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The paper starts from the thesis that unhindered international communication is a central characteristic of modern science. Second, the paper argues that scientific progress cannot be defined unequivocally in the social sciences. Four structures inhibit free international communication (linguistic barriers, the size of a national sociological community, the quality of scientific research, and the influence of specific sociologists and their schools). Third, three kinds of data are used to investigate the relevance of these factors: The participation in international congresses, the quotation patterns in major sociological journals and the reasons for the exceptional success of three sociologists, from the USA, France and Germany, respectively. Finally, a short hint toward the development of sociology outside the Western world is given. The paper concludes with some reflections on strategies to change the one-sided, asymmetrical communication in sociology toward a more balanced pattern.