Formation of social scientific fields in Indonesian universities

Rochman Achwan, Meuthia Ganie-Rochman, Lidya Triana, Ricardi S. Adnan, Syora Alya Eka Putri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the processes of the formation of social scientific fields in Indonesian universities. In contrast to the convergence perspective that is currently dominating the research on university reform, this paper enriches the divergence perspective. In essence, this study argues that individual universities respond differently to university reform and draws on Beckert’s three interrelated social forces and Paradeise and Thoenig’s concept of divergence. It conducts in-depth interviews with 40 social scientists at four state universities across the country and presents the following conclusions. State-led university reform contributes to the creation of the plurality of academic cultures, which, in turn, influences the processes of facilitation and negotiation over resources within university governance. In addition, this plurality promotes the reactions of coupling and decoupling of circles of scientific production and distribution, which respectively bolster and impede the development of social sciences. Top and wannabe circles promote peer-reviewed scientific publications as a universal standard of academic performance, whereas the missionary circle embraces the idea of public engagement as the sole mission of a university. Re-coupling among circles has to become the new rule of the game. In this manner, the quality of individual academics, university teaching, and public engagement will be considerably improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022


  • Field
  • Indonesia
  • Knowledge production
  • Social science
  • Universities


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