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Posted on 2022-12-18  471 Views


作为学生,唠了这么多有的没的,这一篇来正儿八经聊聊学术。

一个学期下来最直观的感受还是中外学术模式的区别。第一堂课,白发苍苍却精神矍铄的老教授直接坐桌子上给我们讲课、年轻一点的老师说:“我们的任务就是带领你们发现这门学科的乐趣”、以及各行各业不同年龄的同学……正好读到一篇文章,我非常赞同这位学者的观点并且很有共鸣。于是我不打算自己写了,翻译一遍项老师的,结合一点自己一学期的感受,也算是认真反思过了。

以下是引用的全文:《项飙: 当写作和发表变成对中国青年学人的驯化方式》,我瞎翻译的英文版在后面的英文部分:

牛津大学人类学教授项飙应JCS《中国社会学学刊》之邀,举办了一场名为“学术发表的未来”的讲座。项飙在讲座中批评了当前学术发表存在的问题,包括学术发表离知识分享越来越远,学术写作被异化,学者圈子的封闭和等级化等问题。只要是在学术圈“摸爬滚打”过的人,很难不对项飙所指出的问题感同身受。

  • 当学术发展远离了知识分享的初衷

学刊当然担负着建设学术生态的作用。项飙说:“我们应该把学刊出版看作是公共干预的一种方式,它不仅仅是我们发表文章的地方,一个交流的平台,从理想的状况来讲,一个学刊应该去提倡一个学派、一种风格,组建一个知识共同体。”

接着项飙阐述了当今学术发表的一些悖论。

第一个悖论是如今传播技术空前发达,但是身为传播方式的一种,学术发表却越来越难,成为压在学者身上的一块石头。

第二个悖论是社会科学研究的分工越来越细,变成了专家领域,不期待有总体的理论的突破。

项飙认为知识“部落”本应很容易的通过口头交流与协商达成观点的一致,但如今的学术“部落”却通过“标签”来评价一个人的学术成果,把SSCI当成了一种衡量指标。“能够决定你学术生涯的人没耐心去看你的具体内容,只看你在哪里发表。”

第三个悖论是发表数量与学术成就之间没有必然联系。“学术地位比较高的人,或者到最后获得比较高的学术行政地位的人,其实他的发表数量并不是特别高的。”

项飙指出发表其实是对青年学者的驯化方式,学术已经离原来知识分享的初衷越来越远。“发表变成了一个非常封闭的学术运作体系,发表本身成为了研究的目的,而不是推进研究的工具。”他说。

  • 写作和发表:异化程度最高的学术劳动

项飙认为学术体系的封闭最大的后果就是学术等级化。等级化会造成学刊从俱乐部变成锦标赛性质。

“俱乐部是一个比较理想的模式,一个学科里的人相互分享、相互学习,形成共同体。但是锦标赛意味着学刊成为分化学者的工具——谁能拿到工作,谁能升职,谁是失败者,都是根据学刊进行分化。”项飙说,“学刊的编辑和作者之间也不再是自己人的关系,因为投稿就意味着被评价。”

项飙接着说,等级化触发的是下对上的模仿,从而加剧不平等。

他以印度的嫁妆制度举例,“在印度,嫁妆原来只是高种姓中的一种做法,但后来越来越多低种姓的人想模仿高种姓群体的生活方式,嫁妆制度就风行开来了。但这实际上超出了很多人的实际支付能力,给他们造成了非常大的心理压力,更加剧了对妇女的歧视。”

“模仿”之风在学术界的后果则是学术生态的单一。

项飙觉得,学术本应和其他产业一样,有丰富的生态系统,极少数人取得理论上的重大突破,大部分学者把一个具体的事解释清楚,提出下一研究可供参考的假设。

但现在,凑出一个框架变成了一件非常痛苦的事,导致我们不太能够从自己的问题和材料中看出有趣的点,只想着要怎样拿一个个理论去操作。

“并且全世界也只在跟福柯、哈贝马斯这几个人对话,”项飙说,大家都在套政策话语,加帽子,但是这会导致学者慢慢丧失从细节当中看出事物问题的能力。

还有一个问题是,“如果你的研究和上面的话语关系不大,套不上,好像这个研究本身就没有了意义。”项飙质疑了这种现象。

项飙表示,写作和发表现在成了异化程度最高的劳动方式。

“相比在工厂里一天到晚只做一个螺丝钉,学术研究和写作本应是最不异化的一个劳动,是学者主体性的体现。学术劳动本来是为了分享知识,但是随着博士的大量扩张和学术劳动的高度理性化等种种原因,写作倒过来成了统治我们思想和工作方式的手段了。”

  • 博士生在读期间发表考核指标该取消吗?

