New knowledge is produced at great speed and fed into a global epistemic machinery of data banks, publications, and think tanks. In reverse, global knowledge is absorbed and used locally. Locally produced knowledge is on the increase as society moves towards a knowledge society. Social science research adds to knowledge of societies. If it is locally produced, it can be interpreted as reflexive modernization in so far as it provides paradigms for an interpretation of social processes and structures. This article traces the development of social science research on Southeast Asia and its increasing localization. A model is developed to summarize the output of interpretative schemes and published documents. Statistical data on the global absorption of locally produced knowledge are used to measure the extent of the move towards a knowledge society. Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines have relatively high local social science output, whereas Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos have low output rates. We diagnose four different paths from 1970 to 2000: Indonesia shows a stable high level of dependence, Malaysia and the Philippines are increasing local output but also increasing dependence, whereas Singapore is increasing output with decreasing dependence on global social science knowledge.


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pp. S242-S263
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