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This study presents a sociolinguistics of academic publishing in historical as well as in contemporary times. From the perspective of Swedish academia, it unites a wide range of scholarly knowledge, including perspectives from the sociology of science, history of science and ideas, and research policy. The study focuses on publishing practices in the empirical realities of two disciplinary fields, history and psychology. Drawing on facts and figures from publishing practices as well as interviews, the study argues that English is currently making inroads into the field of history, in line with and aided by the field-external power of new regimes of research evaluation and performance-based funding impinging on the university field at large. In the field of history, unlike in psychology, the English language is thus currently a weapon since it provides access to international publishing markets where new forms of scientific authority can be obtained. This option seems to be most compelling for junior scholars seeking to enter the field. Following Bourdieu, publishing in English is here interpreted as pertaining to a social strategy, enacted in pursuit of investing differently, so as to subvert the order of the historical field.
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing:
A relational approach to language choice
Linus Salö
Stockholm University
This study presents a sociolinguistics of academic publishing in historical as well as
in contemporary times. From the perspective of Swedish academia, it unites a wide
range of scholarly knowledge, including perspectives from the sociology of science,
history of science and ideas, and research policy. The study focuses on publishing
practices in the empirical realities of two disciplinary fields, history and psychology.
Drawing on facts and figures from publishing practices as well as interviews, the
study argues that English is currently making inroads into the field of history, in line
with and aided by the field-external power of new regimes of research evaluation
and performance-based funding impinging on the university field at large. In the
field of history, unlike in psychology, the English language is thus currently a
weapon since it provides access to international publishing markets where new
forms of scientific authority can be obtained. This option seems to be most compel-
ling for junior scholars seeking to enter the field. Following Bourdieu, publishing in
English is here interpreted as pertaining to a social strategy, enacted in pursuit of
investing differently, so as to subvert the order of the historical field.
Address for correspondence (corresponding author): Centre for Research on Bilingualism,
Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
This is a pre-print manuscript. Please cite as
Salö, L. 2016. The sociolinguistics of academic publishing: A relational
approach to language choice. In L. Salö Languages and Linguistic
Exchanges in Swedish Academia. Practices, Processes, and Globalizing
Markets. Dissertations in Bilingualism 26. Stockholm: Stockholm
Note that a substantially reworked and extended version has been published as
Salö, L. 2017. The Sociolinguistics of Academic Publishing. Language and
the Practices of Homo Academicus. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
The latter book is generally a better reference:
2 Linus Salö
1 Introduction
1.1 Publishing language
In recent times the position of English in academic publishing has attracted
growing interest from scholars worldwide. There has been, notes Williams
(2010, 52), a tendency for English to become ‘the international vector of
academic visibility’, which is linked to the fact that scholars ‘are integrated
into an international network which operate [sic] increasingly through the
medium of English.’ As an object of study, this phenomenon is approached
both from a historical perspective (e.g., Gordin 2015; Kaplan 2001; Morten-
sen & Haberland 2012) as well as in studies that, with varying foci, account
for its unfolding in the publishing practices of present times (e.g., Canaga-
rajah 2002; Lee & Lee 2013; Lillis & Curry 2010; Salö 2015). In scholarship
on language in society, the rationale for addressing this topic is commonly
critical, aiming to highlight the hegemonic role of English in contemporary
research and higher education, and the consequences of this state of affairs
for other languages and communities (e.g., Ammon 2001, 2012; Carli &
Ammon 2007; Durand 2006; Gnutzman 2008). Across northern Europe and
beyond, a large body of scholarly work papers, reports, edited volumes,
special issues, and so forth now exists on questions sensitive to the so-
called ‘Englishization’ (e.g., Hultgren & Thøgersen 2014) of universities on
a global scale. For example, the chapters in Ammon (2001) comprise ac-
counts from a wide range of contexts across the world, while, more recently,
the chapters in Hultgren et al. (2014) present accounts of ideology and prac-
tice in Nordic university contexts more specifically.
This study seeks to produce a better understanding of the sociolinguistics
of academic publishing by exploring the case of Swedish academia. The
main rationale for addressing this issue is to expand the knowledge base with
respect to the predominant position of English in the realm of science and
the diverse subspaces it comprises. Understanding this situation means
bringing empirical specificity and an in-depth, historical gaze to the question
of language in scientific publishing. Additionally, it requires producing
knowledge on the constraints for publishing practices imbued in the contem-
porary university field and its prevalent research policies. And, finally, it
entails a solid social-theoretical idea of human action to account for the logic
of practices of the dwellers of university life. To accomplish this undertak-
ing, the study subscribes to the scientific approach of Pierre Bourdieu, which
has many virtues for exploring these issues. For the purposes here, it invites
the analyst to take a relational approach to academic publishing. In this con-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 3
text, relational’ entails investigating publishing practices at the intersection
of the histories of disciplines and the dispositions of contemporary research-
ers shaped by these very same histories. By this logic,
[t]o understand the practices of the producers and their products entails
understanding that they are the result of the history of the positions they
occupy and the history of their dispositions. (Vanderberghe 1999, 54)
Combining historical analysis with interview accounts, this task is under-
taken with a view to uncovering the historicity, the present state, and, to the
extent possible, the future developments of the matter at hand. On this latter
point, however, I concur with the position of Sörlin (1994, 27) in holding
that historical research cannot actually foresee the future, but rather provides
us with well-informed reflections on forthcoming events and development.
Thus, to at least stand a chance of anticipating that which is yet to come
entails understanding the past in relation to the currently transforming realm
of science, and here, Bourdieu’s gaze is valuable.
1.2 Rationales, objectives, and organization of study
The backdrop of this endeavor is the predominant position of English in
research and higher education, which in Sweden, as well as in other nation-
states, has arisen as an issue of major language political relevance. A case in
point is provided by languages used in scientific publishing, where English
currently dominates across most disciplines (e.g., Salö 2010). However, as
this study seeks to highlight, it is noteworthy that issues of publishing lan-
guage are not only or even primarily matters of language per se. Rather,
publishing practices, as well as the languages used for these ends, are entan-
gled in a web of other facts. The university field is a battleground between
various at times, conflicting interests, including those of language. These
struggles have sociolinguistic implications, and as analysts we had better
make sure to record and account for these implications as a part of the bigger
picture. On this point, as Paasi (2005, 772) remarks, ‘the English language is
the medium, not the cause.’ Yet, as I shall argue here, publishing language is
a window into these struggles. Trends and disciplinary differences in pub-
lishing language stand proxy, as it were, to a set of tendencies that are cur-
rently on the move within the realm of university life (e.g., Kennedy 2015).
There is ample literature to suggest that university life is currently under-
going a profound makeover globally that is changing longstanding academic
values and practices. In short, what we are witnessing is a process whereby a
general drift toward globalizing knowledge is gaining the upper hand, which
4 Linus Salö
intersects with new research political techniques as an impetus for managing
academic work (e.g., Currie & Vidovich 2009; Kauppi & Erkkilä 2011;
Kennedy 2015; Naidoo 2003). To be sure, in the realm of science, globaliz-
ing processes as such are not new; what is new, however, ‘is the growth of
international networks, funding initiatives, publishing and ranking systems’
(Holm et al. 2015, 114). According to critics (e.g., Readings 1996; Rider et
al. 2013), these transformations are supplanting the core values of the Hum-
boldtian university as we know it, that is, as linked to the autonomous pur-
suit of truth (Krull 2005). In its place, the advent of a new managerial regime
arises, enforced under the banner of a quality culture, and followed by the
imposition of league tables reminiscent of the world of sports (e.g., Tight
2000). The driving force behind this development is an increased competi-
tiveness between states and their universities; their demands for increased
accountability and productivity come with pivotal effects on the stakes and
strategies of those who take part in the research game across the contempo-
rary globe that is, researchers since they are obligated to align their prac-
tices to the ideational and managerial visions of those who dictate the terms
in the university field at large (Lucas 2006). Intrinsically linked to this pro-
cess is the increasing importance attached to publications as the key form of
symbolic capital in the fields of science (e.g., Putnam 2009), hence the
phrase ‘publish or perish’ as an imperative of the scholarly enterprise of this
day and age. However, concerns linked to publishing in general are being
increasingly magnified by the drift toward globalizing knowledge and of
publishing for transnational marketplaces, as indicated by Lee and Lee’s
(2013) thought-provoking article titled ‘Publish (in international indexed
journals) or perish.’ While this fact reflects the crude realities of most dwell-
ers of academia globally, the issue is a particularly sensitive one among
scholars of the non-Anglophone world. This is so because it follows from
contemporary transformations in academia that more importance is also at-
tached to English, which is the language that currently predominates in the
marketplace, toward which scholars, willingly or unwillingly, are ever more
gearing their publishing practices (e.g., Coulmas 2007; Lillis & Curry 2010).
Understanding these transformations requires a multi-layered line of sci-
entific inquiry. In view of this, the present study delves into the question of
publishing language in Sweden by uniting strands of research from the his-
tory of science, the sociology of science, and the language of science. These
seemingly vast areas of knowledge production converge in the work of
Bourdieu. Intellectually, he is a product of a French tradition, and here, the
separation between history and sociology is often considered epistemologi-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 5
cally unfounded (e.g., Steinmetz 2011); hence, as Bourdieu posits, ‘all soci-
ology should be historical and all history sociological’ (cited in Wacquant
1989a, 37). Bourdieu’s science of science (e.g., 1975, 1988, 2004) takes as
its uncompromising starting point that a scientific field is invariably defined
by its own history (Broady 1991, 55). In Bourdieu’s view, moreover, prac-
tices of language are seen both as arenas of social power and as instruments
for implementing strategies (e.g., Bourdieu 1977; Wacquant 1989a). The
language used in publishing can thus be seen as an index of the ways in
which researchers make use of their discursive resources in relation to the
strategic possibilities rendered significant by the struggles shaping the social
fields and subfields in which they engage (cf. Hanks 2005).
Empirically, the study focuses on practices of scientific publishing in two
disciplinary fields of Swedish academia: history and psychology. These two
fields occupy different positions in the scientific space at large, and each
field can therefore be scrutinized by using the other as an analytical contrast
(Löfgren 1992). The emergence of history as an autonomous field dates back
to the 19th century, whereas the field of psychology is a more recent con-
struction. With respect to publishing, there is a general sense that the posi-
tion of Swedish holds strong in history, while English predominates in psy-
chology (e.g., Salö 2010; see also section 2.1). The study combines historical
analysis of the two disciplines with interviews of professors and doctors in
the same two disciplines, so as to provide an account of the ways in which
field histories play out in contemporary publishing practices. According to
this agenda, the two pivotal thinking-tools field and habitus are adopted
to attain a theoretical understanding of science, disciplines, and researchers.
Together with Bourdieu’s meta-theoretical propositions, these thinking-tools
provide a viable gaze and conceptual pathway for conceiving the logic of the
spaces of engagement out of which research is yielded, both shaped by and
shaping the agents who dwell therein.
The study is organized as follows. Section 2 introduces the question of
language choice in publishing in Swedish academia and its disciplines,
where Bourdieu’s stance on human action will also be introduced. Section 3
outlines Bourdieu’s conception of the dual nature of social life, which serves
as a way of explicating the study’s design, procedure, and dataset includ-
ing notes on methodology. Section 4 expands upon the logic of academic life
as viewed through the lens of Bourdieu’s relational science of science, that
is, as a locus of struggle between agents with differing symbolic and material
assets. This is then followed by two empirical parts. The first part (section 5)
accounts for histories. First, there will be a general historical description of
6 Linus Salö
language use in the early days of Swedish academic life, after which follows
more detailed accounts of publishing language in the histories of the two
disciplinary fields: history (5.1) and psychology (5.2). The second part ac-
counts for publishing language in current times. Section 6 outlines the cur-
rents in research policy impinging on the contemporary university field, with
a view to foregrounding recent trends in managing research that direct the
preconditions for publishing practices. Then follows a section (7) on habitus
as fields made flesh where interview accounts from four agents in the two
fields are presented, with one dominant agent (professor) and one newcomer
(recent PhD graduate, henceforth doctor) from each field. Section 8 dis-
cusses the data presented by foregrounding two axes of relationships.
Whereas the first relationship pertains to differences between the two fields,
the second relationship pertains to university hierarchies as manifested
within each field as a difference between dominant agents and newcomers.
Section 9 presents concluding remarks.
In brief, the study here argues the following: ‘Language choice’ in pub-
lishing should be understood as a form of historical action residing in the
relation between histories of scientific disciplines as fields, on the one hand,
and histories as incarnated in researchers’ habitus, on the other (Bourdieu
1990a, 190). As such, the choice of publishing language is a social strategy
pursued by the researcher in relation to the possibilities offered within the
disciplinary field but also in relation to the conditions of the overarching
university field within which disciplinary fields are located. Contemporary
transformations of the Swedish university field increasingly orient scientific
practices by imposing new ways of rewarding particular forms of scientific
performance. This strategy is currently setting the stage for a new form of
struggle within some of the disciplinary fields it comprises the field of
history being a case in point. In one sense, the contemporary political vision
of the university field, along with the tools used to enforce this vision, car-
ries with it a severe form of misrecognition of the values long upheld in this
field, since it does not recognize the value of the practices that incite the
agents here. At the same time, this misrecognition opens up new options for
newcomers to enter the field. In view of this, the study points to the emer-
gence of a new scientific habitus, molded by the desires of challengers to
attain competitive positions within the field. Contrary to its status in psy-
chology, English is currently a weapon in the field of history since it pro-
vides access to international publishing markets where new forms of scien-
tific authority can be obtained. While English is an avowed investment strat-
egy for newcomers, the tendency to use it devalues the capital of the domi-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 7
nant agents by undermining the principles that were previously most favor-
able to their products (Wacquant 1989a, 40). By this logic, the study predicts
that English will continue to make inroads into the field of history over the
years to come but not without having to overcome some challenges.
2 Language choice in Swedish academia
In Sweden, the balance of power between Swedish and English in Swedish
academic life is a well-known topic of ongoing concern both of scholarly
and language political discourse (e.g., Kuteeva 2015 for an overview). Sev-
eral mappings have shown that currently and increasingly so English
serves as the chief language of scientific publishing across most disciplines
(e.g., Gunnarsson 2001; Gunnarsson & Öhman 1997; Melander 2004; Salö
2010). From the perspective of language planning and policy, this is a prob-
lematic development, and, accordingly, Sweden has signed the legally non-
committal Declaration on a Nordic Language Policy (2006). Among other
things, this document makes a plea for so-called parallel language use as a
way of promoting the use of Swedish (and other Scandinavian languages)
along with English in the presentation of scientific results.
In the Swedish debate, the question of variation in language use in pub-
lishing practices has traditionally been cast as a matter of ‘language choice’.
McGrath (2014) argues that policy documents at various levels tend to depict
choices as falling upon the individual, thus nourishing a view in which re-
searchers across Swedish academia are portrayed as ‘deciding’ to publish in
English, and in so doing, are ‘choosing’ to abandon Swedish (see also
Kuteeva 2015, 271; Petersen & Shaw 2002, 371). While this may be so,
several Swedish studies on these matters have instead highlighted structural
constraints to publishing, for instance, in relation to the force of bibliometric
valorization (e.g., Salö 2010) or in the context of ‘diglossia’ that is, macro-
social propensities against which measures should be taken to increase the
qualification value of publishing in Swedish (e.g., Gunnarsson 2001). This
question, thus, feeds into a well-known debate on structureagency as a
baseline for conceptualizing choice epistemologically (e.g., Paton 2007). In
the context of language choice in publishing, it seems clear that commen-
tators take a different stance on this point, and accounts accordingly range
between understanding choices as externally imposed and power-laden, ‘ex-
posed to Anglo-American imperialism”’ (Gunnarsson 2001, 306), and the
more liberal vision in which choices are seen as ‘pragmatically determined’
(McGrath 2014, 15).