在项飙看来,应该取消博士生(编者注:应是指人文社科专业)在读期间的文章发表考核指标。他认为,博士期间是非常宝贵的时间,不用考虑别的,就把一个问题搞清楚。但是考核指标迫使博士们把问题切成若干片,用写作技巧包装成可以发表的样子,到最后年轻人都去学了“切片和包装技术”,后果就是文章数量的通货膨胀。

他以牛津为例,牛津大学的评判体系完全是反面,“牛津的导师们会认为学生太早发表文章是一件坏事,如果你在积累不够的条件下匆忙发表,可能说明你长线的推理,没有养成不断地去寻求、去深化的思维方式。”项飙指出。

和一些人的批评一样,项飙也指出现在社会学领域定量研究过度的问题,这与学术通货膨胀是相连的。“搞定量容易在好的期刊上发表,那大家都会倾向于做定量做数据。”项飙为此列了一组数据,2017年美国社会学系刚拿到工作的助教人均发表量是4.8篇,而2000年的数据是2.5篇,其中主要的增量来自于定量研究。

项飙认为学术论文有用是最重要的。“而现在主要就是看形式,看你引用了谁,用了谁的框架,不太强调贡献和价值。”

同时,他认为创新不等于有用,“很多研究只是澄清了现实当中的一些误解,这就已经非常好了,如果过分强调创新,提出一些新的概念,但这新的概念对我们深化理解不一定有用。”

最后,出版的封闭循环也是项飙关注到的一个怪象。他说,学术出版社、各大高校与学者之间形成了一个非常奇怪的封闭循环。

“公共财政支持高校做研究,学者们好不容易写出来的研究,免费求着商业出版社发表,发表之后商业出版社又以非常高的价格让高校重新把这些研究的阅读权买回去了。”

最后,对于听众提出的取消博士生发表考核后,高校如何招聘教师的问题,项飙回答说这不难,“你不要去看他在哪里发表,这不重要,只要去跟他聊一聊,读一读他的作品,哪怕文章比较粗糙,但是好的文章有一种生命,有一个躁动的灵魂,说明这个人他在想事,他有知识上的不安,一般这样的人大家会觉得他有潜力。”

项飙身在西方任教,对亚洲的学者这二三十年来在世界格局中扮演的角色感触颇深。他同时希望亚洲学者能够反思,引进新的游戏规则。

“我们这二十年有一个很大的成绩,就是把亚洲的声音放到了国际平台上。但另一方面,很多人包括我自己都是在模仿西方比较成熟的写作方式,我们没有去改变原来的游戏规则,这就导致学术等级越拉越长,切的越来越细,很多博士毕业之后不能够顺利找到工作,出现学术劳动力剩余的问题。”

他认为接下来社会学研究可以做一些有意思的突破,不管在主题确定上、组稿方式上、发行方式上,都可以想象一个新的未来。


我自己的一点感受:

其中第二点,学术的等级化和模仿的盛行,我对此深有同感。这一学期写论文的时候我在写作框架上遇到了比较大的困难。其中一篇我借用了文献中的框架,并用了一些例子对其进行论证,在找老师交流的时候,老师说这不是我自己的观点;另一篇文章也在找框架的时候遇到了问题,最后的主体部分还是东拼西凑,没有自己的逻辑顺序。

分析问题的逻辑,形成书面的语言就是论文的分析框架。坦白说,这学期的论文我写的太不满意了,字数不够,创新性不足,甚至连逻辑框架都没有特别清晰地在开头讲明白,吃挂科都心服口服的程度。时间不充裕、时间管理有误、第一次写英文长论文经验不足当然是原因的一部分,但缺乏创新的意识和能力,对抽象问题的分析经验不够才是问题的核心。

