• Arenas of Productive Conflict: Universities, peer review, conflict and knowledge

    Author(s):
    Cameron Neylon (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies
    Subject(s):
    Science and technology studies (STS), Cultural studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    peer review, Evaluation, knowledge community, knowledge environments, open knowledge
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/fkrd-ef72
    Abstract:
    Social theories of knowledge necessarily emphasise context and relativism. They are grounded in a specific situation or community. Where they seek to use such a grounding to approach a concept of general or objective knowledge they tend to either be unsatisfying in philosophical depth, or to turn on questions of the relative power of groups. In the latter case violence, whether directly physical, social or structural plays a crucial part in determining whose truth prevails. These models do not help us to understand the persistence and survival of specific forms of knowledge-making and their institutions, particularly those of the western scholarly tradition and its conception of the university. I will argue that the western academic system has shown persistence by institutionalising particular forms of conflict in a way that makes them productive. Our culture and institutions reproduce communities and boundaries, and create arenas in which particular forms of conflict are conducted under specific, yet frequently tacit, rules. Part of these forms is an orientation, or aspiration, towards openness that is always imperfectly realised but continuously creates new grounds for conflict. Our institutions struggle to evolve in response but have largely succeeded over the longer term. I will explore one example of this in the changing assumptions around peer review that have developed in response to online commentary on formal research outputs.
    Notes:
    Submitted to Cultural Science Journal
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago
    License:
    Attribution
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