1st Edition

Europe’s New Scientific Elite Social Mechanisms of Science in the European Research Area

By Barbara Hoenig Copyright 2017
    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the question of whether the process of European integration in research funding has led to new forms of oligarchization and elite formation in the European Research Area. Based on a study of the European Research Council (ERC), the author investigates profound structural change in the social organization of science, as the ERC intervenes in public science systems that, until now, have largely been organized at the national level.

    Against the background of an emerging new science policy, Europe’s New Scientific Elite explores the social mechanisms that generate, reproduce and modify existing dynamics of stratification and oligarchization in science, shedding light on the strong normative impact of the ERC’s funding on problem-choice in science, the cultural legitimacy and future vision of science, and the building of new research councils of national, European and global scope.

    A comparative, theory-driven investigation of European research funding, this book will appeal to social scientists with interests in the sociology of knowledge.

    List of figures

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    List of Abbreviations

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. The problem: Establishing ‘excellence’ in socially stratified science

    Chapter 3. State of research: Controversial ideas on science and public research in a global marketplace

    Chapter 4. Explaining social change by Europeanization of science: An analytical approach

    Chapter 5. Methodology: Judging scientific ‘excellence’

    Chapter 6. The social structure of the European Research Area: A country comparison

    Chapter 7. Knowledge of ‘European excellence’: The grant-winning research

    Chapter 8. The cultural structure of the European Research Area at supranational level: The case of the European Research Council

    Chapter 9. The sampling: What is a scientific elite?

    Chapter 10. The grantees: Social choice and mechanisms in elite career trajectories

    Chapter 11. The panellists: Social choice and mechanisms in grant peer review

    Chapter 12. Social consequences and conclusions: Cumulative advantage and the case of the European Research Council




    Barbara Hoenig is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Education & Society of the University of Luxembourg. She obtained her qualifications in sociology at the University of Graz (Diploma 2001, PhD 2009) and the University of Innsbruck (Habilitation 2016). She has published on the sociology of science and knowledge, the history of social sciences, social inequalities and European integration.

    'Hoenig's case study is a major contribution to the sociology of science and knowledge. Based on rich empirical material and within an advanced theoretical framework, Hoenig demonstrates the consequences of European science policy, especially with respect to the formation of new scientific elites and the impact on the cognitive content of research.' - Gerald Angermann-Mozetic, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria

    'Science studies has generally neglected how funding arrangements construct hierarchies within science and establish particular meanings of research excellence that position and (dis)place other possible meanings. With great nuance, Barbara Hoenig reveals the detailed politics of knowledge construction underlying the European Research Council in what is the first major study of ‘Europe’ as a project of scientific integration. This is a superb and timely book.' – John Holmwood, University of Nottingham, UK

    ‘Science, including social science, has usually been at least partially international in the scope of its operations, but international linkages and collaborations have been largely personal or have involved fragile organisational ties. The institutional initiative studied here, the ERC, endeavours to scale-up European science to operate at a formal supranational level. Barbara Bach-Hoenig’s study deploys a magnificent array of theoretical and empirical resources to study its early operation.’ – Charles Crothers, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand