Der talentierte Briefeschreiber Robert K. Merton als einflussreicher Gate-Opener: Eine Analyse von 1460 Empfehlungsschreiben

Dr. Philipp Korom 1
  • 1 Universität Graz, Institut für Soziologie, 8010, Graz, Österreich
Dr. Philipp Korom
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  • Universität Graz, Institut für Soziologie, 8010, Graz, Österreich
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  • geb. 1983 in Graz. Studium der Soziologie und Psychologie an der Universität Graz sowie am Europäischen Hochschulinstitut in Florenz. Von 2013–2015 Senior Researcher am Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung in Köln, seit 2016 (Co-)Leiter zweier durch den österreichischen Wissenschaftsfonds (FWF) geförderter Drittmittelprojekte zu akademischen Eliten in der Soziologie und zur politischen Elite in Österreich.Forschungsschwerpunkte: Elitesoziologie, Vermögensforschung, Soziologie der Soziologie, Netzwerkanalyse, Wirtschaftssoziologie.Aktuelle Publikationen: The prestige elite in sociology, The Sociological Quarterly 61, 2020: 128–163; How do academic elites march through departments?, Minerva, 58,2020: 343–365; The political sociologist Seymour M. Lipset: Remembered in political science, neglected in sociology, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology 6, 2019: 448–473.
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Der Artikel analysiert akademisches Gate-Keeping anhand von 1460 Empfehlungsschreiben des einflussreichen amerikanischen Soziologen Robert K. Merton (RKM). Teils auf Ansuchen von Berufungskommissionen und zumeist mit augeprägtem Enthusiasmus gab RKM sein Urteil über das Talent sowie die stellenspezifische Eignung von 560 Bewerbern/Bewerberinnen ab, um in der Regel den Weg für eine akademische Karriere zu ebnen. In den stilistisch virtuos verfassten Schreiben geht RKM vor allem auf akademische Fähigkeiten ein, kommentiert aber auch Persönlichkeitszüge. Die hohe „Erfolgsquote“ seiner Empfehlungen ist wahrscheinlich auch auf die überzeugende Rhetorik RKMs sowie seine gute Kenntnis der Bewerber/Bewerberinnen zurückzuführen. Systematische Lebenslaufrecherchen zeigen u. a., dass im Falle von Promotionen zur vollen Professur etwa 87 Prozent und bei externen Kandidaten für ausgeschriebene Professuren etwa 43 Prozent die angestrebte akademische Position erhielten.

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