8 Linus Salö
It may be suggested that the most fruitful approach is to opt for a middle
ground. As Coulmas (2007, 158) notes, while it can be stated that behind
every paper is an individual decision to publish it in one language rather than
another’, there is little reason to believe that ‘decisions are made in the void
or that choice is free.’ The foundation of Bourdieu’s practice theory offers
some purchase in grappling with these matters, attuned as it is to emphasiz-
ing choices as relationally situated between constraints and individual
agency. As Bourdieu states, ‘We can always say that individuals make
choices as long as we do not forget that individuals do not chose the princi-
ples of their choices’ (cited in Wacquant 1989a: 45; also Bourdieu 2000,
149). From a sociological point of view, this dimension of ‘handed-down
will’ can be specified as follows:
[H]ow can one fail to see that decision, if decision there is, and the ‘sys-
tem of preferences’ which underlies it, depend not only on all the previ-
ous choices of the decider but also on the conditions in which his
‘choices’ have been made, which includes all the choices of those who
have chosen for him, in his place, pre-judging his judgements and so
shaping his judgement. (Bourdieu 1990b, 4950)
A key implication of Bourdieu’s line of reasoning is that all scientific
choices made by the researcher, including those concerning publishing fo-
rum and language, depend on the agent’s location within her professional
universe, with the traditions, habits, beliefs, values, and censorships embed-
ded therein (Bourdieu 2003, 283). To a considerable extent, therefore, this
position imports with it a vision of language ‘choice’ as pertaining to values
and preferences in which subjectivist accounts offer limited explanatory
value. Yet, in respect to social action, Bourdieu’s project comprises the in-
tellectual means to circumvent the two pitfalls of either producing a pure
internalist account that overemphasizes individuals’ free choices or an exter-
nalist account that overemphasizes the constraints of regulating forces. In-
stead, it allows for an understanding in which publishing practices are seen
as a relational outcome that arises from the encounter between socialized and
interested researchers, on the one hand, and a range of possibilities available
at a given point in time where they dwell, on the other (Bourdieu 1983,
313). By this logic,
[s]ocial agents are not ‘particles’ that are mechanically pushed about by
external forces. They are, rather, bearers of capitals and, depending on the
position that they occupy in the field by virtue of their endowment (vol-
ume and structure) in capital, they tend to act either toward the preserva-
tion of the distribution of capital or toward the subversion of this distri-
bution. (Bourdieu, cited in Wacquant 1989b, 8, emphasis removed)
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 9
Researchers, then, do not follow rules but pursue strategies (see below sec-
tion 4). Likewise, from the vantage point opted for here, apprehending lan-
guage choice as comprising ‘choices’ about language only appears to be a
gross simplification. It should be noted that this insight is not new in the
Swedish debate; in fact, even by the late 1990s Hyltenstam was arguing that
the use of a given publishing language should be seen as a manifestation of
the self-perception of various disciplines.
The extent that dissertations are written in Swedish or in supranational
languages at a given point in time should primarily be seen as a reflection
of how given branches of science perceive their discursive context, as
chiefly national or international. (Hyltenstam 1999, 217, my translation)
2.1 Disciplines, difference, and language
The perspective proposed by Hyltenstam above demands us to pay attention
to the fact that the scientific field contains smaller universes, each charac-
terized by its own embedded economy of symbolic goods that define the
chances of profit more locally (Bourdieu 1985, 196). We know these uni-
verses as academic disciplines, which, by Bourdieu’s logic, can be appre-
hended as fields or subfields (Bourdieu 2004, 64ff.). Here, the historically
yielded specifics of each disciplinary field intersect with the general forces
of the overarching university field, for instance, those concerning research
policy. As one among many principles of division, these struggles unfold
through language, an issue I will attend to presently.
It is commonplace that different things matter to different disciplines.
Disciplines take different objects, pose different questions, and develop dif-
ferent research commitments and procedures in relation to these. Broadly,
then, disciplines differ in what Habermas (1987) refers to as their ‘know-
ledge-interests’, in other words, their epistemological orientations to know-
ledge discovery, and, moreover, in their more or less hierarchical ways of
structuring knowledge (e.g., Gibbons et al. 1994; Martin 2011). What is
more, from an anthropological viewpoint, these differences can be said to
engender cultures, which suggests a view of disciplines as being caught up in
systems of beliefs and valorization with pivotal effects on the practices (and
beliefs) of those who enter into them (e.g. Gerholm & Gerholm 1992; Knorr
Cetina 1999). Accordingly, various cultural aspects of disciplines have been
foregrounded by envisioning them in terms of ‘tribes and territories’ (Becher
& Trowler 2001). Subscribing to a similar view, Geertz (1983) has said that
[i]n the same way that Papuans or Amazonians inhabit the world they im-
agine, so do high energy physicists or historians of the Mediterranean in
10 Linus Salö
the age of Phillip II or so, at least, an anthropologist imagines. (Geertz
1983, 155)
Over time, differences in interests render fields distinguishable as broad
sociohistorical patterns of collective action, often held together by the sup-
port of (modern) institutional organization. As Clark has argued, this fact has
distinguishable effects in regard to epistemologies, interests, and research
agendas, for example, in respect to publishing channels for disseminating the
knowledge that they yield.
In physics, young scholars-to-be publish articles, often jointly authored;
in history, they attempt to write books. The one is interested in scientific
objectivity; the other in the power of individual interpretation. (Clark
1991, 110)
In a non-Anglophone setting such as Sweden, this does not only pertain
to genres and publishing formats, as highlighted in Clark’s account above,
but moreover intersects with questions of publishing language. As many
studies have shown, there are major disciplinary differences in regard to the
prevalence of English in publishing. As a general tendency, English has been
shown to dominate for the most part in the scientific publishing practices of
fields situated within the natural sciences, medicine, and technology, while
the position of Swedish holds fast in the humanities, with the social sciences
lingering between these two poles (e.g., Gunnarsson & Öhman 1997; Salö
2010). As noted by Kuteeva and Airey (2014), this pattern of English impact
in publishing corresponds to the idea of the ‘hierarchical knowledge struc-
ture’ characteristic of the hard sciences, as opposed to the horizontal
knowledge structure of the humanities, characterized by the lesser use of
English in publishing (see e.g., Martin 2011; also Gibbon et al. 1994). Thus,
by this reasoning, these authors argue that the knowledge structure charac-
teristic of the natural sciences supports the need for a common language of
publishing (Kuteeva & Airey 2014). In addition, this state of affairs inter-
sects with the literatures of science (e.g., Hicks 2004), where articles prevail
in the hard sciences, whereas monographs are common in the humanities
(e.g., Myrdal 2009; cf. also Clark 1991, quote above).
These differences can be discussed across a range of themes, such as ex-
ternal and internal boundaries, epistemological issues, etc. (Beacher &
Trowler 2001, 210211; Gibbons et al. 1994). This is so because the inter-
linkage between genres, disciplines, and languages does not explain differ-
ence per se, but rather manifests other forms of difference in which language
variation emerges as a consequence (Salö & Josephson 2014, 284). Explor-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 11
ing this phenomenon in Swedish scholarship, Salö and Josephson (2014)
adopt a disciplinary perspective to compare the contemporary publishing
patterns of history, computer science, psychology, linguistics, law, and
physics. This study points to a continuum in which the position of Swedish
is strong in history and law, with both standing out as ‘book disciplines’ in
the sense that monographs and edited volumes prevail. By contrast, English
predominates in physics and computer science, where scholars predomi-
nantly publish journal articles and conference proceedings, respectively. In
fields characterized by a greater theoretical and methodological unity, such
as psychology, scholars are often inclined to publish articles, typically
through co-authorship (Sörlin 1994, 225). Accordingly, articles and pro-
ceedings dominate in psychology and linguistics, and here, English pre-
dominates in publishing (Salö & Josephson 2014). On that point, however, it
can be noted that journal articles are also fairly common in history and law,
but here the balance between English and Swedish is fairly comparable, with
even a slight tendency toward Swedish dominance (ibid.). Hence, distrib-
uting knowledge in articles does not necessarily entail publishing in English.
Subsequently, other forms of difference must be brought to the fore.
For example, disciplines differ in respect to what Sörlin (1994) calls their
context dependence. The Swedish-dominated disciplines typically deal
with national substance or source material, such as Swedish law or Swedish
history (e.g., Salö & Josephson 2014). As de Swaan (2004) and others posit,
using English is problematic in the humanities because they are more
‘strongly bound to language’ (p. 140). Correspondingly, fields such as his-
tory tend to be oriented toward a ‘local disciplinary community’ that typi-
cally operates through the medium of local languages (Petersen & Shaw
2002). Typically, scholars of such fields are preoccupied with producing
detailed descriptive accounts of distinctive source material devoted to pre-
senting facts that are relatively space-consuming; hence the tradition of re-
porting findings in book format (Jarrick 2012; Myrdal 2009, 41). By con-
trast, scholars in many of the hard sciences take objects with no particular
foundation in the Swedish context specifically; rather, these objects appear
the same irrespective of the geographical location of the researcher. Astro-
physics and computer science serve to exemplify this point: there exist, so to
speak, no Swedish physics or computer science (Salö & Josephson 2014,
284). Accordingly, such fields typically exhibit more internationally oriented
publishing patterns, serving, as they do, international communities (Myrdal
2009, 39; Petersen & Shaw 2002; Sörlin 1994, 225). In the natural sciences,
12 Linus Salö
de Swaan (2004, 141) claims, most of what can be said in English can also
be phrased in mathematics and in formal schemes.’
These observations are certainly helpful in attempts to unravel the logics
of language choice in publishing practices. Yet, as this study seeks to high-
light, it is pivotal not to lose sight of the fact that they do not point to essen-
tial qualities inherent in disciplines. From the outlook opted for here, they
are, rather, realizations of historical struggles that have made things appear
much more ‘natural’ than they really are (Bourdieu 1991, 23). Fields are
manmade, according to the logic outlined in section 4. It follows from this
position that the object of our study ‘is not an evolution but a societal phe-
nomenon whose historical shapes and societal driving forces it is our task to
unravel’ (Sörlin 1994, 18, my translation) Every contemporary disciplinary
field, as we can perceive and examine in the here and now, is the outcome of
a ‘more or less overt struggle over the definition of the legitimate principles
of division of the field’ (Bourdieu 1985, 208).
3 Meta-theoretical entry points and procedure
This section introduces Bourdieu’s idea of ‘relational thinking’. It then ex-
plicates how this conception is translated into the study’s design.
3.1 The two modes of existence of the social
To sum up, the plan here is to develop a better understanding of the sociolin-
guistics of academic publishing. To approach this matter from a distinct
Bourdieusian viewpoint entails subscribing to a number of guiding proposi-
tions as part of the research agenda. Bourdieu’s scientific project encom-
passes an intrinsically relational conception of social life. His sociological
gaze adheres to a form of dualism between two realizations of historical
action, namely ‘the inscription of the social in things and in bodies’ (Bour-
dieu 2000, 181; also Wacquant 1989a, 44). This insight provides the meta-
theoretical entry point for considering the relationship between a scientific
discipline, on the one hand, and a scientist within that discipline, on the
other. In Bourdieu’s framework, these represent ‘two modes of existence of
the social’ (Bourdieu 1990a, 190–191). The discipline exists as reified his-
tory, engendered through the struggles of its formation. Apprehended socio-
logically, disciplines are fields in Bourdieu’s sense (see below, section 4),
although this study adopts the term disciplinary fields interchangeably for
the sake of clarity. As a corresponding thinking-tool, habitus is adopted to
account for the fact that, through sustained engagement, the scientists who
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 13
engage in a field come to embody the history of the field within which they
have learned to think and act (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, 136). The sci-
entist, thus, ‘is a scientific field made flesh’ (Bourdieu 2004, 41; see section
7). This meta-theoretical entry point dictates that understanding the practices
and products of researchers ‘entails understanding that they are the result of
the meeting of two histories: the history of the positions they occupy and the
history of their dispositions’ (Bourdieu 1993b, 61).
3.2 Procedure a relational design
Bourdieu’s ‘relational thinking’ imports with it a particular methodological
agenda, attuned to constructing relational attributes rather than ‘looking for
intrinsic properties of individuals or groups’ (Swartz 2013, 22). This guiding
principle prods the analyst to account for both modes of the social, that is, to
account for the historically imbued values of each field as well as the in-
corporation of these histories in contemporary agents. The symbolic capital
and stakes of each field, therefore, are empirically accessible in two ways.
Firstly, as reified history, the fields can be studied through historical analysis
(e.g., Gorski 2013). Secondly, as embodied history, the capital and stakes
can be studied by prying into the habitus of their occupants, for example, via
interviews. Because of this design, the procedure here is two-fold, which
also splits the study into two broad sections: one that deals with the past, and
one with the present (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992, 234235). As realized
here, these two objects are field and habitus, which are both the topics and
the tools of the investigation. Based on the material drawn from in this in-
quiry, habitus is empirically accessible primarily through the accounts of
contemporary agents in the two fields (history and psychology, respectively).
The point is not that fields are historical while habitus is a notion of syn-
chronic constitution; on the contrary, habitus, like the fields it embodies, is a
historical construct, which is to say that agents’ dispositions to action are, at
heart, historical. Social agents, Bourdieu posits,
are the product of history, of the history of the whole social field and of
the accumulated experience of a path within the specific sub-field. (cited
in Wacquant 1989b, 10)
The past: First, the study presents a broad outline of language use as an
enmeshed aspect of academic life in Sweden, which began in the heyday of
Latin. Next, it presents histories of each field: initially the field of history,
followed by psychology. This task is undertaken with an eye toward fore-
grounding the ways in which events and struggles in their historical devel-
14 Linus Salö
opments feed into questions of publishing language. Here, however, intra-
scientific struggles alone are insufficient for explaining the tendencies that
are observed; rather, this outlook invites the analyst to pay attention to the
ways in which currents within the sciences have harmonized or conflicted
with broader societal ideologies and historical developments (Broady 1991,
525). Consequently, this first procedural part of the study draws on a wide
range of sources, where thick constructions
of the fields’ historical
developments are juxtaposed with facts and figures on publishing practices,
as elicited from bibliographies that cover different periods. As Gouldner
notes, publication as such is not of course theoretically interesting, but it
becomes so if taken as an index of something else’ (1957, 289). In this study,
the language used in academic publishing is seen as an index of different
forms of national and transnational values at stake within a field at a given
point in time.
The present: Second, the study turns to contemporary academia and its
dwellers. The study first provides an overview of current research policy in
Sweden and beyond. Next, it sets out to unravel the ways in which histori-
cally contingent values are rooted in people’s habitus their dispositions,
representations, and experiences of the social world (Broady 1991, 193).
Here, the study presents accounts obtained from interviews with contempo-
rary agents of the two fields, both dominant agents and newcomers, with the
primary motive being to account for the ways in which the aspirations held
by historians and psychologists, respectively, link to publishing practices.
What is taken into consideration here is their academic habitus in relation to
publishing strategies. These data were obtained from four hour-long inter-
views, which were recorded and subsequently transcribed.
For each field,
accounts of the interviews with the professors are presented first. These are
agents who are consecrated by their fields, and who embody their fields
they are ‘people who are known’ and, therefore, ‘may speak on behalf of the
whole group, represent the whole group and exercise authority in the name
of the whole group’ (Bourdieu 1986, 251–252). They were selected to be
informants by virtue of their positions as dominant agents, that is, major
holders of symbolic and material assets. Next, the study turns to the accounts
of the doctors, both of whom are up-and-coming scholars in their respective
fields. Both defended their theses just after the turn of the 21st century. While
they have begun to advance in their respective fields, they are both still
treated as newcomers, first and foremost by virtue of their capital assets,
which they strive to increase in order to advance in position within the
spaces of possibilities constitutive of their fields.
In opposition to the
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 15
professors, the doctors are new entrants who have recently begun to inter-
nalize the logic of practice of their fields, and who are products of a ‘new
mode of recruitment’ (Bourdieu 1988, 152) constitutive of contemporary
university life. So far in their careers, they have gone through an ample,
albeit differentiated, share of evaluation to eventually arrive at their current
positions. It follows from this that they have a sense of what counts symboli-
cally in their respective fields and that this practical knowledge can be drawn
upon to navigate through their spaces of available possibilities as they appear
in contemporary fields (Bourdieu 1983, 313).
It is appropriate to make two notes on methodology here. As for the sec-
tion accounting for the past, the study uses Bourdieu’s notion of field first
and foremost as a way of asking questions relevant to the vast amount of
material that is used. Field thus serves as a conceptual lynchpin, that is, as
a way of making inroads into the histories of the two fields with the aim of
foregrounding particular features of the historical processes of their growth:
the spaces of position, the values at stake, etc., which stand out as relevant to
the question of language (Hanks 2005, 73; see also note 6). As for the sec-
ond part, where interviews are used, it is necessary to underscore that the
analysis is deliberately geared to discovering accounts of the selected social
worlds through the sense-making filter of the habitus of the interviewees.
The position-takings of interviewees on their own practices are by all means
legitimate, but they are ‘points of view’ in the most factual meaning of this
expression. In these interviews I am interested in the positions from which
interviewees express their views (Bourdieu 1996, 34). What this stance
brings about is this: in respect to the inquiries of this study, the interviewees
‘do not have in their heads the scientific truth of their practice’ (Bourdieu
2003, 288), and therefore, the task of objectivizing their accounts inexorably
falls upon the much-privileged analyst:
Interviews with social agents, therefore, offer insightful discourse on a
particular point of view but it is a ‘point of view’ and the social scientist
must uncover the forces, which are driving the discourse (the struggles
and strategies within the field(s) within which the agents are positioned).
