Collective Engagement

“Bourdieu was a fervent advocate of academic freedoms, but also an advocate of the political engagement of intellectua. He believed that ‘exporting’ academic authority into the political field, as well as listening to and responding to the ‘social demand’ for scientific knowledge, are inextricable parts of the life of the scientific community.

But, he went on, they are best done as a collective endeavour, beginning from a defence of the very conditions of scientific knowledge production. Connecting science to user communities and social demand is firstly about overcoming the internal divisions within the scientific field between theoreticians and practitioners, basic and applied scientists, or academics and research administrators (Bourdieu 1997: 67). First you need to construct a kind of ‘collective intellectual’, which means performing inclusive rather than exclusive ‘boundary-work’ (Gieryn 1983) – narrativising scientific knowledge in ways that unite, rather than divide, established players and ‘outsiders’ in a common defence of scientific authority and autonomy. Then science as a whole is better-placed to ensure that the uses to which it is put in the social world are at least partially within the control of scientists. To illustrate how such collective engagement could work, Bourdieu (1997) described how a scientific community such as a research institute might put forward appropriate experts to speak on particular policy issues or engage with government in policy processes, rather than waiting for government or the mass media to select their own preferred experts.

Being proactive and acting collectively are the conditions under which scientists can intervene in the practical world from a position of autonomy.”

Extracted from here

http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/156431-180251/Impact-in-the-REF—why-I-wont-sign-the-UCU-petition.html

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