ABSTRACT. In April 2017, the worldwide Marches for Science sparked public discussion about the role of science and academia in society. In the vast majority of the 22 Marches for Science in Germany, universities were actively involved and stated their specific stances on the social responsibility of science and ethical scientific practice. As such, the marches can be analysed as a focal point for the universities’ explicit and implicit ethics. This paper identifies these different ethical references and relates them to the universities’ respective histories and cultures. The analysis of the published statements, speeches and discourses of university officials reflect three prominent logics: 1) the freedom of science, especially from political and economic influences; 2) the academic function of generating, discussing and disseminating reliable knowledge; and 3) the relationship between science and society, which (according to this logic) needs to be discussed and transformed, especially against the background of current societal developments.

Keywords: organisational education research; organisational discourse analysis; discursive change; ethics in academia; scientific responsibility; March for Science

How to cite: Elven, J. (2021). “Varieties of Ethics in Academia: Rationalities of Scientific Responsibility in the (German) March for Science,” Knowledge Cultures 9(1): 21–34. doi: 10.22381/kc9120212.

Received 10 December 2019 • Received in revised form 22 January 2020
Accepted 14 May 2020 • Available online 1 April 2021

Julia Elven
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Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany

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