鼓励提出自己的见解、探讨前沿问题,是我感受到的与国内本科教育最大的区别。不得不说几百年的积累真的是有用的,我觉得这边的学术圈很多明显更为合理,而国内的一些机制就是简单的模仿,学又没有学全,最后就是画虎不成反类犬了。

本科的时候听到老师说:“本科生不要求太多创新,能扎扎实实应用一个理论框架,做出符合学术规范的论文就可以了”。这无疑是扎实而高效的,但当时我被当头浇了一盆冷水一样觉得没意思。国内的教育对效率的重视有余,而对思辨的关注不足。对理工科或许有效,但私以为,人文社科需要有一些主体性的东西。

当然,一些成就是值得肯定的。项老师说的“把亚洲的声音放到了国际平台上”,我深有同感。期末论文研究了“亚洲价值观”和“东亚民主”,一些话题让我非常共鸣。

和我的博士生室友讨论了一下中外高等教育的区别。她也谈到一些有趣的点,第一个是国内把学生作为廉价劳动力对待,尤其是理工科,学生们的研究成果无法得到相应的经济回报,而且国内的“博士后站”的高出站要求,使得博士后这个工作多了一层类似于获取学位的硬性要求,这又是一种变相的压榨。

另一点相当有趣,她提到说外国留学生在学校看来更多类似盈利的工具,当然不知道老师怎么看。我所学的人文社科,与历史、文化、语言等高度相关,有时候讨论一些很需要文化语境的东西的时候,我们一些外国同学和老师都会保持少交流的默契:我们害怕被提问,老师也知道我们害怕这个。我觉得这是需要双方想办法改进的。

总而言之,希望自己下学期能在学术上做的更好。实际上提出自己的思考和见解,并且与志同道合的朋友讨论,应该是一件很快乐的事情。知耻而后勇,这个学期我确实更多的是适应而没有成果,知道问题所在,就能够在接下来有针对性地去解决了。


English version:

As a student, after chatting so much daily life, I would like to return to academy in this article.

The most intuitive feeling after one semester is the difference between Chinese and foreign academic models. In the first class, our gray-haired but hale and hearty professor sat on the table and gave us a lecture; the younger teacher said: "Our mission is to lead you to discover the joy of this subject"; and also the classmates of different ages from all walks of life...

I happened to read an article, and I very much agree with its point of view and resonate very much. So I didn't plan to write something myself, I would like to translate this article as an interview transcript by Xiang Biao, a famous Chinese scholar teaching in UK, combined with a little bit of my own feelings for the semester. As a serious reflection of my semester learning.

Xiang Biao: When Writing and Publishing Become a Way of Domesticating Chinese Young Scholars

Xiang Biao, professor of anthropology at Oxford University, was invited by JCS "Chinese Journal of Sociology" to give a lecture entitled "The Future of Academic Publishing". In his lecture, Xiang Biao criticized the current problems of academic publishing, including academic publishing getting farther and farther away from knowledge sharing, the alienation of academic writing, the closed and hierarchical circle of scholars and other issues. As long as you have been in the academic circle, it is not hard to empathize with the problems pointed out by Xiang Biao.

  • Academic publishing getting farther and farther away from knowledge sharing

Academic journals are naturally responsible for building an academic ecology. Xiang Biao said: "We should regard the publication of academic journals as a way of public intervention. It is not only a place for us to publish articles, but also a platform for communication. Ideally, an academic journal should promote a School, a style, to form an intellectual community.”

Xiang Biao then explained some of the paradoxes of academic publishing today.

The first paradox is that today's communication technology is unprecedentedly developed, but as a form of communication, academic publication is becoming more and more difficult, and it has become a stone that weighs on scholars.

The second paradox is that the division of labor in social science research has become more and more detailed, and it has become a field of experts, and no overall theoretical breakthrough is expected.

Xiang Biao believes that knowledge "tribes" should be easy to reach a consensus through oral communication and negotiation, but today's academic "tribes" use "labels" to evaluate a person's academic achievements, and regard SSCI as a measure . "People who can decide your academic career don't have the patience to look at your specific content, only where you publish it."

The third paradox is that there is no necessary relationship between the number of publications and academic achievement. "A person with a relatively high academic status, or a person with a relatively high academic and administrative status in the end, in fact, his number of publications is not particularly high."