The scientist must provide a point of view on a point of view. (Lucas
2006, 6970)
4 Bourdieu’s science of science
The principles of Bourdieu’s sociology of science are outlined in several
publications (e.g., 1975, 1991, 2004), but are, empirically, most thoroughly
elaborated in his book Homo Academicus (1988). Contained within the
16 Linus Salö
larger field of power, science is the constitution par excellence of a field of
cultural production. As noted, Bourdieu sees these contexts as comprising
peculiar universes, imbued with their own characteristic logics, values,
stakes, and driving forces. These can be envisioned as social worlds embed-
ded within each other; disciplinary fields, for example, are nested within the
larger scientific field as a hierarchized space of disciplines (Bourdieu 2004,
66; see also Grenfell 2007, cp. 10; Hilgers & Mangez 2015; Maton 2005).
But, as understood here, the overarching university field is occupied by
agents other than those who teach and produce scientific knowledge; to be
included here are funding agencies, research councils, agents from the pub-
lishing industry, and bureaucrats with stakes in research politics whose inter-
ests affect research practice.
Often, and increasingly so, these are
policymakers operating from within the bureaucratic field, legitimized by the
power-field of the state (e.g., Bourdieu 2014). In what follows, these prem-
ises will be expanded upon, focusing particularly on the logic of academic
life. Questions of research policy driving contemporary transformations of
the university field are dealt with in section 6.
4.1 Fields as sites for the struggle over resources
The scientific field, Bourdieu holds, ‘is the locus of a competitive struggle,
in which the specific issue at stake is the monopoly of scientific authority’
(1975, 19). Here, socialized agents viz. the species of homo academicus
(Bourdieu 1988) struggle for individual distinction. Hence, ‘to exist is to
differ, i.e. to occupy a distinct, distinctive position, they must assert their
difference, get it known and recognized, get themselves known and recog-
nized’ (Bourdieu 1983, 338). For this ‘social physics’ to work, there need to
be, on the one hand, stakes, profits, and desirable awards, and, on the other,
people who are willing to engage in the games where such stakes, profits,
and awards can be earned (Bourdieu 1993a, 72). As Bourdieu posits, ‘there
would be no game without belief in the game and without the wills, inten-
tions and aspirations which actuate the agents’ (Bourdieu 1981, 308). At
stake in academia are various forms of academic and scientific capital,
which serve as powers or currencies in the game of academic success. For
example, there is capital of academic power, scientific power, as well as that
of scientific prestige and intellectual renown (e.g., Bourdieu 1988, 40).
These forms of capital take the shape of academic titles and positions, pub-
lishing records, committee memberships, and reputation. In typical scholarly
CVs, such capital accumulations are listed as merits, commonly aligned with
the demands of a given field. In academia, success breeds success. Forms of
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 17
capital merge into economies of symbolic value, where accumulated success
serves as a currency by means of which more success can be traded. Often,
these forms of resource exchange are channeled through agents’ accumu-
lated assets of social capital, such as networks and personal contacts. For
example, being published in high-prestige journals may improve the new-
comer’s chances of pulling rank in expert assessments for research funding
and academic positions; having received research funding once is likely to
improve one’s chances to receive funding again, and so forth. Likewise, the
academic capital of being head of the department is commonly reached as a
result of having gained an ample measure of scientific prestige, which in turn
can be exchanged for a higher salary. The homo academicus in this vein
capitalizes on prior achievements to yield more profits. This is why, as Reay
(2004, 32) aptly notes, ‘Academia is full of cultural capitalists’ who struggle
for their specific interests (e.g., Bourdieu 1993b, 181).
As relatively autonomous social universes, what is highly valued in one
disciplinary field may be less profitable in another, which is to say that sym-
bolic capital differs across disciplinary fields (e.g., Broady 1991, 17). Sym-
bolic capital is what is commonly referred to as prestige, renown, or reputa-
tion, ‘which is the form in which the different forms of capital are perceived
and recognized as legitimate’ (Bourdieu 1985, 197). This fact explains why
most investments made in a particular subfield (e.g., the field of history), are
perceived as odd or disinterested’ by agents outside of the field, (e.g., in
psychology), where investments are placed according to other historically
given principles (Bourdieu 1990a, 48). Hence, we can say that the scientific
defines itself by (among other things) defining specific stakes and inter-
ests, which are irreducible to the stakes and interests specific to other
fields (you can’t make a philosopher compete for the prizes that interest a
geographer) and which are not perceived by someone who has not been
shaped to enter that field. (Bourdieu 1993a, 72)
4.1.1 Interests and strategies
As part of the struggles outlined above, the two concepts interest and strat-
egy stand out as particularly crucial to grasp, above all since they are en-
visioned in a particular sense within Bourdieu’s framework that does not
correspond to their usage in common language. The so-called ‘logic of prac-
tice’ of those who engage in scientific fields dictates that the driving forces
are essentially fueled by a profound interest on the part of the involved
agents in the subjects of their expertise. The agents of academia are in this
18 Linus Salö
sense driven by a form of curiosity in respect to their object of inquiry; thus,
‘curiosity’, to some degree, expounds agents’ interests for engaging in re-
search. The term ‘interest’ (also illusio), however, carries a two-fold mean-
ing within Bourdieu’s framework. In addition to this kind of altruistic pas-
sion, ‘I am interested in history or psychology, etc.’, it also taps into other
forms of interests linked to the fact that science constitutes a system founded
on meritocracy, competition, and hierarchism, where, to advance or even
maintain one’s position, people are compelled to make various sorts of in-
vestments that yield profit in the race. Researchers, thus, seek to maximize
the value of their deeds within the field; yet, not just by adapting to the field,
but by imposing authoritatively their own definition of what is and should be
valued in relation to the research objects at stake (Lucas 2006, 6066; Put-
nam 2009, 129). For those striving to be acceptable in terms of ‘academic
honor’, researchers are at pains not to come across as being blatantly merce-
nary, since strengthening one’s own position should serve to also strengthen
the field. In this sense, research is viewed as a form of team sport in which
individual players hold their own ranking, and here career interests can be
acceptable as long as they are coupled with research interests. It follows
from this same logic, moreover, that any voicing of self-interest is swept
under the carpet or rephrased in terms of honor (Broady 1991, 206207).
Interest, Bourdieu holds,
is ‘to be there’, to participate, to admit that the game is worth playing and
that the stakes created in and through the fact of playing are worth pursu-
ing; it is to recognize the game and to recognize its stakes. (Bourdieu
1998, 77)
In participating, agents adopt different investment strategies. Yet, by in-
voking the notion of strategy’, Bourdieu does not subscribe to the idea of
the rational agent who acts solely in accordance with the maximization of
profits through conscious calculations (2000, 28). Neither, however, are
agents seen as acting in fully unconscious or uncalculated ways, since hu-
man action can very well encompass a strategic calculation of cost of bene-
fit’ (Wacquant 1989a, 45). Strategies are envisioned as more or less con-
scious moves, generated by the agents’ practical sense, which serve to repro-
duce his or her position and to generate profit in the social game (Mérand &
Forget 2013, 97). To Bourdieu (1998, 81), while such moves can be con-
scious, for the most part, agentsstrategies do not have ‘a true strategic in-
tention as a principle.In this vein, this distinct notion of ‘strategy’ seeks to
circumvent the opposition between the totally conscious and the totally un-
conscious (Kauppi 2000, 231; Lucas 2006, 63ff.; Mérand & Forget 2013).
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 19
Over time, above all, the conscious becomes unconscious ‘as the same or
similar situations are repeatedly encountered’ (Hillier & Rooksby 2005, 22).
4.1.2 The newcomers and the dominant players
A key property of every field is that there are struggles between newcomers
that is, pretenders or nouveaux entrants who aim to enter the field, and
the dominant agents, who try to hold rank, defend monopoly, and, by doing
so, withstand competition (Bourdieu 1993a). It is axiomatic that agents of
the scientific field differ in respect to capital possession, both in respect to
the volume and the composition of the capital endowed (Bourdieu &
Wacquant 1992, 108ff.). Hence, in academic life in particular, accumulating
capital takes time, and agents who have placed their investments success-
fully over a long course of time commonly hold dominant social positions.
Correspondingly, the dominant players of academia tend to be more senior
and established agents with permanent academic positions in their fields. By
the same logic, upon entering this game, young scholars typically arrive
empty-handed with respect to symbolic assets. As neophytes at the scientific
game, newcomers, therefore, are obligated to conform to existing hierarchies
put into place throughout the history of the field, but they can also work in
pursuit of changing the symbolic order of the field, for example, by reori-
enting their investment strategies. As Hilgers and Mangez (2015, 11) put it,
‘newcomers will tend to implement strategies aimed at subverting the sym-
bolic order; otherwise they will tend to undergo a form of symbolic violence
that leads them to recognize the legitimacy of a symbolic order that is un-
favourable to them.’ To defend the order, those who possess the dominant
positions are subsequently at pains to produce weapons by virtue of which
they can hinder the displacement of established principles of hierarchization,
for example, by discrediting newly developed investment strategies (Bour-
dieu 1983, 322). In this vein, ‘[t]he history of the field arises from the strug-
gle between the established figures and the young challengers’ (ibid., 339).
As Williams puts it, the struggle
involves those whose interests are served by the status quo in the distri-
bution of capital, and those who will benefit from change. Despite being
locked in struggle, all participants will benefit from the preservation of
the field, and thereby will have an interest in its reproduction. (Williams
2010, 85)
Questions pertaining to the logic outlined above will be brought to light in
section 7. In what follows, the study digs deep into the historical sociolin-
guistics of scientific life in Sweden.
20 Linus Salö
5 The sociolinguistics of science: the longue durée
In Sweden, university life began to consolidate in the 17th century, thereby
breaking with the church-linked scholastic knowledge production that had
prevailed before (e.g., Frängsmyr 1989a). From a European perspective, this
was a late start. As a nation of knowledge production, as well as in other
ways, Sweden lagged behind its culturally more developed European coun-
terparts, where humanism had long flourished at the universities of Bologna,
Paris, and elsewhere (e.g., Eriksson & Frängsmyr 1991). While Uppsala
University was officially established in 1477, it was largely inoperative
throughout the 16th century. Thus, during most of the 16th century, higher
education had to be undertaken abroad, primarily in Germany (Tengström
1970, 40). However, during the second half of the 16th century, small-scale
academies and seats of learning were set up in the mid-Sweden region. In
1593, a decision was made to re-establish the embryonic work at Uppsala
University, where three chair professors in theology and four in philosophy
were installed (Tengström 1970, 41). This event, arguably, marked the early
rise of Sweden as a nation of science, and during the 17th century, this initia-
tive was followed by the establishment of academies in other parts of the
Swedish empire: Dorpat in 1632 (Tartu, contemporary Estonia), Åbo in 1640
(Turku contemporary Finland), and Lund in 1668 (Lindroth 1975, 47ff.).
Still, as a society isolated in the far north, Sweden was comparatively
small and infinitesimal, thereby creating the need to use a language that,
unlike Swedish, held currency in transnational communication (Lindberg
1984, 79). In this largely expanding university environment, Latin was
adopted as lingua eruditorum vernacula, ‘the vernacular of the learned
(Lindberg 1984), at the beginning of the 17th century, thereby marking the
beginning of an important epoch of Sweden’s linguistic history. Thus, in
spite of the outspoken aim of Swedishizing the new, conquered provinces,
and in spite of the exhortation of the Swedish king Gustav Adolf II to ‘turn
all the sciences onto our mother tongue’ (quoted in Lindberg 1984, 34),
Latin soon held the position of being the official intermediary language of
scientific knowledge and dissemination (Tengström 1970, 62). Bibliog-
raphies covering this time period (Lidén 1779) show that Latin was the lan-
guage used in all written dissertations between 1611 and 1718 (see also
Östlund & Örneholm 2000; Tengström 1970, 65). Likewise, Latin was
adopted for use in lectures, dissertation defenses, orations, and in other oral
academic performances during that time (Lindberg 1984, 27; Tengström
1970, 4142).
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 21
In the 18th century, scholars such as Linné, Celsius, Bergman, Wallerius,
and others brought fame to Sweden. Now, the number of publications sky-
rocketed, and coinciding in time as it did with utilitarian thinking, this period
was important in the construction of scientific discourse (Gunnarsson 1997,
2011). The scholarly celebrities of this time, however, aimed their scientific
work for an international audience, and, accordingly, Latin was used
(Lindroth 1978, 584). In 1748, a national commission suggested that Swe-
dish should be allowed as a language for dissertations in physics, mathe-
matics, and history (Lindberg 1984, 40; Tengström 1970, 74). This proposal
was rejected, but it launched a language ideological debate that would last
throughout the 18th century, thus emerging in tandem with the rise of the
nation-state (e.g., Lindberg 1984; Nilsson 1974). It is beyond the scope of
the present work to account for this debate in detail, but, in summary, the
following lines of argumentation were invoked.
The promoters of Latin argued on behalf of the many benefits of adapting
the global language of science. Latin was supported by forces representing
the old society: church, the nobility, the learned (Lindberg 1984, 45). These
groups perceived Latin as a ‘neutral’ language insofar as it was nobody’s
mother tongue, thereby avoiding the charge of inequality among researchers.
Using Swedish and other national languages, in their view, was seen as con-
tributing to the national isolation of knowledge. The national languages, it
was argued, all had their shortcomings: French was too aristocratic, English
was only good for commercial matters, and German was mastered suffi-
ciently by too few (ibid.). Latin, moreover, exhibited a sort of censorship to
the market of scientific goods, as it kept ‘the indocti’, that is, the non-Latin
literate, from engaging in this high-order knowledge exchange (ibid., 81).
For example, the well-known Swedish botanist Linné, who himself never
actively engaged in the debate, argued that while the use of Latin allowed his
work to reach a wider scholarly audience, it also helped him to avoid com-
ments and opinions from less cultured segments of society (ibid., 9596).
The opponents of Latin, for their part, raised concerns related to having
the elite’s language as a medium of instruction and scientific publication
(e.g., Lindroth 1975, 572ff.). The criticism of Latin targeted all of those as-
pects that the language was perceived as manifesting: the non-utilistic, the
pedantic, the ostentatious, the exclusive, the non-Swedish (Lindberg 1984,
34). Swedish, on the other hand, was seen as more beneficial for the nation
at large. Practical arguments concerning language skills were also invoked:
the practical mastery of Latin was said to occupy too much valuable study-
22 Linus Salö
ing time, and, by the same token, knowledge in Swedish was seen as more
usable in society at large (Tengström 1970, 7778).
In the days of the Swedish empire (16111718), professors had lectured
in Latin in all subjects and faculties (ibid., 81). However, beginning in the
early 18th century, the question of teaching in Swedish was raised. While it
was not yet an established policy, various forms of translingual lectures
came into practice in Lund and Uppsala, where Latin and Swedish were used
interchangeably in subjects such as philosophy and mathematics. There were
also instances of French being employed in teaching, since many of the no-
ble students did not understand Latin sufficiently (ibid., 82). However, for
other, culturally customary functions and academic events, such as oral dis-
sertations (defenses, see note 7), orations, commencements, and so forth,
Latin remained unchallenged at Swedish universities. The same is true for
scientific written production, where the dominance of Latin proved to be
difficult to challenge throughout the 18th century. This was so despite the
purposeful promotion of Swedish carried out by The Royal Swedish Acad-
emy of Sciences, founded in 1739, which, with its journal proceedings called
‘handlingar’, ventured at ‘bringing science to the people’ (Frängsmyr 1989a,
4; see also Frängsmyr 1989b). Although the work of the Academy contrib-
uted to greater text production in Swedish, this had a more significant impact
for the growth of popular science than it had for the production of original
research in Swedish (e.g., Fries 1996; Lindberg 1984, 31ff.). Nonetheless,
the Academy did demonstrate that scientific matters could be dealt with in
registers of Swedish (Teleman 2011, 84; cf. Sörlin 1996, 36).
