The European Research Area in the Social and Human Sciences: Between National Closure and American Hegemony

  • Johan Heilbron
  • Thibaud Boncourt
  • Rob Timans
Part of the Socio-Historical Studies of the Social and Human Sciences book series (SHSSHS)


The emergence of a European SSH research space exemplifies a mode of internationalization, transnational regionalization, which can be observed in most regions of the world. Transnational regional fields have emerged as a distinct institutional level between national systems of higher learning and international arrangements with a truly global scope. In Europe this process was initially triggered by funding from American philanthropies in the context of the Cold War, and has gradually become dependent on expanding European funding. The European SSH research infrastructure now includes professional associations, journals, and databases in virtually all research fields. In spite of this growth, the European field of the SSH remains relatively weak in comparison to the enduring strength of national systems of teaching, research, and publishing in the larger European countries, and to the hegemony of the SSH developed in the United States. It is also an unequal field, structured by hierarchies between disciplines, countries, and their languages. The UK has notably occupied a dominant position in many respects, especially in coordinating and publishing activities.


Associations (SSH) Co-authorships European Research Area Ford Foundation Hierarchies between countries Hierarchies between disciplines Hierarchies between languages Journals (SSH) Philanthropic foundations Regionalization (SSH) 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan Heilbron
    • 1
  • Thibaud Boncourt
    • 2
  • Rob Timans
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Science Politique (CESSP)CNRS – EHESS – Université Paris 1-Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of Political Science, Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Science Politique (CESSP)Université Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance
  3. 3.Erasmus Centre for Economic Sociology (ECES)Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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