Several studies have pointed to an unproductive ‘division of labor’ in the International Relations discipline (IR), notably its publication patterns, in which scholars based in a ‘core’ publish theory-building work while scholars based in a ‘periphery’ publish mainly empirical, area-oriented, or theory-testing work. The latter would thus mainly act as ‘local informants’ feeding empirical material on ‘their own’ country or region into the theorizing efforts of the ‘core’. We investigate this argument empirically using the dataset compiled by the Global Pathways (GP) project that studies the content in both ‘core’- and ‘periphery’-based and edited journals. Overall, our findings corroborate the argument about a core-periphery division of labor. Our main findings are threefold: (1) In terms of theory, we find that ‘core’ journals publish a larger proportion of theory-developing (and statistical) work and a lower proportion of analytical case studies and descriptive work than do ‘periphery’ journals. Scholars based in the ‘periphery’ are rarely published in these more theoretical ‘core’ journals (accounting for just 5.5% of articles in the journals studied here), but the published articles tend to apply theory. The main division of labor is thus not playing out within ‘core’ journals, but across the ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ worlds of publishing. In the ‘periphery’ journals, we actually find that scholars tend to publish a significant proportion of work using theory. (2) In terms of regional focus, we find that all journals and authors tend to have an empirical ‘home bias’, i.e. focus their empirical work on the region in which they are based, but that this is stronger for ‘periphery’-based journals and authors. This provides some confirmation of an unproductive division of labor where ‘core’ authors publish works about all regions of the globe, while 'periphery' authors have a stronger regional orientation. (3) Finally, we find evidence that some journals and authors – particularly those based in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia – tend to be more policy-oriented, but we find no conclusive evidence of a core-periphery gap in this context.
|Publication Date||January 19, 2022|
|Published in Issue||Year 2022 Volume: 11 Issue: 1|
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