Xiang Biao pointed out that publishing is actually a way of domesticating young scholars, and academics have become farther and farther away from the original intention of knowledge sharing. "Publishing has become a very enclosing academic operating system, and publishing itself has become the purpose of research, rather than a tool to advance research." He said.

  • Writing and publishing: the most alienated academic labor

Xiang Biao believes that the biggest consequence of the closure of the academic system is the academic hierarchy. Hierarchy can cause a journal to change from a club to a championship.

"Clubs are an ideal model. People in a discipline share and learn from each other and form a community. But championships mean that journals become a tool for divisive scholars—who gets jobs, who gets promoted, who is the losers are all differentiated according to the academic journals." Xiang Biao said, "The relationship between the editors and authors of academic journals is no partnership, because submitting an article means being evaluated."

Xiang Biao went on to say that hierarchy triggers the imitation of the bottom to the top, which exacerbates inequality.

He cited India’s dowry system as an example, “In India, dowry was originally only norm among high-caste groups, but later more and more people of lower castes wanted to imitate the lifestyle of high-caste groups, and the dowry system became popular. But this is actually beyond the actual payment ability of many people, causing them a lot of psychological pressure, and exacerbating discrimination against women."

The consequence of the wind of "imitation" in the academic world is the monotony of the academic ecology.

Xiang Biao thinks that academia should have a rich ecosystem like other industries. Very few people have made major breakthroughs in theory. Most scholars explain a specific thing clearly and put forward hypotheses that can be used as a reference for the next research.

But now, it has become a very painful thing to come up with a framework, which makes us less able to see interesting points from our own questions and materials, and only think about how to operate with theories one by one.

"And the whole world is only communicating to people like Foucault and Habermas," Xiang Biao said. Everyone follows the political correctness and popular trends, but this will cause scholars to gradually lose the ability to see through details and find the questions.

Another problem is, "If your research has little to do with the above discourse, and you can't follow it, it seems that the research itself is meaningless." Xiang Biao questioned this phenomenon.

Xiang Biao said that writing and publishing have now become the most alienated form of labor.

"Compared to just making a screw in a factory all day long, academic research and writing should be the least alienated labor, a manifestation of the subjectivity of scholars. Academic labor was originally for sharing knowledge, but with the massive expansion of Ph.D. , and the high rationalization of academic labor and other reasons, writing has in turn become a means of dominating our thinking and working methods.”

  • Should the publication assessment indicators for doctoral students during their studies be cancelled?

In Xiang Biao’s view, the publication assessment indicators for doctoral students (editor’s note: should refer to humanities and social sciences majors) during their studies should be cancelled. He believes that the doctoral period is very precious time, and he can figure out a problem without thinking about other things. However, the assessment indicators force doctors to cut the problem into several pieces and use writing skills to package it into a publishable form. In the end, young people have learned the "slicing and packaging technology", and the result is the inflation of the number of articles.

He took Oxford as an example. The evaluation system of Oxford University is completely opposite. "Oxford tutors will think that it is a bad thing for students to publish articles too early. If you publish in a hurry under the condition of insufficient accumulation, it may indicate you have not developed a way of thinking that is constantly seeking and deepening." Xiang Biao pointed out.

Like some people's criticisms, Xiang Biao also pointed out the problem of excessive quantitative research in the field of sociology, which is connected with academic inflation. "It is easy to publish quantitatively in good journals, so everyone will tend to do quantitative data." Xiang Biao listed a set of data for this. In 2017, the average number of publications per teaching assistant who just got a job in the American Department of Sociology was 4.8 , while the data in 2000 was 2.5, of which the main increase came from quantitative research.

Xiang Biao believes that the usefulness of academic papers is the most important thing. "But now it's mainly about the form, who you cite, and whose framework you use, with less emphasis on contribution and value."

At the same time, he believes that innovation does not mean that it is useful. "Many studies only clarify some misunderstandings in reality, which is already very good. If innovation is overemphasized, some new concepts are proposed, but these new concepts may not necessarily deepen our understanding."

Finally, the closed cycle of publishing is also a strange phenomenon that Xiang Biao has noticed. He said that a very strange closed loop has formed between academic presses, universities and scholars.

