22 SES 10 E JS, Digital Scholarship and Reputation
Joint Paper Session NW 12 and NW 22
Digital scholarship practices comprise a variety of intellectual activities and practices that diverge from established academic norms (Costa, 2014a). More specifically, the web and its interactive features provide agents with spaces and tools in and through which the production and distribution of academic knowledge can be reinvented with practices of open content, self-publication and public discussion. Nonetheless, and even though scholarly activities are gradually being shaped internationally by the inevitable digitisation of the current knowledge society, the encounter of academics with the web is not always a straight forward process (Costa, 2015; Costa and Murphy, 2015).
Digital scholarship practices draw on the influence of a growing culture of online participation and knowledge construction for which the open access movement is greatly responsible (Jenkins, 2009). Crucial to the participatory culture - and to understanding the dilemma academics face regarding the acknowledgment of their digital academic practices - is the transformation of gatekeeping practices with regards to the production and dissemination of knowledge and ideas. The power of established gatekeepers - for example, respected publishing houses and high-ranking academic – is starting to fade as academics increasingly publish elsewhere. This is so because the web with its participatory features presents its users with the freedom to circumvent publishing conventions through self-publication practices. This Do It Yourself approach not only challenges the canons of academic publishing but also raises questions about intellectual authority, ownership and recognition.
The lack of support and acknowledgement of digital scholarship practices is problematic, given their emerging role in transforming academic culture and forms of public engagement. And even though digital scholarship practices are on the rise(Weller, 2014) - making this a phenomenon worth studying – little research has explored the implications of such practices for questions of professional identity (Costa, 2014b, 2015) and even less on professional recognition. What is the currency of digital scholarship practices in academia? How are digital scholarship practices recognised in academia? What drives academics to adopt digital scholarship practices? And most importantly, what are the implications of pursuing such emergent practices?
Drawing on data from a narrative inquiry research project with ten academics, this paper discusses digital scholarship practices through theories of recognition to explain the politics surrounding digital scholarship practices, in particular drawing on the works of Pierre Bourdieu and Axel Honneth. Bourdieu’s understanding of (mis)recognition provides us with a structural and institutional concept of the role that symbolic capital – especially in the form of status and reputation - plays in the reproduction and transformation of academic life. Honneth’s theory of recognition, on the other hand, emphasises the role played by intersubjectivity thus inviting us to rethink the role of affect and social capital with regards to professional recognition.
The paper will explore digital scholarship practices through this dual, complementary theorectical understanding of recognition. Through Honneth’s and Bourdieu’s concepts of recognition we will examine the intersection of intra-psychic and social locational understandings of recognition respectively. It is argued that, by combining Bourdieu’s and Honneth’s concepts, new understandings of digital scholarship and its relation to concerns over reputation, prestige and respect can be developed.
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