Community as an academic ethic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter will examine the meaning of the word community in the context of the changing relationship between universities and the communities with which they interact. A historical analysis of the university will demonstrate how the meaning of the word community has transmuted over time due, in part, to the impact of commercialisation, as identified by Peter Jarvis in Chapter 2. To take up John Strain’s challenge in Chapter 3, this chapter will also engage with what happens in higher education at a more micro level by reflecting on the meaning of community as an academic ethic. Here, the work of Robert Merton (1973) in identifying ‘communism’ as a scientific norm will be linked to the contemporary life of the academic. As academic citizens (Macfarlane 2007), academics share their intellectual knowledge with a range of communities including students, peers and the wider public. It will be argued that communism defined as the free sharing of intellectual knowledge remains a fundamental academic ethic which is being given new life through the World Wide Web despite commercial pressures that have led to greater exploitation of intellectual property rights. Copyright © 2009 Routledge, Taylor and Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUniversities, ethics and professions: Debate and scrutiny
EditorsJohn STRAIN, Ronald BARNETT, Peter JARVIS
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9780203882238, 0203882237
ISBN (Print)9780415991193
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Macfarlane, B. (2009). Community as an academic ethic. In J. Strain, R. Barnett, & P. Jarvis (Eds.), Universities, ethics and professions: Debate and scrutiny (pp. 69-80). New York: Routledge.


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