Up until the mid-19th century, Latin was the dominant language of scien-
tific publishing in Sweden, albeit with certain disciplinary restraints. Eco-
nomics, for instance, was granted an exemption from the requirement of
submitting dissertations in Latin in the year 1741, as it was considered to be
a semi-academic subject whose scientific results were mostly for the benefit
of the people (Lindberg 1984). Likewise, occasional exceptions to publish in
Swedish were granted in jurisprudence (Tengström 1970, 83). In 1852, the
regulating frameworks for dissertations changed. From then on, the respond-
ent was required to have been the author of the presented work, which was a
new demand (ibid., 91; see also note 7 here). At the same time, policy re-
strictions concerning dissertation languages were dropped. This is also the
point in time in which the universities of Swedish academia slowly began to
transform into the modern organizational shape still used today, with facul-
ties that could house emerging disciplinary fields, etc. Institutionally, Swe-
dish university formation gathered its ideals from the German tradition,
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 23
which led to the order that each discipline was represented by a chair profes-
sor (e.g., Odén 1991) agents who held ‘a volume of capital sufficient to
enable them to wield power over the capital held by the other agents (Bour-
dieu 1991, 13 emphasis removed). As a consequence, the shaping of spe-
cializations in each field was largely dependent on the specific visions and
research interests of the appointed professor. As noted by Suppe:
Thus the German scientific establishment tended to break into various
schools surrounding a few main figures holding professorships or direc-
torships of institutes; and the members of these schools tended to share
the specific interests and approaches of the professor or director. (Suppe
1974, 7, cited in Odén 1991, 171)
5.1 The history of history
In the field of history, it is useful to make a distinction between the writing
up of history, which dates back to the ancients, and the much more recent
concept of history as a systematic research practice, which is a product of the
19th century (e.g., Lindberg 2012). Between these two phases, we find a
process of overt professionalization and the rise of history as a disciplinary
field in its own right. Throughout both periods, the main knowledge interest
was the same: Sweden and Swedish history. By the same token, in the field
of history Swedish has predominated in publishing over the past 125 years.
The writing of history was important during the time of the Swedish em-
pire, as the history of the nation was identified with its ruling kings, and
therefore had to be written and preserved. For example, the creation of
Riksantikvarieämbetet [The Swedish National Heritage Board] in the 17th
century made Swedish old-history into an object of patriotic study (Sörlin
1994, 54). This sort of history writing, thus, was what Nietzsche referred to
as ‘monumental’, that is, backward-looking, idolatrous, and instigative but
with no articulated theory (Lindberg 2012, 19). Aiming as it did to glorify
the olden days of Sweden, this sort of history writing was often addressed to
a foreign readership, and accordingly, most of the early national chronicles
of Nordic and Scandinavian history were written in Latin. However, well
into the 18th century, after the fall of the empire, the emphasis on the gran-
diosity of the homeland was replaced by a form of patriotic utilitarianism
(Lindberg 2012, 1012). This moreover led to a re-orientation toward a do-
mestic readership, a practice pioneered by Olof Rudbeck, who wrote Atlan-
tica (16791702) in Swedish (S. Nordin 2008, 42). Lectures in history were
delivered in Swedish in the middle of the 18th century (Lindroth 1978, 582;
Tengström 1970, 8182). Publication practices, however, were still en-
24 Linus Salö
meshed in a Latinist culture. In the subject of history at Uppsala University,
dissertations were written in Latin almost entirely until the year of 1842,
after which both Swedish and Latin were used (Markelin 1856; Tengström
1970, 91). The trend, however, worked steadily in favor of Swedish, where,
increasingly, Latin was often used so long as the research dealt with source
material, while the actual writing up of history was done in Swedish (Lind-
berg 1984, 110).
Kjørup (1996, 30) draws a dividing line between the pre-histories and the
histories of the humanities around the year 1800. The 19th-century imple-
mentation of German university ideals and subsequent organization worked
in favor of the historical field, not least of all due to currents of romanticism
and nationalism (Odén 1991, 50). Throughout the 19th century, the field ex-
perienced an overt process of professionalization (Björk 2012). Archives
were made available to historical research, and the field began to develop a
new orientation toward epistemological beliefs in research results: that new
knowledge could be produced by adopting particular methods, theories, and
so forth (e.g., Torstendahl 1964, 1966). Attempts were made to situate his-
tory onto what was perceived to be ‘the real’ terrain of science, not least of
all by gearing toward the positivism of Comte’s sociology as an inroad to
establishing laws of human behavior (Torstendahl 1966, 3435).
In Sweden, rapid industrialization and movement toward modernization
at the end of the 19th century boosted national science (Crawford 1992, 36).
Disciplinary fields were increasingly established nationally, and journals
were founded that would long come to dominate and define their fields:
Samlaren in literature studies in 1880, Ymer in anthropology and geography
in 1881, Arkiv för nordisk filologi in Scandinavian linguistics in 1882, etc.
Concomitantly, the field of history grew rapidly at Swedish universities.
Here, the journal Historisk tidskrift was founded in 1880, with the aim of
distributing scientific work that was comprehensible also for the educated
public (Odén 1991, 59). Like the above-mentioned journals, Historisk
tidskrift consequently published work in Swedish. This period, moreover,
coincided with the book becoming established as the key genre for scientific
dissemination (Myrdal 2009, 93, and note 80 there).
In the humanities, in particular, national romantic currents were particu-
larly strong from the 1890s on, which led to the blossoming of interest in
Swedish culture and its distinctive characteristics (e.g., Johannisson 1989,
100ff.; Sörlin 1996). In history, programs for doctoral studies were launched
in 1890, which led to an increased production of theses in Uppsala and Lund,
and later in Gothenburg and Stockholm. At the history departments at all of
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 25
these universities, Swedish was the main language used in writing theses
(Pikwer 1980). Publishing practices were now being rapidly nationalized.
Josephson’s (1897) bibliography of theses covering the second half of the
19th century shows an almost complete dominance by Swedish and only
occasional instances of Latin within the field. Out of 339 theses listed for
‘General history’ and The history of Sweden’ during this time, 334 were
written in Swedish, 2 in Latin, and 3 in undetermined languages.
Studying academic expert reviews, Larsson (2010) investigates the value
of scientific ideals as attached to certain ideal types of historians throughout
the first half of the 20th century. According to Larsson, the empirically
driven scholars, those who invested their time in the archives, enjoyed high
currency at the beginning of the century, while scholars more attuned to
theorizing were privileged in the middle of the century. According to many
historiographies, the 20th century was dominated by a struggle between two
schools of thought within the historical field: The Hjärne school, based in
Uppsala, and the Weibull school, based in Lund (see Björk 2012 and Tor-
stendahl & Odén 2012, respectively). Hjärne was an influential field-founder
who created a research environment that came to yield a substantial number
of followers (Odén 1991, 153). Although he was a conservative, caught up in
the romantic spirit of his time (e.g., Johannisson 1989, 101), Hjärne never-
theless believed in scientific universalism and urged historians to account for
the phenomena of study against the backdrop of the world beyond Sweden
(Hasselberg 2007, 100105). Moreover, he sought to create a rupture in the
field’s national isolation by establishing links to other countries (Odén 1991,
154; Torstendahl 1964, 286). Nonetheless, in the 1930s Uppsala grew to
become a stronghold for historical research with a strong nationalistic foot-
ing (Gunnerisson 2002). In this sense, the professionalization of the research
of the field can be seen as being linked to the strategic positioning of
providing the nation-state with a glorious past (Jarrick 2013, 56). This posi-
tion, however, was challenged in the years to come by the more radical
school in Lund, led by Lauritz Weibull, which sought to break with the hith-
erto prevailing ideological project by adopting a fact-oriented approach that
would ‘transform politics into science’ (ibid.). The journal Scandia was
founded at the school in 1928 to be a place where a challenging line of his-
torical research could be cultivated and distributed. In line with this strategy,
Weibull and followers could take advantage of the fact that, after World War
II, nationalistic overtones had lost a great deal of currency in the field of
history and elsewhere (Gunnerisson 2002). In the 1950s, the internal struggle
between competing historical views began to lose its force in the historical
26 Linus Salö
field, as students of Weibull held professorships at every Swedish university
a new school of thought now dominated the field (ibid., 212, 230f.).
During the latter half of the 20th century, history found itself squeezed
between two contradictory discourses: on the one hand, that of an increased
emphasis on internationalization; on the other, one that remained true to the
nation’s history writing, thereby linked to a form of public responsibility to
produce knowledge usable to wider audiences. In his report entitled Univer-
sitetsreform [University Reform], Myrdal (1945) lamented on the state of
affairs that he saw as particularly salient in some of the social sciences and
the humanities, namely that many scholars acting there were remarkably
invisible internationally. Myrdal linked this observation to matters of pub-
lishing language in the following way:
The language boundary appears to serve as a customs protection to a sci-
entific production mainly directed to the domestic market. Rarely does it
receive the tempering of the international competition. It is striking par-
ticularly within some sciences of the humanities that our national re-
searchers do not become international authorities. (Myrdal 1945, 9, my
As will be evident in the case of psychology, many disciplinary fields in
Swedish academia became geared toward transnational publishing markets
around this time. The field of history, however, did not shift in this direction.
At any rate, the prevalent struggles of the field did not have much impact on
languages of publishing. They unfolded in the field when international en-
gagements by and large were toned down, a trait that was particularly salient
in the period from 1914 to 1950 (Brissman 2010, 405). In fact, the strong
empiricism in the Weibullian tradition had further contributed to nationaliz-
ing the field (Odén 1991, 166). Likewise, questions of method were privi-
leged over questions of theory, as the latter was seen as mirroring the values
of the conservative (Hasselberg 2007, 31). Accordingly, the position of
Swedish as a thesis language remained unchallenged. Pikwer’s (1980) bibli-
ography covering the years 18901975 reveals an almost complete domi-
nance by Swedish, with a mere six percent being written in other languages.
Among the theses written in languages other than Swedish, German was the
only language manifesting up until the 1940s, after which English began to
acquire shares in the publishing market (Blom 1980, 9).
Throughout the post-war era, the field of history was undergoing a more
profound shift in respect to what Liedman (1983) calls its usage of
knowledge: away from humanistic knowledge as ideologically usable and
toward an increasingly state-linked view of administrative usability, for ex-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 27
ample, concerning reform politics (Odén 1991, 328; Sörlin 2013, 23). This
shift also introduced a discourse in the field on the importance of asserting
itself as a mature scientific field in its own right. Torstendahl’s book Histo-
ria som vetenskap [History as a Science] (1966) can be seen as manifesting a
development whereby questions of method, primarily quantitative approach-
es, appeared on the field’s agenda. From this point, a discussion was
launched about the relationship between history and the social sciences in
Sweden, which also led to an increased adoption of theory, first imported
from North American structural functionalism and, later, Marxist theorizing
(Åmark 2012, 145146). Commonly, such initiatives to change the field
came from doctoral candidates (Odén 1991, 174). In the 1970s, the field also
saw a slight increased interest in engaging with global history, a trend re-
flected in the increasing number of theses posing research questions beyond
the national paradigm (e.g., Eklöf Amirell 2006a, 262). Around this time,
around 10 percent of the theses were written in English (Blom 1980, 9). To
some extent, the establishment of Scandinavian Journal of History in 1976
can be seen in this light, that is, as a way of expanding the frontiers of Swe-
dish history research through a forum publishing in English (e.g., Mörner
1985, 446).
To many historians not least those that Larsson (2010) refers to as ‘the
martyrs of the archives’ these developments were seen as damaging, since
they jointly shifted emphasis away from the empirical legacy of the field
(Åmark 2012, 148). The fluxes in the field, additionally, were seen as
screening the field’s knowledge production from the educated public (ibid.,
170). Related to this, moreover, Swedish history research was evaluated by a
Scandinavian expert group in 1988 (Danielsen et al. 1988). Here, the field
was criticized for being overtly intra-scientific and for not reporting their
findings sufficiently to the general public. The committee pointed out that
Swedish historical research results were often presented in a style appraised
as ‘lærd’, ‘u-folkelig’, and ‘kjedelig’ (p. 124) – that is, scholarly lettered,
anti-grass root, and boring. Five years later, Åmark (1993) reported that the
field at large had already responded to this line of criticism. Pioneered by the
work of Englund (e.g., 1988), arguably, many historians soon began to de-
velop a preference for writing up history for a wider audience, thereby ac-
quiring capital outside the field. Thus, while fields often struggle to defend
their autonomy (e.g., Maton 2005), this does not merely entail isolating the
field from external interest, but also of reclaiming the turf of historical
knowledge. In the eyes of many historians, the field was perceived as having
been left too open to groups with other knowledge interests (Åmark 1993,
28 Linus Salö
273; 2012). As a field of knowledge production, history had and still has
competition among agents from a range of other fields with an interest in
producing accounts about the past, for example, journalists, popular writers,
teachers, politicians (e.g., Stråth 2013). Names in the Swedish context in-
clude authors such as Herman Lindqvist and Jan Guillou from the 1990s and
onwards, and, decades later, Henrik Arnstad. These are agents who have not
paid their entry fee to the historical field and are, accordingly, labeled ‘en-
tertainment historians’ by the field’s agents (Sörlin 2013, 22). Consequently,
agents of the historical field commonly criticize these authors for not adher-
ing to the principles of ‘proper’ history research, that is, for not being real
historians, yet producing historical accounts (see e.g., Meinander 2006).
Accordingly, pared with an increased public interest, Swedish history re-
search saw a tendency among Swedish historians to publish more easily
accessible work aimed for a broader Swedish-speaking audience (e.g., Eklöf
Amirell 2006a, 274275). This fact amplified a number of already existing
traits of historical research. Firstly, it contributed to further rendering the
borderline between strictly scientific work and more popular accounts much
less distinct in history, compared to other disciplines (e.g., Danielsen et al.
1988, 99). Secondly, it worked in favor of a pre-existing reluctance among
Swedish historians to publish in languages other than Swedish; in the period
19901996, the share of theses in English remained around 10 percent (Ar-
onsson 1997, 35), rising to 12.5 percent in the period 19972001 (Aronsson
2003, 184). Some historians have criticized this state of affairs by framing it
as a question of a general disinterest in global perspectives among Swedish
historians (e.g., Eklöf Amirell 2006a, 2006b; Mörner 1985). In an overview
of the field’s international foci, Mörner (1985) pointed out that existing bib-
liographies of Swedish dissertations in history (e.g., Pikwer 1980; Blom
1980) reveal a heavy bias toward an interest in general Swedish history and
Swedish local history. Particularly worrisome, argued Mörner, was that
Swedish history research was becoming more nationally oriented throughout
the 20th century, with the exception of the 1970s, during which internation-
ally oriented theses peaked.
This state of affairs notwithstanding, Mörner
argued, Swedish historical research cannot be said to be more nationally
oriented than the history writing of other European countries (Mörner 1985,
441); history, thus, appears to adhere to the national paradigm also in a
global perspective.
In a follow-up study of this development into the new millennium, Eklöf
Amirell (2006a) shows that internationally oriented history research has
continued to decrease, constituting a mere share of 16.8 percent in the first 5
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 29
years of the 21st century, which amounts to about the same levels in place in
the 1940s and ’50s. Eklöf Amirell also claims that out of the country’s 48
active professors, only 5 have pursued a principally international research
agenda (ibid., 266). As for the languages used in the theses, Eklöf Amirell
(2007) presented a bibliography listing 606 doctoral theses defended in
Sweden between 1976 and 2005. Here, it is notable that more than 80 per-
cent of the theses were written in Swedish at all eight universities included in
the study; in Stockholm, Växjö, and Örebro, the share was more than 90
percent. He shows that 13.2 of the theses defended in the whole period were
in English and that a mere 2.5 percent were written in other foreign lan-
guages; hence, the vast majority was written in Swedish. Among the theses
dealing with the Swedish context, only 3.6 percent were written in English.
Eklöf Amirell interprets these findings as an indication that Swedish new-
comers to the field, to a small extent, seek to contribute to the international
scientific discussion by means of the knowledge they produce.
Doctoral theses, however, only amount to a small share of the scientific
texts produced in historical research. As for other genres thus written by
researchers at all levels publications in English are more common since
2000. Salö and Josephson (2014, 278), for instance, show a slight inclination
toward the use of English in journal articles and a more significant domi-
nance of English in conference proceedings. Congruently, Amirell (2013)
shows that 58 percent of the peer-reviewed articles published in the field
between 2009 and 2012 were in English. Nevertheless, Swedish dominates
in the genres in which there is the greatest number of publications, viz.
books and book chapters (Amirell 2013, 501; Salö & Josephson 2014, 278).
