Different Types of Competition in the Academic Setting

With the emerging awareness of how competition might be actually hindering our scientific progress instead of making us advance at a faster rate, a lot of different scientists spoke up to address the issue. And since competition is a problem in many varying scientific fields, there will be many diverse opinions not only on how to fight against it to unify the scientific community, but also what competition is in the first place.

The two articles we read, Bateson´s and Hutcheon´s, described competition in different light. Bateson interpreted competition as a myth, a self-imposed notion that makes us uncooperative. She sees it as a direct consequence of teaching our children that being independent is important in life, an illusion we keep inflicting since the day they are born. Bateson´s view of competition is broader and encompasses all areas of life. Church and Thambusamy´s article “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Network” [1], as mentioned in nathanl4590´s blogpost ´Online Appraisals That Results From Competition [2], agrees with Bateson´s look on competition in the regard that society normalizes competition.

On the other hand, Hutcheon looks at competition is more narrow as it examines the topic within the context of scientific discourse, more specifically how ´critical thinking´ is just an excuse to spread “demolition and enmity”[3] by ruthlessly tearing down other scientists´ papers and wedging these destructive opinions into the audience´s minds.

While these two women see competition in different ways, both agree that we should adopt a more cooperative approach if we want to see more scientific progress in the future. However, if the scientific community should unite for a common cause, we should be more particular about exactly what sort of competition we want to fight against. In my opinion, if we primarily adopt Bateson´s more general approach of practicing trust and interdependence, it will create solid basis of cooperation on which we can later build on in more specific areas such as scientific discourse.

No matter whether we perceive ourselves as competitive or our opinion on what competition even is, even if we are not exactly sure what our standpoint is in the whole argument, we should just be decent human beings. The rest will eventually come.

[1] Church, E. M., & Thambusamy, R. (2017). Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 58(3), 274-281.

[2] https://mschandorf.ca/2018/11/10/online-appraisals-that-results-from-competition/

[3] Hutcheon, L. (2003). RHETORIC AND COMPETITION: Academic Agonistics. Common Knowledge, 9(1), 42-49.

[4] Image URL: https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/507f73c84af0cfe2432c7e91728c05cb5d6ec34b/c=23-0-682-496/local/-/media/Phoenix/GenericImages/2014/09/04/1409871746000-students-with-hands-raised.jpg?width=534&height=401&fit=crop

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