Culture counts more than money: Israeli critiques of German science

Gad Yair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

While economic investments and organizational reforms may support Germany’s scientific ambitions, its culture remains a significant influence on how those ambitions work themselves out. The study relied on interviews with 125 Israeli scientists and on responses of nineteen of their German collaborators to a questionnaire. Data analysis found four cultural priorities that – in the context of comparisons with Israeli scientific culture – respondents suggest cut short the potential of German science: privileging technology over meaning and insight, privileging hierarchy over creativity, privileging cosmos over chaos, and privileging German over English. Respondents suggest that these cultural priorities silence alternative points of view and censor young scientists, limit motivation and stifle imagination, preordain problem-solving orientations, and restrict communication flows. As they consider policy targets for 2020 and beyond, the new German government, foundation leaders, and scientists need to discuss those cultural challenges. The study calls for scholars in science and technology studies to pay more attention to national cultures as decisive factors in framing the limits and possibilities of science.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)898-918
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • Germany
  • Israel
  • national character
  • national culture
  • science policy

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