5.2 The history of psychology
Compared to history, psychology has a much shorter history in Sweden, in
particular, as an autonomous disciplinary field. Nilsson (1981) dates the
establishment of psychology as a field in its own right in Sweden to the post-
war era, when the first chair professor was installed at Uppsala University in
1948. Compared to other European nations, including neighboring countries
such as Denmark, this was a late start (Madsen 1970, 123). Also, from an
international perspective, psychology constitutes an illustrative example of a
field that, throughout its history of growth, has shifted in different discipli-
nary directions. In bygone days, questions of a psychological nature were
generally dealt with within the broad realms of philosophy and, to a lesser
degree, pedagogics, medicine, and physiology (Sörlin 2004, 208). Thus,
while an interest in psychological reasoning can be traced back to classical
30 Linus Salö
antiquity, it was not until the late 19th century that psychology began to
emerge as a field in its own right (Kjørup 1996, 28). At this stage, Germany
stood out as the first intellectual locus out of which psychological thought
and research practice was exported not least of all to the U.S., where an
experimental orientation swiftly gained popularity (Sörlin 2004, 209). Mad-
sen (1970, 45) provides an overview of the rapid creation of psychological
laboratories between the years 1875 and 1897, when a large number of labs
were built across Europe and North America after 1886, at the rate of at
least two labs per year.
In Sweden, the development of psychology as an autonomous field was
hindered by its ties to broader disciplinary embedding, where in particular
the legacy from Boströmian idealist philosophy stalled the development of
an experimental natural scientist approach (Agrell 1952; Hyden 1984; Nils-
son 1978, 1981). Psychological research was carried out within the disci-
plinary boundaries of other fields, such as philosophy and physiology (Mad-
sen 1970, 53; Nilsson 2008, 165; Lundh 1979; Öhman & Öhngren 1991, 21).
In the first half of the 20th century, psychology developed as a branch of the
broad field of pedagogy, under which influences from German phenomeno-
logical experimental psychology was subordinated (Nilsson 2008, 165).
In the premature rise of psychology in Sweden, Swedish was the main
language in the few doctoral theses written. During the period 18551890,
Josephson (1897, 284) lists 13 theses, of which 10 were written in Swedish
and 1 each in German, French, and English. This tendency remained intact
over the following five decades. For the category ‘Psychology and peda-
gogics’, Nelson (1911) lists eight theses between 1890 and 1909, all of
which were written in Swedish. For the period 19101940, Tuneld (1945)
lists 17 theses, of which all were written in Swedish, again in the category
‘Psychology and pedagogics’. Likewise, based in Uppsala, the journal Psyke
(19061920) published work authored mainly in Swedish, albeit with occa-
sional contributions in other Scandinavian languages, as well as in German.
In sum, then, we can say that Swedish dominated in the publications, in-
cluding the theses, written in the field of psychology so long as psychology
remained a subject enclosed within the boundaries of other fields (see
Brissman 2010, 399400, note 616).
However, a number of events in the surrounding world would soon come
to have an impact on Swedish psychology in publishing practices and oth-
erwise. World War I had severely damaged the form of scientific interna-
tionalism that had previously burgeoned and instead made researchers
around the world submit to the service of their nations (Brissman 2010, 70;
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 31
Landström 1996). Around this time, the U.S. was putting significant eco-
nomic and infrastructural effort into research, not least of all through the
organization of research councils (Brissman 2010, 96ff.). The onset of the
decline of German as a scientific language internationally is thus to be lo-
cated after World War I (Ammon 2012; Gordin 2015, 7). But this develop-
ment was soon furthered. The outcome of World War II was disastrous for
the position of Germany as an intellectual node, which was reflected in Swe-
dish scholarship in psychology and beyond. Throughout the launch of Hit-
ler’s regime, the U.S. enjoyed a significant immigration of European psy-
chologists (Madsen 1970, 120). At the same time, the U.S. invested heavily
into research (e.g., Sörlin 1994), and here a renewed interest in perceptional
psychology gained currency (Madsen 1970, 112). Thus, at this point in time,
the U.S. replaced Germany as the key geopolitical point of intellectual ori-
entation. This can be seen, for example, in the purchases of scholarly psy-
chological literature made by Swedish libraries. Sörlin (1994, 108109)
notes that in psychology, new German books amounted to 42 percent of the
total number of foreign books purchased in 1930: 29 percent in 1938, and a
mere 1.2 percent in 1946. The share of American scholarly titles by now
amounted to 53.5 percent.
In 1937, the Swedish field of psychology was joined by the eminent ex-
perimental psychologist David Katz, who had come to Stockholm due to
turbulence in central Europe. Katz was already a big name in German Ge-
stalt psychology, and, on his way to Sweden, he had stayed for four years in
England, where he established many contacts (Nilsson 1981, 2008). Even
though Katz belonged to a German tradition and wrote mostly in German, he
brought an international orientation and reputation to the Swedish field (Ek-
man 1972, 166; Hugdahl & Öhman 1987, 464465). To his successors,
namely, the generation of experimental psychologists that pursued his work,
this international orientation was accompanied by a strong American influ-
ence. SwedishU.S. academic relationships had already been established in
the young social sciences, not least of all due to the connections created by
Alva and Gunnar Myrdal (e.g., Myrdal & Myrdal 1941). Allied with the
social-democratic dominant-party, the Myrdals are widely considered to be
the social engineers of the so-called Swedish model, which, among other
things, involved a salient strand of internationalism as part of a broader
modernizing project for the nation (Löfgren 1992; Ruth 1984). Around this
time, the Myrdals thought of America as a model of inspiration: the conti-
nent of the future, land of the brave where the political will to implement
32 Linus Salö
radical and bold solutions to social issues existed at a time when they clearly
thought it did not in Sweden (Andersson 2009, 233).
While the impact of the Myrdals should not be overstated
, it is clear that,
directly after the war, North American connections were soon customary in
the psychological field. This tendency was particularly noticeable in relation
to the series of international congresses that were organized, where Swedish
psychologists made acquaintances with renowned American scholars such as
B.F. Skinner (Sörlin 1994, 206). Likewise, at Swedish universities, scholars
began to subscribe to journals published by the American Psychological
Association, and Swedish psychology researchers began visiting the U.S.
regularly, for example, as guest professors, conference participants, etc.,
which also resulted in the emergence of a tradition in which doctoral candi-
dates went on stipends to study in the U.S. (Sörlin 1994, 206207). In the
mid-20th century, chairs in pedagogy were split into one professorship in
pedagogy and one in psychology, and departments of psychology were cre-
ated to house the latter group of professors at Sweden’s major universities:
Uppsala in 1948, Stockholm in 1953, Lund in 1955, and Gothenburg in 1956
(Husén 1972; Künnapas 1976; Öhman & Öhngren 1991, 21). Accordingly,
as more programmatic psychological research began developing in Stock-
holm and Lund in the 1950s, North American influences were already in
circulation. The so-called Stockholm school developed under the leadership
of Gösta Ekman, who took office after Katz. Throughout the 1950s and on-
ward, Ekman and his followers developed an interest and research agenda in
psychophysics. Unlike as it had been under Katz, psychophysics as headed
by Ekman had strong ties to North American psychology of that time, where
it had developed rapidly since the 1920s, linked to names such as L.L. Thur-
stone and S.S. Stevens (Ekman & Künnapas 1972, 195; Hugdahl & Öhman
1987, 468). Psychophysics encompassed measuring methods that were im-
ported from the field of physics (Ekman & Künnapas 1972, 195), which, in
the Stockholm group, led to a strong emphasis on method and quantification,
as well as an alignment with the American praxis of working in research
groups, with co-authoring as a common trait (Nilsson 2008, 167). While the
Stockholm group appears to have pioneered this development, psychological
research in various areas advanced at other universities, too. Groundbreaking
work was presented in dissertations defended in Stockholm and Uppsala, for
example, on event perception (Johansson 1950), psychophysics (Künnapas
1959), and motion perception (Mashhour 1964) with all of these theses
being written in English (see Johansson 1972). Under the leadership of
Gudmund Smith, psychological research in Lund invested heavily in psy-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 33
chological theory, but, as it did also in Stockholm, this research adhered to a
methodological approach imported from the American tradition (Nilsson
2008, 168). Smith in Lund, as well as Ekman in Stockholm, considered psy-
chology to be part of the natural sciences, and they both wrote their most
important work in English, often in collaboration with American colleagues
(ibid., 168171).
Around 1950, Swedish psychologists began to place their work in inter-
national journals. Swedish scholars who entered the field at this time en-
joyed significant international success, with several making important con-
tributions to the international forefront. By now, the Swedish field was rap-
idly consolidating. Ekman played a part in the founding of Nordisk
Psykologi [Scandinavian Psychology], the first issue of which was published
in 1949. The founding of this journal was initiated by psychological associa-
tions in Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden, with the aim of providing
a forum for scholarly and professional exchange in the Scandinavian coun-
tries. It contained a mixture of scientific articles, country reports, bibliog-
raphies, and reviews, thus serving as a professional forum for establishing
linkages between the ways psychology was evolving in neighboring coun-
tries. For example, the first few issues contained accounts on the history of
the field in each country, as well as accounts on the current knowledge fron-
tier and tendencies across a range of different areas.
Initially in Nordisk Psykologi, Scandinavian languages were used most
commonly, with the occasional exception of articles in English. Already in
1950, however, the journal imposed a policy of English language abstracts
for original research articles. In 1951, Stockholm hosted the International
Congress of Psychology. Linked to this event, Issue 3 (1951) was a special
issue in English dedicated to presenting psychology research in Scandinavia.
Thus, the issue comprised country reports written by Scandinavian scholars,
according to the editor (p. 74), ‘to inform their colleagues throughout the
world about the directions in which psychological research in our countries
has developed.’ Conversely, the journal served as a way of informing the
field about the development in psychology in the U.S., as well as evaluating
the Swedish field’s position in relation to the international forefront. In one
such report, Karsten (1952) pointed out that in the U.S., the discussion on
methodology dominated the scene. Reviewing developmental tendencies in
Swedish psychological research, Agrell (1953) made reference to parallel
currencies in American psychology and concluded that, in general, current
Swedish research foci were well aligned with contemporary advances on the
international scene (p. 106). Three years later, Ahlström (1956) came to a
34 Linus Salö
similar conclusion in his overview, but pointed out that the Swedish field
lagged behind that of others in the area of acquisition and learning. In this
vein, thus, the Swedish field kept close track of cross-Atlantic developments.
In the editorial of Issue 7 of the same journal in 1955, it was pointed out
that the language policy that had been upheld thus far had limited the reader-
ship significantly, and that Scandinavian psychologists who aimed for an
international audience therefore had been forced to turn to non-Scandinavian
journals. For this reason, it was declared that Nordisk Psykologi had joined a
partnership with the internationally renowned Acta Psychologica in Amster-
dam, with the aim of cross-publishing articles. As a consequence, subsequent
issues comprised a mixture of work written in Scandinavian languages and
work written in English, for example, in the form of papers read at interna-
tional conferences. Likewise, for a period, some issues (9, 1957) were domi-
nated by English articles, while others consisted mostly of work in Scan-
dinavian languages (10, 1958), etc.
It soon became clear that Nordisk Psykologi did not suffice in providing
an arena for the rapid development of Swedish psychology. In Stockholm, an
English language report series launched in 1954 (Ekman 1972, 168; Hyden
1984, 18). At the end of the 1950s, Ekman and his colleagues were begin-
ning to enjoy recognition internationally, and their work increasingly ap-
peared in international journals (Hyden 1984, 17). To create an international
forum, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology was established in 1960, with
the aim of disseminating research results to an international readership (Hy-
den 1984, 18). Thereby, it was decided that Nordisk Psykologi was to re-
orient itself toward its original Scandinavian focus and mainly provide over-
view articles, reviews, etc. ultimately as forums for professional, not sci-
entific, communication (Østlyngen 1968). From this point, the vast majority
of all work was written in Scandinavian languages up until 2005, after which
the journal changed its name to Nordic Psychology and shifted its policy to
publish exclusively in English. As stated in the editorial in the last issue:
With these six papers, Nordisk Psykologi ceases herewith in distributing
publications in the Scandinavian languages. The goal of the shift to Eng-
lish is that the distinctive Nordic psychology will be brought to bear in the
globalized world, which demands greater internationalization. (Elsass
2005, 302, my translation)
At any rate, to the university-based agents of the field, the academic
world had already come to be the primary audience by the 1960s, with
scholars communicating to them and each other by publishing in interna-
tional journals (Hyden 1984). In overviews of Swedish psychology of that
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 35
time (e.g., Ekman 1974), much importance was attached to showing that
Swedish psychology was firmly established internationally, which was
measured in terms of publications in international journals (Hyden 1984,
12). As Ekman notes elsewhere:
The international character assumes particular importance for a small
country, especially if it has a language of limited currency that greatly re-
stricts the size of the potential audience. (Ekman 1972, 166)
Sjöberg (1976) provided a cross-country comparison of internationally ori-
ented psychological research in Scandinavia. ‘International’ here was opera-
tionalized as work published in non-Scandinavian languages, which, as he
noted, meant, for the most part, work published in English (p. 209). As his
results show, Swedish psychologists were significantly more internationally
oriented than their Scandinavian counterparts. As one of the potential rea-
sons for this state of affairs, Sjöberg mentioned the compilation theses that
is, article-based theses with an introduction which by now were gaining in
popularity within the Swedish doctoral programs, accompanied by a thor-
ough training in writing articles for international journals. Likewise, all five
departments of psychology in Sweden now had an English language report
series of their own, thus providing important training in using written Eng-
lish professionally.
In sum, the grounding of the international profile of Swedish psychology
can be explained by the spirit initiated by Katz but amplified by the research
agenda pursued by Ekman in the 1950s and 60s (e.g., Hugdahl & Öhman
1987, 464; Sjöberg 1976). In this period, the field left its national anchorage
behind. This shift in orientation was palpably reflected in publishing prac-
tices and the languages used for these ends. University of Gothenburg pro-
vides an illustrative case, where the Department of Psychology published
251 theses between 1934 and 2015: 221 in English and 30 in Swedish.
Among the first 10 theses to be published (19341952), 8 were in Swedish.
Since then, Swedish theses have been submitted only occasionally: none in
the 1960s, six in the 1970s, seven in the 1980s, four in the 1990s, and four in
the 2000s.
As for the predominance of English, we can also look at the
theses published at Stockholm University. From 1947 to 2005, a total of 234
theses were published, of which 197 were written in English, and 37 in Swe-
The theses in Swedish are distributed over the entire period, so there
is no period of time when choosing Swedish seems to have been particularly
common. Rather, work written in Swedish seems to be linked to particular
applied subfields of psychology and to genres, such as reports, that are more
commonly written in these areas (cf. Salö & Josephson 2014, 280). Like-
36 Linus Salö
wise, listings of theses published at Uppsala University from 19501998
show that 94 percent of the theses were published in English and 6 percent in
Swedish (Wallin 1998). Between 1997 and 2015, 97 percent were written at
the university in English.
When a wider range of academic genres in the
contemporary psychological field is considered, the state of affairs seems
more diverse. Nationally, in the time period 20002012, the share of English
in conference proceedings was 91.7 percent and journal articles 94.3 percent,
while Swedish publications were in the majority among reports (73.3 per-
cent) and books (63.5 percent) (Salö & Josephson 2014, 280).
6 Contemporary academia in transformation
Thus far, this study has foregrounded a view of fields as historical for-
mations and arenas of struggles, forged by internal and external impact. That
is, it has dealt with disciplines as things, which, following Bourdieu’s rela-
tional approach, is the realization of one state of the social. Ensuing this line
of thought, the study turns to the other state of the social, namely to history
as laid down in the bodies of contemporary agents, and the practices in
which they engage. Before doing so, it is necessary to shed light upon some
of the contemporary transformations in the university field at large, in other
words, the broader space within which the two disciplinary fields are lo-
cated. These transformations or so this study argues must be accounted
for in order to grasp ‘the structures which orient scientific practices’ (Bour-
dieu 2004, 32). They are changing the rules of the game, and with respect to
publishing language, those within the field of history in particular.
As revealed, both of the fields that I investigated have been caught up in a
tug-of-war between nationalizing and de-nationalizing struggles. Lately,
however, the latter tendency seems to have triumphed, thus preparing the
foundation of an emergent transnational science (Crawford et al. 1993a, 1).
