ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Research Scholars’ Epistemological Predicament

What is the position of research scholars in the knowledge food chain? Are they merely consumers of knowledge or can they also produce it? The University Grants Commission Regulations, 2009 and 2016 enforced two important rules: mandatory coursework on research methods and theory for MPhil and PhD programmes, and publication of at least one research paper in a peer-reviewed journal to be eligible to submit a doctoral thesis. An analysis of these regulations through the lens of research scholars offers an insight into the complexity of relationships between academic institutions, journals, and research scholars in the process of knowledge production.

The authors would like to thank Sundar Sarukkai and N Purendra Prasad for their comments on an earlier draft, which helped the authors refine their ideas, and for their continuous encouragement. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewer for their insightful suggestions, which helped them streamline the arguments.

In the introduction to her book, Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science, Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell (2008) notes that social science is, at best, ambiguously democratic. Its dominant genres picture the world as it is seen by men, by capitalists, by the educated and affluent. Notwithstanding the provocative stance of the work, Connell fails to mention that this dominant knowledge is produced by institutional academicians, with a little help from international governmental and non-governmental organisations (Zapp 2018).

The purpose of this article is not to critique Connell, either for presuming a homogeneous south (Muller 2009; Collins 1997) or for being ignorant of the segment of research scholars. As we will discuss a little later, research scholars, throughout the world, have predominantly been relegated to the position of consumers of knowledge that is produced by agents who decry their own helplessness in getting recognition as producers of knowledge. Our aim is to analyse the reasons, particularly in the case of India, that have caused research scholars to stay away from the production of knowledge debate and remain mere consumers of knowledge.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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