Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Re-invent Yourself! How Demands for Innovativeness Reshape Epistemic Practices

Authors
  • Falkenberg, Ruth I.1, 1
  • 1 University of Vienna,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Minerva
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jun 08, 2021
Pages
1–22
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11024-021-09447-4
PMID: 34121774
PMCID: PMC8184871
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the current research landscape, there are increasing demands for research to be innovative and cutting-edge. At the same time, concerns are voiced that as a consequence of neoliberal regimes of research governance, innovative research becomes impeded. In this paper, I suggest that to gain a better understanding of these dynamics, it is indispensable to scrutinise current demands for innovativeness as a distinct way of ascribing worth to research. Drawing on interviews and focus groups produced in a close collaboration with three research groups from the crop and soil sciences, I develop the notion of a project-innovation regime of valuation that can be traced in the sphere of research. In this evaluative framework, it is considered valuable to constantly re-invent oneself and take ‘first steps’ instead of ‘just’ following up on previous findings. Subsequently, I describe how these demands for innovativeness relate to and often clash with other regimes of valuation that matter for researchers’ practices. I show that valuations of innovativeness are in many ways bound to those of productivity and competitiveness, but that these two regimes are nevertheless sometimes in tension with each other, creating a complicated double bind for researchers. Moreover, I highlight that also the project-innovation regime as such is not always in line with what researchers considered as a valuable progress of knowledge, especially because it entails a de-valuation of certain kinds of long-term epistemic agendas. I show that prevailing pushes for innovativeness seem to be based on a rather short-sighted temporal imaginary of scientific progress that is hardly grounded in the complex realities of research practices, and that they can reshape epistemic practices in potentially problematic ways.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times