In turn, this prevailing trend has been translated into a political vision, en-
forced under the banner of internationalization (e.g., Paasi 2005, 776). Inter-
nationalization and its metadiscourse is thus a key facet in modern struggles
over global academia, where these forces are caught up in new forms of
governing academic research that reinforce ‘the role of managerial tools and
evaluations of various kinds in the government of knowledge’ (Kauppi &
Erkkilä 2011, 324). These transformations are currently happening all across
the world. By many commentators, they are seen as intrinsically linked to
the rise of the neo-liberal university, leaving older, established images of the
university ‘in ruins’ (e.g., Readings 1996). These images, more specifically,
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 37
stem from the very influential idea of modern university research, closely
linked to the vision outlined by Humboldt in late 19th-century Germany. Part
of this vision was the emphasis on solitude and freedom in the pursuit of
truth, facilitated but not controlled by the state, which, besides allocating
funding, had no direct involvement in research (Krull 2005). However, due
to a number of contemporary transformations that will be expanded upon
presently, this notion of academic freedom is perceived by many as being
sacrificed through a range of austerity measures that, according to critics, are
driven by the imposition of market mechanisms by neo-liberal ideology
(Lynch 2006; Naidoo 2003). In the critical literature, terms commonly in-
voked to describe these changes include ‘managerialism’ (Currie & Vi-
dovich 2009), ‘marketization’ (Lynch 2006), and ‘commercialization’ (Bok
2003). Bourdieu (e.g., 2004), too, takes a critical stance to these develop-
ments, as he sees them as limiting the autonomy of science in that the forces
of adjacent fields increasingly dictate the terms for scientific enterprise.
In research, the drivers of development feed into broad processes of glob-
alizing and commodifying knowledge. In contemporary academic life, com-
petition does not merely pertain to assessing the performance of individual
scholars, which is a practice as old as science per se. There is now a research
game driven by international competitiveness between universities, and ul-
timately, between states, which entails that not just scholars but also univer-
sities are interconnected within a global space (Lucas 2006, 711). At the
risk of simplifying, this complex process can be phrased in more straight-
forward terms: Nowadays, it is not only researchers who have research strat-
egies, but universities and their departments do as well but since the latter
agents are inanimate objects, they can only achieve their goals by having
researchers change their practices. As Putnam (2009) has argued,
[r]eputation and image of departments, then, stem from developing and
using measures of success that are related to the way faculty accumulate
symbolic capital. Thus, academics struggle to accumulate forms of sym-
bolic capital that will enhance their individual reputations, their depart-
ment’s images, and the prestige of their universities. This criterion, how-
ever, although developed internally is also linked to cultural and social
capital outside a field. (Putnam 2009, 130, emphasis added)
To disciplinary fields, but also to the scientific field at large, the question of
autonomy from external interests is key, and therefore constitutes an im-
portant site of struggle (e.g., Bourdieu 2004; Maton 2005). The backdrop of
the development pointed to above is an increasing emphasis on a particular
notion of excellence and effectiveness on the part of universities, and ulti-
38 Linus Salö
mately, those who work in them. The initiatives that are taken center on in-
creased demands for university accountability and, linked to them, the emer-
gence of performative demands and criteria (Lucas 2006, 72; Putnam 2009).
A key instrument of this vision is the adaptation of new techniques for eval-
uating research and new matrices for the allocation of university resources.
This development should be seen in light of the emergence of rankings of the
world’s best universities, the best known of which is The Shanghai List (e.g.,
Kauppi & Erkkilä 2011). Universities compete for symbolic profit reputa-
tion the recognition of which is offered by such global ranking lists, where
universities are tiered by virtue of a range of criteria that universities are
inclined to maximize in order to pull rank (e.g., Engwall 2008). Symbolic
profit, in turn, may be traded for material profit, since rankings and other
forms of performance measures may be used by universities to secure a
larger share of their state’s funding, which, in turn, is increasingly exposed
to competition. This development has given way to a process attaching more
and more importance to the journal article (Hicks 2004, 204; Lillis & Curry
2010, 9). However, it is not journal articles in general that are highly valued;
rather, as part of the assessment criteria used by the list-makers, much
weight is placed on publication in high-ranked indexed journals (e.g., Put-
nam 2009). Initiatives of this kind are greatly facilitated by technical devel-
opment, such as the commercial database service Thomson Reuters’ Web of
Science, used by list-makers and policymakers worldwide (e.g., Nelhans
2013; Ossenblok et al. 2012; Putnam 2009). According to critics, what this
enterprise leads to is the singling out of particular tokens of achievement
linked to the idea of excellence (e.g., Benner 2011; Hicks 2013). As Fejes
and Nylander (2014, 233) critically note on this point, [g]overnments and
university administrators across Europe are increasingly calling for their
researchers to publish their work in what are commonly held as “interna-
tional journals”, and in several countries research excellence is defined along
these highly standardized, and arguably reductionistic measurements.’ In this
sense, researchers who spend their time writing books, textbooks, popular
versions for broad audiences and so on are not helpful’ (Larsson 2009, 38).
Thus, from a sociolinguistic point of view, this development brings with
it a range of ripple effects, since, one can generally add, researchers who
publish in languages other than English are not perceived to be very useful
either. The databases used for extrapolating the information used by the list-
makers house mostly English-language journals (e.g., Fejes & Nylander
2014; Larsson 2009; Lee & Lee 2013, 217). ‘International’ journals there-
fore become intrinsically linked to English-medium journals (Lillis & Curry
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 39
2010). Indirectly, thus, publish-or-perish regimes favor English (Kauppi &
Erkkilä 2011), and the result of this process, critics argue, is the homogeni-
zation of publishing markets, where tremendous weight is placed upon An-
glophone journal articles (Paasi 2005; Putnam 2009). As Holm et al. (2015)
summarize, in many academic environments worldwide, these trans-
formations are commonly held to work in favor of Anglophone homogeneity
along the following chain of concerns:
[a] publishing, especially journal articles, is key to professional advance-
ment; [b] the more prestigious the outlet, the more useful the publication
will be to a scholar’s career; [c] but, typically, prestigious means an inter-
national and English language journal. (Holm et al. 2015, 116)
6.1 The Swedish university field: policies, practices, debates
Academia, then, increasingly seems to function like a research game, and
less like a cultural field governed by its own logics. Although these tenden-
cies have become more apparent elsewhere, such as the UK (e.g., Lucas
2006; Tight 2000), Swedish academia is no exception to the trend sketched
above (e.g., Bennich-Björkman 2004, 2013; Ek et al. 2013; Larsson 2009;
Widmalm 2013). As a country with a strong international self-image, Swe-
den has long been an early adopter of new ideas and concepts of policy-
making nature, as they emerge globally (Hasselberg et al. 2013, 205). In the
1990s, such ideas conflated with the view that Swedish academia had too
long been left to its own devices and internal logic (ibid.). Performance-
based research policy in Sweden, then, is an ‘expression of political-admin-
istrative will’ (Widmalm 2013, 49) All political parties in Sweden are in
general agreement that the promoting of internationalization is of utmost
importance for Sweden to remain a leading knowledge nation. Hence, the
broad objectives for a national strategy for internationalization of higher
education stand pat, irrespective of shifting governance. Subsequently, both
at the level of the state and at universities, attempts to ‘increase the activity
on the international publishing market’ is gaining currency (Resurser för
kvalitet 2007, 418, my translation). In Swedish research policy, as elsewhere,
there has since been a shift in orientation toward a performance-driven ori-
entation, linked to the idea of excellence and innovation, and the striving
among universities to receive more funding, pull rank on the many listings,
etc. (e.g., Benner 2011; Widmalm 2013). In short, in this vision, the imple-
mented policies seek to encourage high-quality publications and discourage
low-quality publications (Hammarfelt & de Rijcke 2014, 34). Like else-
where, the techniques for achieving this goal center on finding ways of man-
40 Linus Salö
aging by measuring success and of allocating resources in a way that re-
wards particular forms of normative performance (Benner & Sandström
2000). For these purposes, bibliometric systems have lately been introduced,
and here the basic node is the citation (e.g., Hasselberg 2013, 13; also Lars-
son 2009). Since 2009, Swedish research policy has encompassed the ele-
ment of performance-based evaluation on the basis of publication and cita-
tion measures, which in turn is used as an instrument in the distribution of
research funding along a complex chain of actors: from the state to research
councils, faculties, departments, and individual researchers (Nelhans &
Eklund 2015).
Funding, in this sense, is a policy tool (Sörlin 2007).
Universities and their departments are evaluated by virtue of their produc-
tivity, and so are individual scholars, the publishing records and citation
rates of whom serve as indicators of their individual productivity and impact.
It should be noted that, in Sweden and beyond, there is an ongoing debate
about ways of finding responsible and sustainable ways of implementing
performance measures in research evaluation not least in relation to the
diversity of disciplinary fields comprising the scientific field (e.g., Hicks
2012; see also Hicks et al. 2015 on the so-called Leiden Manifesto for re-
search metrics
). What is more, in the Swedish context, universities are free
to adopt their own models in the allocation of financial resources further
down in their respective systems, and recent surveys show that universities
have implemented different policies in this regard. Most universities seem to
apply bibliometric models in distributing a share of funding to their faculties
and departments, while performance-related economic incitements targeted
directly to individual researchers occur only occasionally (Hammarfelt &
Åström 2015; Nelhans & Eklund 2015, 29ff.). The most common scenario is
the implementation of publication counts, whereby researchers’ written pub-
lications are assigned points according to either well-established listings,
such as the widely employed Norwegian List, or matrices locally adopted by
universities, where high-impact publications typically yield a greater profit
(Nelhans & Eklund 2015). It should be noted that many of these listings and
matrices do not candidly privilege publication in English as a quality in its
own right, as seems to be the case in the incentive structures imposed in
other countries (Hicks et al. 2015). In Sweden, the imposed matrices typi-
cally emphasize high-ranked and peer-reviewed publication channels, and
while weight is commonly placed upon international journals and publishing
houses, languages other than English can be used while still scoring high
(Hammarfelt & de Rijcke 2014, 4; see Nelhans & Eklund 2015 for the scor-
ing at various universities). In some universities, the economic rewards re-
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 41
ceived for different sorts of publications are readily accessible on their re-
spective webpages.
Many universities also publish on their webpages ad-
vice on how to achieve good bibliometric results.
Commonly produced
by full-time bibliometricians, such advice stresses the necessity for research-
ers to choose indexed journals with a high impact factor, as well as the im-
portance of publishing in English (e.g., Eliasson 2011; Kronman 2011).
English, we can say, is thus a pivotal resource for engaging in the markets
of globalizing knowledge where profit is currently accrued. However, ques-
tions may be posed as to whether the desires of the state and its universities
orient the practices of researchers de facto. Recent studies on the effects of
implemented evaluation systems on publishing patterns suggest they do
(e.g., Hammarfelt & de Rijcke 2014; Ossenblok et al. 2012). Using both
publishing statistics and questionnaires to explore Swedish academia, Ham-
marfelt and de Rijcke (2014) conducted research on the Faculty of Arts at
Uppsala University, where a performance-based model for resource alloca-
tion was implemented in 2012, thus following the trend at the national level.
The local model, which uses a battery of indicators that include citations,
publications, external grants, and strategic considerations, reallocates 10
percent of the universities’ research budget. While these scholars are careful
not to make strong claims about the causality between the imposition of the
new model and the change in publishing practices, they show that English is
currently making inroads to fields where Swedish previously prevailed in
publishing. The study points to an overall increase in English publications, a
trend that is particularly salient with respect to journal articles, where, con-
gruently, the share of Swedish publications has dropped during the same
time period (ibid., 7; see also figure 2, p. 8). In 2006, almost two-thirds of all
publications were in Swedish, whereas in 2013, English publications were in
the majority (ibid., p. 9). The study also points to an increase in publications
indexed as peer-reviewed: with respect to journals, from 33 percent in 2006
to 65 percent in 2013.
What can be deduced from the above is that in Swedish academia, pub-
lishing strategies at collective as well as individual levels are rapidly gaining
importance across most, if not all, disciplinary fields; there is, as Larsson
(2009) notes, ‘an emerging economy of publications and citations.’ None-
theless, it should be stressed that this development does not seem to affect all
disciplinary fields in the same ways. With respect to some fields, the new
criteria conflict with the ways in which fields, throughout their histories,
have cultivated publishing traditions that differ from the currently desired
pattern. In other fields, these new ways of assessing performance seem to fit
42 Linus Salö
the value economies already in place to a manageable degree, not least of all
in relation to publishing practices. In the field of psychology in Sweden, for
example, traits of this heated discussion are also present, ultimately because
the issue unfolds in the university field at large, into which the disciplinary
field is embedded. In psychology, however, the question of publishing lan-
guage remains largely outside the realm of discourse, and, to the extent that
the topic has surfaced, commentators on the field have made a case for an
expanded international approach within the behavioral sciences in Sweden,
as well as economic incitements to assure that this goal is reached (Sjöberg
2003). In this discourse, the publishing patterns of psychology serve as the
blueprint for other fields to mimic (Hammarfelt & de Rijcke 2014, 13, fol-
lowing Whitley 2007).
However, as we shall see, psychologists also hold traits of contemporary
transformation to be problematic. Be that as it may, current transformations
are perceived as being more palpably ill-fitted to the values and practices
upheld in other fields, many of which reside within the realm of social sci-
ences and the humanities (Ekström & Sörlin 2012, 82). Generally, as Neder-
hof (2006, 96) notes, scholars of such fields tender to at least three publics:
the international research frontier; regional or national colleagues; and the
non-scholarly public. Therefore, bibliometric methods cannot be straight-
forwardly applied here. This is so because, ultimately, many of the texts
produced in these fields are not included in the databases drawn upon in the
bibliometric evaluation of research performance (e.g., Hellqvist 2008; Hicks
2004). In the humanities, consequently, these issues are much debated as
part of a discussion about the usefulness of humanistic knowledge (e.g.,
Boguslaw et al. 2011; Ekström & Sörlin 2012; Forser & Karlsohn 2013).
For example, critics have forcefully argued that gearing toward international
publishing markets is not necessarily the best way to utilize research in the
humanities, which first and foremost deal with human conditions in a socie-
tal context (e.g., J. Nordin 2008, 615). For this reason, bibliometric measures
do not apply well to a field such as history, according to the author of the
example given below:
An adman who recommends the local grocery dealer to advertise in the
New York Times rather than the local newspaper would be regarded as
senseless. Within bibliometrics the corresponding purpose and target au-
dience analyses have no place. (J. Nordin 2008, 616, my translation)
These circumstances constitute a source of irritation among agents of the
humanities, in spite of the fact that studies have shown that scholars of the
humanities are not generally less favored by the models most commonly
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 43
employed (Piro et al. 2013). Be that as it may, in 2014 the frustration grew
stronger when the Swedish Research Council announced that it no longer
intended to grant financial support to national journals, since doing so did
not seem to comply with its mission (e.g., Björk 2013). Scholars and repre-
sentatives of the concerned journals seem inclined to perceive this decision
as an index of a lack of understanding among policymakers of the particu-
larities of humanistic research (e.g., Barkman 2013). However, an alterna-
tive, yet still not far-fetched, analysis would be that, from the perspective of
policymakers, using the research budget to sustain the preconditions for na-
tional publishing markets is at odds with the aim of encouraging interna-
tional publishing agendas. For instance, Kerstin Sahlin, the chief secretary of
the Council, was quoted in the press saying that these forms of subsidies
possibly ‘conserve more than they re-new’ (Barkman 2013, 4, my transla-
tion). Thus, from the perspective of scholars of the humanities and beyond,
this decision can be seen as an attempt on the part of policymakers to not
only introduce soft incitements for researchers to orient toward international
markets of knowledge, but also to work in pursuit of actively reducing the
national markets of knowledge by forfeiting their subsidies. The Research
Council’s decision was later postponed, not least of all since it brought up to
date a heated debate in the media over the marginalization of the humanities
(e.g., Fleischer 2013; Salomon 2013), and more specifically the decision’s
negative consequences for the possibility of practicing scientific Swedish
(Eliasson 2014; Josephson 2013).
In contemporary Swedish history research, more particularly, there is a
lively debate on the international orientation, or rather the lack thereof,
within the field at large. This debate, which has also revolved around the role
of professional historians in society, is played out in special issues of the
field’s journals.
The backdrop is that in spite of the general striving toward
international cooperation and output, most historians deal with research
problems that belong to the national, Swedish frame (Österberg 2012, 178
180). Since the source material of most projects is in Swedish and the phe-
nomena studied are situated in the Swedish context, there is, according to
many debaters within the field, a lack of global perspectives in historical
research in Sweden (ibid., 203205). As a result, the more well-known Swe-
dish historians are also remarkably invisible to international audiences (Sör-
lin 2013, 28). A core theme of the debate has accordingly revolved around
the necessity and, if so, the means of moving beyond the national paradigm
(e.g., Eklöf Amirell 2009a, 2009b; see Torstendahl 2009 for a response).
