Paul A. Djupe, Anand Edward Sokhey, and Amy Erica Smith, The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences (Oxford UP, 2022) explores a more holistic understanding of knowledge production in the social sciences, moving beyond the publication process often required by those in tenure/tenure-track positions to thinking about the role of community in the construction of knowledge. Political Scientists Paul A. Djupe (Denison University), Anand Edward Sokhey (University of Colorado-Boulder), and Amy Erica Smith (Iowa State University) emphasize the idea of academics as citizens in communities and institutions, endowed with certain rights and responsibilities with regard to knowledge production, exchange, and promotion. These actions go beyond simply research; knowledge production incorporates teaching, reviewing, blogging, podcasting, commenting, mentoring, and other similar actions, all of which inherently depend on collaboration and community.
Djupe, Smith, and Sokhey all have first-hand experience in the “publication pipeline” process. They accurately and intricately detail aspects of community that are overlooked within the academia. The collaborative nature of The Knowledge Polity speaks to the power of co-authorship in political science and sociology. The research indicates that building relationships with peers and mentors alike provides scholars with access to people whose advice is trusted, people who they consider friends, and people who know other scholars whose advice can also be trusted and valued. Similar to co-authorship, peer review is another dimension of knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the rights and responsibilities of the knowledge polity. The review process is reciprocal, and there is an innate sense that it is a duty, especially when the authors discuss “reviewer debt” (reviewing fewer papers than one is submitting) and how it is usually “paid off” when scholars reach tenure and have more time and capacity to give back to the community. Most academics would like to do more reviews, proving there is a powerful desire to participate in this important act of knowledge production.
The authors use data from an extensive Professional Activity in the Social Sciences (PASS) study, which sampled responses from 1,700 sociology and political science faculty about their publications, and experiences with regard to the process. They integrate different aspects of all of these findings in each chapter, examining for differences across disciplines, methodology, gender, race, and age, among other variables. The Knowledge Polity: Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences integrates a diversity of empirical research, qualitative inputs, and sophisticated analysis to better understand knowledge production within the social sciences. It becomes clear that the idea of the solitary scholar, alone in his/her office, creating knowledge is much more of a myth, since the reality is that knowledge production is much more of a collective undertaking and experience.
Emma R. Handschke assisted in the production of this podcast.
Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to @gorenlj.
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