American Sociological Association

How National Institutions Mediate the Global: Screen Translation, Institutional Interdependencies, and the Production of National Difference in Four European Countries

How do national institutional contexts mediate the global? This article aims to answer this question by analyzing screen translation—the translation of audiovisual materials like movies and television programs—in four European countries: France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland. A cross-national, multi-method research project combining interviews, ethnography, and a small survey found considerable cross-national differences in translation norms and practices, sometimes leading to very different translated versions of the same product. The analysis shows how differences between national translation fields are produced and perpetuated by the interplay of institutional factors on four interdependent levels: technology, and the organizational, national, and transnational fields. On each level, various institutions are influential in shaping nationally specific translation norms and practices by producing institutional constraints or imposing specific meanings. I propose a model that explains the persistence of national translation systems—not only from the logics of specific institutions, fields, or levels—but by the feedback loops and interdependencies between institutions on various levels. This analysis has implications for the sociological understanding of globalization, the production of culture and media, cross-national comparative research, as well as institutional theory and the role of translation in sociological practice.


Kuipers, G.





Starting Page


Ending Page


Get Involved


ASA needs you to serve the discipline

Join a Section

Explore ASA's community of specialists in the discipline

Join ASA

Join or renew your membership