Eklöf Amirell (2009b, 246), for example, argues that overcoming the na-
44 Linus Salö
tional paradigm is necessary in order for Swedish historical science to retain
its contemporary relevance and not ‘be reduced to an antiquarian science or
national romantic genre of entertainment (my translation). However, other
participants in this debate (e.g., Gustafsson 2005) have rejected the idea that
Swedish historians are less internationally oriented than their counterparts in
other countries, as did Mörner (1985). Östergren, likewise, has argued that
Swedish history research is in fact internationalized in the sense that it draws
on theories and conceptual tools adopted from the international scene
(Östergren 2012). Ågren (2005) also acknowledges this fact, but contends
that the problem arises in that the Swedish results produced in the Swedish
context are not reported back to that same discussion, since Swedish histori-
ans publish for the most part in Swedish.
As can be seen, this debate also feeds into questions about publishing
language, since a reorientation from the unique to the general entails writing
to an international audience (e.g., Eklöf Amirell 2006a). Agents of the field
such as Hedin and Nordlund (1999), Ågren (2005), Eklöf Amirell (2005),
and others have argued for the need among Swedish historians to engage in
dialogue with the international scientific community by publishing work in
internationally viable languages for the most part English. Ågren (2005)
moreover questions the widespread opinion that fields of the humanities
have a special responsibility to uphold the Swedish language as a vital
means of communication, since this obligation is seldom placed on other
disciplines. However, Gustafsson (2005), Östling (2013), and others ques-
tion the idea that scientific publications in English should automatically
acquire a value as being ‘international’. Gustafsson (2005), for example,
argues that the humanities are inclined to focus on particularities, and that
Swedish taxpayers, at any rate, are entitled to take part of the knowledge
yielded there. Similarly, in 2008, the editor of Historisk tidskrift, J. Nordin,
noted that most contributors to the journal are Scandinavians writing about
Scandinavian topics to Scandinavian audiences; hence, he argued, it seems
reasonable to use a language that all participants have mastered (J. Nordin
2008, 606607). While acknowledging the importance of using English, too,
he draws attention to the risk of so-called ‘domain loss’ to the Swedish lan-
guage (see Salö 2014), and the subsequent need to counteract such a process
by maintaining Swedish as a scientific language in the field. According to
Östling (2013), it is particularly worrisome that newcomers to the historical
field abandon the Swedish language in their publishing practices:
Particularly younger researchers with an uncertain future are anxiously
contemplating how they can increase their academic capital. For a while
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 45
now, the hard currency has seemed to consist in peer-reviewed articles in
American journals with a high impact factor. (Östling 2013, 15, my
The concern raised by Östling here points to an issue to which this study will
return in the next section, since it points to a generation gap, which is key to
Bourdieu’s theory of fields, and moreover seems to correspond to the find-
ings of studies that investigate trends in publication productivity (Ham-
marfelt & de Rijcke 2014; Kyvik & Aksnes 2015).
7 Habitus as fields made flesh
To say that ‘a scientist is a scientific field made flesh’ (Bourdieu 2004, 41) is
to recognize that any given social agent embodies the history of his or her
lived experience. By this logic, only scientists involved in a specific field
have the means to symbolically appropriate work and assess the merits of
that particular field (Bourdieu 1975, 23). Following Bourdieu, we can say
that the habitus of a historian or a psychologist
is all at once a ‘craft’, a collection of techniques, references, and a set of
‘beliefs’, such as the propensity to give as much importance to the notes
as to the text. These are properties that derive from the history (national
and international) of the discipline and its (intermediate) position in the
hierarchy of disciplines. (Bourdieu 1993a, 7273)
In this section, interview data from four scholars will be presented. Firstly,
the study presents interview accounts from professors in history and psy-
chology, both, ipso facto, consecrated by their respective fields by virtue of
being major holders of the capital valued by each of these fields. Secondly,
accounts from doctors in the same two fields are presented. The doctors are
both early in their careers, and they navigate through the value economies of
their respective fields in search of viable career paths to pursue.
7.1 The habitus of the professors
The professor of history henceforth Prof. Hist.
is a senior department
member at one of the largest history departments in Sweden, and through his
research interests and investments, he is affiliated with another university.
Because of such engagements, he holds a great share of the forms of capital
at stake in academia, in general, and in his field, more particularly. In addi-
tion, he has been the leader of large research projects and has ample experi-
ence supervising doctoral candidates. This has put him in a position of re-
producing the field, by exercising a form of soft symbolic violence by virtue
46 Linus Salö
of imposing his system of preferences onto the practices of newcomers in
disguised, taken-for-granted forms (Bourdieu 1990b, 4950; Reay 2004)
Prof. Psych. is a highly successful senior scholar in his field, who
throughout his career has accumulated a significant volume of the key forms
of capital at stake within this field. His achievements, mostly in cognitive
psychology, have been materialized in the form of several prizes and awards.
As a capital of academic power, he holds a professorship in psychology at a
comparably large department. He is also honorary doctor at several universi-
ties in Sweden and abroad, and, as additional capital of intellectual renown,
he has been elected as a member of several scientific academies of sciences.
As for scientific prestige, Prof. Psych. has directed several large-scale re-
search projects and has also been a member of several editorial boards for
international scientific journals, where he has also served as editor-in-chief.
Like Prof. Hist., he has supervised many doctoral candidate projects.
It should be clear from the field histories presented in section 5 that there
are some salient differences between the two fields that the professors em-
body and are therefore selected to represent and give voice to. These differ-
ences, manufactured through historical struggles, also unfold over publishing
practices, where publishing language manifests difference. Prof. Hist. em-
bodies a field in which scholars traditionally write books or book chapters,
as well as review books by other scholars. For these genres, Swedish is the
dominating publishing language (Salö & Josephson 2014, 278). As part of
his own scholarship, Prof. Hist. has written extensively on Swedish modern
history, the majority of which he has published as a single author in Swe-
dish. It is a typical trait in history that doctoral theses are extensive, often
comprising more than 300 pages (e.g., Lindegren 2004). Correspondingly,
Prof. Hist.’s thesis was a weighty tome, authored in Swedish, and has since
been followed up by a respectable number of Swedish monographs. Yet,
historians also publish journal articles. In part, these journals are vested in an
international publishing market, but as a particularity of the historical field,
there are a number of journals that publish work in Swedish Historisk
tidskrift and Scandia, to name two. Consequently, in the field at large the
balance between journal articles published in Swedish and English is
roughly equal in history (Salö & Josephson 2014, 278). Correspondingly,
Prof. Hist.’s publishing record also encompasses edited volumes, articles,
and book chapters in both Swedish and English, some of which are co-au-
thored or co-edited with colleagues. He has moreover produced textbooks
aimed for the markets of pre-university education.
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 47
Other genres notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that publishing
monographs is what counts scientifically in the field. This is so in spite of
the fact that publishing peer-reviewed articles is currently gaining in popu-
larity. Prof. Hist. gives voice to this state of affairs in the following way:
Prof. Hist.: It’s still the case that having published a book of your own
counts the most, so to speak. Surely. But then you have the current inter-
est in peer reviewed articles, and there are rankings of the fine and the
not quite as fine journals. I think that’s beginning to affect the conscious-
ness. Perhaps not among us elderly, but among the young I think that’s
made a deep impression. And you note that they’re very keen to have their
articles published, it should be peer reviewed, and, yeah, a lot of efforts
go into that. (Extract 1)
As noted, the two professors are seen here as being embodiments of their
fields, and in this sense they also embody the tensions and conflicts of their
fields. In reviewing the history of history, it was noted that the field has long
been a battleground where discourses have worked to shift the field in dif-
ferent directions. According to Prof. Hist., there is a tension within the field
of history between, on the one hand, the old economy of symbolic value in
which the monograph indexed scientific credibility, and, on the other hand,
the new economy of symbolic, academic value, linked to publishing in high-
ranked peer-reviewed journals. This latter strategy, Prof. Hist. claims to have
noticed, seems particularly tempting to younger agents of the field. This
observation was similarly made by an established historian in the study by
Hammarfelt and de Rijcke (2014, 11; see also Östling 2013, 15, quote pro-
vided in section 6.1). Prof. Hist. expands on this issue in the following way:
Prof. Hist.: In some way, I think that we’re possibly in the transition be-
tween two different approaches. One was that of the lone wolf who
worked on his or her life achievement. Busy in doing so, there was never
any thought about career, you were happy if you were given a sandwich
to go with your coffee now and then. But then, as it were, you have those
who are more bent for building up their CV. (Extract 2)
Thus, according to Prof. Hist.’s sensibilities, things are happening in the
historical field that seem to be altering agents’ dispositions to historical re-
search practice, including publishing practices. As of yet, however, the value
attached to writing books remains strong in the field’s locally ingrained
economy of symbolic value entre-soi, in spite of the impact from the values
circulating outside the disciplinary field. Prof. Hist. reports that the releases
of published books are accompanied by symbolic rites that celebrate and
thus encourage agents who withstand the practice of authoring books.
48 Linus Salö
Prof. Hist.: Well, in the workplace corridor, people are very glad to hear
that you’ve come out with a book. You gather around at the coffee break
to display the book and all of that, and it’s even become common to have
small release parties, we didn’t have those before. But you don’t do all
this when you have published an article. So it could well be that theres a
certain difference in valorization between the bibliometric norm on the
one hand, and the colleagues’ appreciation, on the other. That’s probably
the case. (Extract 3)
Prof. Psych, on the other hand, holds a dominant position within a field
where scholars predominantly publish journal articles, and here the preva-
lence of English is almost total (Salö & Josephson 2014, 280). Correspond-
ingly, this trend is saliently reflected in Prof. Psych’s own academic perfor-
mance output. His publishing record reveals hundreds of publications, the
vast majority being articles in English. These articles are typically short
(typically seven pages) and co-authored (typically more than five authors per
article). He has also written a few monographs, a small share of which is in
Swedish. Yet, as for scientific prestige, the journal article is valued most
highly, as indicated in the account below.
Prof. Psych.: I’d reckon that you with rather great certainty can say that
articles in journals carry the highest prestige. Researchers within the
area place their best work there, rather than in book chapters or in books,
since chances are that they don’t reach very many. (Extract 4)
As the development of the psychological field shows, from the beginning of
his career, Prof. Psych. entered a field where the journal article already held
a central position. The central position of the journal article in psychology
can also be mirrored in Prof. Psych.’s consumption of academic texts.
Linus: Could you say something about the sorts of scientific texts, genres
and so forth, that you read the most?
Prof. Psych.: It’s definitely journal articles. Articles in journals that are
situated within the areas where I do research. I read the odd handbook
and textbook too, but mostly, it’s journal articles. (Extract 5)
As noted, the vast majority of Prof. Psych.’s output is in English, whereas
most of Prof. Hist.’s publications are in Swedish. It is noteworthy that both
professors talk about their preferred publishing languages by virtue of
reaching as many readers as possible but that the outcome of their position-
taking places the two agents on opposite poles of the SwedishEnglish con-
tinuum. To Prof. Hist., using Swedish is linked to the possibility of receiving
a form of impact that resides beyond intra-scientific recognition. By and
large, this fact indexes that history has a field of consumption that is much
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 49
wider than the field of production (cf. Broady 1991, 270ff.), which, as sec-
tion 5.1 shows, has roots in the early rise of the field. This trait also means
that Prof. Hist. perceives Swedish as being the language that will attract the
most readers, since English, in his view, limits the readership to a specialized
trade of history research.
Prof. Hist.: When you write in Swedish, you can entertain hopes of
reaching the educated people, so to speak. But when you write in English
it’s more of a marked academic context. How can I put it, no ordinary,
generally interested Brit or American will read my journal articles, I
don’t think so. But, if you publish something in Swedish, it could hope-
fully, well maybe, be mentioned in a daily, and in that way get some sort
of attention. (Extract 6)
Prof. Psych, likewise, claims to be guided by the aim of reaching as many
readers as possible, as indicated in his position-taking on journal articles
(extract 4). In his discourse, however, this fact renders English to be the
most viable language to use. Prof. Psych says there are no forums where it is
possible to publish in Swedish within the field, unless one chooses to target
other audiences, such as the wider public. This position-taking also incorpo-
rates the history of the field, marked by an overt specialization in the 1960s
that subdivided the field into one purely scientific branch. As a consequence,
psychology researchers write more or less exclusively for other researchers;
choosing Swedish, therefore, would entail engaging in dialogue with Swe-
dish specialists only.
Prof. Psych.: I write for the international scientific community, that way
my article will reach fairly many. If I were to write in Swedish, it would
reach only a handful of people if even that many, maybe one or two, who
deal with and are interested in precisely what I deal with. For this reason,
it has become this way in this area that in order to reach the international
community of researchers, you have to write in English. (Extract 7)
In psychology, English has been the dominant publishing language for as
long as Prof. Psych has been in the research game. The idea of using Swe-
dish in scientific publishing has therefore never really been up for discus-
sion. Hence, he does not make ‘language choices’; rather, using English is a
part of his feel for the game of scholarly exchange. He has, in other words,
internalized the regularities of the game, and therefore does what he must
do at the moment it is necessary, without needing to ask explicitly what is to
be done’ (Bourdieu 1998, 98). Using Swedish for the sake of protecting the
language, likewise, carries little, if any, value for Prof. Psych. Yet, he reports
having noted certain national differences in this matter, that is, that the dis-
50 Linus Salö
course of protecting the national language seems present in psychology but
mostly in other countries. At least in part, he sees this stance as a proxy ar-
gument, that is, as a statement that disguises its underlying motifs.
Prof. Psych.: I think you see differences between the Nordic countries, I
think Sweden and Finland are the two countries who have most clearly
become English writing when it comes to scientific texts. […] I have often
been struck by the way things are in Denmark and Norway where you
write in Danish and Norwegian respectively. And then, we […] pose
questions such as ‘why don’t you want to reach out to researchers in the
whole world with these results, they are exciting, you should tell the
world about your results’. ‘No’, they say, ‘we want to cultivate and pro-
tect our language, they say. Very often in Denmark, that’s what they say.
[…] They often use that about safeguarding Danish. If it is honest, the
thought is good, but I think you lose something in doing so as a re-
searcher within a given discipline. (Extract 8)
As illustrated by this extract, Prof. Psych. associates publishing in na-
tional languages as being at odds with long-established preconditions of the
national enclaves of the global psychological field that reside outside the
Anglophone world. In so doing, he echoes the stance taken by early field-
founders, namely that psychological knowledge is inherently international,
and that international languages must therefore be used as a requisite for
maximizing a potential audience (e.g., Ekman 1972, 166). Within his field,
he sees this struggle as somewhat passé.
This situation is different in the field of history. It was noted in section
5.1 that the field of history has been impacted by the co-existence of contra-
dictory discourses on the need to maintain the national obligations of the
field while at the same time align its publishing practices with current de-
velopments linked to internationalization and other contemporary fluxes of
the university field. These discourses unfold in Prof. Hist.’s position-taking
as a salient ambivalence. He is well aware of the discussion on the lack of
international perspectives in his field. Partly, he seems to agree with much of
this criticism, while still acknowledging some of the advantages linked to
using Swedish. He also points to some of the difficulties linked to using
English, which partly feed into matters of practical language competence,
and partly pertain to the defense of Swedish. This fact corresponds to find-
ings in other studies, where senior historians in Sweden were shown to be
less positive to writing in English (Kuteeva & McGrath 2014; see also Lee &
Lee 2013 for similar accounts from Korean history professors). Prof. Hist.
gives voice to this issue as follows.
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 51
Prof. Hist.: On the one hand, I consider it to be extremely important that
we carry out our research in an international context, and I do think that
I belong to a generation that has been somewhat poor in doing so, and a
little bit too self-absorbed and confined in a Swedish milieu. And it fol-
lows from that that you publish more and more in English. At the same
time I consider that we have to stand up for Swedish, partly because of
some sort of linguistic nationalism. I also think that the language often
becomes a bit colorless. You have a smaller repertoire when you write in
English, and even if you obtain help with that, it won’t be the same. (Ex-
tract 9)
As can be seen in this extract, publishing in English is viewed by Prof. Hist.
as indexing a form of strategy associated with both positive and negative
valorization. On the one hand, publishing in English is seen as necessary and
unavoidable, but on the other hand, as potentially negative both to research
quality and for the position of the Swedish language. Even though there are
journals in history that publish articles in Swedish, Prof. Hist. seems to see
publishing in journals as being linked to English. What is more, publishing
in journals indexes the dispositions of the striver who has strategically incor-
porated the value system imposed upon the field. This position-taking sur-
faces when Prof. Hist. is asked to comment upon the status of being interna-
tionally oriented within the field.
