Polysystem theory

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Originally arising from the work of a group of Russian literary theorists, the concept of the polysystem has received considerable attention in the work of a group of translation scholars since the mid-1970s. Polysystems can therefore be postulated to account for phenomena existing on various levels, so that the polysystem of a given national literature is viewed as one element making up the larger sociocultural polysystem, which itself comprises other polysystems besides the literary, such as the artistic, the economic and the political. Essential to the concept of the polysystem is the notion that its various strata and subdivisions are constantly competing with each other for the dominant position. Polysystem theory has provided the theoretical framework for numerous case studies that focus on different kinds of translation activity within a wide range of linguistic, cultural and historical contexts. In spite of a number of criticisms, polysystem theory has continued to be used for the purposes of research on translation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies
EditorsMona Baker, Gabriela Saldanha
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781315678627
ISBN (Print)9781032088709, 9781138933330
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Polysystem theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this