Advice for the dissident scholar –By Brian Martin

“Dissident scholars can be attacked in various ways, including by denial of tenure, harassment, withdrawal of research grants, official reprimands, referral to psychiatrists, ostracism by colleagues, spreading of rumors, transfer to different locations or jobs, and dismissal. Inevitably, the justification for such attacks is poor performance or some other inadequacy. At this stage, many scholars are all too ready to blame themselves. But, at least in some cases, they are the victims of suppression of dissent.

Anyone who does something that threatens a powerful individual or group is potentially a target of suppression. The classic case is the whistleblower, who speaks out about corruption or dangers to public health, for example accusing a senior colleague of scientific fraud or pointing out the danger of a chemical produced by one’s employer.

But there are many other victims of suppression who wouldn’t qualify as whistleblowers. People can be victimized even if they don’t speak out and even if they don’t work for an organization. Anyone who threatens an established practice or policy backed by powerful interests is vulnerable to attack. This includes doing unwelcome research or providing unwelcome policy advice–unwelcome to powerful groups–or questioning appointments made by an insider clique.

It was in 1979 that I first began investigating and writing about suppression of intellectual dissent. I was then an applied mathematician interested in environmental issues, and I discovered a pattern of suppression of environmental scholars. The more I looked into the issue, the more cases showed up. Then, after publishing articles about suppression, even more cases were brought to my attention. Initially I hadn’t even thought of suppression as a problem in science and academia. Now I realize that it is pervasive. Although each case has its own peculiarities, there are regularly recurring features of suppression cases.

Any scholar who challenges a powerful establishment is a likely target for suppression sooner or later. But lots of others are suppressed too. In this article I first describe how to assess whether suppression is occurring and then summarize some insights about how to resist and survive attacks on dissent.” –Brian Martin. Thought & Action, Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 1998, pp. 119-130

Read more: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/98ta.html

  2 comments for “Advice for the dissident scholar –By Brian Martin

  1. March 29, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Reblogged this on Chaos Theory and Human Pharmacology and commented:

    …”Anyone who does something that threatens a powerful individual or group is potentially a target of suppression. The classic case is the whistleblower, who speaks out about corruption or dangers to public health, for example accusing a senior colleague of scientific fraud or pointing out the danger of a chemical produced by one’s employer.”…

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