Linus: Is it considered high status to be internationally oriented in the
Prof. Hist.: I don’t know if I really think so. Of course you think that it’s
good. And then, this is all tied to the striving of publishing in journals,
and then it becomes linked to the bibliometric trend. So it can perhaps be,
well indulgently and with a faint smile, that you think that hehe, ‘he
knows what it’s all about’, so to speak, do you see what I mean? There
might be some sort of conflict here between doing what you yourself re-
ally consider to be good, and of conforming to norms from the above or
external norms. It’s of course great to be published in a fancy journal, but
on the other hand, you can find yourself smirking when people are too
eager, as it were. (Extract 10)
As can be seen, Prof. Hist. speaks about an emergent form of conformism
among a group of eager colleagues, who in some overtly strategic sense seek
to re-orient their strategies to values that reside beyond the symbolic order of
the historical field. ‘Conformism’, however, is a slippery notion to apply
here, since adhering to the established order of the field is also a way of con-
forming to a form of ‘logical conformism’ rendered legitimate by the field,
so that nationally embedded publishing practices come to be seen as the
52 Linus Salö
natural way of conducting one’s self (Emirbayer & Schneiderhan 2013,
142). As similarly reasoned by Hammarfelt and de Rijcke,
it would be naïve to think that ‘publication strategies’ did not exist before
the implementation of various bibliometric measures and evaluations.
Rather, the criticism against ‘publication strategies’ could be seen as a
conflict between older mostly disciplinary and national traditions of pub-
lishing, and new more internationally oriented practices. (Hammarfelt &
de Rijcke 2014, 13)
Hence, practices of publishing in Swedish ‘appear “disinterested” only in
reference to different interests’ (Bourdieu 1991, 8) – namely, publishing in
English. There are, in other words, two symbolic markets, and in this sense,
there is no way in which agents can be non-conforming with regard to pub-
lishing language. In academic life, there are no no-choices, or better, no line
of action that is not linked to strategies in Bourdieu’s non-strategical sense
of the concept (Bourdieu 1991, 910). This means that agents who stick to
writing monographs in Swedish also pursue an investment strategy, one
which seems profitable given the censorship historically exercised by the
field in its ways of rewarding performance (Eklöf Amirell 2007, 37). The
strivers that Prof. Hist. refers to, therefore, are first and foremost ‘obedient to
the conformism of anti-conformism’ (Bourdieu & Passeron 1979, 46).
One salient shift in practice that Prof. Psych. reports to have noted
throughout his career is an increased focus on cooperation, and the ensuing
rise of research groups in which each person contributes with his or her area
of specialized knowledge. As noted, most of Prof. Psych.’s publications are
co-authored, and co-authorship is common in the psychological field. A
bibliometric analysis of the publications in psychology from 2012 to 2013
shows that the average number of authors (median) of a text is three.
Prof. Psych. notes, this fact results in extensive publication lists among the
most successful players in the field, and here the impact factor of the jour-
nals that one publishes in carries a great deal of distinction. Prof. Psych.
states that there is a salient awareness about the performance assessment
imposed in the field.
Prof. Psych.: People keep very close track. I notice among doctoral can-
didates and others how keen they are to learn these things. Already in
writing up articles during the course of doctoral studies they struggle for
being able to send it to a good journal, with a high impact then.
Linus: Is it so that that people typically know what index they have?
Prof. Psych.: Eh, I think everyone knows this. Everyone knows their h-
index. (Extract 11)
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 53
According to Prof. Psych., most agents of the psychological field know
their h-index
as a form of knowledge internalized by engaging in the field.
This is not so in history: Prof. Hist., at least, reports not knowing his index.
In history, moreover, co-authorship has long been fairly uncommon, as is
typically the case in the humanities at large (e.g., Piro et al. 2013). While
Prof. Hist. has in fact experience in co-authoring and co-editing, his overtly
empirical field belongs to a set of fields that house an ideal of the independ-
ent, academic loner, where individual contributions are highly valued (Sörlin
1994, 225). Yet, as already indicated above, Prof. Hist. reports noting the
emergence of a new set of dispositions to publishing practices in his field,
particularly among junior department members. These changes do not per-
tain merely to co-authorship, but are rather seen by Prof. Hist. as an index of
a new form of CV-thinking, making scholars prone to only engaging in sci-
entific practices that yield materialized profit in the competition.
Prof. Hist.: When I was younger you could very well partake at a confer-
ence, give your talk and then go home, pleased and satisfied. But now,
like, ‘it’ll result in a publication afterwards, right?’ So I reckon there are
higher demands that everything that you do will lead to a publication.
There’s a stronger instrumentality in the thinking, everything must lead
up to something which shows clearly in the CV. (Extract 12)
In this account, Prof. Hist. points to a new line of instrumental thinking as
a facet of a newly developed scientific habitus of agents within the historical
field most palpably manifested among its newcomers. This matter, which
is linked to changing dispositions to historical research practice, will be dealt
with below, where extracts from interviews with the doctors are presented.
7.2 The habitus of the doctors
In this section, data is presented from interviews with one doctor from each
of the two fields, both of whom are currently at the beginning of their re-
spective career paths. As noted earlier, however, they have already begun to
pursue their careers, which means they have experience in being evaluated in
different contexts. As one of the informants, Dr. Psych., puts it, ‘it is evalua-
tion all the time.’ It follows from this that the doctors have a form of practi-
cal knowledge or sense of the ways in which the field ascribes value to aca-
demic achievements and, in relation to that, a sense of their own deeds.
The recipient of external project financing, Dr. Hist. currently works at
one of Sweden’s larger history departments. His thesis was a monograph
published in Swedish that exceeds 300 pages. Since his defense, he has been
able to support himself by being part of various research projects, combined
54 Linus Salö
with temporary positions at research institutes elsewhere. Dr. Psych., for his
part, works at one of the larger departments of psychology in Sweden, but he
earned his doctoral degree in another Swedish department. His thesis is a
compilation type, which corresponds to the predominant if not close to
exclusive praxis of the field. For a time period spanning several years, Dr.
Psych. has managed to get along by means of holding various temporary
academic positions, which have followed what he refers to as ‘the standard
route’ in the psychological field: post-doctoral position research fellow
substitute and associate senior lecturer, etc. He has also had research funding
for a period of time. Currently, however, he holds a lectureship and is thus a
permanent faculty member. Moreover, he was recently appointed ‘docent’,
the academic title in Sweden roughly equivalent to associate professor in the
U.S. or reader in the UK.
Neither of the two doctors report having reflected much on the language
of publishing upon entering their fields. Publishing in Swedish was con-
veyed as being the default choice to Dr. Hist., and by the same token, pub-
lishing in English was without doubt the way to proceed for Dr. Psych. This
fact appears to exemplify Bourdieu’s point that ‘[a]gents to some extent fall
into the practice that is theirs rather than freely choosing it or being impelled
into it by mechanical constraints’ (Bourdieu 1990a, 90). The two doctors
comment on their publishing strategies in the following way.
Dr. Hist.: When I wrote my PhD thesis, for example, not a single question
came up if I was to write in Swedish or English. It wasn’t that they told or
encouraged you to write in English, it was more like, you did it in Swe-
dish. Most in my group of doctoral candidates did it in Swedish. (Extract
Dr. Psych.: I have never published anything in a peer-reviewed journal in
any other language than English. English is the language that my sub-
discipline uses as default. […] But there are nuances; it differs between
sub-disciplines. In my case it is only English, you could say, in principal.
(Extract 14)
However, as their careers have continued, Dr. Hist. has published increas-
ingly in English, whereas Dr. Psych. has obviously stuck to English. Dr.
Psych. points out, as did Prof. Psych., that the regularity revealed in his pub-
lishing record is linked to the fact that there is no market for publishing sci-
entific texts in Swedish within his subfield.
Dr. Psych.: I have no good Swedish outlet. […] It would be a matter of
going to Natur och kultur [a Swedish publishing house] and write up a
book in Swedish, but I’d get no cred for that, it would end up primarily in
my pedagogical deed, it becomes course literature. (Extract 15)
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 55
Indeed, then, Dr. Psych. subtly acknowledges some potential possibilities for
publishing in Swedish, but adds to this statement that the field would not
reward such efforts to the extent that doing so seems worthwhile. This en-
tails that, indeed, there are options in the psychological field to author texts
in Swedish, but that such undertakings are largely incompatible with the
ways in which scientific profit is achieved in the field. In this sense, thus, we
can say that publish or perish ideology imbued in his field exercises a form
of censorship that orients his scientific practices. Nonetheless, this fact per-
tains mostly to scientific merits, since the production of course literature can
carry weight, for instance, in the competition for academic positions.
Dr. Psych.: If I write, for example, course literature within my field I
might get a bit of bonus points on the scientific side, but it doesn’t carry
much weight, it’s articles, articles, articles, articles. On the other hand, I
could emphasize it more clearly as a part of my pedagogical deed. And
the importance of that is dependent on what is evaluated in a given situa-
tion. (Extract 16)
Clearly, the same logic seems difficult to apply to the field of history,
where there is in fact a field of options for scholars who wish to publish
academic texts in Swedish. As a matter of fact, there is a journal market as
well as a book market to meet these ends. This fact notwithstanding, it can
be noted that Dr. Hist.’s investment strategies have differed somewhat as
compared to those of Prof. Hist. Dr. Hist.’s publishing record displays a
diverse set of journal articles, book chapters, and extensive studies published
in report series. Here, although work in Swedish also amounts to a fair share,
there is an overabundance of work published in English, as well as occa-
sional publications in other languages. It is noteworthy that similar publish-
ing patterns are reflected among the young Swedish historians studied by
McGrath (2014), where the two junior informants who were studied had
only published in English (p. 10). In history, authoring books in Swedish has
long been positively sanctioned by the field. However, linked to current de-
velopments, viz., in particular, the ‘bibliometric trend’ in Prof. Hist.’s deno-
tation, Dr. Hist. gives voice to a type of pressure in the system that works in
an unfavorable way for this form of publishing trajectory. On this point, Dr.
Hist. makes the following remark:
Dr. Hist.: At least in the discipline of history, there’s some kind of break
in time concerning the language issue that those who are currently pro-
fessors have not had to confront in the same way. There hasn’t existed a
demand or an expectation that they should publish in other languages. It
has probably been nice if they have, but I don’t think that there’s been
this pressure in the system that this is what it takes to go upwards or on-
56 Linus Salö
wards in your career. So there, I think there’s quite a big difference
really. (Extract 17)
As can be seen above, Dr. Hist. refers to a ‘pressure in the system’ that is
changing the values and practices of historical research. To a great extent,
this can be explained by virtue of the fact that recently graduated doctors of
today face a labor market fierce in competition in a way that was not the case
for previous generations. For example, according to Ekström and Sörlin
(2011), the number of active historians today is 10 times greater than the
number in 1950. Dr. Hist. makes the following remark on this topic:
Dr. Hist.: Those who are professors today, they could become historians,
and then, they could in some sense lurk about in the system in full assur-
ance that, sooner or later, they’d end up somewhere. This isn’t the case
for my generation in the same sense, since now, you can actually be
pushed out. (Extract 18)
Thus, in Dr. Hist.’s account, increased competition in the field is seen as
an important driver for newcomers to reorient their strategies. What is par-
ticularly noteworthy here is that Dr. Hist. sees the adaptation of English as a
chief means of investing differently and so gain a profitable position in a
field that has long been nationally oriented.
Dr. Hist.: Well, for that matter I think that the discipline of history has
been, and is, a little bit more protected than certain other disciplines. It’s
big enough to carry its own weight in some way. Plus the fact there’s an
audience outside of the university who wishes to read in their mother
tongue. So there’s also some sort of unspoken mission of managing the
national history, and that’s easiest done in the own language. In that
sense, I think it [the discipline] has been a bit protected or that it maybe
has not been exposed to the same pressure for change in comparison to
other disciplines that are more intra-disciplinary. But on the other hand,
in recent years I think that it has grown into the discipline of history too.
It has opened up an opportunity to qualify oneself through that course,
you can compete by publishing mainly in international languages, chiefly
in English, then. (Extract 19)
In other words, according to Dr. Hist., using English is currently part and
parcel of another way of competing in the field of history. In this sense,
English as a form of linguistic capital can be converted into scientific au-
thority yet, only ‘under certain conditions’ (Bourdieu 1975). These condi-
tions are currently provided by the political-administrative will that dictates
the terms in the contemporary university field at large and that currently en-
courages international research agendas.
The sociolinguistics of academic publishing 57
Dr. Psych. was asked whether he sees any differences between genera-
tions in their orientations to publishing. In respect to publishing language,
his response was no; however, there are other ways in which newcomers can
aim at reaching a profitable position within the field by asserting difference.
Dr. Psych.: No, and it absolutely might not exist locally at a department
or even within the country, but you can observe a trend coming in inter-
nationally, and if you’re an early adopter you’ll probably not be coun-
tered initially, but most likely later on when you have a career. […] In-
ternational trends come all the time, and in psychology Sweden commonly
follows the U.S.A. It might not be this way in 20 years, but it’s this way
today. Research topic wise, what happens there will happen here a few
years later, and if you stay alert to the international trends as a young re-
searcher, you can slip into something that almost surely will end up here
later, irrespective of what parts of your surroundings say. (Extract 20)
From the accounts of both doctors, it is clear that different investment
strategies pay off for different forms of evaluation, as indicated in Dr.
Psych.’s earlier account (extract 16). In both cases, this is due to the fact that
different merits carry weight in applications for positions and funding, re-
spectively. For example, from the viewpoint of his field, Dr. Psych. makes
the following remark.
Dr. Psych.: In order to be attractive to research funding, you have to
produce loads of articles. […] To receive financing for research, you
need to work on the scientific production. To be appointed a lectureship,
well, then you also need teaching merits. (Extract 21)
This account may come across as rather self-evident, since, in principle, it
applies to the scientific field at large. It is therefore also valid in the field of
history. Here, however, there are other field-specific values at stake attached
to scientific production, since a key difference between applications for re-
search grants and academic positions pertains to the position in academic
space of those who assess merits. Dr. Hist. believes that his publishing rec-
ord has been fairly competitive in applications for research funding, but less
so in applications for academic positions. According to Dr. Hist., this is
largely due to the fact that he has not aligned his investment strategies to
those traditionally valorized in the field, which means that applications as-
sessed by dominant historians see his merits as being limited in a way that
does not seem to be the case when he competes for funding. By no means,
then, does an international publishing agenda entail a way of becoming
competitive in the field on all fronts.
Dr. Hist.: I must admit I haven’t applied for many positions. I have ap-
plied for some where I was ranked high but where I was taken off the
58 Linus Salö
short list with the argument that my main publications were on [modern
history]. That’s a kind of derogatory assessment which resulted in them
moving up someone else who had done something else. […]I’ve the feel-
ing that when you as a historian apply for money from the research coun-
cils, you are shunted into this publishing pressure, attention is put to your
publishing record, and so the scale ends up being the same as for other
disciplines. But when you apply for positions in history, you get evaluated
by other historians, and there, it can probably linger about in the system
that you dont really count unless you have done your years in the ar-
chive. Among historians, its still met with respect if people see that you
have done the dirty work. (Extract 22)
Here, Dr. Hist. points to an emergent facet of the historical field that has
already been hinted upon, namely that the field comprises two partly over-
lapping economies of symbolic value, where one set of field-specific values
points back to the history of the field. Dr. Hist. may have written several
texts in English, but he has not done a sufficient amount of ‘dirty work’,
which, arguably, means time in the archives with the other ‘archive martyrs’
(Larsson 2010). This fact is manifested in what is seen as a lack of extensive
work in his publishing record, as perceived through the prism of the field’s
internal economy of symbolic value.
As for the value attached to scientific texts, both doctors by and large at-
test to the accounts presented by the professors: monographs are valorized in
history, while journal articles carry scientific prestige in psychology.
Dr. Psych.: Peer-reviewed articles, not other articles, but peer-reviewed
articles are highly valued. Book chapters are very low valued as they are
not seen as peer-reviewed work, even though they often or sometimes are.
For example, I’ve published a few book chapters, and if I were to apply
for a professor position today I would get very little cred for that. They
would look at the peer-reviewed articles, even though I sit here knowing
that I’ve put much more effort into the book chapters, since there you take
a holistic view in some way, you often cover an entire field in a book
chapter in a sense that you don’t do in a very narrow article. So I often
find articles to be easier to write. (Extract 23)
It can be noted that in Dr. Psych.’s field, to a considerable extent, texts de-
rive their value from the forums in which they are published. At the top of
this hierarchy, the position of the journal article is unchallenged (e.g., Hicks
2004). In the field of psychology, this also means that other genres, such as
book chapters, do not really yield profit in the competition; this seems to be
so irrespective of the authority provided by the publisher or of the <