While scientific challenges raise relevant debates about the ethics of science, the scientific ethos, shattered by post-Mertonian studies, has received neither due attention nor further conceptualizations in view of the transition to knowledge society. On the contrary, in our investigation of Italian women scientists, it appears to have survived as a reference for scientists, even if the context has changed. Indeed, the ethos of scientists is no longer conceivable as exclusive, but is instead seen as open and dynamic in interaction with other symbolic references. Therefore, instead of scientific ethos, it is preferable to speak of scientific habit, including the individual symbolic universe and the social practices linked to the scientific role. In so doing, other habits come into focus and interact. In particular, we investigated the interaction between the scientific habit and the gender habit. We argue for a conflict between two such habits and for the existence of a symbolic violence suffered by women scientists. Lastly, a new dimension of the scientific ethos is defined which is not included in the Mertonian definition: a scientific responsibility among scientists in society. Such a picture could shape a new perspective of re-gendering science in society from the standpoint of women’s experience as scientists in the knowledge society.

Ethos and symbolic violence among women of science: an empirical study

CERRONI, ANDREA;SIMONELLA, ZENIA TEA
2012

Abstract

While scientific challenges raise relevant debates about the ethics of science, the scientific ethos, shattered by post-Mertonian studies, has received neither due attention nor further conceptualizations in view of the transition to knowledge society. On the contrary, in our investigation of Italian women scientists, it appears to have survived as a reference for scientists, even if the context has changed. Indeed, the ethos of scientists is no longer conceivable as exclusive, but is instead seen as open and dynamic in interaction with other symbolic references. Therefore, instead of scientific ethos, it is preferable to speak of scientific habit, including the individual symbolic universe and the social practices linked to the scientific role. In so doing, other habits come into focus and interact. In particular, we investigated the interaction between the scientific habit and the gender habit. We argue for a conflict between two such habits and for the existence of a symbolic violence suffered by women scientists. Lastly, a new dimension of the scientific ethos is defined which is not included in the Mertonian definition: a scientific responsibility among scientists in society. Such a picture could shape a new perspective of re-gendering science in society from the standpoint of women’s experience as scientists in the knowledge society.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/3975576
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