The Social Construction of Excellent Scientists

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Grit PETSCHICK, TU Berlin, Germany
At present the German university system is undergoing a number of reforms to improve its models of teaching and research. As one of the most important initiatives in higher education, the excellent initiative is aiming to promote top-class universities to become internationally visible. The participating institutions should create excellent training and career conditions for young researchers and also endeavor to realize the promotion of gender equality.

But how does this kind of project-orientated funding influence research? Which effects does it have for academic carries of young researchers? And may such a funding finally make a contribution to gender equality in science?

To answer these questions the presented study is based on two ethnographic case studies of two scientific working groups, physicists and chemists. The participatory observation were realized over a period of two years and supplemented by interviews. Participating at the everyday work of young researchers, especially PhD candidates and postdocs, I tried to identify mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion and thereby to understand how the academic field operates. Supposing that there is an academic personality how is socially constructed, the aim is to understand how young researchers become like this when successfully trained through the academic career, especially in excellent research fields. The focus of this investigation are the everyday practices of researchers, since I assume that a number of including and excluding practices and their incorporated implicit attributions, are not made consciously by the actors, but happen interactive and are visible in scientific practices and in habitual actions.