Reach the Top?

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Given its newfound position as a solid member of the global semi-periphery, has social science in Singapore been able to develop alternatives to academic dependency on the West? To answer this question, I focus on one segment of Singapore’s social science infrastructure, journal editors. In the interviews with these individuals, it becomes clear that there is an awareness of a division between journals published in the West and those from other parts of the world. However, in terms of wholeheartedly working towards developing regional alternatives, there appears a more contradictory pattern of reactions. The majority of editors are keen to develop regional perspectives or voices in their journals but they are equally keen to compete with North American and European journals on their own terms. A significant minority, however, are focused squarely on that world to the near exclusion of other concerns. In the final part of the article, I argue that the views of Singapore’s journal editors closely reflects the adoption of what Bourdieu describes as a “succession strategy” in the playing of the social science game. The result is a missed opportunity at applying some form of delinking strategy as recommended by Samir Amin in situations of dependency, be they economic or intellectual.

Affiliations: 1: Nanyang Technological University


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