More than two years ago, a research paper by Dr Malte Steinbrink and his students created quite a stir in German Human Geography. Using Social Network Analysis, the group identified a tight-knit cluster of academic geographers who basically run the show – in other words, an oligarchy. “Berichte zur deutschen Landeskunde” has now published an issue devoted exclusively to the debate on these findings. Colleague Harald Schoen and I were invited to the party because we are perfectly detached outsiders (and nice guys to boot). Here is our comment on the paper that rocked German geography.