Reflections on Ethos, Personality, and Habitus in Narrative Interviews. A Study of the Self-Perception of Researchers across Disciplines
Freedom of research is fundamental to epistemic gain. Often, however, the ethos of epistemic rationality is paired with further individual and social motives. By looking into both epistemic and social knowledge cultures in the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities and cultural sciences, I will explore the entanglements created by these divergent motives in epistemic, social and normative cultures in the scientific community.
Three levels will be distinguished: (i) reflections on the individual virtues or principles of a researcher, (ii) her involvement in the dynamics of the social culture in her discipline and (iii) the perspective as a member of the scientific community serving the ethos of epistemic rationality. These levels will aid us in identifying the limits of integrity within the scientific community.
In what respect do epistemic cultures oppose social cultures? Is the perception of certain forms of misbehaviour negotiable, a mere matter of interpretation or dependent on the social culture of a discipline? What forms of dilemmas of integrity do researchers face at different stages of their careers?
Narrative interviews with researchers in the UK, USA and Germany from the research project “Scientific Integrity in a Context of Integration and Competition” (2009-2014) provide the material for this talk. Figures such as the “Luminary”, the “Altruist”, the “Career-Zombie”, and the “Whistleblower” are proposed as prototypes and take their places in the spectrum between the scientific saint and the madman.
Nora Hangel studied Philosophy, English literature and Gender studies at the Universities of Salzburg and Montclair, New Jersey. In 2011 she completed her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Vienna. Since 2010, she is researcher at the Centre of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration” at the University of Konstanz. Her most recent publication is „Integrity endangered by hypocracy“ in the volume Autonomy and the Self (2013, ed. by Michael Kühler).