"Public finance supports colleges and universities to do research. Scholars have finally written research and asked commercial publishing houses to publish it for free. After publication, colleges and universities bought back the reading rights of these researches at a very high price."

Finally, to the audience's question about how colleges and universities should recruit teachers after canceling the doctoral student's publication assessment, Xiang Biao replied that it is not difficult, "You don't need to see where he publishes, it's not important, just go and talk to him, Read his works, even if the articles are rough, but good articles have a kind of life and a restless soul, which shows that this person is thinking about things and has intellectual anxiety, which means potential."

Xiang Biao is teaching in the West, and he is deeply impressed by the role that Asian scholars have played in the world structure in the past two or three decades. He also hopes that Asian scholars can reflect and introduce new rules of the game.

"We have made a big achievement in the past two decades, which is to put Asian voices on the international platform. But on the other hand, many people, including myself, are imitating the more mature writing methods in the West. We have not changed the original rules of the game, this leads to the academic grades getting longer and longer, and the cuts are getting thinner and thinner. Many doctors are unable to find jobs after graduation, and there is a problem of surplus academic labor.”

He believes that some interesting breakthroughs can be made in sociological research in the future, and a new future can be imagined no matter in terms of theme determination, essay writing methods, and distribution methods.


Some of my own feeling:

I deeply sympathize with the second point, academic hierarchy and the prevalence of imitation. When writing a thesis this semester, I encountered relatively great difficulties in the writing framework. In one of them, I borrowed the framework from one authoritative book and used some examples to demonstrate it. When I talked to the teacher in the office hour, she said that this is not my own point of view; the other essay also encountered problems when looking for the framework. The final main part of it is still patchwork, without my own logical order.

The logic af analysing question, in the written form, is the structure of the essay. Frankly speaking, I was too dissatisfied with the essays I wrote this semester. The number of words was not enough, the innovation was not enough, and even the logical framework was not particularly clearly explained at the beginning, so if the teacher think it's equivalent to fail, I would accept it. Insufficient time, incorrect time management, and inexperience in writing long English essays for the first time are of course part of the reason, but the core of the problem is the lack of awareness and ability to innovate, and insufficient experience in analyzing abstract problems.

Encouraging to put forward one's own opinions and explore cutting-edge issues is the biggest difference I feel this semester. I have to say that the accumulation of hundreds of years is real. I think many of the academic institutions here are obviously more reasonable, while some domestic mechanisms are simply imitations, which results in misallocation of resources and distortion of academic intentions.

When I was an undergraduate, I heard a teacher say: "We don't require undergraduate students for too much innovation, they can graduate as long as they can apply a mature theoretical framework to analyse problems, and make a paper that meets academic norms." This is undoubtedly solid and efficient, but at the time I felt that was boring. Domestic education pays more attention to efficiency than to speculative thinking. It may be effective for science and engineering, but I personally think that humanities and social sciences need to have some subjectivity.

Of course, some achievements are worthy of recognition. I deeply sympathize with Dr. Xiang's words of "putting the voice of Asia on the international platform". In one of my essays I studied "Asian Values" and "East Asian Democracy", and some topics resonated with me very much.

I discussed the differences between Chinese and foreign higher education with my doctoral student roommate. She also talked about some interesting points. The first one is that students are treated as cheap labor in China, especially in science and engineering. The research results of students cannot get corresponding economic returns, and the domestic "post-doctoral stations" have high exit requirements. , so that the postdoctoral job has an additional rigid requirements similar to obtaining a degree, which is another kind of squeeze in disguise.

Another point is quite interesting. She mentioned that foreign students are more like profit-making tools for the school. The humanities and social sciences I study are highly related to history, culture, language, etc. Sometimes when discussing something that needs a cultural context, some of our foreign students and teachers will maintain a tacit understanding of less communication: we are afraid of being asked questions, teachers also know that we are afraid of this. I think this is something that both parties need to find ways to improve.

All in all, I hope I can do better academically next semester. In fact, it should be a very happy thing to put forward your own thoughts and opinions, and discuss with like-minded friends. This semester means more adaptation process for me, instead of making any academic achievement. But by knowing the problems, I might be able to solve them in a targeted manner in the future.