Neutral, non-disruptive, and native: Why do Chinese nonprofit scholars cite English articles?

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Language shapes diverse cultures and creates natural barriers between human societies. The landscape of nonprofit and philanthropic studies in non-English languages is barely charted, impeding the globalization of this research field. This project describes the topics shared between English and Chinese scholarship on nonprofits and philanthropy and explores why English scholarship is cited in Chinese journal articles from five aspects: rationale of scholarship, novelty, relevance, social network, and reputation. 

The English articles cited by Chinese scholars tend to: (1) focus on instrumentality but not expressive values, (2) develop rather than disrupt existing paradigms, and (3) be relevant to topics popular in the Chinese literature and have authors with Chinese scholarly connections. In general, Chinese scholars tend to cite English articles that are value-neutral, non-disruptive, and native. Theoretical and methodological implications for examining nonprofit studies in other languages are discussed.

Forthcoming at Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

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