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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 15:49-54 (2015)  -  DOI:

Towards (more) integrity in academia, encouraging long-term knowledge creation and academic freedom

K. Akrivou1,2,*

1Henley Business School, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6UD, UK,
2Institute of Enterprise and Humanism, University of Navarre, 3100 Pamplona, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: European researchers across heterogeneous disciplines voice concerns and argue for new paths towards a brighter future regarding scientific and knowledge creation and communication. Recently, in biological and natural sciences concerns have been expressed that major threats are intentionally ignored. These threats are challenging Europe’s future sustainability towards creating knowledge that effectively deals with emerging social, environmental, health, and economic problems of a planetary scope. Within social science circles, however, the root cause regarding the above challenges has been linked with macro-level forces of neo-liberal ways of valuing and relevant rules in academia and beyond which we take for granted. These concerns raised by heterogeneous scholars in natural and the applied social sciences concern the ethics of today’s research and academic integrity. Applying Bourdieu’s sociology, there is little hope that intentional human agency may change the current habitus. Rather than attributing the replication of neo-liberal habitus in intentional agent and institutional choices, Bourdieu’s work raises the importance of thoughtlessly internalised habits in human and social action. Accordingly, most action within a given paradigm (in this case, neo-liberalism) is understood as habituated, i.e. unconsciously reproducing external social fields, even ill-defined ways of valuing. This essay analyses these and how they may help critically analyse the current habitus surrounding research and knowledge production, evaluation, and communication and related aspects of academic freedom. Although it is acknowledged that transformation is not easy, this essay presents arguments and recent theory paths to suggest that change nevertheless may be a realistic hope once certain action logics are encouraged.

KEY WORDS: Integrity · Ethics · Habitus · Common good · Prosperity · History of science · Neo‑liberalism · Sustainability

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Cite this article as: Akrivou K (2015) Towards (more) integrity in academia, encouraging long-term knowledge creation and academic freedom. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 15:49-54.

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